I'm starting to feel like a complainer. I hate the term "Web 2.0". I mean, I get it, but can't we just call it the web? After all, in so many other areas, we don't expect our systems, technologies, etc. to be static. Things evolve, and we don't go around slapping 2.0 on everything do we (ummm, wait, how annoying is that?). That being said, I think "Web 2.0" is one of the more exciting areas to explore when thinking about applications for teaching and learning. In part as there as so many options.
Conole and Alevizou (2010) simplify by offering a typology of Web 2.0 tools. Organized across categories of media creating, sharing, and mashup tools; discussion/conversation/collaboration tools; online gaming and virtual worlds; social networking; blogs; wikis and collaborative editing tools; social bookmarking tools, and syndication tools, (and I would further add annotation tools and perhaps others) each category could undoubtedly be filled with scores of options. (And undoubtedly I could blather for days on the topic.)
With the myriad options comes opportunity and challenge. It is too tempting to look for the next shiny ball to experiment with, and perhaps more time needs to be spent on evidence-based implementations of these tools for teaching and learning. Some of this work, of course, is already being done, but therein, ironically, lies the challenge. With the proliferation of tools and platforms that align with a definition of Web 2.0, how do we keep up and provide said evidence in a timely manner and in advance of the next wave of opportunities? Funnily enough, I sometimes think the answer is "Web 2.0". I am an avid consumer of blogs, wikis, social media etc. From a curated list of "follows", I read about implementations from respected colleagues, who, more often or not are less tool focused, and more pedagogically focused anyways. At work, I maintain a "Crazy Master List of EdTech" in Evernote. Tools that I read about, that I get questions about, or that someone recommends get added to the list weekly. If it comes time to consider an implementation of one of these tools, I do due diligence and search for evidence of their relative success or not. But again, often these searches are led by the pedagogy, and the constant voice in the back of my mind asking "is technology necessary?".
All of this said, if there is one thing I would underline as super amazing about the sheer quantity of options, is that the focus has shifted to user-generated innovation as a result. By allowing learners to create, curate, manipulate and/or annotate, I think we are further along that we would be if we just kept gazing at the LMS.
A final word of caution, however. As with all things Internet, questions of quality, accessibility, copyright and privacy persist. As they should. And as with any educational technology adoption and implementation, these questions must be addressed and answered before you pick up the shiny ball.