Chapter 4 – Open, social and participatory                    media      Chapter 4 – Open, social and participatory media....
and indeed rely on it, feeling cheated and feeling that we are working below par without    it. The pace of change is unli...
writers’ blog inviting potential readers to comment on the evolving plot), by academics(through self-reflective blogs on d...
ways and hence the nature of content, both in terms of production and distribution hasshifted with greater control for the...
Table 1: Examples of how Web 2.0 tools are being used in educationTheme area          Case study            Brief descript...
Enhancing life   Mundo des estrel-    Young people in hospitals, The potential for these toolsexperiences      las (cited ...
of free tools, resources and services, ubiquitous access, multiple communication and dis-tributions channels, media rich r...
Table 2 summarises the characteristics of new technologies and their potential positiveand negative impactTable 2: Charact...
•Recommender systems – that aggregate and tag user preferences and make recommend-ations•Wikis and collaborative editing t...
Situated learning, experiential   Use of location-aware function- The iCamp project, use of Sec-learning, problem-based   ...
Scholarly practice and the      Use of Web 2.0 technologies to Edublogs, LeMills, Cloudworkssharing of designs and good   ...
technologies. Teachers lack the necessary skills to design and support learning with newtechnologies. There is a tension b...
strategies which enable individuals to create their own personal digital environment ofsupporting tools and networks to fa...
i http://openlearn.op
Chapter 4 open, social and participatory media v2
Chapter 4 open, social and participatory media v2
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Chapter 4 open, social and participatory media v2

  1. 1. Chapter 4 – Open, social and participatory media Chapter 4 – Open, social and participatory media......................................................1 Introduction..................................................................................................................1 The changing digital landscape of education...............................................................1 A review of new technologies.....................................................................................2The characteristics of new technologiesThe impact of Web 2.0 technologiesThe use of Web 2.0 technologies in educationThe impact on practice A review of Web 2.0 tools and practice....................................................................8 Conclusion...................................................................................................................11IntroductionThe emergence of open, social and participatory media in recent years is changing thelandscape of technology practices. They are changing the ways in which users interact,communicate and participate with technologies. These technologies include social net-working sites such as facebook, LinkIn, myspace, blogs and wikis and microbloggingsites such as Twitter. They are being used for a mixture of social and professional activit-ies. This chapter considers the impact of such Web 2.0 technologies on education and inparticular how these new technologies are changing learning and teaching practices. Itwill consider their fundamental characteristics and look at the implications for learners,teachers and institutions. It argues that the impact on practice can be both positive andnegative and that as a consequence educational institutions need to develop new policiesand strategies. This chapter will consider the new forms of user behaviour that are result-ing and provide examples of ways in which they are being used to support teaching andlearning. The central focus is a critique of the impact of new technologies on education,which raises a number of key questions: What new digital literacy skills are needed?What does it mean to be a teacher or learner in this new environment? What are the im-plications for organisational structures and processes? What new learning spaces need tobe developed to harness the potential of new technologies? The next chapter will look at asocial networking site, Cloudworks, which has been developed to support the discussionand sharing of learning and teaching ideas.The changing digital landscape of educationThere can be little doubt that digital technologies now infiltrate all aspects of our lives;electronic plane tickets, ubiquitous wifi, mobile technologies and technologies such asthe iPad are becoming necessities rather than luxuries for many. Certainly, within the de-veloped world, most of us have an expectation of a certain level of digital connectivity;
  2. 2. and indeed rely on it, feeling cheated and feeling that we are working below par without it. The pace of change is unlikely to slow down, and arguably there are more fundamental changes coming as the true impact of embracing cloud computing becomes evident. New technologies provide a plethora of routes for finding/using information and for com- munication/collaboration. Alongside the established communication channels of the tele- phone, email, forums and texting, the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies in recent years has added blogging (and microblogging), wikis, social networking sites, virtual worlds and internet-based Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and in particular popular tools such as Skype which enable virtually free, Internet-based communication. Similarly in- formation can now be distributed in multiple locations, and packaged and presented using a range of different multimedia and visual representations. Sophisticated repositories now exist for everything from shopping categories to repositories of good practice and free re- sources. RSS feeds and email alerts enable users to filter and personalise the information they receive. Social bookmarking and tagging means that collective value can be added to digital objectives; concept and mind mapping, tag clouds and data-derived maps are only some of the ways in which information can be presented in rich and multifaceted ways. Within this context we are seeing a number of trends:•A shift from the web as a content repository and information mechanism to a web that en-ables more social mediation and user generation of content.•New practices of sharing (see for example: images: Flckr; videos: YouTube and presenta-tions: slideshare), are mechanisms for content production, communication and collaboration(through blogs, wikis and micro-blogging services such as twitter), and social networkingsites for connecting people and supporting different communities of practice (such as face-book, Elgg and Ning).•A network effect is emerging as a result of the quantity of information available on the web,the multiplicity of connectivity and the scale of user participation, and as a result new possib-ilities for sharing and harnessing these network effects are emerging. A review of new technologies O’Reilly coined the term Web 2.0 technologies to describe the emergence of new open, social and participatory technologies (OReilly, 2004, 2005). In particular the term em- phasised a shift from a static Web 1.0 to a Web 2.0 environment that was characterised by used participation. He defined Web 2.0 as a set of principles and practices. The term ‘open, social and participatory media’ has also been used, emphasising the core character- istics of these new technologies. These characteristics include: users as publishers, har- nessing distributed collective intelligence, user-evolving folksonomies, peer production and critique, the wisdom of the crowds (Surowiecki, 2004), the architecture of participa- tion, the notion of the perpetual beta, free tools and resources, and the notion of openness. The characteristics of new technologies The characteristics of these new technologies include the following:•Peer critiquing – the ability to openingly comment on other people’s work. This has becomestandard practice within the blogosphere and is being used in general society. For examplemany journalists are now active bloggers (traditional book writing is being supplemented by
  3. 3. writers’ blog inviting potential readers to comment on the evolving plot), by academics(through self-reflective blogs on digital scholarship and research ideas) and by learners (interms of them keeping their own reflective blogs or contributing to a collective cohort blog).•User generated content – there are now many different tools for creating content (rangingfrom those which are primarily text-based, through to rich multi-media and interactive tools),meaning that the web is no longer a passive media for consumption, but an active, participat-ory, production media. Sites such as YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare facilitate sharing of user-generated content and embedded code functionality means this content can be simultaneouslydistributed via a range of communication channels.•Collective aggregation - hierarchy and controlled structures make little sense in an environ-ment that consists of a constantly expanding body of content that can be connected in a multi-tude of ways. Collective aggregation refers both to the ways in which individuals can collateand order content to suit their individual needs and personal preferences, as well as the waysindividual content can be enriched collectively by the wider community (via tagging, multipledistribution, etc.). Social bookmarking, tag clouds and associated visualisation tools, tagging,RSS feeds and embedding code all enable collective aggregation to occur.•Community formation – clearly the connectivity and rich communicative channels nowavailable on the web provide an environment for supporting a rich diversity of digital com-munities. Boundaries of professional and personal identity are eroding and the notion oftightly knit Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998) are giving way to a spectrum of commu-nicates from individualistic spaces through loosely bound and often transitory collectivesthrough to more established and clearly defined communities. See Dron & Anderson, 2007)for a more specific discussion of collectives, networks and groups in social networking for e-learning.•Digital personas – individuals need to define their digital identity and how they ‘present’themselves across these spaces. The avatars we choose to represent ourselves, the style of lan-guage we use and the degree to which we are open (both professionally and personally) with-in these spaces, give a collective picture of how we are viewed by others. The impact of Web 2.0 technologies There is now a growing body of empirical evidence on the impact of Web 2.0 technolo- gies on education; see for example a review of Learning 2.0 by Redecker et al. (2009), the use of Web 2.0 in schools (Crook, et al., 2008), the NSF task force on Cyberlearning (Borgeman, et al., 2008), the most recent Horizon report on future technological trends (NMC, 2011) and the OECD report on ‘new millennial learners’ (OECD, 2007). More specifically a number of articles consider the use of these technologies in an educa- tional context. Downes describes the change as a shifting from the web being a medium in which information is passively consumed, to a platform, where content is created, shared, remixed and repurposed by users (Downes, 2005). He describes the way blogging and wikis have emerged as a new medium for expression and the development of online communities. Application of these tools, he argues, means that e-learning content is cre- ated and distributed in a very different way, enabling more learner-centred approaches. De Frietas and Conole (2010) also argue that there has been a shift in the use of tools, which emphasises the more participatory and communicative capabilities of new techno- logies. These enable content and information to be distributed in a variety of different
  4. 4. ways and hence the nature of content, both in terms of production and distribution hasshifted with greater control for the individual as produced and user. So whereas initial useof the web (Web 1.0) was essentially fairly static with hyperlinked information pages dis-playing information, Web 2.0 shifts towards more a more active and distributed networkwith user-generated content and a much richer, inter-connected network of communicat-ive channels. They further refine this shift as being about: a shift from information beinga scarce, expensive commodity to an abundance of information, challenging traditionalnotions of authority, and finally that content can be distributed and rendered in multipleways. They list a number of ways in which these technologies can be aligned with mod-ern thinking about adopting more constructivist and situative learning approaches. Web2.0 practices enable the shifting of learning from a focus on individual to social learning.Location-aware technologies can enable contextualised and situated learning. The adapt-able functionality of Web 2.0 tools means that learners can personalise their learning. Vir-tual worlds can be used to support experiential learning, whilst search engines likeGoogle can support inquiry- and resource-based earning. User generated content has res-ulted in a plethora of Open Educational Resources (OER) now being freely available.And finally tools such as blogs, e-portfolios and online games such as WorldofWarCraftare being used to support peer learning and reflection.Redecker et al. (2009) undertook at extensive review of the use of Web 2.0 technologiesin education. They define Web 2.0 as: ‘the range of digital applications that enable inter-action, collaboration and sharing between users’. These tools include blogs, wikis, socialbookmarking and tagging, media sharing services, podcasts, and virtual worlds. Effectiveuse of these tools requires learners to develop new skills, not only to manage the abund-ance of information, but also to participate in distributed networks, and to develop critic-al, communicative, collaborative and creative skills. They concluded that, at the time ofwriting, there was not extensive use of these tools in education, but that there were nu-merous examples of local applications. These tools enable pedagogical innovationthrough promoting personalisation and collaborative learning and are resulting in achange in the roles of teachers and learners. They put the lack of widespread take up ofthese tools down to a number of barriers, such as: a lack of access to ICT, learners andteachers lacking the necessary digital literacy skills to make effective use of these techno-logies, a lack of the pedagogical skills needed to design effective learning interventionsutilising the affordances of these technologies, as well as concerns over security and pri-vacy.The use of Web 2.0 technologies in educationTable 1 provides some examples of how Web 2.0 tools are being used in education, in-cluding a description in each case of the potential impact on education. These indicatethat these tools can result in pedagogical innovation in a number of ways. Firstly, byproviding new ways of collaborative creation and exchange of learning content.Secondly, by providing new forms of communication amongst learners and teachers.Thirdly, by providing more personalised and learner-centred environments. Fourthly,these are resulting in new forms of blended learning contexts are emerging. Fifthly, theyare motivational in terms of providing active, discovery-based learning approaches and asense of learner ownership.
  5. 5. Table 1: Examples of how Web 2.0 tools are being used in educationTheme area Case study Brief description of case Potential impact upon educa- study tionScaffolded VEOU (Willis et Virtual CPD and scaffolded Potential to change the ways al., 2004) support for publication in which professional CPD is delivered, offering more tailored, personalised and just-in-time trainingOpen E-Bank – towards Access to open learning ma- Democratisation of education truly "Open re- terials designed to support tu- in terms of content produc- search”, (Cole et tors and learners alike tion and delivery. Wider ac- al., 2006) cess to materials for casual learners and to support in- MITOpenCourse- formal learning as a ‘taster’ Ware for formal learning qualifica- tionsCumulative CCK09 (Siemens, An experimental course in What is the role of traditional 2009) - Education which both the content and educational institutions in a for free! expertise was free world in which content and expertise is increasingly free?Social Cloudworks Social networking for an edu- Social networking applied to (Conole and Cul- cational context education has the potential to ver, 2009, 2010) change the ways in which teachers exchange informa- tion; with the potential to lead to proactive sharing and reuse of educational resourcesAuthentic envir- WISE project – Authentic real-time modeling Scope for training in new andonments (SecondReiff environment in Second Life realistic environments. Ped- Aachen School of for Architecture and medical agogic models include ex- Architecture); students ploratory learning (ELM), in- Stanford Medical quiry learning and problem- School simula- based learning approaches tions using Olive platform (cited in Ala-Mutka et al. 2009)Fostering inquiry Personal Inquiry Development of inquiry- Through independent learn-learning Project (Ker- based learning skills for stu- ing approaches peer learning awalla, et al., dents to enhanced their un- is encouraged and analytical 2009) derstanding of Science skills may be fostered
  6. 6. Enhancing life Mundo des estrel- Young people in hospitals, The potential for these toolsexperiences las (cited in Ala- interactive gaming, life swap- to support lifelong learning Mutka et al. ping and sharing of experi- opportunities and enhance life 2009); JISC My- ence; MyPlan project provid- experiences Plan project ing tools for lifelong career decisions and educational choices using visualisation of learners’ timelines planBroadening ac- Notschool and Notschool for virtual home The impact of this includescess Schome projects schooling for disaffected outreach to children and ex- (cited in Ala- children and Schome project cluded, talented learners. Us- Mutka et al. 2009) for gifted and talented kids ing familiar media based metaphors rather than tradi- tional school based metaphors new learners may be reachedNew forms of CSCL pedagogical Structured pedagogical pat- Broader application of ped-collaboration patterns (Hernán- terns to support different agogical patterns and other dez et al., forth- forms of collaborative activit-scaffolded forms of pedago- coming) ies gical have the potential to transfer good practice from research into practice in an effective way. Automation of such patterns can be embed- ded in pedagogy toolsCo-construction Wlker’s Wikinom- Collaborative co-construction Blurring research and teach-of understanding ics (cited in Ala- of understanding of Econom- ing: examples of how the web Mutka et al. ics can provide access to schol- 2009), The De- arly materials and give stu- cameron Web dents the opportunity to ob- ((http://www.brow serve and emulate scholars at work ments/Italian_Stud ies/dweb/dweb.sht ml)Aggregating and Wikipedia Co-construction of know- New tools provided forsharing content ledge through collaboration learners at all stages, and in- and iterative development teraction between learners and publication of shared knowledgeThe impact on practiceConole (2009) synthesises some of the characteristics that define these new technologiesand lists their impact on practice (both positive and negative). These include: the impact
  7. 7. of free tools, resources and services, ubiquitous access, multiple communication and dis-tributions channels, media rich representations, and user-generated content and socialprofiling.The Internet has enabled access to a vast amount of information and with the growth ofthe Open Educational Resource movement (Atkins, Seely Brown, & Hammond, 2007),access to free resources. However finding appropriate resources and knowing how to usethem is a specialised skill; many learners, despite being competent technology users, lackthe appropriate academic literacy skills to appropriate these free resources for their learn-ing (Jenkins, 2009; Lankshear & Knobel, 2006). McAndrew et al. (2008) consideredWeb 2.0 characteristics and compared them against the way in which Open EducationalResources (OERs) are developed and used, drawing on evaluation data on the use of theOpenlearn site.i For example, they argue that such sites align well with the long-tail phe-nomenon (Anderson, 2004) by providing access to specialist subjects. Similarly, the so-cial tools associated with the site enables users to contribute ideas and adapt contentproviding an example of the Web 2.0 user-generated content and the broader notion ofusers adding value within a Web 2.0 context. The availability of free tools means that stu-dents can appropriate and personalise these for their individual learning needs. Howeverthere is a tension between these tools and those under institutional control. If students areable to use free email tools, wikis, blogs, etc – what is the function of an institutionalLMS and what, if any, if any, tools and services should institutions be providing?Web 2.0 practices relay on scale both in terms of access to a vast array of user-generatedcontent, through harnessing the power of the collective, the so called notion of ‘the wis-dom of the crowds (Surowiecki, 2004). Such scale requires easy access and in this re-spect, in the development world at least, we are approaching a state of near ubiquitous ac-cess, with wifi almost universally available, the percentage of those online is approaching100% in most developing countries, however the digital divide is still evident – narrowerbut deeper (Warschauer, 2004).The variety of communicative channels and multiple distribution mechanisms for retriev-ing and aggregating information means that there are a multitude of opportunities forfinding resources and communicating with peers or experts. However, this has also led toa ‘fragmentation of voice’ – there is no longer one definitive source of knowledge, no one‘expert’. Learners need to develop strategies for finding and validating appropriate re-sources. Learners and teachers have a variety of communicating channels (email, chat,blogs, audio and video conferences, social networking sites, etc), there is no single com-municative channel. This multiplicity can be confusing and disorientating for bothlearners and teachers.The richness of the new media means it is possible for new forms of representation,providing new opportunities in terms of sense-making (Okada, Shum, & Sherborne,2008), but raises issues in terms of whether teachers and students have the appropriate di-gital literacy skills to utilise these representations (Seely Brown, 2006).The user participation and social practices of Web 2.0 technologies clearly provide im-mense opportunities in terms of fostering collaboration, for co-construction and sharingof knowledge, but raises a number of issues about quality, copyright and privacy.
  8. 8. Table 2 summarises the characteristics of new technologies and their potential positiveand negative impactTable 2: Characteristics of new technologiies and impact on practiceChange Positive impact Negative impactFre e tools, resources S p e cialise d nich e u s e, ac- Inappropriate acad e mic lit-an d s ervices c e s s an d p ersonalisation eracy skills. Lack of institu- tional controlU biquitous acce s s T echnology as a core tool forNarrower, b ut d e e p er digital learning divi d eM ultiple co m m u nica- Increas e d o p portunity for Frag m e ntation of voice. N o p e er an d tutor dialogu e. In- c entralise d repo sitory oftion an d di stribution knowle dg echann els formation repurpos e d to m e et different n e e d sM e dia rich repres enta-N ew form s of s e n s e-m aking Lack of n ew form s of digital literacytionsU s er-gen erated con- Variety an d acknowle dging Q uality assurance issu e s. in divid ual contributions. Inappropriate d e scriptionstent an d s ocial profil- K nowle dg e s haring an d co m -an d u s e of p ersonal infor m - m u nity b uild ation for oth er p urpos e sA review of Web 2.0 tools and practiceConole and Alevizou (2010) also undertook a review of the use of Web 2.0 technologiesin education, building on the review done by Redecker et al. (2009). They focussed inparticular on the use of these tools in Higher Education. They adapted a taxonomy oftypes of the types of Web 2.0 tools developed by Crook et al. (2008) based on theirfunctionality:•Media sharing – creation and exchange of media with peers•Media manipulation and data/web mash ups – tools to design and edit digital media filesand combine data from multiple sources to create a new application, tool or service•Instant messaging, chat and conversational areas – to enable one-to-one or one-manyconversations•Online games and virtual works – rule-governed games or themes environments•Social networking – enabling social interactions between friends•Blooging – where users can post text that others can comment on•Social bookmarking – aggregation and tagging of web resources
  9. 9. •Recommender systems – that aggregate and tag user preferences and make recommend-ations•Wikis and collaborative editing tools – where users can collaborative create, edit andlink pages•Syndication – where users can subscribe to RSS feed-enabled websites.Jenkins et al. (2009) argue that a new set of digital literacies are needed for learners andteachers to be part of what they describe as this new ‘participatory culture’. These are:play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multi-tasking, distributed cognition, collect-ive intelligence, judgement, transmedia navigation, networking, negotiation and visual-isation. Similarly Beetham et al. (2009) provide a comprehensive framework of new lit-eracies relating to social and situated practice. These include: meaning making and situ-ated knowledge, technological and media literacies, and scaffolded and metacognitive lit-eracies.Conole and Alevizou provide a map of the ways in which Web 2.0 technologies are beingused to support learning and teaching and how these map to different pedagogical ap-proaches. An adapted version of this is shown in Table 3. What is evident is that the char-acteristics of Web 2.0 technologies appear to align well with modern pedagogical goodpractice in terms of promoting constructivist and situative approaches to learning.However de Freitas and Conole (2010) argue that: The description above paints a picture of a rich and exciting technological envir- onment to support learning; with a multitude of mechanisms for: rendering con- tent, distributing information and communicating. There seems to be a tantalising alignment between many of the social capabilities of the tools and practices evid- ent with new technologies and what has emerged as ‘good’ pedagogy in recent years.Table 3: Mapping of Web 2.0 tools to different pedagogical approachesPedagogical approaches Web 2.0 tools and ap- Examples proachesPersonal learning The ability to adapt, customised The digital Learning communities and personalise, use of RSS project feeds, mash ups and APIs
  10. 10. Situated learning, experiential Use of location-aware function- The iCamp project, use of Sec-learning, problem-based ality, immersive 3D-worlds, use ondLife to support different dis-learning, scenarios-based of search engines and other on- ciplines, cyberone law role-playlearning, role play line resources as sources of evi- dence, connection with peers and experts via social networking tools, scenario-based and au- thentic tasks in virtual worlds, application of gaming technolo- gies for educational purposesInquiry-based learning, re- Tools to support user-generated The Open Educational Resourcesource-based learning content and facilitating easy movement and associated tools sharing and discussion, media and repositories, like OpenLearn repositories (Flckr, YouTube, and SlideShare), social book- marking sites (Delicious), digital repositories and tools for con- tent generation, use of search engines, participation in dis- tributed virtual communities, use of folksonomies and social book marking as mechanisms for find- ing and organising resourcesReflective and dialogic learn- Tools for fostering peer reflec- Digital learning communities, theing, peer learning tion such as blogs and e-portfo- peer-to-peer mentoring frame- lios, commenting on other leanr- work ers’ blog posts, co-creation of learning artefacts in wikisCommunities of Practice Use of social networking tools Application of tools such as to participate in communities of Facebook, Ning and Elgg to sup- learning and/or teaching port informal social interac- tions between learners and as spaces for reflection on profes- sional practice around shared interests (for example the ELE- SIG community in Ning)
  11. 11. Scholarly practice and the Use of Web 2.0 technologies to Edublogs, LeMills, Cloudworkssharing of designs and good participate in a distributed net-practice work of educators and re- searchers, use of blogs, Twitter and wikis to co-create knowl- edge and understanding, to cri- tique practice, and to share professional practice and re- sourcesConclusionAs the examples in this chapter demonstrate Web 2.0 tools have much to offer for learn-ing and teaching and can be used in different ways to support a wide range of pedagogic-al practices. However, despite pockets of good practice, on the whole Web 2.0 technolo-gies have not being taken up extensively in learning and teaching. Therefore a number ofchallenges remain in terms of their use. These include the changing nature of learning andteaching in such spaces, the new skills media, information and networked literaciesneeded, the need for a better connection between research on the use of these tools andassociated policy and practice, and the challenges with trying to change existing practiceand to get learners and teachers to adopt more open approaches.Conole and Alevizou (2010) conclude that ‘effective use of new technologies requires a radical rethink of the core learning and teaching processes; a shift from design as an internalised, implicit and individually craf- ted process to one that is externalised and shareable with others. Change in practice may indeed involve the use of revised materials, new teaching strategies and beliefs – all in re- lation to education innovation’.The use of these technologies has significant implications for learners, teachers and edu-cational institutions. Sharpe and Beetham (2010) provide a summary of recent researchlooking at the ways in which learners are using and perceiving new technologies. The re-search indicates that learners are changing, in terms of how they interact with technolo-gies and how they are using them to support their learning. Learners are adopting moresocial, participatory and just-in-time learning practices, using search engines to find rel-evant resources and communicating and collaborating though a variety of mechanisms.Much of the research suggests that they are adopting more problem-based and experien-tial learning. However a note of caution is also needed; although good learners are usingtools effectively, weaker learners struggle to make sense of the vast array of tools and re-sources at their disposal. Arguably they need guided learning pathways and support to usethese effectively to support their learning.Despite significant investment in promoting the use of technologies in education, use byteachers is far from ubiquitous. Certainly teacher roles are changing as a consequence ofthe introduction of new technologies and arguably the boundaries between teachers andlearners is blurring. However there are a number of barriers to the increased uptake of
  12. 12. technologies. Teachers lack the necessary skills to design and support learning with newtechnologies. There is a tension between their role as researcher and their role as teacher,with research more often than not being privileged over teaching. They also cite a lack oftime and support as barriers to experimenting with new technologies.Finally, the increased used of technologies have a number of implications for institutions.Firstly in terms of the types of support needed to enable learners and teachers to use newtechnologies. Secondly most institutions are working with legacy systems, which are fun-damentally at odds with these new approaches. There is a tension between in-house sys-tems and Learning Management Systems and freely available Web 2.0 tools and services.The nature and structure of educational institutions is also under threat. In a world wheretools and resources are increasingly free, what is the role of a traditional institution?Despite the hype and rhetoric, Web 2.0, and more specifically learning 2.0 has not yetpenetrated mainstream education. Nonetheless the affordances of web 2.0 technologiesand analysis of how they are beginning to be adopted in educational contexts, suggestthey could have a profound impact in the near future and that there are a number of po-tential side effects of the increased use of web 2.0 technologies which we need to beaware of. There are issues in terms of equity of access and the new digital literacy skillsneeded to make sense of these new digital spaces.This chapter has considered the characteristics of new technologies and their impact onboth organisations and individuals within an educational context. It has argued that thereare significant implications for both learners and teachers. At the institutional level, thereis little evidence that there is a corporate understanding of these tools either and there isthe lack of vision for how social computing can be used. Policies on the use of Web 2.0technologies are generally inadequate and there is a lack of appropriate training and sup-port to migrate towards greater usage of these tools.What is evident is that uncertainty and change are the norm; it is clear that we are nowworking in an environment of constant flux where the future is unpredictable and wherechanges appear to be ever more rapid and fundamentally radical in terms of their implica-tions. No one individual can be an expert in all the tools and the potential ways in whichthey can be used; the approach needs to shift to harnessing the networked aspects of newtechnologies, so that individuals foster their own set of meaningful connections to sup-port their practice; whether this is a teacher in terms of connections to support them to de-velop and deliver their teaching or a learner in terms of connections to support and evid-ence their learning.The implications of these new technologies for learning and teaching are profound. Unin-tended consequences of use will arise, misuse and abuses of the system will happen, thedigital divide is still present; those not engaging with technologies are getting left furtherand further behind. The chapter has argued that a range of new skills are needed; forlearners, teachers, support staff and senior policy makers. Skills to enable them to navig-ate through and make sense of digital space, skills to cope with change and the exponen-tial development of new tools, skills to deal with new notions of space, time and boundar-ies and skills to cope with a multi-faceted and fast moving environment. We have to ac-cept that it is impossible to keep up with all the change so we need to develop coping
  13. 13. strategies which enable individuals to create their own personal digital environment ofsupporting tools and networks to facilitate access to and use of relevant information fortheir needs. These skills are needed across the13 range of stakeholders involved in educa-tion from students to senior managers; not just a selective minority. The ultimate goal hasto remain harnessing the potential of these technologies to provide better and more enga-ging learning environments and opportunities for students.
  14. 14. i http://openlearn.op