Learning and Knowledge Building with Web 2.0 Technologies: Implications for Teacher Education
Terry King & Emma Duke-Williams, University of Portsmouth, and Glyn Mottershead, University of Cardiff, UK
Findings from research studies carried out during 2001-2007 at the University of Portsmouth, UK, with online MSc students using Knowledge Forum® (KF) software provided impressive evidence of the formation of knowledge building communities (KBC's) when applying the twelve determinants of knowledge building developed by Scardamalia (2002). However in those online communities, certain determinants could not be demonstrated due to the networking limitations of KF. Since 2005, as part of studies on the Internet with Web 2.0 environments, research has been carried out with undergraduates using the educational blogging and social networking environment Elgg®, to investigate its potential for learning using the Siemens model of connectivism. Findings from student groups over the two years, 2007-2009, using data from postings, focus groups and interviews, demonstrated that learning did occur but that there was also tentative evidence of the formation of a KBC; one which demonstrated a wider range of KB determinants made possible by the enhanced online technologies inherent in Web 2.0. Interim results from two other investigations, a study carried out in 2008-2009 at the University of Cardiff using the micro-blogging environment Twitter for community formation and learning by professional journalism students, and a recent staff survey at the University of Portsmouth into the personal and professional use of Web 2.0 by lecturers, offer key insights into how such technologies offer a new route to learner collaboration and the possible impact on teaching staff. This paper seeks to draw together findings from all these studies to discuss the implications for the development of educational practices in Higher Education towards a student experience which is rich in authenticity and can lead to knowledge creation and innovation. It will deal explicitly with student demands and expectations, the growing participation culture, aspects of privacy and control in social networking, and the changing role of teachers and lectures, and make recommendations for teacher training and preparing University teachers for cultural change.