Since inception, the web has evolved from Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and currently heading to Web 3.0 (Naik & Shivalingaiah, 2008). The Berners-Lee’s original concept of a Read/Write web is progressively being realized; take for instance, initially read/write web involved viewing hypertext documents but this has been made less complicated by the emergence of Weblogs and Wikis, inter alia.
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The new interactive and Read/Write web (such as Weblogs and Wikis) has provided editable web spaces, which is a shift away from the requisites of programming languages. These recent capabilities of the Web platforms typify the realization of Berners-Lee’s original concept of a Read/Write web. Most of these web platforms are under the umbrella of social media where users can collaborate and learn on themes or entities can gain following.
The web is easily accessible across the world. It is a reality that through the Read/Write web teaching can be advanced without having students sit in a classroom. Unless teachers as educators fully embrace gains made with the realization of editable web spaces or ability to archive educational data for student access, the Read/Write web concept will not be a complete success. Nevertheless, the technological advancements in Read/Write web should address the problems of cost and risk associated with its use.
The systems of education should shift minds and approach from individual participation to community involvement. The web developers should satisfy the skeptics’ views that wide use of the collaborative web tools invades individual privacy and participation relies on the level of trust between users.
These perceived barriers of risk could partly explain why fewer teachers as educators are in collaborative web platforms than the student fraternity, especially of the younger generation.
The shift in mindsets and approaches towards the use of the Read/Write web will be delivered by the solutions provided by web developers or/and teachers as educators having to do with them in their current and future natures. Continuous and active participation of teachers in Read/Write web solutions for education will provide a positive paradigm, such as the case of Vicki Davis who is a teacher and blogger.
By embracing collaborative and participatory concepts that are entrenched in the utilities of the Read/Write web, learning becomes less linear. The Read/Write web liberalizes the learning process and partly decentralizes teaching role such that student equally and actively contribute to the knowledge gaining process. Under Read/Write web (nonlinear learning process) the teacher has overall control over student but not the knowledge pool. With regard to knowledge the teacher becomes first among equals.
During a learning session under the Read/Write web, the gains made through active, interactive and collaborative means overshadow the challenges faced, while managing the learner’s participation. Students should be advised on web etiquette, while advancing (through back-channeling) the essence of online scholarly exchange and sharing, open access, out of class learning and active educational team building.
While, a wiki refers to an internet site which is developed with the collaborative input of a community of users who add or update the content; a blog is a website where individual users record information.
Web-based users should act in a manner not deemed as abusing the opportunity or negating the rights of other users. The users’ actions should show positive restraint and respect of privacy of others.
Weblogs provide interactive (through back-channeling) and participative experiences. Learners and teachers (as educators) can exchange information even at real-time, teachers organize and place information, while the learner can obtain the organized information (Albion, n.d.). Websites cannot support real-time interaction between the learner and the teacher.
Pros and cons of weblogs use in education include open content; learning session can proceed without confines of time and place; interactive construction of knowledge and allows for the multiple teacher approach. Moreover, weblogs allow conversation rather than lecture; content mastery as opposed to test approaches and provokes contribution by each instead-of completion of tasks (West & West, 2009).
Integrating weblogs will enhance collaborative writing that influences student communication skills. Students are able to work together on pieces of writing, locally or internationally. Students increasingly appreciate their contribution through collaborative learning, especially in institutions of higher learning where structured collaborative writing experiences create a link between social communications and writing with clarity.
Wiki implies that the knowledge generated by humanity has been shared from around the world via the web. Thus, the knowledge is not limited to geographical boundaries or any class of people. In addition, the knowledge can be updated based on fresh revelations.
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Students should engage in critical thinking approaches during decision-making in educational problem solving (West & West, 2009). Under critical thinking, students are not merely consumers of information content but also evaluate its validity. Students have a better chance to master the content as opposed to being passive consumers of information.
Reading, writing, group work, individual organization and web.
Vicki Davis uses the Cool-Cat-Teacher blog for students to learn and collaborate (Froelich, 2008). The weblog has links to both private and public educational resources. The weblog acts as a student wiki-centric classroom.
Albion, P. R. (n.d.). Web 2.0 in Teacher Education: Two Imperatives for Action. Web.
Naik, U., & Shivalingaiah, D. (2008). Comparative Study of Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. Web.
West, J. A., & West, M. L. (2009). Using wikis for online collaboration: The power of the read-write web. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.