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Even though I think about Web 2.0, write about Web 2.0, and promote Web 2.0 tools, I still struggle to explain the concepts behind Web 2.0 to educators who have no idea what it is. When their eyes glaze over, I realize that I've already said too much. Is it even possible to explain Web 2.0 in one or at most two sentences? OK, I'd be happy with five sentences. Or five non-threatening keywords, uttered like bullets in a very non-Web 2.0 PowerPoint presentation. I would like to know the shortest, sweetest definitions my colleagues use when trying to explain Web 2.0 to co-workers, students, parents, and administrators. What do you say that turns on a light?

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Hello Mary,

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc, who publish those O'Reilly computer books everyone is familiar with has his own online blog and came up with a definition of Web 2.0 in 2005 and tried again in 2006. It is not in bullet format but it is a start:

2005 definition:

2006 definition:

Key concepts were defined by the Blog Read/WriteWeb:

Here are some I found:

Point of Presence
Web Services
distributed services architecture
The Web as Platform
media and devices
simplicity and flexibility

Richard Beaudry
Teacher Librarian
It's about having a network like the Verizon guys-your network of 2.0 people go everywhere you go.
Wow, I like that analogy, Cathy. Not just that you have the network of people everywhere you go, but that the tools are available everywhere you go. New 2.0 users often have trouble getting their minds around the idea that almost nothing needs to be housed on your computer anymore.

Here are a few keywords that come to mind when I think of Web 2.0:
*creative commons
***collective intelligence
Thanks for your thoughts (and links), Richard and Cathy. I hope a few others will contribute, as I do believe we face the need to explain Web 2.0 in the simplest way possible on a nearly daily basis. Cathy, your comment made me realize yet again the power of a metaphor.

Here's a short comment by Kevin Magee with his own "definitions" of Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 that I thought you might enjoy:

Web 1.0: People connecting to the Web (P2W?). i.e. “Wow, I’m on the Internet!�?

Web 2.0: People connecting to other People (P2P?) i.e. Social networking, wikis, collaboration, sharing.

Web 3.0: Web apps connecting to web apps on behalf of People to enrich online experiences (W2W?) i.e. The Symantec Web, the Geospatial Web application awareness of context, autonomy from the browser.

Web 4.0: The web become sentient, rises up, conquers the world and enslaves the human race? (W>P?)
I found some very short and very simple videos that do the trick.
Atomic Learning:

Hello everyone. . .
why not use our favorite teaching tool. . .? Analogies. . .
Something like:
Web 2.0 : Internet :: telephone : telegraph
or perhaps
Web 2.0 : Internet :: wikipedia : encyclopedia
or perhaps even
Web 2.0 : Internet :: banana : orange
hahahah. . . fooled you on that last one, didn't I?>>

In this fashion, we can create analogies to the technology expertise of the audience if we can find out in advance, a little research will provide many analogy possibilities>>

Web 2.0 : Internet :: automobile : horse and buggy

Web 2.0 : Internet :: space shuttle : Kitty Hawk (perhaps too much of a stretch here)

Web 2.0 : Internet :: global positioning by satellite (GPS) : maps

Make any sense? If not, we'll just call it a little non-sense and let it go at that. . .

Until that time. . . Earl J.
Hi Friends,
This little chart I made for workshops may help. I'll post it in the pics area too.
Thank you to all who have replied since my last thank you! Pat Ropchan's videos, Earl Moniz's fun analogies, and Joyce Valenza's clear and helpful chart have enhanced the earlier replies in unique ways. I am currently participating in the 23 Things tutorials from the California Library Association, and I recommend those to anyone who--like me--is tired of feeling like a perpetual novice.

One of my favorite explanations of Web 2.0 in education is by Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0. It's considerably longer than a one-liner, but well worth reading.


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