MANUSCRIPT: Web 2.0 and Social Media in Education and Research
The use of technology has become ever more pervasive over the past decade, particularly in relation to information management and in facilitating communication, networking and collaboration. Improvements in communication and the accessibility of information have in part been driven by the emergence of Web 2.0 technologies (also referred to as the read, write web) that enable individuals not only to consume content but also to participate in the creation, sharing and remixing of information. Social media tools such as blogs, wikis, media sharing and social networking sites have done away with the need for individuals to know how to code and supported increased web accessibility and usability and ultimately growing engagement with technology. These tools are also being adopted in education and healthcare where they are supporting innovation and engagement with stakeholders. There are, however, also some risks associated with using these new technologies that are particularly pertinent in the healthcare setting. As a result access to these tools and websites is often restricted and for those healthcare professionals in NHS settings and for those involved in teaching and for students on NHS clinical attachments this can prove both limiting and frustrating.
This paper provides an overview of how Web 2.0 technologies are being used to support teaching, learning and research in higher education highlights some of the risks associated with the use of social media in relation to NHS staff and to propose that training could raise awareness of these risks as well the potential benefits details common problems with NHS IT hardware and software faced by staff with a role in higher education and concludes with a summary overview of common Web 2.0 and social media tools and their potential benefits, risks and suggested recommendations for access.