Typology of Web 2.0 technologies

Web 2.0 technologies offer substantial opportunities for educators to enhance communication, productivity and sharing within their classes (Brown, 2010; Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009). In order to capitalize on Web 2.0 technologies educators need to first understand the sorts of Web 2.0 technologies that are available and their various features (Redecker, Ala-Mutka, Bacigalupo, Ferrari, & Punie, 2009). Typologies of Web 2.0 technologies have been previously suggested (Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006; Crook, 2008; Franklin & Van Harmelen, 2007). While many of these typologies included valuable and sensible categories of Web 2.0 technologies, none of them appear to result from any sort of systematic analysis or review.

My recent study used structured typological analysis techniques to derive a typology of Web 2.0 learning technologies. Over two thousand links were reviewed from online archive sites, educational technology texts, online searches and previous Web 2.0 review papers. This led to identification of 212 current Web 2.0 technologies that are suitable for learning and teaching purposes. The typological analysis then resulted in 37 types of Web 2.0 technologies that were arranged into 14 clusters. A schematic representation of the resulting typology of Web 2.0 learning technologies is shown in Figure 1.

Fig1 Typology of Web2 Technologies.png

Figure 1. Typology of Web 2.0 technologies

The types of Web 2.0 learning technologies, their descriptions, pedagogical uses and example tools for each category are described in my recent EDUCAUSE article (Bower, 2015), arranged according to the clusters. Throughout the descriptions the term ‘users’ rather than ‘teachers’ is often applied because students may learn more from being designers with the technology than from teachers preparing and disseminating activities, and ‘users’ encapsulates both of these cohorts. The typological analysis used to derive the typology of Web 2.0 learning technologies has been published in the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET). See Bower (2016) for further details.


      Boulos, M. N., Maramba, I., & Wheeler, S. (2006). Wikis, blogs and podcasts: a new generation of Web-based tools for virtual collaborative clinical practice and education.
BMC medical education, 6(1), 41.
      Bower, M. (2015). A typology of Web 2.0 technologies. EDUCAUSE. Available at: https://library.educause.edu/resources/2015/2/a-typology-of-web-20-learning-technologies
      Bower, M. (2016). Deriving a typology of Web 2.0 learning technologies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(4), 763-777. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjet.12344/abstract
      Brown, S. (2010). From VLEs to learning webs: the implications of Web 2.0 for learning and teaching. Interactive Learning Environments, 18(1), 1-10.
      Crook, C. (2008). Web 2.0 technologies for learning: The current landscape – opportunities, challenges and tensions: BECTA.
      Franklin, T., & Van Harmelen, M. (2007). Web 2.0 for content for learning and teaching in higher education. JISC Available at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/digitalrepositories/web2-contentlearningand-teaching.pdf.
     Greenhow, C., Robelia, B., & Hughes, J. E. (2009). Learning, teaching, and scholarship in a digital age Web 2.0 and classroom research: What path should we take now? Educational Researcher, 38(4), 246-259.
     Redecker, C., Ala-Mutka, K., Bacigalupo, M., Ferrari, A., & Punie, Y. (2009). Learning 2.0: The impact of Web 2.0 innovations on education and training in Europe. Final Report. European Commission-Joint Research Center-Institute for Porspective Technological Studies, Seville.

About matthewbower

Professor at Macquarie University.
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