Tech Dossier

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0, also called the Read/Write Web, is a phrase coined by noted web visionary Tim O'Reilly to describe the change in the web after the dot-com bubble burst in the late 1990's. The term "Read/Write Web" is an apt description of what the web has become because it is now so easy for any user of the internet to create lasting content for others to see, react to, connect to and even change. Here is a great list that describes the essential ingredients of what we mean by Web 2.0 (taken from Dion Hinchcliffe's blog):

  • The Web and all its connected devices as one global platform of reusable services and data- you have the ability to go anywhere and use a variety of services on the internet and are not constrained by borders, and you have the ability to access data in a way unlike ever before.
  • Data consumption and remixing from all sources, particularly user generated data- Data is continually reused and changed to fit particular needs of individuals
  • Continuous and seamless update of software and data, often very rapidly- So many users and developers can create and contribute to what is going on.
  • Rich and interactive user interfaces- Everything looks so shiny!
  • Architecture of participation that encourages user contribution- Most sites are now set up for you to participate in them either by creating content or by joining/creating a social network.

Basic Vocabulary

Blog - short for Web Log; not a diary, not a journal, but far surpasses those two outlets for one reason: by nature, blogs are conversations that take place, led by the author but driven by the comments that come back to the author. Blogging as professionals opens us up to other professionals for feedback, constructive criticism, and inspiration. Blogging is not just the act of writing your own blog, but also of reading others in order to learn.

Wiki - technology used to make website editing universal and fast. Several people can edit a wiki at once and without knowledge of complex computer language. Designed to take advantage of collective intelligence. District wikis.

RSS - essentially stands for Really Simple Syndication. Imagine you subscribe to the New York Times or the local paper and it is delivered every morning to your doorstep. RSS does this for you with online content, except in the case of RSS, it is much more than just a paper; any type of content can be automatically "fed" to your "aggregator" (see below) for you to monitor. No longer do you have to search the web for information--it can be made to come to you!

Podcast - from Wikipedia: A podcast is a media file that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers.[1] Like 'radio', it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term "podcast" is derived from Apple's portable music player, the iPod. A pod refers to a container of some sort and the idea of broadcasting to a container or pod correctly describes the process of podcasting.[2

Videocast - like podcasting above, but the audio is accompanied by video or images. Also can be called vlogging (video blogging). Becoming increasingly popular with the rise of YouTube and Google Video, among others.

Aggregator - software that collects our RSS feeds into one place for you to read, organize and filter. This is the key ingredient to taming the voluminous amount of information out there on the web. Some examples are Pageflakes, Netvibes, Google Reader, Bloglines, Newsgator, My Yahoo.

Social Bookmarking/Tagging - from Wikipedia: In a social bookmarking system, users store lists of Internet resources that they find useful. These lists are either accessible to the public or a specific network, and other people with similar interests can view the links by category, tags, or even randomly. Some allow for privacy on a per-bookmark basis. They also categorize their resources by the use of informally assigned, user-defined
external image web20people.jpg
external image web20people.jpg
keywords or tags (see folksonomy). Tags are the keywords you attach to a site or resource you would like to add to your bookmarks.

Screencasts - using your screen as a video; people help others by recording their computer screen along with their voice to explain how to accomplish a task or work an application.

Read/Write Web - the idea that the internet is no longer a one-way portal. Content is now flowing in both directions--to the user and from the user.

School 2.0 - from School 2.0's blog: "the 'next generation of school' that can be supported by an integrated technology infrastructure...schools must transform in order to meet the multiple challenges of the 21st century: accountability, student engagement and achievement, and economic competitiveness."

Characterized by the teacher as the lone owner of content and knowledge. Teacher delivers, students receive and give back through assessment.

Characterized by less reliance on teacher as lone purveyor of knowledge and more on global teachers and skills. Students become creators of both content and assessment.