Web 2.0 in the Classroom – Part 2

In the first article in this series Web 2.0 in the Classroom, you explored the basics of web 2.0 and how the genre got its name. Now let’s take a look at the two big categories of web 2.0.

Social media

There is no bigger topic in the world of web 2.0 than social media. For this course, let’s define social media as any website where people can interact with each other in a mainly text-based format. These days that covers just about the entire internet! Of course images and videos are an important part of social media but text is king. Some examples include blogs, social networks and online forums.

As a user, you create your own page, upload photos, videos and just about anything else. You comment on your friends’ pages thereby creating content. Those webpages did not exist until you created it with your own content. Youtube and other video sharing sites also fall into the social media category. When you upload a video of your cat doing tricks, you have created content and other people can interact with you through the website.

In the business world, the term web 2.0 is often interchangeable with the term social media.

Social Media - Teach AmazingIn the classroom, leveraging the power of social media is an excellent tool for both communication and learning. Examples of how to use social media in your classroom will be given in future posts.

Cloud-based apps

Another broad category of web 2.0 is cloud-based apps. These websites provide you tools to create a wide variety of content without installing applications on your computer. So, it seems like you are running a program on your computer but it’s actually all on their site.

If you hear a teacher saying they found a cool website, they are most likely referring to a web-based app. For example, you can create music, design graphics and edit videos all within your browser and without expensive software. You are still creating content but the focus is the product and not the social interaction.

The term “cloud” refers to accessing an application or information via a network, most likely the internet, instead of directly from your computer.

Cloud-based apps are key part of web 2.0 in the classroom and will be the focus of much of this series of posts. You will discover all sorts of cool websites and tips for using them in your class.

Hybrid websites

Although, for the purposes of these articles, the huge world of web 2.0 is lumped into two main categories, it’s important to note most websites have characteristics of both groups. For example, a website where you create digital stories (cloud-based app) may also have a way to leave comments (social media) for other users. Just keep in mind web 2.0 functionality varies greatly and there is a big grey area between cloud-based apps and social media websites.

Now that you know the basics of web 2.0 and two huge categories to try to fit all the websites into, the next post will take a look at the benefits of using web 2.0 in the classroom.

What sites are you using? Be sure to post a comment and thank you for reading the education blog Teach Amazing!