New types of social Internet applications (often referred to as Web 2.0) are becoming increasingly popular within higher education environments. Although developed primarily for entertainment and social communication within the general population, applications such as blogs, social video sites, and virtual worlds are being adopted by higher education institutions. These newer applications differ from standard Web sites in that they involve the users in creating and distributing information, hence effectively changing how the Web is used for knowledge generation and dispersion. Although Web 2.0 applications offer exciting new ways to teach, they should not be the core of instructional planning, but rather selected only after learning objectives and instructional strategies have been identified. This paper provides an overview of prominent Web 2.0 applications, explains how they are being used within education environments, and elaborates on some of the potential opportunities and challenges that these applications present.
Keywords: Internet; Web 2.0; learning; technology.