Participatory Web

Paticipatory web refers to a new generation of online web tools also known as Web 2.0. They tend to be collaboratory in nature and lend themselves to social networking, distribution systems, and personalized communication. Below are a few broad terms and brief definitions. For more in depth discussions search for these headings at Wikipedia.

This outstanding video by Michael Wesch
Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology
Kansas State University
Thanks to Dave Sherman, principal at South Park for the heads up


Blog is short for weblog. It is a particular type of website where postings are listed in reverse chronological order, or newest on top. Although blogs began as text based sites, blogs that focus on or incorporate pictures, video, and audio are becoming more popular. Blogs typically provide some sort of running commentary on topics such as politics, technology, music,or movies. Most blogs allow users on the web to provide feedback or leave comments related to postings.

In District 109 we use November Learning as our blog host. Our URL is This site is devised specifically for schools and allows educators to moderate all posts from the web. Nothing is posted to a teacher's blog until she has seen it.


A wiki is a website that allows collaborative authoring. A wiki can be thought of as a knowledge base created by its users. Wikis also employ online discussion space as well as the ability to revert to previous entries. Discussion and the ability to revert to older versions are important functions when using collaborative authoring sites as individuals often debate on content.

The wiki you are reading is created by the staff members of Deerfield Public Schools.


A podcast is recorded sound or video distributed via a website or blog. Podcasts usually employ some level of narration, whether they take the form of a show or a tutorial. Podcast is a combination of the words iPod and broadcast. It has become a common misconception that you need an iPod to create or receive a podcast. If you can record it and post it to a website and someone else can listen to've created a podcast! The most common format for recording audio is mp3.

Useful sites for the burgeoning podcaster:
Free recording software

Online Podcasting Sites
Yahoo's Podcast Site


RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. Web page authors use RSS feeds to easily distribute their content to a wider audience. Once someone subscribes to an RSS feed they can view new updates easily without venturing to that site. Instead subscriptions or feeds are maintained via blogs and other website or feed readers such as Bloglines. A handy guide to using Bloglines was written by Chicago Tribune writer Eric Zorn.

RSS in Depth via links by Will Richardson.


Tags or tagging is a web based labeling method. An increasing number of web sites include tagging and there are web sites like that use tagging as a way of bookmarking and organizing favorites. Tags differ from user to user, they are personal - but using the same tags allow users to share information or to seek it from people with similar interests. This loose style of labeling and organisation has become known as folksonomy, derived from folks and taxonomy.

Small sample of sites that use tags


Voice over Internet Protocol allows users to converse over computer networks. Options such as video-conferencing, text instant messaging, file sharing, desktop sharing, and broadcasting are being offered. One large benefit to VoIP is the cost. Some professionally installed services such as Comcast Digital Voice or Vonage have a price significantly lower than traditional phone services while surpassing the older technologies in options. Other VoIP networks such as Skype, Sightspeed, MindSpring, and iCall offer many services for free.