Internet 2 and Web 2.0

I had a question yesterday in a guest lecture for a Introduction to Reference class: “What’s the difference between Internet 2 and Web 2.0?”

Here’s a definition I’ve used form a post at ALA Techsource: Web 2.0 is the next incarnation of the WWW, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds. Other Web 2.0 tools syndicate and aggregate this content. We will all be publishers and creators of our own information and entertainment channels with these applications.

Internet 2 is defined on the Internet2 About page as “a not-for-profit advanced networking consortium comprising more than 200 U.S. universities in cooperation with 70 leading corporations, 45 government agencies, laboratories and other institutions of higher learning as well as over 50 international partner organizations.” Also: “Internet2 members leverage our high-performance network infrastructure and extensive worldwide partnerships to support and enhance their educational and research missions. Beyond just providing network capacity, Internet2 actively engages our community in the development of important new technology including middleware, security, network research and performance measurement capabilities which are critical to the progress of the Internet.

I don’t know a lot about I2, but it will be interesting to see what happens. I do know that anything that enables students to access information, share learning and collaborate via a faster internet should be paramount to educators. In the shift toward models of learning embedded in social networks and creative, student-generated content, providing resources for speedy connections an breaking down barriers will only enhance the learning environment.