Thursday, December 2, 2010

Networks of Personalized Learning

Notwithstanding Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, was not in favor of using the term “Web 2.0” because, according to him, the original goal of the WWW was precisely working together with others (Anderson, 2006), the truth is that prior the emergence of the set of technologies that O’Reilly coined as Web 2. 0, the amount of interaction allowed by the WWW was very limited. Indeed, I recall that in the first years of the WWW, a web user was called a “surfer” reflecting the fact that users mostly “surf” or “navigate” on the Web, meaning that users were mainly passive consumers of information.

Most content posted o the Web on its early years belonged to corporate, governmental and educational institutions and it was near to impossible for a regular user to have his or her own individual web space, unless he or she could get a web server account and had knowledge about creating web pages. Web 2.0 technologies changed this passive way to access the Internet. Users switched from being mere consumers of information to be the producers of it. There is no need of any sophisticated knowledge to post whatever one thinks, believes or feels on a web page using blogs or wikis.

The level of interactivity among web users has also changed dramatically. Before Web 2.0, most “surfers” would need to use third-party applications such as email or ICQ to be able to communicate. Nowadays, communication is possible from within the web itself. Social networks make it possible to be in touch with classmates, friends and relatives. Moreover, social networks are also being used for educational purposes such as learning a second language (Naone, 2007).

I believe that Web 2.0 technologies have the potential to promote personalized learning because students have a great variety of options to choose from when they are really interested in learning. Students should take advantage of their strengths and learning styles to select the best way for them to learn whether they are visual or aural learners.

Anderson, N. (2006). Tim Berners-Lee on Web 2.0: "nobody even knows what it means". Retrieved on November 29 from

Naone, E. (2007). “Learning Language in Context: Startup Live Mocha Leverages Social Networking to Teach Foreign Languages,” Technology Review (October 5, 2007),