If the term web 1.0 refers to the original, informational web, web 2.0 refers to the social web. It's a loose grouping of newer generation social technologies, whose users are actively involved in communicating and collaborating with each other as they build connections and communities across the web. The term itself was coined by Dale Dougherty in 2004 and popularised by Tim O'Reilly. These pages briefly discuss the educational applications of a number of web 2.0 and related technologies, drawing on insights from Lev Vygotsky's social constructivism; Etienne Wenger's communities of practice; and Randy Garrison & Terry Anderson's community of inquiry model. There are links to good examples of educational practice, as well as links you can follow to set up your own pages. There is already considerable convergence between some of the individual technologies, a trend that is likely to continue. Note that if you're looking for open source (and generally, free) alternatives to commercial software, you might like to check out Osalt.com.

For some general background information on these changes, take a look at some of the following landmark presentations:

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You could also try out Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for educators interested in pedagogical uses of web 2.0. The PLCMC Learning 2.0 self-study course, 23 Things, offers an introduction to many web 2.0 technologies; although aimed at librarians, it is of general relevance to educators. For a collection of academic and journalistic references about web 2.0, see the E-learning references page.

For more general predictions of future trends, see the Web 3.0 in education page. And for a more humorous take on all of the above, see the Humour page.

Credits: The menu buttons were created with the As Button Generator. The main image is a screen capture from the IATEFL 2007 Conference area on EduNation, an educational space run by Gavin Dudeney in the virtual world Second Life. Gary Hayes' Social Web Words quotes widget is available under a Creative Commons licence. I owe the Social Web Involvement link to Tama Leaver, the O'Reilly link to Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou & Gary Motteram, the We Think link to Bruce Derby, the Jordan School District link to Su Pittams, and the 23 Things link to Felicity Renner.