Web 2.0 was a name suggested in 2003 during a conference brainstorming session by Dale Dougherty, a member of O’Reilly Media and since then, the name seems to have caught on and is often used synonymously with the word ‘Internet’. Tim O’Reilly has himself, on several occasions, tried to warn users from ‘defining’ the term, suggesting instead that each user feel free to appropriate the term as he/she so wishes.
So, how exactly can we understand Web 2.0? We can do so by studying its characteristics, one of which is the ability for any human being, irrespective of having received prior education in technological know-how, to create material on the web. In the early 90’s, creating something on the Internet was considered to be the privilege that solely programmers or web developers had. Today, just about any man or woman (sometimes, child) can generate content: writing down your thoughts, commenting, leaving a remark on a website, starting an online fan club, creating a wiki, etc are all representative examples. So, as it turns out, the web has become a gigantic pool of resources, which although not intentionally created for education, can be used for the purposes of education.
As a language teacher and trainer, I understand that it may be difficult for teachers to choose from among the plethora of available resources. How does one choose? How does one decide? These are questions not easy to answer. And while we’re at it, lets not forget the golden rule of teaching: whether conventional or digital, tools are just as good as the teachers who use them.
Creative pedagogy, class management, the very presence of a teacher are irreplaceable and fundamental to great teaching. Digital tools merely add to these, making the classroom a fun place for teachers and students to be in.