by Penny C
I read an article on how Web 2.0 tools may help enhance learning experience for what the article called ‘net generation’, born between 1982 and 1991. The authors cited that ‘net generation’ students are net savvy individuals who grew up using the Internet, email, cell phones and playing computer games and thus traditional learning environment is a poor match. In order to engage these net savvy students in the classrooms, the authors felt that class curriculum should be developed using Web 2.0 tools to provide interactive learning environment to stimulate students. The authors ran an experiment in a public university and developed three course section with 105 students – split to team of five’s. The students were assigned to promote attendance of a season opening of a baseball game using Web 2.0 tools. Students used Facebook, YouTube (load games highlight), Message boards, Twitter, and other social networking sites to promote the game. The students were excited by the instant feedback of their efforts, such as number of Twitter followers, number of ‘likes’ on Facebook, and how many people bookmarked their page, etc.. In addition, instant feedback also allows students to analyze their strategy and discuss the cause and effect of their decisions which increase interest in the subject being taught. Although this is a positive side of the coin, the negative side is that this type of curriculum takes knowledgeable faculty members and willingness to put in the time to plan the curriculum. The article mentioned that although faculty members and surveys all agree that Web 2.0 was beneficial, there aren’t that many professors willing to use it in classrooms.
I agree that traditional learning environment in this time and age is ‘boring’ and ‘slow’ for the students. No one needs to be read to from the power point slides and that is probably one of the top complaints from students about certain professors is that ‘he/she just reads from power point slides and lectures all day’. A perfect example of students’ preference to an interactive type of class is the enrollment difference between MHR 410 and TOM 411 class. In TOM 411, students use simulation to sell a product. All TOM 411 classes are full to capacity but MHR 410 sections all have open seats still. In traditional learning environment, the old information is being regurgitated and there is no interactive or active learning. It’s usually listen to the lectures or read the books and repeat those information back on the tests.
However, as the article pointed out there is reluctance on some faculty members to use web 2.0. It could that the professors themselves are not too familiar with the technology. I have had professors who had trouble using MS Word, let alone use technologies to teach the class. Web 2.0 may have many benefits but if the professors are not willing to use it, those benefits will not be realized.
Williams, J., & Chinn, S. J. (2009). Using web 2.0 to support the active learning experience. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20, 165-165-174. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200162738?accountid=10357