Jack Kenny reviews The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book by Terry Freedman
Terry Freedman, who has compiled and edited this ebook is a very special person and his book is very important. I understand that his previous free Web 2.0 book, Coming of Age, was downloaded 60,000 times! Amazing! And his new one has already had 7,000 downloads, so nothing that I say in this review will make any difference will it?
The book is free and there is a tendency to treat free material less critically than if it was priced at £20. The “after all you got it for nothing” syndrome creeps in. There is no reason why it should be treated any differently. Terry produced some great material on Every Child Matters when everyone was sitting on their hands. Terry sees gaps and fills them.
So, at the start, before I start to look in detail, I want to say that you should get hold of this book. It is better than anything else around. It could, however, have been so much better.
The book cries – even yells – out for an index. Instead of just piling up the projects some thought should have been given to the way that a reader will approach this material. Teachers are very pragmatic and would appreciate ways of navigating. For instance, at the beginning of the book there is a short guide to the project by subject. Very useful, but even more so if the projects had been hyperlinked.
With so many contributors there is an understandably wide variation in style and focus. You go from the garrulous to the incisive and from the terse to the effusive. Detail is overdone in some cases and more is needed in others. The hand of an editor would have been welcome.
Irritatingly, it is sometimes difficult to tell where one project ends and another begins. Formatting and use of spacing could cure some of that. Some of the projects described are idiosyncratic. The section on British literature reads like some very traditional approaches cloaked in new technology. I think that few English teachers in the UK would find much inspiration there.
I am, however, very grateful for being introduced indirectly to "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Web 2.0". What it says in its entry on the page is not particularly inspiring. It is only when you delve behind the entry that you find a wonderful site that is doing some of the things that I hoped the book itself would do. It focuses on the applications and what can be done with them. For instance, it takes Sumo Paint, an image editor, and asks questions. What can you use the application for? Who would you recommend the application to? How does the application look and feel to use? It looks at other applications in the same way. It also has a very useful list of applications.
Finally, some random reflections. The international nature of the contributions is interesting. I would imagine that the majority are not from the UK. Does that mean that we are behind in taking up Web 2.0? Is Fronter a Web 2.0 application? Is Garage Band Web 2.0?
In spite of all my carping, do download the book.
The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book
Edited by Terry Freedman
Freely downloadable book covering 87 projects with information from 94 contributors
Available from the "free stuff" section of Terry Freedman's ICT in Education website