Social or Learning Network

Web 2.0 apps are called social networking. They build on people to people exchanges.  However, I wonder what we evaluate in the Web 2.0 apps.  Do we measure how much students learn academically? Do we measure how much they share that truly helps another student to grow academically?  Social learning is a critical part of the learning process if we structure it as students coming together to learn from each other or learning together.  The social is more the medium than the purpose. How do you evaluate your  students Web 2.0 learning?

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1 Response to “Social or Learning Network”


  1. 1 Carl Anderson March 17, 2008 at 6:20 am

    I have to disagree with your first assumption. Not all Web 2.0 apps are social networking and not all Web 2.0 apps are collaborative, nor do they necessarily mean that students have to publish what they make. Sure, web 2.0 does refer to the read write web where users create content but I believe web 2.0 has morphed into something larger. Web apps in general are a product of the web 2.0 movement. Many of these do not necessarily have to be used for social purposes. Take Splashcast or Fotoflexer for instance, both are web applications for editing images that have come out of the web 2.0 movement and most people would classify them as web 2.0 apps. Neither of these applications require or even openly promote the exchange of visual ideas. They are just online tools that work cross platform giving you access to tools to do photo editing wherever you are.

    The immediate appeal for web 2.0 apps is their ability to provide people with access to these tools anytime anywhere with little or no cost. When using them students no longer have the excuse, “I did this at home but it won’t open up on the computers at school.” or visa versa. I just put together a feature for our school website assembling these tools in one place. Read about it at: http://carlanderson.blogspot.com/2008/03/digital-backpack-killer-online-apps-and.html

    I think this question you pose misses the point. Would an industrial tech teacher evaluate how well their students use a hammer or would they evaluate the product they produce with the hammer. I often think it is easy for teachers to loose sight of their goals when integrating technology. It should not be the use of technology, how technology is used, or the tech skills acquired in a learning activity that should be assessed. The goals should still be curricular in nature. The question should be, “How do we choose the appropriate web 2.0 app to achieve a particular curricular goal?” or “Is a particular web 2.0 appropriate to use to help us achieve a particular curricular goal?” or “Is it appropriate to let my students use a particular web app to achieve said curricular goal?”

    If we are talking about how do we assess student learning according to the curricular goals (regardless of the technology) when students are using web 2.0 tools like wikis or blogs. The answer is aggregators. Of course this is not so much a question that has direct impact on students but rather a course management tool that will allow the teacher to keep a handle on student work while they are using web 2.0 tools to achieve curricular goals. But please, never loose sight of what is being taught. We don’t teach technology (well, most teachers don’t) and it is not our jobs. We are hired to teach English, science, social studies, art, music, PE, math, etc. How do we evaluate student achievement in any learning activity? I purport that the same rubric should be applied whether technology is used or not.


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