While the World Wide Web used to be a place where you could have “information at your fingertips,” now the Web is a place to collaborate, share, express your opinions, communicate, and more.
The interactive, social and collaborative nature of Web 2.0 opens up new opportunities for learning and has significant implications for schools. Students who live in a Web 2.0 world are used to personalization, freedom of expression, immediacy of information, power over their environment, social interaction, and more. Meanwhile, Web 3.0 is on the horizon – an environment in which Internet applications work together (“mashups”) for more effective problem-solving. Schools must think about how they design learning environments that honor the way today’s students think, manage information, and interact with others.
Schools are charged with educating students to be well-rounded individuals who will serve as contributing members of society. Today’s students are growing up as citizens of an increasingly global society. Events in one area of the world have an even greater impact on other areas of the world than ever before. We are quickly becoming an interdependent society of global citizens. Information about countries around the world is readily available on a real-time basis through the Internet. Opportunities to email, videoconference, and collaborate with others in geographically distant locations are now possible through technology. Chances are, throughout their lives, most of today’s students will travel to destinations around the world. They may work in jobs that require them to interact with colleagues and clients in various parts of the world.
The digital generation uses technology and manages information far differently from their predecessors. Our “flat” world requires one to be a global citizen, where local issues are global issues. What skills do students need to succeed and thrive in such a world? What are the implications for the teaching/learning process? For the roles of teachers and students in the classroom?