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I'm currently working on a new book for teachers of Computing. Here's my daily word count below. I'll be revealing more about it, like what it's called and when it will be published, in the Digital Education newsletter.

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Entries in wWeb 2.0 (6)

Saturday
Apr032010

Why Schools Cannot Ignore Web 2.0: Commercial Factors

#iCTLT2010 Last week I looked at the economic drivers for change. Turning now to commercial factors, I’ve called this set of factors ‘commercial’ rather than ‘economic’ because they concern financial matters.

Turning to the commercial drivers for change, one development in recent years has been the internal enterprise. What this means is that different parts of the organisation become cost centres in their own right, so instead of having to accept what someone else orders for them, let’s say in the way of IT equipment, they take charge of that themselves and also take responsibility for balancing their budget.

This is not Web 2.0 as such, but I think it’s another interesting example of the 'levelling process' I've alluded to before in this series, in which people are doing things themselves and for themselves rather than having someone else do it for them and to them.

I have to say that, having worked in such an environment, there is a danger that the individual units lose sight of the aims of the organisation as a whole. Therefore I think there does need to be quite strong guidelines and training in place.

I’ve already alluded to companies using Web 2.0 for marketing purposes, and again I think schools need to educate youngsters about this. For example, how do you know if a blogger is independent, as opposed to being paid to write something or promote a product? Guidelines about this have been proposed recently by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, but ultimately I think the only way you can really educate people in this sort of media literacy is by embracing it and discussing it. But in the context of drivers for change, the point is that people are becoming more and more used to Web 2.0 applications being used in the real world, and there’s a danger that schools will find themselves becoming seen as irrelevant from a young person’s point of view.

Lots of companies have realised the value of social networking and other Web 2.0 applications, but are wary of allowing their employees to spend time on Facebook and in other public-facing areas. So what they have done is construct their own internal versions of these applications, collectively known as Enterprise 2.0. 

The fact that some companies have invented an internal version of Web 2.0 applications, especially social networking and instant messaging, does not detract from the main message of this series: the Web 2.0 approach to problem-solving is here to stay. Schools ignore it at their peril.

Next week: Educational drivers for change.