Internet has become a new platform for users because it has become easy for anyone to create, upload and share information with Web 2.0 technologies and we are more connected than ever.

Internet has become a new platform for users because it has become easy for anyone to create, upload and share information with Web 2.0 technologies and we are more connected than ever. It's an umbrella term for developing social software applications such as social bookmarking, podcasting etc. which facilitates creativity, collaboration and sharing between users. Web 2.0 is read and write web. It's real time and live connection between users and a good revolution of Web 1.0. It enhances creativity, communication and collaboration; the words we use in education. We all use Facebook, Youtube, Google or blogs that let us create community. They are all Web 2.0 tools that we are familiar with.

I believe as teachers, we are about to have the biggest discussion on education: How do we learn? Some of us have already explored the potential of social networking, media-sharing and other Web 2.0 tools though they are not designed specially for learning; and it's getting more popular everyday among our students. They have been using Web 2.0 for a long time. They write on blogs, upload photos and videos, build personal profiles and interact with each other everyday. They all have their Myspace and Facebook accounts and this makes it easier for us to use this technology at schools because our students are already familiar through their own experiences and they are already motivated to use them.

Here are some reasons why to use Web 2.0 in our classes:

* It increases the creativity. Any student can write, film and publish a video or an audio. Youtube and Google video are used by our students everyday. They watch more videos on Youtube than they watch on T.V. or cinemas.

* It's collaborative. We can easily create social networks and communities of interets. I believe Wikipedia and Ning are the best examples for this and they are all free.

* It promotes student centered learning. It allows users to become the producers of the knowledge. It enables us to share our work with other audience. For example, E-pals project is considered to be the world's largest online classroom.

* It provides many opportunities for language practice. Students can play with language and the context and it is more informal. They can get involved in the writing process by posting blog entries, editing to other pages, creating their own e-portfolios.

* It engages students. In fact, technology is always engaging. When we use these tools in classes, it doesn't seem like a required assignment for students. It also helps us to motivate our shy students to participate more in our lessons and the willingness to create and share is a great opportunity to learn and participate.

* It creates freedom and independence in learning which we can't find in our traditional education systems. Internet is avaliable 24/7 and this encourages our students to share information to a greater extent which is not avaliable in our classes. It also reminds us that learning is not only limited to school boundaries.

* It helps our students to become familiar with technology by engaging.

* We can find more authentic audience. When students do paper work, teachers or other students can see it but when it is online, many other people can read, comment and contribute so Web 2.0 improves communication skills because students have a wider audience.

As teachers we need to find our own ways to use these technologies in our classes and consider the security issues and the copyright. I believe new technologies will come up but teachers will always be in the centre of education because our students will need our guidance more than ever. Teachers will be the ones who encourage and motivate the students to become better learners.

In my next blog enty, I will share my ideas on two popular Web 2.0 tools: "Personal Blogs" and "Collaborative Wikis".

Please have a look at this video. It would be great to read your comments and opinions.

With my regards,

Özge

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