VLE logoIntroduction and overview

This is one of the most exciting feature of internet developments so far and is already having a major impact on the ways in which new technologies can be used effectively to enhance teaching and learning

As yet, there is no consensus on its exact meaning of the term "Web 2.0" but the term is often used to refer to a second phase of development of the World Wide Web. The development of the World Wide Web gave us static websites, the use of search engines and the ability to surf from one website to the next. This model is sometimes referred to in a retrospective way as "Web 1.0".


Diagram: Web 1.0 to Web 2.0

Advocates of the "Web 2.0" concept say that this moves toward a much more dynamic and interactive approach to using the World Wide Web. Others argue that, while "Web 2.0" may add some useful functionality to the existing framework provided by "Web 1.0", it does not supersede the fundamental approaches of the Internet.

Some of the recent concepts and technologies that are seen as features of Web 2.0 include:

  • weblogs and blogs are well known and very popular for schools
  • linklogs or social bookmarking are becoming popular
  • podcasts are becoming popular with schools
  • RSS feeds are widespread - a feature of bogs and essential in podcasting
  • there are some excellent wikis, but few used by schools at present

In practice, any of these technologies can be exploited within schools and deployed to support effective leadership and management, professional development and enhance teaching and learning.

Whatever perspective is adopted, there is little doubt that the new technologies provide an extensive resource for use in a variety of educational settings. Furthermore, as these become more prevalent, children and young people are now able to make use of these technologies to find effective ways for "many to many" forms of communication.

VLE logoVirtual learning environments (VLEs)

One area where the application of many of the concepts and technologies are combined is in the adoption of learning environments within schools, colleges, universties and other educational organisations.

Sometimes referred to as "virtual learning environments" (VLEs), many of these software suites are built around the basic concept of "Web 2.0" and provide for the management and organisation of teaching, learning and resources for course programmes in a coordinated and logical fashion.

The best VLE packages will integrate a range of approaches to course design and will provide in-built facities for enrolment and other administrative functions.

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Schools and Web 2.0