Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Light, Agile and Flexible

Light, Agile and Flexible: Collaborating the Web 2.0 Way
Presenter: Stephen Downes

http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/cchat.cgi

A live chat item. (very cool - wish I could do video on this).
- the tool is technically 508 complianct but have to supply input on software end.
- only 10 seconds.

Slides available on his site
(so I don't have to type it all.

Collaboration - a wide number of things. Working together, sharing aps and results, work independent and communicate together.

A process of teamwork of some sort.

Main idea of collaboration - sharing of decisions, plans, responsibility, goals.

ID in process of collaboration - major themes
- team creation - connecting or bringing together folks with complementary skills for goal.
- idea generation - creating/producing, brainstorming
- decision-making - process of deciding (polling,etc)
- work/production/creating - track and timeline, can be iterative, common environment.
- recap / reflection

(Yay! I got the LOLcat to work!)

Former collaboration - phones etc.

Now - Web 2.0 - different tools. Transforming them.

Core technologies
- Social networking - the identification of a list of contacts (friends, buddies, etc). The contacts create the connections that allow you to communicate.
+ Instant Messaging - IM, Skype. Organized by list of contact.
+ The combination of lists is your network
+ Little black book is the same mathematics as Facebook, IM, etc.

- Tagging - short for non-structured organization of data / distributed organization of data.
+ Technorati - blog aggregator
+ The word that matches the resource (which means my tag is not so good)
+ Then you can have a whole bunch of resources that match that resource. Search to find that collection.
+ Tagging is the substitution of individual tastes for group taxonomies / predefined taxonomy
+ (really intelligent response to someone who didn't understand tagging and feared that it would ruin social skills) - Tagging provides one context for discussion of common themes.
+ When individuals tag according to their own terms with a range of cultural assumptions and norms, can allow you to read and interpret what the culture as a whole finds descriptive of a resource. Use the community-based knowledge rather than the central knowledge of a librarian. NOT a replacement.

- AJAX - asychronous javascript and xml.
+ A web page. Input data into the webpage - instead of reloading everything all over again, goes to a server and back to the page with the data.
+ The webpage itself stays static except for the precise interaction.
+ Working with continuously saved and updated document. Can see other changes instantaneously.
+ Restricted by browser security
+ Interesting things happen when websites work together. (eg Semantic Web)

Web 2.0 way of doing it lightweight and flexible.
- Use REST (representational state transfer) - use of url to stand for information.
- Rest - point to point. Contact another server directly.
- DOing away with the centralized repository
- Coordination on the spot rather than in the server.

Creates a mess of interactions - mashups through this technology.
- Mash up the information from different servers/sites

Web 2.0 is doing to different servers what Social Networking doing to people. Breaking up the tidy organization and centralization to ad hoc, as needed.

Web 2.0 - JSON - Javascript Object Notation
- Will replace XML
- Representation of data in Javascript Object Notation. Put data in script, ready to go.
- Solves the cross-domain scripting problem. Think about the learning object problem - how do you make the learning object work on the learning management system if the learning object is hosted elsewhere.
- Tag hack - create html page, in header - script tag and import the javascript file with the JSON data set.

Asked if he would post how to do the tag hack - but it does have security issues because accesses sensitive areas of your software.

Collaborative processes being assisted by Web 2.0 technologies
- Team creation performed by Yahoo Groups or even Moodle (Australia Educators).
- Content Mgmt systems allow team creation and collaboration (Drupal).

If you are designing or looking at this technology
- Technologies that work well in a distributed 2.0 environment
+ Support diversity - different sources
+ Support autonomy - do not attempt to coordinate. Decisions to individuals
+ Support openness - do not create exclusive groups. Members in and out.
+ Support interactivity - objects not cumulative, created by interaction with each other (emergence knowledge) that can be seen by others.

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