A wise schoolteacher sends this note to all parents on the first day of school: "If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I'll promise not to believe everything they say happens at home!”
Very soon the wise schoolteacher, thanks to Web 2.0 technologies, may be posting this note on the class’ online interactive platform - or perhaps not. There may be more pressing issues to consider.
The concept of what is Web 2.0 has been closely associated with O’Reilly Media. It eludes a definition, but is often described along the lines of technologies that are not limited to a single device or platform, provides a free service, allow users to create and share, and harnesses collective intelligence.
Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, has studied the social cultural aspect of Web 2.0 technologies. In a YouTube video, Wesch (2007) states that Web 2.0 is linking people. People are communicating, sharing, and collaborating in new ways online not envisioned just a decade ago. With these technologies, however, as unintended consequences, we may have to rethink a few things – like privacy.
Web 2.0 not only allows us to broadcast ourselves to the world, but also invites the world in return to comment, link, share, and form global communities. For example, whereas we were once limited to writing to our local communities with newsletters, we can now email, Blog, Tweet, and post on our online profile for a global interactive audience.
Even email, which was once vaunted as the modern version of letter writing, is now considered the new snail mail with limited features. It may soon be replaced with Google Wave. Google Wave has been described (Devaney, 2009) as a new online collaborative tool that combines email, instant messaging, and file sharing like wikis and photo sharing in a dynamic environment.
The ability to take a snapshot photo of the most interesting moments and upload it to the web to share with the world is now only a cell phone away. Individuals can now pontificate on any subject and gain a worldwide following. Groups can synchronously collaborate on projects despite being in different time zones. And long-time friends who have lost contact can find each other with a name search in the right online social network.
These are exciting developments with interesting possibilities in many fields, including education. The downside is that we may not take the time to reflect before instantly uploading, posting, and publishing online to the world. Worse yet, an abuser may not respect a moment of privacy. A mistake here can be far worse than baby photos shown at a wedding reception. Mature use and acceptance of these technologies still need to develop as their use grows.
Until then, schoolteachers may have to consider a different note: “If you promise not to post everything your child says happens at school, I’ll promise not to post everything they say happens at home!”
Devaney, L. (2009, June 08). Google Wave has great potential for education.
eSchoolNews. Retrieved from
mwesch. (2007, March 08). The machine is us/ing us (final version). [video file].
Video posted http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g