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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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August062007

It’s Never Too Early to Plan for OneWebDay

September 22nd marks the second annual celebration of OneWebDay, when volunteers around the world will do their part to make the Web a better place. What will you and your students do to mark OneWebDay?

As the new school year begins across the United States and elsewhere, I would be remissed if I didn’t direct all of you to your calendars and encourage you to make a note of the week leading up to Saturday, September 22. Because that’s the day that volunteers from across the globe will be celebrating OneWebDay, an annual festival of online awareness and offline activities regarding the role the Web plays in each of our lives.

OneWebDay is the brainchild of Susan Crawford, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law and a board member of ICANN, the organization that governs the policies regarding Internet “top-level” domain names like .com, .org and .net. There are no centrally dictated activities for OneWebDay. Rather, OneWebDay is intended as an opportunity where people can work on their own or form their own projects that give back to the Internet in one way or another, setting up a PC lab at a community center, teaching a neighbor how to video blog, creating a wiki about their neighborhood, etc.

In order to allow participants to track who’s doing what, OneWebDay uses tags and aggregators to piece together all of the activities taking place. For example, by linking to the Technorati tag onewebday this blog entry will automatically appear on the OneWebDay website. That’s because the site checks to see whenever a new site anywhere on the Internet links to that tag, then adds it to their list of participating websites. Similarly, a participant could document their activities that day, uploading photos or video clips to sites like Flickr, YouTube or even SchoolTube, then tag them onewebday. This will also allow them to collect any media that gets produced related to the event.

In theory, OneWebDay could fall during any month of the year, but Crawford and her co-organizers picked September because it would be at the start of a new school year. As fate would have it, this year’s OneWebDay falls on a Saturday, but that doesn’t mean that schools couldn’t organize events that either take place on the weekend or occur over the course of the week, sharing whatever it is they’ve done in time for the actual event.

What exactly might students and teachers want to do in honor of OneWebDay? I asked Crawford to see if she had any suggestions, and here are some of the ideas she shared with me:

Interview parents about life before the Web. Many students take it for granted that the Internet has always been around us. (We know better, of course.) Encourage students to collect stories from parents about how things were different prior to the Web. How did they spend their time differently? What things were harder to do? What things were easier to do? How has it affected the way they live and work? These interviews could be done in the form of text, audio or video, then uploaded somewhere where they can be tagged and shared with other OneWebDay participants.

Help translate the Web. Foreign language teachers can work with their students to find interesting videos in another language, produce a collaborative translation of it, and upload the translation as captioning to the multi-lingual video service DotSub.

Use the WayBack Machine to explore Internet history. The Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine allows users to search for any URL and see how its content has evolved over the years. Students could pick a representative sample of interesting URLs and explore the history, creating multimedia reports around what’s changed over the years and why they think that’s the case.

Conduct a “Day in the Life” Project. Encourage students and their families to document the goings-on of their communities over the course of one day and create a montage of multimedia about it.

Improve Wikipedia. Pick a Wikipedia entry relevant to a topic that’s being studied in the classroom and conduct primary research to improve it.

No matter what you end up doing, you don’t have to be alone coming up with the idea or planning it. There’s a wiki that participants can use to share brainstorming ideas. There’s even a Google Map where you can track geographically what other participants are planning.

What else might you do for OneWebDay? I’d love to hear your ideas. -andy

Filed under : Events, Youth Media

Responses

A bit more than a day, the Global Virtual Classroom program (virtualclassroom.org) provides a OneWebSchoolYear for participants. Teams of schools from around the world get together to build a website, learning not only web skills but more importantly, cross-cultural communication and collaboration.

I was thinking maybe a good project would be a class taping something during the week and then uploading it on the Saturday.

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