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Mcloughlin and Lee

Social software and participatory
learning: Pedagogical choices with
technology affordances in the Web
2.0 era
Catherine McLoughlin
School of Education (ACT)
Australian Catholic University
Mark J.W. Lee
School of Education
Charles Sturt University


The two-way Web has arrived, accompanied by a raft of affordances that expand how we
teach, communicate, learn and create knowledge. New trends are emerging in the way
information is distributed and consumed. Emerging “Web 2.0” services such as blogs,
wikis and social bookmarking applications, as well as social networking sites like MySpace,
Friendster and Facebook, are seen as more social and personal, and based on
“microcontent”, i.e., digital content in small fragments that may be combined and
recombined by individuals to produce new patterns, images and interpretations. This paper
investigates the affordances of Web 2.0 and social software and the choices and constraints
they offer to tertiary teachers and learners. A discussion of emerging pedagogical models is
presented to demonstrate that we now have access to an enabling suite of tools to support
greater learner choice and self-direction.
Keywords: Web 2.0, Pedagogy 2.0, social software, ICT affordance, learner choice,
learning control, self-regulated learning, informal learning


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