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Lettice, EP
2011
November
Student Attitudes to Web 2.0 for Teaching and Learning
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Web 2.0 tools have become more common in higher education and are fast becoming an integral part of the learning experience. There is much published information on the attitudes of educators and institutions towards Web 2.0. Student attitudes to such tools are less well described in the literature. Undergraduate students were surveyed regarding their use of Web 2.0 technologies in a social context and whether they have utilised similar tools in an academic setting. Having completed assignments based on the use of discussion boards and wikis, some of the students were further surveyed with regard to their motivations for participation, or not, and the perceived usefulness of such assignments with Web 2.0 elements. Social media was used extensively by students, with the social networking site Facebook being overwhelmingly the most popular such tool. Many students were eager and accepting of Web 2.0 use in higher education, while some had reservations about their use. These reservations including possible distractions; disconnect with lecturers; difficulties with the technology and internet connections; and the reliability of information produced by such methods. Students also identified positive aspects of Web 2.0 use including the ability to collaborate more effectively with peers; the ability to engage more with current research; and the ability to utilise new media (videos, audio, etc.). While a majority of students are willing to use, and in some cases embrace, Web 2.0 for teaching and learning, it is important to ensure that all students are engaged. This may require some intervention for students who do not clearly see the benefits that Web 2.0 can bring.

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