Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Web 2.0 Tools for Knowledge Management

Presentation summary from
Boston Knowledge Management Forum Symposium on Leveraging Knowledge
What is KM 2.0? Is it real, or just vendor hype?

Mark Frydenberg, Senior Lecturer, Computer Information Systems Department, Bentley College
Recent years have seen a shift in how people have used the World Wide Web as it evolved from a tool for disseminating information and conducting business to a platform facilitating new ways of information sharing, collaboration, and communication in a digital age. A new vocabulary has emerged, as mashups, flickr, YouTube,, twitter, and WikiPedia have come to characterize the genre of interactive applications collectively known as Web 2.0. This session will provide an overview of Web 2.0 tools and concepts, and describe how they may be used to create, share, and manage knowledge.
Mark started off by showing a video, The Machine Is Using Us. Mark sees difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is that Web 1.0 is about linking documents and Web 2.0 is about linking people. Web 2.0 is more about applications than webpages.

Most of his presentation was an introduction of Web 2.0 technologies and websites.

It was interesting to see what he was making his students do as part of his classes. One thing I notices was that his students did not take full advantage of the tools. For example, he made his students collaborate using Google Docs to write a research paper. In one example it was clear that the student wrote the paper somewhere else and just pasted into the Google Doc. In another example, one student did all of the writing. I think we may be overestimating how proficient college students are with Web 2.0.

Mark was very interested in Mashups. One of the features of Web 2.0 is the ability to easily pull information from different sources. My personal mashup is my transactions map. This turns a list of the real estate transactions I have closed and converts it into a visual map display. (I have not updated it in a while.) There is also the lifestream I created in Yahoo Pipes.

One of the things that strikes me is the ability to view and find information in different ways. In looking at the list of subscribers to this blog, Feedburner shows over 40 different ways the subscribers grab and view the content. I see one of the keys of KM 2.0 is giving people the way to find information in a variety of different ways and view the information in a variety of ways.

UPDATE: Mark has posted his slides. Web 2.0 Tools for Knowledge Management


  1. Thanks for the summary. I was sorry that my teaching schedule didn't permit me to stay for the entire day.

    My slides are posted here and they should also make it on the KM Forum site soon.

    It was just my luck that the group whose Google doc I happened to click on ended up not completing the assignment entirely using Google Docs. Most groups did. In the case of this particular group, I'm not sure if it was an issue of student laziness or lack of proficiency.

    This is the second semester since I started teaching Web 2.0 concepts to college freshmen. A quick survey I gave at the beginning of the semester showed that many students hadn't heard the term Web 2.0 before taking my class, but were already using applications that we would characterize as Web 2.0. For many of them Web 2.0 is synonymous with facebook and wikipedia, but tagging with, posting pictures on flickr, using twitter, and contributing to a wiki are new experiences. Realizing that most of these activities leaves an RSS bread crumb trail that can be easily aggregated surprises them.

    My challenge in using Web 2.0 tools to teach Web 2.0 concepts in the classroom is really about creating realistic, simple scenarios (such as writing a collaborative paper, or having each student contribute one exam question and answer to a collaborative study sheet on a wiki) that will make clear the advantages and benefits that Web 2.0 tools provide.

  2. The point Mark made, which you picked up on, about our overestimation of GenY/Millenial's proficiency with 2.0 tools for productivity was what really struck me most about Mark's presentation. (Well, and Popfly, Popfly rocks!)
    But I do think there's a sweet spot - and of course I think it's my age group (those of us currently around 25-35 who aren't really X or Y) because we were exposed to the emergence of many of these technologies in the early days of our career, before we could become fixed in our business tools and while we still considered it a good idea to use "unsupported" tools if it gets the job done, but at an age when we were old enough to harness them more for productivity than for sheer socializing. And I think that it's a good thing, in terms of inter-generational mentoring. We are in a good position to help out both younger and older colleagues at companies wise enough to harness that.


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