Your Life Online: The Implications of Web 2.0
Life online is what YOU make of it – never has it been more true than now. We are watching the Web evolve from a viewable resource into a user-centric environment where the user can essentially dictate his/her own experience. To the new way of thinking, read-only Web sites are out, with the focus being on interactive services such as wikis, blogs, video sharing, virtual communities, and social networks, allowing the user/viewer to interact rather then be a passive receiver.
“Web 2.0” theory is about an “architecture of participation,” a term coined by author and open-source supporter, Tim O'Reilly, in 2004. In this environment, visitors have a stake in content through their own interaction. If you think about it, the evolution of the Internet has mirrored the evolution of education. Research has proven that teacher-centered education, in which students are treated as passive vessels waiting to be filled by lecture and instruction, is ineffective and therefore learner-centered education has become the focus, allowing the learner a stake in his/her education through engaging activities, discussion, self-directed learning and processes that allow a scaffolding of knowledge. With the internet mirroring a similar evolution, opportunities for integrating internet and classroom education abound, allowing us to actively model safe and responsible behavior and create/dictate a positive, rewarding student experience.
It is likely that the term, “Web 2.0” will become passé, overwritten by even newer technologies and theories. The important goal is not to adopt new terminology, but to recognize that the digital world is becoming more interactive and user controlled. Life online really IS what we all make of it, a thought that suggests both optimism for technologies and a warning to remain conscious of integrating safety into online activity.
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