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Author(s): Mark J. W. LEE | Hakan G. SENEL

Journal: The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
ISSN 1302-6488

Volume: 8;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2007;
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ABSTRACT
GUEST EDITORIALThis special issue of TOJDE is centred around the theme of ‘Web 2.0 and Social Software in Distance Education’. The Web 2.0 (O’Reilly, 2005) movement, epitomised by such nascent technologies as blogs, wikis, RSS, podcasting, as well as tag-based folksonomies, social networking, collaborative editing and peer-to-peer (P2P) media sharing applications, is purported to be redefining the way we conceive and make use of the Internet, and is enjoying considerable attention and popularity in both mainstream society and education. A major aim of this issue is to encourage ongoing discussion on the question of whether, and if so, in what ways, the advent and continued growth of Web 2.0 and social software has specific implications for the field of online and web-based distance education. The special issue opens with an article by P. Clint Rogers, Stephen W. Liddle, Peter Chan, Aaron Doxey and Brady Isom (all from the USA) argue that the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies, and the possibilities and the realities they represent, are fuelling profound changes to theoretical views of learning and teaching. According to the authors, in contrast to earlier e-learning efforts that simply replicated traditional models of learning and teaching in online environments, ‘E-Learning 2.0’ offers opportunities to move away from the highly centralised industrial model of learning of the past era, towards achieving individual empowerment within a global learning community. They also argue that as the personal, social and flexible technologies of Web 2.0 proliferate, the importance of re-usability and interoperability will also increase; correspondingly there is also a need for standardisation efforts to support the attainment of these goals. The second article, focuses on the use of specific Web 2.0 technologies written by Abdullah Kuzu (Anadolu University, Turkey) looks at pre-service teachers’ perceptions of the use of blogs for instruction and social interaction. He emphasises that rapid development of technology and unique characteristics of the creative society require a shift from traditional teaching concepts to student centered learning in education. The third article arrived from Elisabetta Cigognini, Giuseppina Rita Mangione, Maria Chiara Pettenati and Elizabeth M.C. Guerin from Italy, the authors of the fourth article, examine the use of Web 2.0 and social software tools to facilitate the development of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) skills that they believe are critical for lifelong learning in the knowledge society of the 21st century. They contend that:Social networking tools and methods provide… tremendous opportunity… to lead the learner into a learning and knowledge landscape in which PKM skills and competencies are both the enabling condition and final outcome of the… learning experience. From the implementation perspective, they also propose an instructional design model to support such applications, based on Connectivist (Siemens, 2004) theory. The special issue goes with an article by Eren Kesim and Esmahan Agaoglu (Turkey), who take on the view that Web 2.0 and social software herald a major paradigm shift for the field of distance education. In arguing their case, the authors examine Web 2.0 in the context of historical development of distance education, tracing the evolution of learning technologies since the 1960s. The article concludes with a discussion of emerging trends and implications for educators, institutions and learners. The fifth article, “Bounded and unbounded knowledge: Teaching and learning in a Web 2 world”, Judy Nagy and Chris Bigum (Australia) discuss how the advent of the ‘read/write Web’, incorporating web-based software that gives anyone and everyone with Internet access the ability to publish online, poses ongoing challenges and issues for traditional distributors as well as creators of content and knowledge. In the same vein, these changes have caused the role of universities as content producers for credentialed learning to be questioned, prompting many educators to explore new ways of supporting online learning. The sixth article from Palitha Edirisingha (UK), Chiara Rizzi (Italy), Ming Nie (UK) and Libby Rothwell (UK) report on a study involving the use of podcasting (Curry, 2004) to provide teaching and learning support for an undergraduate module on English Language and Communication. The findings led to development of a model for integrating podcasts in on-campus blended learning, and which can have potential applications in distance learning contexts. The model is based on three main features of podcasts identified as facilitating student learning: learner choice and flexibility offered by podcasts; tacit knowledge and experience of peers conveyed in discussions; and a sense of informality brought into formal learning. Also from the implementation perspective, Penny de Byl and Janet Taylor (Australia) describe a Web 2.0/Web3D hybrid e-learning platform, called the AliveX3D platform, which involves the application of the Web 2.0 ethos to an online 3D virtual environment. The platform and accompanying tools are designed to enable the creation of authentic learning experiences with a large degree of learner control, and to promote collaborative dialogue between learners. The immersion in the 3D worlds enables learners to negotiate meaning based on their own personal cognitive, affective and kinaesthetic experiences rather than relying merely on descriptions of others’ experiences. Last but not least, the “Notes to the Editor” section contains a contribution from Yavuz Akbulut and Mübin Kiyici (Turkey), on the instructional uses of blogs. And two book reviews from the field. We hope you enjoy reading this contributions, and welcome your feedback, rejoinders and reflections on the various articles contained within this special issue. Mark J. W. LEE and Hakan G. SENELGuest Editors, July 2007 AcknowledgementsSpecial thanks must go to the members of the international review panels here:Ø Anne Bartlett-Bragg, University of Technology, Sydney, AustraliaØ Dr Tony Bates, Tony Bates Associates, CanadaØ Kathryn Cleary, University of Notre Dame, AustraliaØ Dr Barney Dalgarno, Charles Sturt University, AustraliaØ Stephen Downes, National Research Council, CanadaØ Geoff Fellows, Charles Sturt University, AustraliaØ Jim Flood, United KingdomØ Dr Stylianos Hatzipanagos, King's College, London, United KingdomØ Dr Manolya Kavakli, Macquarie University, AustraliaØ Dr Matthew Kearney, University of Technology, Sydney, AustraliaØ Associate Professor Piet Kommers, University of Twente, The NetherlandsØ Professor Dr Selahatin Kuru, Işık University, TurkeyØ Associate Professor Catherine McLoughlin, Australian Catholic UniversityØ Dr Charlynn Miller, University of Ballarat, AustraliaØ Dr Belinda Tynan, University of New England, Australia REFERENCESO’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0: design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved 15 December 2006, from http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html. Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for a digital age. Retrieved 9 December 2006, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.html. Curry, A. (2004). iPodder – A brief history. Retrieved 23 April 2005, from http://www.ipodder.org/history.
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