Web 2.0: tool for teaching or context for learning?

Patrícia Dias*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper explores the role of Web 2.0 in teaching and learning, arguing that instead of being regarded and used merely as a set of tools, it has become the context for these processes, thus shaping them. Considering several classes of the Communication course at the Catholic University of Portugal as case studies, we resorted to ethnography in the classroom and interviews to the students to explore Web 2.0 use, focusing social communities (an extranet class website and Hi5), user-generated content (blogs and wikis), virtual worlds (Second Life) and instantaneous communication (MSN Messenger). We identified two opposite approaches: Web 2.0 required use as a tool to accomplish specific tasks (the teachers' view) vis-à-vis Web 2.0 natural emergence as part of the context (the students' view). Our main findings so far are the following: imposed or suggested Web 2.0 use in specific tasks result in low participation; spontaneous Web 2.0 use whenever the students found useful added initiative and creativity to their work and resulted in enhanced motivation and engagement; the Web 2.0 allows new forms of assessment, in which transparency, equality and immediacy are the most appealing features both for teachers and students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781622767076
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Event8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009 - Bari, Italy
Duration: 29 Oct 200930 Oct 2009

Publication series

Name8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009


Conference8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009


  • Assessment
  • Context
  • Learning
  • Teaching
  • Tool
  • Web 2.0


Dive into the research topics of 'Web 2.0: tool for teaching or context for learning?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this