Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Engage With and Support the net Generation of Learners
Web 2.0 social software offer new pedagogic opportunities to support and empower the Net generation of learners to create their own personal learning agenda and dynamic learning environments. This paper presents learners experiences of using Web 2.0 social software, such as videos and podcasts linked to Wiki contributions in a collaborative online learning environment. In addition to, a private blog which was provided for learner reflections and the University Managed Learning Environment (MLE): which included a private group area and a discussion forum to support the group based assessment. Within the Wiki environment, learners were presented with the learning design by the tutor using text, short videos and podcasts created using Web 2.0 technologies. Learners were given a choice in selecting the most appropriate technology to complete their individual and group tasks and to present these as a group linked to Wiki contributions. This paper outlines the setting up and the implementation of a multi-mode assessed collaborative student learning environment and identifies the different approaches used by learners. Evidence is provided from learners’ contributions to the core task captured through the Wiki, and in the form of illustrations of Wiki contributions and images of video recordings. Learner attitude was measured using a pre and post test questionnaire and by students own reflections of their lived experiences captured using a blog. There are some interesting findings including the learners preferred technology for learning, and alternative technologies used which were not provided in this study. In addition, findings are presented relating to what learners did with the different technologies, including student approaches to learning, how the technologies helped or hindered learning and learner attitude to the use of the alternative technologies. These findings will add to the debate on how we engage with and support the Net Generation of learners.