Web 2.0 Boundaries

Social software is one of the main components to web 2.0 technologies.  These technologies give users the ability to share, provide feedback and produce new learning together on an anytime anywhere basis (Alexander, 2006).  Using these web 2.0 tools will lead students to using 21st century skills that Alberta Education (2010) identifies as being necessary in order for learners to be successful.   The main question is how can we as educators take advantage of the students’ engagement with these technologies in order to help improve student learning?  As an administrator and teacher I can see the benefits of using these social technologies for engaging students.  At the same time the administrator in me is worried about the consequences that could be associated with web 2.0 tools.  Not only is much of the content blocked, but we also need to be aware of what is and is not acceptable according to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.  We also have a responsibility to engage students, but protect them at the same time.  As a teacher I know that students are already using these social tools to share, learn and communicate with one another (Tay, Lim, Lye, Ng, & Lim, 2011).  It would benefit educators to tap into this already utilized learning tool in order to present information and create new learning experiences for students.     


One of the responsibilities that go along with utilizing these technologies it to make sure that students are using them responsibly.  Teachers need to look at what digital citizenship is and make students aware of their rights and responsibilities while online.  I have noticed that students seem to have a misguided belief that they are not responsible for what they do online.  It is as if there is a belief that no one will know that they did it.  Students need to realize that when using social networking sites there information is held in the cloud and available to others.  Locking it down does not always mean that it cannot be accessed by others.  Just look at the recent issues with Facebook and messages sent privately being accessible to others for whom they were not intended (Rourke, 2012).  Trying to get students to see the importance of safety, security and responsibility could prove to be a difficult task, but one that is necessary in order to utilize these technologies effectively.

 Other Links: Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship


Alberta Education. (2010). Inspiring action on education.  Retrieved from http://ideas.education.alberta.ca/media/2905/inspiringaction%20eng.pdf

 Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause, 41(2), 32-44.

Rourke, M. (2012, 12 24). Facebook denies leak of users’ private messages. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2012/09/24/facebook-private-messages-public.html

Tay, L.Y., Lim, C.P., Lye, S.Y., Ng, K.J., & Lim, S.K. (2011). Open-source learning management system and Web 2.0 online social software applications as learning platforms for an elementary school in Singapore. Learning, Media and Technology, 36(4), 349-365.

About pjstokes

I like just about all sports...mainly participating in them. I have also recently taken up photography as a hobby (the background pic is one of mine).
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4 Responses to Web 2.0 Boundaries

  1. Larry I says:

    Hi Pat!

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I have read a number of articles that refer to digital citizenship. I also found a useful website that discusses nine themes for digital citizenship and the concept of REPs (Respect, Educate, and Protect): http://digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html. It fits nicely with the YouTube video you shared.

    The question I have is what is the best way to discuss digital citizenship with our students? I do not think we will necessarily be successful leaving it up to parents to do. Should we use a class like Health and create a unit within it, or should we discuss it throughout the year as concerns arise?

    I would hope that once students become better digital citizens, districts can ease up on firewalls and blocking. However, with documents being shared in a “cloud” and postings on Facebook, etc., we always have to be careful with FOIP issues.

    • Pat Stokes says:

      Thanks for the video. As for discussing this with students I have a computer class in which I do that. I am finding that by the time I get them in Junior High it is a little too late. The students need to be targeted earlier on as do the parents. They need to understand what their children are doing online and help protect them.

  2. joannadziewaltowski says:

    The digital world that social media are part of have their own culture. It is a very fluid culture because all participants contribute. It’s also new, so no one really knows what is acceptable. I also think that the social network is so large it probably has many sub cultures, complicating things further. Students must learn to be responsible and respectful in the digital world just the same as in reality. Maybe one day a social digital norm will develop.

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