Purpose – This paper aims to examine pedagogical issues in higher education as a result of the shift to a social networking society where Web 2.0 collaborative technologies increase user creativity, contributing to unique forms of communication and community building that support a “social constructivism”. In this context, it is becoming clear that traditional pedagogical models cannot be sustained into the future. Engaging the digital generation of students in a learning process that emphasizes creation of skill sets that match views on twenty-first-century learning skills (problem solving, self-regulated learning, collaboration, sharing ideas, focus on learning etc.) as well as views on 21st-century employability skills (communication, collaboration, creativity, leadership and technology proficiency, etc.) is the new imperative. This paper seeks to identify related pedagogical challenges and to provide some recommendations for higher education institutions towards tackling these challenges.
Design/methodology/approach – A literature review of the opportunities presented by emerging Web 2.0 technologies and critical assessment of the challenges in addressing the transformation of pedagogical needs is the approach taken in this paper.
Findings – Emerging Web 2.0 technologies are pervading higher education and have the potential to trigger learning innovation and enhance teaching and learning. However, technologies are and remain tools and cannot by themselves generate innovation, nor realize many educators' vision for technology to improve education. Technology by itself cannot change the nature of classroom instruction unless educators are able to evaluate and integrate the use of that technology into the curriculum. Changes such as addressing organizational and cultural factors that reflect the whole institution governance community's combined efforts to create a new and all embracing concept for higher education are also necessary. By identifying and addressing those dimensions of organizational development which are most affected by drivers and directions of change, higher education can remain relevant in the future.
Originality/value – The paper provides a theoretical analysis in relation to the pedagogical role of social technologies in teaching and learning, with concern for the contrast between generational differences in relation to perceptions of learning and teaching and the limitations of technology.