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The Low-Down on Web 2.0

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Many of us have become very used to, or comfortable with, web 1.0. That is, websites that we can simply view, read, look at, but never interact-with or edit in any way. However, web 2.0 is beginning to make it’s debut through an increasing number of websites. Tim O’Reilly, in “What is Web 2.0?” discusses the fact that web 2.0 is now allowing people like you and I to interact with, edit, and change websites. In other words, we are becoming the curators of many different sites, instead of only certain people who are employed to manage the websites. Take Wikipedia, for example; any one is able to log on, and change any part of the site that they think should be updated or corrected. It allows people from all over the world to use their knowledge collectively to contribute. Web 2.0 success comes from sites which “embrace the power of the wed to harness collective intelligence.”

Perhaps the most fun and interesting aspect of web 2.0 is the use of blogs. Bryan Alexander comments in “Web 2.0 Storytelling” that blogging allows for people to be digital story-tellers. Blogging can quickly feel very easy and natural (I know this from experience) which makes it fun and convenient, and very useful to use as a tool in the classroom. It is also an amazing representation of students’ personalities. O’Reilly also mentions the ability to subscribe to blogs, saying that this is an awesome tool since subscribers can receive notifications every time the page is updated. Blogging is, altogether, a great way to story-tell, or just get knowledge and thoughts out in the open for others to read and react to.

Similar to blogging is the Creative Commons which allows anyone access to a wide range of different works. It is a wonderful alternative to the traditional copyright which allows works to be either in the “public domain” or declares “all rights reserved”. The Creative Commons create a climate of openness and sharing, much like a blog. “Higher education is rooted in the belief that the free exchange of knowledge is fundamental to the common good.” This will allow us future teachers to have broad access to different works for use in our classroom and can be a wonderful resource for our students, as well.

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