Thoughts on Web 2.0

I was considering my post about groups and networks on the way to work today and it occurred to me that much of the conversation starts by drawing a link to Web 2.0.

Stephen Downes speaks of Web 2.0 and the emergence of an interactive participatory web (Downes, S., 2007). McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M. likewise begin by describing Web 2.0 as a powerful tool allowing users to interact online at a greater level than ever before (McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M., 2008). They both describe a environment where websites allowed interaction; user-generated content, tagging, organising, sharing and liking and the then go on to suggest that pedagogy needs to more reflective of this new world.

Wikipedia, a website which I see as epitomising the Web 2.0 trend, was first launched January 15th 2001. Web 2.0 was first used as a term in 2004, 13 years ago (Graham, P., 2005). There are secondary-school students who have only ever known of a web environment that provides interaction in these ways. For this generation creating, remixing and sharing knowledge online is the norm not a perceived affordance.

I’m not suggesting that Downes, S 2007 and McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M., 2008 are incorrect to couch a discussion of evolving pedagogy in line with technological expectations and I do recognise that these articles are from of a time where Web 2.0 was taking off. Further to this I grant that Web 2.0 is a short-hand way to describe a user involved dynamically updated online environment and the interactive expectations that come with it.

However, I was left wondering this morning; in a similar way in which digital natives was a useful paradigm at the time to describe users of technology – it later became clear that our interaction with technology was more complex. I’d like to pose the question; is describing Web 2.0 as an agent of change in students’ learning expectation soon at an end? How do you think we could better describe the pedagogical expectations fostered by a learners online life. Could we simply talk about our learners’ ‘networked lives’ driving their learning expectations?


Downes, S., (2007). Groups vs Networks: The Class Struggle Continues. Retrieved 16 August, 2017, from

McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M., (2008). The Three P’s of Pedagogy for the Networked Society: Personalization, Participation, and Productivity. Retrieved 17 August, 2017, from

Graham, P., (2005). Web 2.0. Retrieved 17 August, 2017, from


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