Teachers’ Use and Perceptions of Web 2.0 Technologies in Teaching and Learning

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The Web 2.0 applications hold profound potentials in education because of their open nature, ease of use and support for effective collaboration and communication. They change the traditional view of human knowledge and open up more opportunities in teaching and learning.  Today, many teachers are exploring the use of Web 2.0 tools into teaching and learning.  However, many researchers agree that studies of teachers’ perceptions and opinions are critical because teachers’ perceptions are significant to the implementation of technology innovations in teaching and learning.  About nine months ago, Patrivan Yuen and I conducted a study on teachers’ use and perceptions of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning.  It was our hope that the findings of this study would provide useful information that enable administrators and teacher educators to better understand teachers’ use and perceptions of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning. Consequently, a well focused course or training program for pre and in-service teachers integrating Web 2.0 technologies in education could be design, developed, and implemented.

Last week, I presented this study in a concurrent session at the 2010 SITE (Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education) Conference in San Diego.  This presentation examines teachers’ use of Web 2.0 tools in education, assesses their awareness and perceptions of the pedagogical benefits of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning, and investigates their interests and willingness of adopting Web 2.0 tools to support and supplement classroom instruction.  Below is our presentation.  Please feel free to provide any comments and suggestions.   Thanks.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
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12 Responses to Teachers’ Use and Perceptions of Web 2.0 Technologies in Teaching and Learning

  1. Christine Mark says:

    Web 2.0 tools are certainly changing the face of education, but after my past week, I’m still not convinced the world is ready for their integration into the classroom. While Dr. Yuen was attending the SITE conference, I was attending the National Business Education Association conference (NBEA), also in San Diego. I attended several presentations on Web 2.0 tools, and also presented a workshop on Ning and Wikis, and presented a session on Second Life. While some of the teachers seemed interested, the majority were either not interested in another learning curve, or not able to use the technology.

    Several teachers made comments at various sessions about the lack of control over student use of most of the Web 2.0 tools. They did not like the fact that students would be able to post Tweets, blog posts, wiki posts, and Ning posts without a lot of supervision and censorship. Indeed, several teachers specifically cited the lack of gatekeeping as a problem stating that they “could not trust their students”.

    In addition, the vast majority of the teachers with whom I spoke made it clear that they have no access to these Web 2.0 tools in their schools because of filters or internet firewalls, resulting in an online environment devoid of much web-based software. I also heard comments from several that they were precluded contractually from even using Web 2.0 applications from home on their own time with their students. So, I might argue that using this in teacher prep classes is still premature.

    What I would argue, however, is that programs in Administrator prep at both the masters or doctoral levels be expanded to include some coursework in Web 2.0 tools so that the new administrators have a better understanding of the power and use of the internet in the K-12 classroom. Perhaps if the administrators in school systems understood more deeply how these tools can be used safely for student education the teachers would be provided more opportunities for their use.

  2. Roslyn Warren says:

    Web 2.0 in education is steadily gaining momentum among the educational fields. However, it seems to trickle down to teachers’ at a snails pace. Although I understand safety concerns for students and the impact of the Internet, I have often wandered about teacher attitudes that may impede this progress as well.

    From your study, it seems as though these teachers are more receptive or open to learning more about the technology. From here, it appears that they enjoy using it and understand some educational value, but how can this translate into introducing these tools in their classrooms?

    I really enjoyed this presentation because teachers directly impact the types of technologies that are integrated into the classroom. I found it interesting that the adoption rate of cell phones that have internet access is pretty high, which could speak to the respondents high interest in Web 2.0. I was not surprised that teachers were not very fond of virtual world in education, because I don’t believe it has been nearly as marketed as social networking and blogging.
    Some other interests found in this study:
    23% use Social Networking Daily but near 80% are likely to participate in an activity to learn more about the educational uses. I wonder which tools they feel would be more relevant or useful in the classroom.

    Overall, Great Job on this study! I can’t wait to read the U.S. study. Thanks

  3. tdedeaux says:

    I remember at one of my MECA presentations, while many of the attendees (mostly K12 teachers) seemed interested in the tools, one was particularly vocal about why Ning “wouldn’t work.” (This is not the place, but I could rant for a long time about smugly negative public school teachers) because the students could send each other messages within Ning without the teacher being alerted.

    This particular teacher seemed to be operating under the impression that her school’s filtering software filtered out ALL other email and messaging programs, which I consider to be extremely unlikely, especially given the number of smartphones out there.

    But I suppose there is a valid concern that if the teachers cannot view their students’ lateral messages, much less stop them, they could be enabling cyber-bullying, digital piracy, or the exchange of offensive materials.

    Knowing how all blame tends to land on the teachers in every public school setting, I can understand the caution.

    That said, I think web 2.0 tools are great for a lot of K12 situations. At the last school district in which I taught before going back to grad school full time, we couldn’t install software on the computers, and tech support was very overworked, so we couldn’t count on them coming promptly. But the filtering software was pretty reasonable, so at the time at least, we could use most Web 2.0 tools.

  4. Jil Wright says:

    This is a really interesting research study. I will be interested to see how this study would pan out in the U.S. I think it will be quite less positive unfortunately.

    Americans have this fear thing going on that makes adopting technology drag on and on and happen slowly, if at all. My mom, step-dad, and brother are all K-12 teachers and they are constantly complaining about how everything is blocked and how school administrators are not informed of the benefits of using web 2.0 for educational purposes. They are so scared that a student might see a breast, that they can’t even do a research paper on breast cancer because of the filters. Although not many people would admit it, our country is a bit prudish when it comes to many things compared to other countries. Who would’ve thought that? Lol

    Frankly, I believe many web 2.0 tools and technologies will not be used to their potential until younger generations progress through the workforce.

    In any case, I am impressed with your results.

    I hope I am wrong about U.S. teacher’s attitudes towards acceptance. I believe the main issue here is with school district administrators. I believe they need to see the big picture of a risk/benefit analysis. Are we really concerned so much that a student may see a breast that we are willing to put them far behind students in other countries? Will U.S. students be as competitive for international jobs if technology is not accepted in a more rapid fashion?

    In all honesty, I think that most teachers and administrators in the U.S. K-12 system are too worried that using web 2.0 tools may actually make them have to work a little harder and that they will have to discuss and face the issues that could cause problems and create protocols for best usage. I hope I’m wrong, but that is the way it seems to be to me currently.

  5. jennstyron says:

    Hi Dr. Yuen,

    Interesting study! Thank you for sharing the results that you found. It is interesting to see that Web 2.0 tools and their importance in teaching and learning are so well received in Taiwan as your book, Collective Intelligence and E-Learning 2.0: Implications of Web-Based Communities and Networking has shared some examples of Web 2.0 integration and found that Asian counterparts occasionally are much more reserved in these type of environments.

    I would have to agree with Jill in that I don’t think Web 2.0 tools would be as well received in the United States. There are many faculty who are embracing the educational advantages these tools can bring to the classroom however, there are many who still do not support these tools and believe they do not benefit instructional methodology.

    Recently (in the last few days) the CEO of Ning has announced that he will no longer allow users to have free access to this resource. This is going to be a major concern for those faculty who have integrated this service who are maintaining a large amount of information on their social networking sites. If this type of trend becomes popular, that is providing a Web 2.0 tool for free to draw users in and then forcing them to either pay or lose their materials, this will become an even larger deterrent to using such tools. I hope that the CEO reconsiders particularly to those users who are in education.

    Great post and thanks for sharing! I look forward to a follow up study in the U.S.! 🙂

  6. Dane Conrad says:

    In my current role as Director of Technology for Forrest County School District, I see the entire spectrum of teacher adoption of Web 2.0 tools. Some of our teachers are constantly trying new tools, getting students excited about their use, and pushing my department to give them access to those items as they find them. If you talk to those teachers, I think they would characterize my department’s attitude as teacher-friendly particularly when dealing with un-filter requests. On the other hand, I also have teachers who don’t use hardly any online tools or resources because they don’t fit into the way they have always taught their content area.

    I think I may have mentioned this in class (IT 780,) but two of the educational technology organizations are working to try and relieve some of the teacher frustration with administratively-controlled Web filtering. Just last week, METLA had a presentation offered to each school district’s technology coordinator so they could share it with their teachers in order to help teachers understand why we have to filter. The presentation wasn’t developed by just technology coordinators but was created in cooperation with a group of MECA teachers from around the state. It was also show to 7 or 8 teacher groups and edited before given to tech coordinators around the state to tweak and use in their own district. METLA hopes that this is just the beginning of bridging the gap between teachers and tech coordinators. In fact, the next step is the formation of a METLA group that seeks to use a wiki (wetpaint.com – wonder where I got that idea, 😉 ) to document methods of allowing teacher requested Web 2.0 resources through various filtering solutions.

    In light of the recent developments with ning.com, I do feel that teachers and technology coordinators have to factor this possibility into the educational use of these online tools. Most Web 2.0 tools store student/teacher items online whether they be student-created products or documentation of interactions with the resource. If the Web 2.0 resource “closes shop” or changes its access policies, educational documentation can be lost. Therefore, it adds a layer of necessary backup or offline storage habits to ensure that work is not lost, especially if it is graded work.

  7. Jacquelyn Johnston says:

    It is unfortunate and I am somewhat embarrassed to say but, it has only been since January 2010, when I started taking Dr. Yuen’s class that I really became familiar with Web 2.0 in the classroom. Maybe I should take that back, because during my research and reading, I would see Wikis and and other Web 2.0 tools that other schools were implementing, and think about how using these tools in my classroom could potentially improve learning. I would dream! One thing lead to another, and now hopefully, I will be a part of the Instructional Technology program. Using Web 2.0 in the classroom really excites me because it is fun for the teacher and learner and I can see the many benefits of using the tools to help us meet the challenging needs of todays students. Web 2.0 tools are a great fit for gifted and talented learners, which is what I teach. Creating, contributing, collaborating, connecting, sharing, and participating in a learning community are things that students can take advantage of with access to Web 2.0 tools. These ideas are part of the very backbone of gifted instruction. There are some problems that I see as the reason teachers are not implementing these tools to enhance student learning. Sure a lot of sites are blocked and that is frustrating, but my technology coordinator has been absolutely wonderful about unblocking sites when I have asked. She is very kind and helpful. One problem in my classroom is that I cannot count on the computers to work. It takes days for tech support to come, because they are over worked, and then as soon as the computers are fixed they go down again. Talk about fustration. Another problem is that I do not think that teachers are aware of these tools and their benefits to teaching and learning. I could be wrong though. As for me I am excited about the many possibilities. I look forward to learning more and becoming more comfortable with these tools as I discover their best practices for usage.

  8. As I look back and recall my study experience in Instructional Technology during this past year and a half, many of the discussions have been centered on teachers’ perception of technology integration and readiness to make a change and step out of the comfort zone, represented by conventional methods of teaching and learning. That is to say, in order that instructional/educational technology could be well utilized, developed and integrated to education to make a change, the decision makers’ attitude becomes an important deciding factor. How to change and improve the teachers’ perception on technology use would be a question to ponder, we can conduct workshops, have them take class, or do some other publization work of technologies.

    In China, many poor places are still in a situation where people worry about surviving issues, for instance food or residence issues. In such places, what can we do about integrating technology? Technology is probably not a word that will make sense in such places because people there don’t even have a school in a real sense. The point I am trying to make is, there got to be some pre-requisites for technology integration to become effective in teaching and learning – cost, attitude, information, and so on.

    The study examined one of the pre-requisites. The results and data collected about this study were interesting. Although the overall feedback were positive, but it was not hard to recognize that not all the teachers favor the using the technology such as virtual worlds and social bookmarking. SNS and social video tools were the most popular and accepted ones.

    Web 2.0 technology does not require much investigation because they are already there and they emphasize on user-generate. The trend is pushing instructional technology towards a new height. It is educators’ and decision-makers’ responsibility to recognize the importance of using existing tools, and make a change in our teaching and learning activities.

  9. vivi says:

    在學期中我修的其中一門課是創新教學與學習,剛好與目前修的新興科技教育有相關,加上創新教學與學習的教授希望,我們在設計的教案活動中可以融入至少一項的web2.0在教學上,所以在上課的期間我也不斷的就思考,如何將這些琳瑯滿目的新興科技挑選最適當的融入教學,後來我選擇先將簡單的web2.0例如:bookmarking.poll…等,可以先由老師著手在慢慢移交給學生親自做的軟體下手。

    我覺得要將web2.0融入教學或是學習中真的不難,只是老師要如何引導和長期培養孩子,對於使用軟體的技巧與經營的持續性都很重要!web2.0的使用都很簡單而且方便,通常都是三步驟就可以完成申請,接下來的變化可以很多元很豐富!一項免費又簡單的軟體可以讓學生對於學習有不同的見解與看法,甚至能加深他們的印象以及提高學習動機,就在教學中嘗試看看吧!

  10. vivi says:

    在學期中我修的其中一門課是創新教學與學習,剛好與目前修的新興科技教育有相關,加上創新教學與學習的教授希望,我們在設計的教案活動中可以融入至少一項的web2.0在教學上,所以在上課的期間我也不斷的就思考,如何將這些琳瑯滿目的新興科技挑選最適當的融入教學,後來我選擇先將簡單的web2.0例如:bookmarking.poll…等,可以先由老師著手在慢慢移交給學生親自做的軟體下手。

    我覺得要將web2.0融入教學或是學習中真的不難,只是老師要如何引導和長期培養孩子,對於使用軟體的技巧與經營的持續性都很重要!web2.0的使用都很簡單而且方便,通常都是三步驟就可以完成申請,接下來的變化可以很多元很豐富!一項免費又簡單的軟體可以讓學生對於學習有不同的見解與看法,甚至能加深他們的印象以及提高學習動機,就在教學中嘗試看看吧!

  11. Ahu says:

    As with the majority of the above posts, I find it surprising that this level of positivity towards Web2.0 technologies for teaching and learning could be found anywhere. From my experience, even here in Taiwan, I have seldom met teachers who implement Web2.0 in teaching and learning in higher education (perhaps about 2%). From my experience in the K-12 setting, teachers are more willing to implement technology applications for teaching, but are strongly limited by administration, parents, funding and general constraints of the educational culture, which is still largely traditional. In fact, among my K-12 teacher friends, few would consider implementing technology in the classroom due to the difficulties in acquiring resources and their own limited experiences.

    I believe you have stumbled upon a very unique sample of teachers who have the a) knowledge, b) willingness, and c) positive practical experience in using Web2.0 applications in their personal life. For this to translate to the Taiwanese K-12 classroom, unfortunately, requires a lot more than just knowledge and willpower. The funding limitations on technology and time constraints on the curriculum make it a very difficult task, unless a school can received funding from the Ministry of Education or private organizations.

    That being said, these teachers or of the lucky few (<5%) of applicants who have been hired in recent years. Chances are that they are well-educated, motivated, and willing to try anything to gain success at a highly valued career. Nevertheless, the status quo, sadly, is far less optimistic than the report suggests (i.e. few established teachers return for continuing education classes, and are not represented in the report). If these young teachers have the desire and ability to implement Web2.0 technologies (which seems to be the case since 75% blog at least weekly, 63% use social networking websites weekly, and even 54% are involved in writing wikis weekly), then the future of education in Taiwan seems to have high hopes for the application of technology for teaching and learning.

  12. Hi Dr. Yuen,

    As a USM BTE alum, I was very inspired by your study at SITE, and am in the process of proposing a similar study (within the State of Texas) for my dissertation! 🙂

    I would love to stay in touch with you! Thanks for sharing…

    Pam

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