Using Web 2.0 To Bridge The Digital Gap
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Bridging The Digital Gap

When Gianna finished her class with another absolute failure in achieving what she was really expecting from her secondary learners in their English Language curriculum regarding their research project (searching the web for the plays currently running in the city), she had no idea the "reflection meeting" she was later going to have with the school mentor would benefit her and her classes so much with what she called digital learning. A smooth shift from the conventional web she had grown fond of and the web her students were familiar with could turn over the page to a new chapter in her teaching. “Let’s start with Web 2.0 to bridge the digital gap in your classes!”

Web 2.0 For Digital Natives

Although Gianna had become acquainted with the World Wide Web through websites, the "world of web" meant something totally different to the majority of her learners. Web from her perspective was a huge and rich digital archive with content from around the globe; however, in her students’ opinion, the web was an interaction hub in which they communicated with one another, shared, liked, commented, and reported! She vividly remembers what "reflection" questions the mentor started with in that meeting:

  1. What exactly do you want your students to do as a research project?
  2. In the last project you mentioned, what did you expect them to do online?
  3. Why didn’t they live up to your expectations?
  4. For the word “the internet,” do you have the very same definitions?
  5. Where do you think we can find your students online most of the time?
  6. How much are you online on such platforms?
  7. Do they ever frequent your online resorts?

No sooner had they reached question five than Gianna had a "sense of discovery" in her mind. She and her learners were living on two different islands in the world of digital! Posting and sharing on a regular basis on Instagram, reacting to almost everything on Twitter, following what the TV did not offer on YouTube with the forums below, and participating in online discussions with peers on WhatsApp, Gianna’s learners were miles away from her routine of following her favorite blogs, reading news on the internet, wandering famous digital libraries, and studying for her master’s. Web 2.0 vs. Web 1.0.

How To Employ Web 2.0 In Your Language Classes

In the world of hashtags and mentioning, it was not very difficult for Gianna’s learners to track the plays in the city theaters and drama locales to gather data and then compose listings of them. As they were supposed to choose one and watch it to write a review, they could easily refer to the comments below posts and deploy their critical thinking so as to choose the one which was of the highest interest to them. She counted on her students, wanting them to employ their social media networking, and therefore landed on the true point that in this class she had better start with Web 2.0 in order to motivate her learners into learning with digital.

Next week, there were no missing assignments, all had prepared their listings and some had attended the plays as well! The others had "e-booked" their seats and were looking forward to their events, reminders included! Two listings were also posted online with #MyEnglishClass, #Ms.DeMartinsClass and #ILoveEnglish tags and were receiving nice reactions from the followers! Sam suggested they create a page for their class and post the reviews they were going to write for the next class there! Helen thought that having a readers’ contest on that page for more likes would be one of a kind! Gianna was celebrating her sense of achievement in her post-class self-reflective practice.

Web 1.0 Comes After Web 2.0 For Digital Natives

After another meeting with the school mentor to discuss the changes she had gone through with the research project in her class and the wonderful outcomes they had recorded, Gianna decided to go one step further and drive her students to Web 1.0. Data had been gathered through social media, listings had been prepared, reviews had been written, and the writing contest had been launched on both Instagram and Facebook; it was the right time to go one step further. Gianna wrote the new assignment on the class board:

Now go online and Google the name of the play you have worked on. Has it ever been performed on stage in other parts of the world? Where, when, and in which languages? If yes, which reviews has it been receiving? Please write how similar your review and the one(s) available online are? If no, please write the reason(s) why you think it has never been on stage before. You have one week to deliver your new assignments.

Conclusion

Gianna was glad her students were going to experience lots and lots of good and patient readings, now had some sufficient idea of what they were looking for within the web, could practice the soft skill of critical thinking more, and were eventually breathing in the world of Web 1.0 too after years of living in Web 2.0. Now learning was taking place with more ease in her class. Her learners were discovering more, were engaged more, and were delivering more from what they were discovering enthusiastically.

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