Cyber Ethics and Web Tools

The uses of web technology has changed the way people communicate with each other and make ethical decisions. Web technologies are tools people use to access information over the Internet. The web connects computers using protocols.

Are we using Web 2.0 or 3.0?

The development of web technologies has changed definitions for several decades, separating what is considered web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and so forth. Professor Michael Wesch of Kansas State University has connected how the flexibility of digital text has influenced the content, data, and form of the web (Wesch 2007). The significant changes to web technologies is tied to how digital text is used to define what information people see and access in their daily lives.

Web 1.0 includes the conventions of building and commercializing the web, HTTP protocol, HTML and XML code, Internet Service Providers, the first web browsers and tools, Java, and Javascript (Spivack 2014). The definition of Web 2.0 has been open to debate, but may be agreed as a “shift in the way digital information is created, shared, stored, distributed, and manipulated” (Wolcott 2007). Conventions may include social networking, wiki, communication tools, “folksonomies”, collaboration and sharing, and the use of mobile devices (Spivack 2014). As of 2014, current web technologies are moving to a newer cycle web 3.0, where conventions may include the “intelligent web”, open technology and identity, network computing, and ubiquitous connectivity (Spivack 2014). There is no official guideline or definition of what separates the three levels of web technology. However it is important to consider that earlier web technologies are still prevalent in newer web technologies; web 1.0 is the foundation, or bottom of the pyramid, of web 2.0 and 3.0. Without web 1.0, there is no web 2.0.

The generations that use Web 1.0-3.0 grew up immersed in web technology and is able to adapt because of the versatile uses it has in daily life. Michael Wesch wrote “XML and [you and me] create a database-backed web” so that when “we post and tag pictures” we “are teaching the machine” (Wesch 2007). When we index, tag, and share our information in web 2.0, we create an extensive database of information harbored online beyond the desktop. Developers are even programming machines to rationalize and connect ideas while organizing massive information, leading to the intelligent web and natural language processing (such as Siri and “okay Google” feature on mobile devices) of web 3.0 (Spivack 2014). We create content, collaborate with other humans, making it accessible from any device anywhere in the world, and we use the machines to recognize our language to search not only information we want, but information related based on the input of other people.

Using Web Tools in Educational Environments

According to Discovery Education’s YouTube video, web 2.0 tools leads to engagement, differentiation in learning styles, critical thinking skills, new capabilities, and alternative learning environments. Discovery Education’s website provides a rich resource of available tools and advice on using them in the classroom. Some resources they shared are Slideshare, Prezi, Animoto, PollEverywhere, Jott, Class Blogmeister, and also has an index of web 2.0 websites including a category for e-learning and collaboration. Some example tools educators can use include a Quizinator, Google Drive, PowToon, Group Table, EduSlide, GradeBook, and Storybird.

Ethical uses of Web Tools

Web 2.0 tools enable users to communicate and collaborate on ideas and goals. When using these tools, always ask these questions in mind:

  • Is it OK to display my personal information if I am under 18 years of age?
  • Is it OK to display personal information about others on the Internet?
  • Who owns the intellectual property and what should I be allowed to use the property?

When working on research projects using web tools, it is important to respect the rights of other users in regard to intellectual property. Many online users “post, copy, edit, and remix visual media content” that have “changed the way we create, share, and experience visual media” (Ekstrand 2014). However copyright law still applies on the web. Students and Educators may apply the fair use doctrine, which allows use of copyrighted work as long as it is used for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. But according to, stealing someone else’s words, ideas, images, videos, and music is still plagiarism. Despite the fair use doctrine being applicable to educational environments, students must always cite their sources.



Discover Education (2014). Web 20.14 Tools. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from

DiscoveryED2010Web. (2010, January 6). Web20_Intro.flv. Retrieved September 14th from

Ekstrand, V. (2014, July 22). Remixing, Reposting, and Reblogging: Digital Media, Theories of the Image, and Copyright Law. Visual Communication Quarterly, 21(2).  Retrieved September 29th, 2014 from (n.d.) Online tools and applications. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from

Spivack, N. (2014). Web 3.0: The Third Generation Web is Coming. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from

Wesch, M. (2007, March 8). The Machine is Us/ing Us. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from

What is Plagiarism? (2014). Retrieved from

Wolcott, M. (2007, May 15). What is web 2.0? Retrieved September 14, 2014 from






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