POLYTECHNIC STUDENTS’ LEARNING EXPERIENCES WITH WEB 2.0 AS CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING TOOLS IN A PARTICIPATORY CULTURE
Monash University (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This paper aims to explore, describe and understand students’ learning experiences with Web 2.0 technologies in school in Singapore. This paper will also look into the problems, the difficulties and the constraints that polytechnic students face with the use of Web 2.0 in learning. From an exploration of the students’ experiences and attitudes with use of Web 2.0 for learning, this study hopes to develop a more in depth understanding of the characteristics integral to pedagogical practice and how students can leverage on worldwide knowledge as part of their learning experiences with Web 2.0 applications. The focus of this paper will be on a pragmatic exploration of Web 2.0 applications such as Blogs, YouTube, Wikis and Facebook as illustrative and typical examples of technologies that reflect the changing landscape of our students’ learning. Clearly, the choice of these four applications does not delimit the categorisation of Web 2.0 tools to only these four; however, by limiting the choice to an exploration of blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Wikis as illustrative of Web 2.0 I hope that this will provide some starting frames of reference for using Web 2.0 for teaching and learning. Through a mixed-method approach by interpretation of quantitative data through a survey of polytechnic students within the School of Business faculty in Singapore followed by a qualitative approach of one on one interviews with students, I hope to gain an in-depth understanding of students’ learning experiences with Web 2.0 learning technologies. As alluded to above, learning technologies will continue to assume an increasingly important component of pedagogy that facilitates students’ meaningful learning in the Singapore education system. Emerging technologies such as podcasting, blogging, discussion forums, chat, YouTube, social bookmarking and social networking mean that our students are more connected to each other and to the world than ever before (Douch, 2009). Today’s students learn by searching and gathering a myriad of information as they move seamlessly within the physical and virtual spaces. The technically savvy students are already connecting, creating, collaborating, and circulating information through the web 2.0 technologies. Web 2.0 technologies facilitate thinking and knowledge construction when students learn by doing and when student are conversing, collaborating with others, and discussing, arguing and building consensus among members of a community, and supporting discourse among the knowledge-building communities (Jonassen et al., 1999). The constructivist paradigm as advocated by the socially constructivist Lev Vygotsky is discussed in this context herein that knowledge is formed and thinking happens through the exchange and shared notions with others for meaningful and engaged learning. Thus, as educators we need to think of how to leverage on these emerging technologies in our pedagogies to facilitate learning that transcends boundaries amidst the myriad of information to make learning meaningful and engaging for our students. But, to what extent has this been translated to polytechnic students’ learning in this technologically -driven borderless society in Singapore? The findings of this study would be useful to policy makers and educationists as it would provide insights into how the use of technology (Web 2.0) as a learning technology could be used to shape the education of a digital generation in this globalized millennium.
Keywords: Students' learning experiences, Collaborative Learning, Participatory Culture, Web 2.0.