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What Is Web 2.0?


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#1 Andrew Field

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 11:57 AM

'Web 2.0' is a term often used, but rarely specifically defined.  If you do a Google search you find an extensive article from September 2005:

http://www.oreillyne...-is-web-20.html

Now, quite rightly it is tricky to define the concept, and in reality we don't really need to.  I quite dislike the concept of labelling new technologies with some broard term.  Essentially it seems to be that the 'Web 2.0' can be given to any new internet-based concept that provides some element of control and ownership for the user.

Yet, in my mind, this is what Macromedia and now Adobe have been doing with Flash ever since it hit the mainstream.  Web 2.0 is also used for many javascript powered tools using 'Ajax'.  Ajax is really just a new term for use of javascript on a webpage.

However, the main reason for the term 'Web 2.0' seems to be that it helps everyone identify the way the internet is now developing and changing.  Read the article above for some in-depth ideas.

Doug and I have established this section of the practice area on this forum so we can all discuss, share and innovate.  Effective use of RSS, podcasting and other similar tools that allow educators and students to take ownership of internet-based materials can all appear in this section.

So, even though I don't like the concept, or rather the use of a term to define the concept, let's go with it!

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In the O'Reilly article, they use a number of useful headings:

1. Web as a platform
2. Harnessing Collective Intelligence
3. Data is the Next Intel Inside
4. End of the Software Release Cycle
5. Lightweight Programming Models
6. Software Above the Level of a Single Device
7. Rich User Experiences

These are all great headings and help us define what Web 2.0 means.  In my mind, as I've said above, Web 2.0 is anything that allows the user to take control of the content.

The above titles, from my limited understanding can thus be used by teachers in the following ways. Using the web as a platform means that the internet is used like an operating system used to be - the internet is the base where programs and applications run.

Harnessing Collective intelligence means that the internet is used to make the most of, quite literally, joined up thinking.  Through the use of blogs, wikis, forums ideas and suggestions can be shared and ideas advanced.  'Data as the next intel inside' simply means that the content is now key.  Yet surely, for us as teachers it always has been hasn't it?

The 'end of the software release cycle' means that as the internet is now the base operating system, you don't need to keep installing and reinstalling updates and upgrades.  As applications are delivered through the internet the end user doesn't have to do anything.  A company updates the application themselves and the end user just uses it.  Lightweight progamming models refers to the fact that online applications needs to be lightweight and refined, not bogged down with thousands of lines of code.  New applications need to be sleek and work instantly.

Closely related 'software above the level of a single device' means that applications don't just work on a PC, instead they should work on any computer, any mobile device and any future technology.  Finally, rich-user experiences refers to the fact that as the end user is now in control they expect clear, inviting and simple-to-use applications that just work.  Instead of boring, cumbersome applications web 2.0 should offer innovative, inviting applications that make ICT an even more effective tool, not something that is frustrating and irritating.

Anyway, that's my take.  As a Macromedia / Adobe groupie I reckon Flash has had most of web 2.0 covered since the late 1990s but this is all interesting stuff. Please do post your own thoughts together with any additional links / discussions that you come across.

#2 Andrew Field

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 03:40 PM

This part of an article from the excellent A List Apart website nicely sums up my thoughts about Web 2.0:

Quote

What angers me in today’s web, is the term “Web 2.0.” It’s the “2.0” specifically—the idea that the entire web is in for an upgrade, a change for the better to version two.

The web is not a singular application, it is a fluid interface. A means of information distribution, of functionality, of user-interoperability. It does not constrain to any idea of what an application is, because it is the combination of individual applications that make it so fluid. New coding techniques are constantly created, new hacks and workarounds for non-standards-compliant browsers. New ways of putting together existing code are being thought of and put into use every day somewhere on the millions of web pages the internet is home to. We aren’t yet on web 2.0, or internet 2.0, or computing 2.0. This is a dynamic change that will continue to happen whether or not we apply version numbers. The mass of netizens has triggered the implementation of web based applications, not a developer meeting that decided on the version change.


#3 Doug Belshaw

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 04:47 PM

I agree that 'Web 2.0' is a bit of a clumsy name for what is the evolution of the Internet using a combination of technologies, new and old. However, as Wittgenstein pointed out, meaning is determined by use in a 'language game'. So yes, the term may be annoying, but so long as everyone knows what they mean by it, the term shouldn't be too much of a problem...

:plane: Doug

#4 Andrew Field

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 04:54 PM

View PostDoug Belshaw, on Apr 9 2006, 05:47 PM, said:

so long as everyone knows what they mean by it

Indeed.  So what does Web 2.0 mean then?  :lol:

#5 Ed Podesta

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 06:11 AM

View PostAndrew Field, on Apr 9 2006, 05:54 PM, said:

Indeed.  So what does Web 2.0 mean then?  :lol:

If you don't mind me making a entrance by pushing my own site, then take a look at this, for a brief explanation of what i think web.20 means, and some practical implemenations of it.

Ed.

#6 Andrew Field

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 09:41 AM

View PostEd Podesta, on Apr 12 2006, 07:11 AM, said:

If you don't mind me making a entrance by pushing my own site, then take a look at this, for a brief explanation of what i think web.20 means, and some practical implemenations of it.

Ed.

Yes - great stuff, thanks very much.  A very useful and helpful explanation of what web 2.0 means.  However, I do still think it is very difficult for teachers to get a handle on what web 2.0 really means to them.  Your presentation is excellent and will most certainly help!  For teachers who avoid the internet, web 2.0 really should be seen as their way in.  The major danger is that fuzzy terminology such as 'web 2.0' increases, and thus it becomes more difficult for teachers to understand and make effective use of.

I was more asking that specific question for Doug because he'd just stated that

Quote

So yes, the term may be annoying, but so long as everyone knows what they mean by it, the term shouldn't be too much of a problem...
We'd been saying that the term was clumsy and that it was difficult for people to clearly define.   :wacko:

#7 Ed Podesta

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 12:23 PM

View PostAndrew Field, on Apr 12 2006, 10:41 AM, said:

Yes - great stuff, thanks very much.  A very useful and helpful explanation of what web 2.0 means.  However, I do still think it is very difficult for teachers to get a handle on what web 2.0 really means to them.  Your presentation is excellent and will most certainly help!  For teachers who avoid the internet, web 2.0 really should be seen as their way in.  The major danger is that fuzzy terminology such as 'web 2.0' increases, and thus it becomes more difficult for teachers to understand and make effective use of.

I was more asking that specific question for Doug because he'd just stated that
We'd been saying that the term was clumsy and that it was difficult for people to clearly define.   :wacko:

Hmm - I think that I prefer using the phrase "the web as a way of doing things, not just a place to go for information".

Ed.




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