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Developing a Pedagogical Framework for Web 2.0 and social software

February 17th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Earlier this week, I wrote a post on issues in transitions between school and work, school and university and university and work. This is part of Pontydysgu’s ongoing work on the recently launched (no web site yet) G8WAY project. the project seeks to use social software to help learners in transitions. We are working at the moment on developing a Pedagogical Framework.

This is not so easy. I used to rail against the idea that educational technology is pedagogically neutral as so many vendors used to say. All technology has affordances which can facilitate or impair different pedagogical approaches. And whilst the educational technology community has tended to espouse constructivist approaches to learning, the reality is that most Virtual Learning Environments have tended to be a barrier to such an approach to learning.

However Web 2.0 and social software opens up many new possible approaches to learning, largely due to the ability for learners to actively create and through collaboration and social networking. But teachers constantly ask what software they should use and how they can use it in the classroom. What software is good for what pedagogic approach, they ask?

The idea of the G8WAY framework is enables us to map onto digital media and e-tools with regard to their learning characteristics, such as thinking and reflection, conversation and interaction, experience and activity or evidence and demonstration. This can then be used as the basis against which to benchmark pedagogical principles for any particular learning scenario developed within G8WAY.

So, for example, a learning activity that enables learners to reflect on their experience, say for example, in a work-based learning context – would map to ‘thinking and reflection’ and ‘evidence and demonstration’. In contrast, a learning activity that supported collaboration would map to the first three characteristics. Of course any one individual using this schema would map particular instances differently, depending on their interpretation of the framework and the context of use of the tools; the point is this framework provides a useful schema to think about tools in use and how they map to different characteristics of learning.

This seems a useful approach – the question is how to do it? Does anyone have any references to previous approaches like this?

6 Responses to “Developing a Pedagogical Framework for Web 2.0 and social software”

  1. Hi Graham,

    what you are describing here seems to be pretty close to the ideas we follow with the learners´garden project ( . Although our framework is designed to grow with the community. Because we believe that such a system only can help if its close to the demands of the learners. We are pretty much at the beginning of the project, in the near fututre we plan to come up with the english speaking version of the platform. Our problem is, that we don´t have any funding. Maybe you have some ideas how we could come together?
    Greetings from Berlin

  2. Helen Keegan says:

    Hi Graham – sounds like an interesting project!

    It’s definitely worth you reading/referring to Gráinne Conole’s “New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies”

  3. Sigi Jakob says:

    Hi Graham,
    you are naming the essence of learning processes and how they could possibly be triggered and supported by social software. We need to consider that at this specific period we cannot act as if there was no school or whatever authority . Most often educational decisions are being made by people not actively involved in teaching. As an example you can see the ban of mobile devices from all schools in a district in Switzerland – even though the use of mobiles for learning is being promoted in teacher colleges in the same district.
    What I personallly think could help bridge this gap is using a software that offers all the possibilities and requirements you are naming, from individual learning to collaborative working and giving evidence of learning. I have been using moodle for some years now, opening it up to the web and letting in the world- so students can use other social software wherever they want. The moodle classroom is our common communication and working space, whereas we use Mahara for the student’s learning diaries and all other personal learning. I think I can say that the two systems complement each other and can be open or closed whatever is appropriate for the specific situation. It is extremely difficult in (most) schools to get teachers change their teaching and students change their learning ( which is easier to achieve though …) and have them make use of social media. You are very often considered an alien and from admins to parents there is obstruction as the cause is not supported by authorities or required as teacher skills. So what can we do? We will need to start with the fenced garden to get acceptance but give them support to create new ways of learning in this garden and get them grow their veggies by themselves, finding out when to water them and when to give them fertilizer….and provide them with the right tools to do so.Educational Programs that aim high are always good but in the end will only succeed if there is a scaled access to the implementation. (MOSEP) What do you think? (You see, I’m getting wiser and more patient after all!)


  1. Developing a Pedagogical Framework for Web 2.0 and social software


  1. […] Pontydysgu – Bridge to Learning – Educational Research […]

  2. […] March 5, 2010 by Mark Pearson People often use the word “energy” to mean entirely different things in different contexts. It may mean oil when used in the context of transportation, it may mean electricity when used in the context of buildings, it may mean nuclear when used in the context of ‘green’. And for “energy” we can read “web 2 point oh”.  With this in mind, let’s look at this intriguing post from Graham Attwell’s Pontydysgu (pronunciation guide for non-Welsh speakers — Pont – uh – duz – gee — at least that’s how I think it’s pronounced from my limited Welsh experience) entitled “Developing a Pedagogical Framework for Web 2.0 and social software“. […]

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