Preface – Part 1

Give me a hint! What is this about?

This material represents our effort to explore what has been described as the "participatory web". We admit this is a vague topic and the selection of this phrase may be unnecessarily confusing as it has not been popularized nor does it have a standard meaning. However, we hope to establish that the phrase accurately describes an obvious trend with great potential for teaching and learning.

Some of the characteristics we associate with the participatory web overlap with characteristics connected with other phrases describing new trends in Internet-enabled technologies and activities. Examples of these phrases would include "Web 2.0" and the "Read/Write Web". None of these are our terms - sometimes we are aware of the individual purported to have first applied the phrase and sometimes not. We will point you to plenty of sources when we explore these ideas in detail.

What about the hint?

OK. Here is the extremely short version. The "participatory web" concerns the technologies and cultural values that allow and encourage all of us to share what we know or at least believe with each other by way of the Internet. In a sort of "social contructivist" way, it assumes we co-construct knowledge through interaction and part of the process involves generating artifacts to communicate our understanding to others. You know the maxim - "It is better to give than receive." Here, assuming the desire is to develop the learner, we promote a new wording - "It is better to both give and receive."

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