What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is approaching being passe but it is still interesting to me that the term has varying meanings depending on who you ask.  I found this today on the new Microsoft World Wide Telescope website:

“Web 2.0 is the next generation of the World Wide Web wherein technologies and social practices use metadata or tags to enable communication and resource sharing in a variety of forms (text, audio, video, links, etc.) through the Web without a centralized authority’s intervention or approval. Rich visualization software provides a graphical visualization of large structured data sets. The software’s interactive graphical user interface provides users with a more data-rich presentation of the data and enables them to explore, filter, analyze, and interact with the data, resulting in a better understanding of that data.”

From this page: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/whatIs/whatIsWWT.aspx

Thank you Microsoft.

Others of course claim that Web 2.0 does not really exist and still others claim that it has to do with the social web rather than the commercial web that pre-dated the dot-com bust.

For me Web 2.0 is all about data driven websites.  Interactive sites that allow you, as the user, to log in and customize your interaction with the site in some way, or give and receive data with the site.  Social networks, blogs and wikis are all examples of this kind of interactive web.  I distinguish Web 2.0 sites from the old HTML sites that gave info and left it at that.  Looking back in time, using the Wayback Machine for example, it is interesting to see web sites from the 90’s that have static front pages providing info on a company or brand and that offer no way to join or get more info beyond what the webmaster chose to put there. Hard to imagine now.

Web 3.0, if there ever is such a thing, will likely be an extension of the web 2.0 data model where data from diverse sites will begin to come together using tags across sites or by linking user profiles across sites.  Somehow the various stores of data will be connected and manipulated by users in ways that the data can not right now because it is tied to one domain or one company.

We’ll see.

UN Data now available to students

The United Nations has created a web site that gives access to the vast amounts of data the UN has been gathering for the past 50 years.  Perfect not only for gathering data but also for easily and quickly grabbing large data sets to work with and analyse.  Check it out: UNData

Teaching Data Literacy

A posting I read today on Jeff Utecht’s blog, Utechtips, got me thinking about data and the enormous amounts of data being collected and created on the web today.  His posting was about a new piece of software demoed at the TED talks called Photosynth.  This web site and software uses tags and photo meta data to make connections between related pictures.
At the end of the day I was in a meeting and we were talking about 21st century skills and helping students become digital citizens.  It made me think about all this data and how students will need data literacy skills to make sense of it all and also to make the connections that will be needed to make new information.


Credit: TED Talks