A Teenage View of Web 2.0

I recently asked a group of Grade 10 kids recently to review some Web 2.0 apps as part of a Communications assessment task. Basically, I directed them to the Web 2.0 list at www.go2web20.net, and asked them to browse the list to find two apps that looked interesting to them and write a review about them. Of course, this exposed them to quite a few Web 2.0 applications/websites on their quest to find two they liked, and also familiarised them with Web 2.0 as a concept. (Yes, most of them were already familiar with the concept of Web 2.0 and its read/write nature, but many did not connect this stuff with the term Web 2.0). We had been using classroom blogging with Learnerblogs all semester with every student having set up their own blog, and we had also dabbled with wikis as well. Like most teenagers, many of the kids were already avid MySpace and YouTube users, so the jump to learning about more Web 2.0 stuff was a logical one.

I was pleasantly surprised to find just how eloquent, insightful and well written their responses were. Not all of them of course, but a surprising number. What really amazed me was the kids who you could tell were writing because they had something to say, they had an opinon and they wanted to express it. They saw it as more than just a school assignment, but also as a chance to communicate their thoughts. I’ve included a few snippets here and links to the full reviews… if you see anything you like, please leave them a comment on their blog. As you know, getting comments is a critical part of the success cycle for classroom blogging.

First is Melissa with a great review of the music social network, iLike…

iLike? More like iLove! This site iswww.ilike.com and let me just say, if you are a music lover, you will more than like this site! This site is practically dedicated to music both mainstream and independent. It allows you to compare, discover and get a new appreciation for the music you listen to!

It’s about sharing your picks, discovering new bands & artists. This site also has people comparing their choices to others, chatting about music, and even getting music recommended to you based upon your preferences! You can download iLike onto your computer and if you have iTunes, iLike will upload your playlists (Top 25, Recently Added, Highest Rated… etc) and compare those to others. This site is also quite easy to use. Signing up for an account is extremely easy, even the computer-challenged people can do it. All you have to enter when you sign up is your email, a password of your choice, your name and your postal code. The site even has a tour for those who tend to get lost on the internet (I know so many people who do!). Read more of Melissa’s post on iLike

I particularly liked the way Melissa used hyperlinks to create links to many of the ideas she referred to, creating a real web of ideas. And then there is Michelle’s excellent critical review of the online video sharing site, Viddler…

With 2006 having been the “Year of YouTube“, I thought it’d be kind of cool to look at one of those other video hosting sites available. Since I’ve been part of YouTube for a while, I know at least the basics of the type of web tool. So I looked at the list of Web 2.0 sites available for video hosting and picked the site with the funniest name; Viddler.com. Yes, I had a good chuckle over that, perhaps it’s because I watched too much Batman as a child. Anyways, because I had never even heard of this site before, I signed up for the free service and got to work exploring the site.

Viddler is an online video-hosting site. You can use it to upload your own video files, or record a file straight from your recording device to the website. Your file is then stored on the site and available for comments and viewing by other members (that is, depending on whether or not you set your video to “Public” or “Private” use). The site also promises to give your video embedding and URL abilities, as well as enhancement features. People use this site (and sites like it) for homemade video projects such as video blogging and well, whatever they record that they feel like sharing with the world.

Now, when a site is described to me as “a fresh, creative web application that lets you upload, enhance and share digital video quickly and easily inside your web browser”. I’m expecting something pretty cool, with a neat gadget or two that will make my videos look like it took twice as much effort to make it than it really did. What I got, didn’t do half of that – in fact it did none of that. More from Michelle about Viddler.

I was impressed by the fact that she used it, found it didn’t do things as well as she felt it should, and was prepared to tell us about it. Or what about Josh’s review of the video dating site,PodDater…

The first site that I am doing is www.poddater.com. The main concept of pod dating is relatively simple. What you have to do is sign up for the site then you can find people all over the world, in your country or city that are on the site who are looking for a relationship or friends. You can specifically find people in your area or you can just browse through profiles and check out the ones you like. Pod dater sounds like a normal dating site but it has its differences. For one, the reason why it is called pod dating is because when you make a profile you are supposed to take a short video of yourself and post it on your profile. This helps the people that are interested see that it is really you and lets them know a little about you. There is also another exciting difference about pod dater, you can download your pod daters onto your iPod so that you know who they are when you meet them.
Many people use this site who vary in ages. The main target age of the site is for people around 18-45. This site also isn’t just a dating site, you can specifically find people that just want friends that you can talk to. This site promotes communication, collaboration, sharing and social networking by showing other people that it is really you and telling them about yourself instead of being just another profile on a plain dating site. It helps people realizes that you are real and not using a fake picture to impress people. It also helps sharing because when the person that you are going to meet downloads your video clip onto their iPod the can share your video with other people. More from Josh about PodDater.

Well written I thought, and he goes on to cover the important features of the app, but mainly he communicates those impressions with quite some clarity. The final example is from Caitlin who tells us about a cool Web 2.0 site called Fashmatch, where one can go to get the social networking equivalent of fashion advice…

Looking for a new look, or fashion advice, but don’t want to shop around for hours, or ask a sales person what they think knowing their answer will be “That’s looks great on you!” Well now there is an easier and more effective way, something a magazine or mall can’t give you! And it’s done in your computer and in the comfort of your own home! There’s a site called Fash Match, http://fashmatch.com/, and you can find all this there.

The site is devoted to fashion. You can go there and register for free, and once you’re registered you can create a profile. On your profile you have the usual information, user name, location, birthday etc. You can also add your hobbies, favorite quotes, comments you have, and if you have a Myspace, you can add your Myspace address.

On this site you make outfits using the huge selection of clothes and accessories they provide. When you are logged into your account, you can make matches by clicking the match tab. There you pick what piece you want to start with whether it’s a dress, pair of pants, top, purse or anything else you can find either in the search engine or in the items provided at the left side of the screen. Once you’ve made an outfit that your happy with you can add it to your wish list, or publish it on your profile. When people visit your profile they can rate your overall profile and the individual matches you have made. You can also visit other people profiles and rate them. And if they have an outfit you really like you can add it to your wish list. You can also buy the clothes, accessories, and outfits you make on the site.

You can add matchers on the site who you like and your friends to your favorite matchers list. There’s a section where you can add your favorite brands and another section where you can show what you are wearing that day! When you have a piece of clothing you can add it to your closet. And you can now also upload your own clothes!! You can take pictures of individual pieces of clothing that you own and upload the photo, including the your name, brand, price, a description of the piece of clothing, the style and anything else you have to say about it! Then you can show off your unique and personal style to the other users! And if they like your matches enough, they can be displayed on the home page!

I liked this site and even made my own account! I like it because there’s a lot of clothes to choose from, a lot of different things that match, they’re all in one place, and you can buy the outfits or single pieces you really like so that make it’s really convenient. As long as you don’t get carried away with the shopping! I also like how you can upload your own clothes. I think that they should add a guys section to the site with guys clothes and stuff, it would be a lot more interesting. Overall, this site is original and fun.

On the whole, I was quite impressed with the effort and the thought the kids put into this task. I thought their responses showed quite a bit of maturity for Grade 10s and they obviously had a good grasp of this Web 2.0 stuff. You can find the actual task, (which you’ll see was quite open ended, with lots of choice) and the links to all the kids blogs over at betch.learnerblogs.org.

CC BY-SA 4.0 A Teenage View of Web 2.0 by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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