Polytechnic students’ learning experience in the context of Web 2.0 learning technologies in Singapore

2017-05-17T02:17:28Z (GMT) by Yeo , Michelle Meiling
More and more schools all around the globe and in Singapore in particular, are pushing the frontiers of learning by harnessing Information Technology (IT) or Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as an essential tool in teaching and learning. One of the important impacts of globalization on education has been the transition of strategies adopted, with the emphasis on and the use of IT or ICT in teaching and in students’ learning. There has been a transformation of the types of lessons, collaborative projects, teaching strategies, and of what constitutes effective teaching and learning with the advent of technologies like Web 2.0. Web 2.0 is a read-and-write Web that facilitates participatory, collaborative, and distributed practices. The term Web 2.0, according to O’Reilly (2005), emphasizes participation and encourages social networking where users are actively involved in contributing and commenting on the information instead of passively reading or receiving information. The focus of this research is a pragmatic exploration of the Web 2.0 comprising blogs, wikis, YouTube and Facebook as illustrative and typical examples of technologies that are used as tools for students’ learning in Singapore. From an exploration of polytechnic students’ opinions and experiences with the use of Web 2.0 as providing tools for learning in Singapore, this thesis hopes to develop a more in-depth understanding of the characteristics integral to pedagogical practice and how students leverage on Web 2.0 as a set of tools for learning of worldwide knowledge with peers, classmates and others. The theoretical framework of this thesis is the social constructivist approach (Vygotsky, 1978) and the Communities of Practice, or CoP, of situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Using a mixed methods approach, by interpretation of quantitative data through a survey followed by a qualitative approach of one-on-one semi-structured interviews with polytechnic students in Singapore, the data reveal that students are connected socially for networking and for fun with Web 2.0 applications. Students are empowered learners using Web 2.0 as an information resource and they are connected in the collaborative construction of knowledge. Students are also connected with a community of learners with a community of interest and there is a preference for teachers to use Web 2.0 to enhance students’ learning. The problems of distractions, information overload and unreliable information are associated with using Web 2.0 for learning. The findings are potentially useful to policy makers and educators as this thesis provides insights into the use of Web 2.0 as a set of tools for learning to shape the education of a digital generation in this globalized millennium.