Web 2.0 Gift or Gimmick

Posted: May 27, 2009 in e-learning, e-teachuk, social networking, technology, twitter, web 2.0

In marketing language, a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries.

Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.

What is Web 2.0?
The definition of Web 2.0, a buzzword that is used often in the Internet industry, and is a bit blurry. However, Web 2.0 sites frequently include interactive resources; sites that allow users to share opinions, ideas, photos, videos, and even favourite Web links, hence given the term “Read Write Web”. This contrasts with a simpler variety of Web sites (Web 1.0) that are generally static sources of information, hence the term “Read Only Web”.
Web 2.0 is perceived as the second generation of web based communities, a trend in web development, but does not refer to a technological update, but a change to ways developers and end users use the web, to build on the interactive facilities of Web 1.0.
Some examples of Web 2.0 sites include:-
Wetpaint (wiki)

Can Web 2.0 technologies assist with the concerns and priorities of the FE sector?
A typical college curriculum incorporates the need for valid ICT and information literacy skills no matter what discipline area is taught. Such an approach has raised the question of what currently constitutes a learning environment (Pelgrum, 2000).

Marc Prensky (2001) states in his Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants paper.

“Today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives”.
Prensky sees today’s students as digital natives who think and process information fundamentally different to their predecessors. One technology which is claimed to enable this change is the wiki, a web based interface where information editable and facilitates the collaboration of information and knowledge world wide.
Ferris, S., and H. Wilder. (2006) advocate the use of wikis as a teaching and learning tool but state that their utilisation in the classroom requires thoughtful and deliberate planning as well as creativity and enthusiasm in order for educators to achieve the most effective and appropriate instruction.

Kvavik’s research (2005) states:
“The interactive features least used by faculty were the features that students indicated contributed the most to their learning. The students were especially positive about sharing materials with students (38.5 percent), faculty feedback on assignments (32 percent), and online readings (24.9 percent).”
He also states that a high proportion of students see the use of ICT as “convenient and facilitates communication” with teachers.
His article goes on to indicate that the third highest use of ICT is Surfing the net for fun, emailing, chat forums and using instant messaging.
All of these are potential uses that can be incorporated into a Social Learning Environment including the use of wikis, e-journals and blogs.
So is Web 2. 0 a Gimmick? Well in the marketing sense yes, but it is also a gift, freely bestowed, voluntarily and without compensation and as my Grandma use to say “ Never look a gift horse in the mouth”.


Pelgrum, W. J. (1999). Infrastructure. In W. J. Pelgrum & R. E. Anderson (Eds.), ICT and the emerging paradigm for life long learning. Amsterdam: IEA.

Prensky, M. 2001. Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon 9 (5). http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf.

Kvavik, R. B. 2005. Convenience, communications, and control: How students use technology. In Educating the net generation, ed. D. G. Oblinger and J. L. Oblinger. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101g.pdf

Ferris S and H. Uses and Potentials of Wikis in the Classroom. Wilder. Journal of Online Education (2006)


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