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SaaS Week

Krissi Danielson

Is Web 2.0 Universally Important for Everyone?

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I have seen a lot of articles in the IT press about surveys finding that certain groups are doubting the importance of Web 2.0 technology. The articles usually give the results of some survey showing that business managers, or employees in a certain industry, are yet to be sold on the benefits of Web 2.0 and then the article concludes with some version of how Web 2.0 is going to overtake the world and the doubters will be proven wrong.

Now, granted, I can see how Web 2.0 can benefit business in a lot of ways...but I think a lot of people are forgetting that you shouldn't adopt technology "just because." You should be using it to solve a problem or to do something better in a way that benefits the business, and have actual solid reasons for doing so. Frankly, in many cases, I'm not sold on a lot of what I read about Web 2.0 revolutionizing everything. I know it can be huge sometimes, but in other times, these tools are just another means of accomplishing the same thing with maybe a slight increase in efficiency.

I thought a particularly good case of this was a new report, which Information World discusses, that teachers are not sold on the benefits of Web 2.0 in the classroom. Now, to be clear, we are talking about teachers who teach children and not university professors. The article then goes on to question whether teachers are "living up to the expectations of the digital generation."

You have to wonder about this, at least a little bit. I can see both sides. Maybe in a perfect world with schools that never had to worry about funding for basic stuff like up-to-date textbooks, deploying Web 2.0 tools for educational use in a protected environment would be a worthy project. But would it really be that beneficial that schools should make Web 2.0 a priority over other more basic needs, like hiring more teachers and reducing class sizes? Do students really have that much difficulty networking with one another or finding ways to communicate in the current situation? It seems like there would be more pressing concerns for US schools than whether or not they promote Web 2.0 technology to teenagers and pre-teens, who probably use such things on their own outside of school anyway.

So does *everyone* really need to use Web 2.0 technologies just because they're there? Sure, they're neat and they can be really beneficial in a lot of settings...but does everyone really NEED them?

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