Home > Learning things > Web 2.0 is still evolving…as it has to

Web 2.0 is still evolving…as it has to

I had always been a learner who read the content I was given in classes, outlined the material to organize it, and then review it to find the main points that would be asked on tests. But somewhere along the path of being a student who tried to do what was expected, I realized there was more that interested me than what teachers were presenting as content. As the Internet became a more important information resource, I realized that I wanted to learn about new things I may not have had an interest in before, simply because they were available to me. To this day I still have problems spending hours browsing the net finding one interesting and sometimes exciting concept after another. They seem to start in one place like a blog, then rapidly branch out to other blogs that were referenced, or to other types of websites. Finding less good stuff, rather than more, is a serious problem at times!

I also remember online courses when other students in my class simply didn’t involve themselves in the assignments, so I went looking for others who did. That was when I discovered people interested in my domain of studies who were already doing it! They were much more interesting to share my ideas with and to learn of their experiences with the topics involved. That was when Web 2.0 became the most valuable part of my learning experience. It was also when I realized that I could direct my learning according to what ticked inside me – I could learn what I wanted to learn, and with so many more resources than I even knew existed.

I still do a lot of learning on my own. I read a lot of articles about a lot of different things – see my delicious.com account (wayneb) for some of my interests over the years. I read a blog post from someone I respect, and formulate a response to them, or I’ll write about it in my own blog. Then I test the ideas I arrive at by reading comments from others, and by getting feedback from someone I commented to. The social learning kicks in, and I bounce the various reflections of others with my initial thoughts on a subject, and it often grows and changes, and then I put it into practice.

Web 2.0 allows me to be a content producer, it gives me the tools to find and collaborate with others who have similar interests, and it gives me tools to manage all of the various interests that I have, so they don’t overwhelm me. Of all the changes in my personal process of learning I have experienced with these new technologies, I think the most important for me has been the discovery that I could be self-directed, that I didn’t have to depend on someone else to tell me what I should learn when. I can define my personal learning goals, and then confidently go out and learn what I choose to learn. This gift that I found has become a major purpose in my “teaching”:

At the heart of my teaching philosophy is a focus on the design, development and exploration of tools, methods, and environments that support people to take control over their own learning and to successfully manage their personal processes of change.

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