Thing 1: Read & watch the following perspectives on Web 2.0, technology and digital citizenship. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Welcome parents, we're so glad you're here!

The term Web 2.0 is commonly associated with applicaitons and sites that allow for information sharing and collaboration on the World Wide Web. The history of the modern Internet can be traced all the way back to the early generations of computers in the 1950's and 1960's. The original networks were actually created and run by scientific, military, and a few commercial enterprises. You can watch a fantastic animated explanation here. But that was then, and this is now. Web 1.0 only allowed us to passively view information that was provided on a website. Web 2.0 allows us to interact and even personalize content on a website. Web 2.0 is not static, it is interactive.

Watch this video by Cultural Anthropologist, Professor Michael Wesch (dubbed, "The Explainer" by Wired Magazine) to get a glimpse into how digital text is different from traditional text. 

The focus of this program is not formal education, but an informal learning experience focused on these tools. At the kick-off party, , we watched this video, also by Professor Wesch called, A Vision of Students Today. Take a few minutes to watch it and bear in mind that video was made in 2007. By the time your children are in their first year of college, how different will the world be?

Our kids are often referred to as Digital Natives. They will never know a life without computers and interactive technology - Meet 1 year old, Joey.


It's not what we do for our children that will make them successful, it is what we can teach them to do for themselves that will make them successful.

We want to be there for them when our children face challenges. So, just like with reading, we should be there and help them learn to use technology and computers. We are moving away from just "literacy" and moving toward Transliteracy; the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.

There are many issues that we as parents and guardians of children need to be aware of and be thinking about like Digital Citizenship, Privacy and Safety, but please don't be afraid - consider what is Fact vs. Fear.  Using these tools can be FUN! They can help bring you closer to extended family that may live elsewhere and even, perhaps, closer to those living under the same roof. We can extend the parenting lessons we learn in the physical world into the virtual world.

Kids love to play, but the way they play is changing. From an early age, Play is important to a child's development and learning. It is not just physical, but also cognitive, emotional, creative and imaginitive. Young children learn through their senses. Now that technology is changing into a more multi-touch, physically interactive experience, it allows for even greater opporuntities for children to Play.

So, what are the benefits? Why should you care about learning how to use these 2.0 tools? Simple. Your kids are using them. There is no going back and before Web 3.0 is upon us, your kids need you to be actively involved in this part of their life.

This video is not aimed directly at parents, but drives home the message. The power of social media - it is not a fad, it is a revolution.


Last year, PBS aired a documentary called, Digital Nation. The piece explores how technology is reshaping our culture and the realities of our human experience within this 21st Century world. If you don't have time to watch the entire hour and 30 minute broadcast, please take a few minutes to watch this chapter, Old School, New School. In it, they interview teachers and kids about issues like cheating, time pressures, reading and learning.

Through this program over the next 12 weeks, we will introduce you to websites and ask you to engage and experiment with them. Every Monday morning from now until May 1st, we will post a new lesson on this website. Participants will post comments on the lesson. In a few weeks, you will create a blog that will enable you to chronicle your experience. Blogging will be explained in more detail in Week 4.

For this first "Thing," we'd just like you to comment below on what you've read and watched about the philosophy and framework of Web 2.0 and how it is reshaping our society. Most importantly, how are your kids are growing up digital and how can the adults in their lives be involved in their experience?

Why did you sign up for this program?

Where are you in your knowledge and use of Web 2.0 tools?

Can you easily identify a Web 2.0 tool? 

How has the Internet and the vast resources it can offer affected your use of time at work and/or at home?


First for house keeping I

First for house keeping I want to share that the second and third videos are not available. I'm relatively savvy. My kids are at the computer game stage and typing school papers. Facebook is a regular request. I happened to hear today that the youngest "allowable" age is 13 to have an account - even though the piece said they knew younger children have accounts. I'm here to learn more. Thanks for the class.

Hi Sara! Thanks for the

Hi Sara! Thanks for the heads up about the videos. It looks like some browsers were not loading them properly, but it should be all fixed now. If the videos are still not loading for you, please send us an email at or call us at 203-669-5235 so we can fix the bugs. They are interesting clips, so we want you to be able to view them. :-) In this course, we will spend one week exploring and discussing social networks, including Facebook. We are also offering additional workshops on Facebook for Parents as part of our 21st Century Parenting Series. If you'd like more information about the other offerings in the series, or would like to sign up for the Facebook Workshop, visit Thanks again for joining and participating in 21 Things!

Did anyone else have a hard

Did anyone else have a hard time keeping up with the pace that information was thrown at you in the last video? Clearly I am not the digital generation! Sara, I loved the interactivity of the first lesson posted on-line. I am looking forward to the class.

Hi Lynne! Thanks for joining

Hi Lynne! Thanks for joining 21 Things. The pace was definitely super fast in the last video of this post. It's a whole lot of facts streaming at us at once! I think that this intensity is one part of the changes brought about by Web 2.0 and the "Social Media Revolution." More than any other time in human history, the average person has access to more information than ever before. And the sheer volume of information out there is increasing at tremendous rates every single day (even every hour!) - whether it's Wikipedia articles, online photos, status updates in Facebook, or videos on YouTube. For those of us that grew up before the digital age, it can seem awfully overwhelming at first. But, we hope, this course will deconstruct some of those tools and make sense of how they work, why you might find them useful, and let you explore them at your own pace. :--)

I really enjoyed watching all

I really enjoyed watching all the videos and stories. No problems loading and they were very informative. Thank you. I'm a novice at all this stuff and interested in learning as much as I can -- gotta stay ahead of the kids 8-14. Thanks for all the efforts to put this together.

Great start to this program.

Great start to this program. I'm excited to learn more! I also had a hard time keeping up with the changing screens and fast pace of the information, but I'm from an older generation. It used to be that the older generation would teach the younger, but that has been turned on its head....

In some ways perhaps, but I

In some ways perhaps, but I believe we still have a responsibility to teach the young how to evaluate the quality of the information and tools they have such easy access to. Sure kids can pull up information quickly on the web, but if they are choosing the first result without evaluating it (which most still do) they are failing in their research.

I consider myself fairly

I consider myself fairly savvy with a lot of 2.0....having two teenaged children as "advisors" in the house has taught me a lot. As more and more tools become available to use, I think my biggest struggle is integrating them....twitter,fb, blog. How do RSS feeds work? I work as a freelance writer part time in addition to my "day job", so it makes research and learning vastly easier than it once was. I love being inspired by others I "meet" online through social networking sites etc. I also like to know what my children are up to online; what they are seeing, doing, experiencing....and I like being able to converse with them about technology without sounding like a dinosaur! Looking forward to learning as much as possible!

My hope is that you don't

My hope is that you don't feel like you HAVE to integrate everything! I feel like there is a social expectation that we all SHOULD be using all these sites & tools. In reality, you should only use a tool if it is useful, or site if it resonates with you. Don't feel guilty or bad if you don't find yourself wanting to use it! You'll be introduced to lots of sites & tools here, but all we hope is that by playing with them and exploring, your confidence in your ability to use and evaluate the tool will grow. Since you are already tech-savvy, perhaps this will be like strengthening a muscle for you :-)

Thank you for this

Thank you for this opportunity to attempt to keep in front of the technology bombarding my kids. My concern and reason for taking this course is to help my kids become net savvy while also attempting to prevent them from becoming too comfortable with the technology, loosing sight of privacy or other threats and most importantly helping them decide on what is appropriate.

That is the greatest

That is the greatest challenge in my opinion - how do we teach them the ethics of using technology? The most important skill is not to get swept up in the novelty of technology, but to be able to determine when and which tech use is appropriate. There is a speaker from the Alliance of Childhood coming to talk at the Library tomorrow (2/15) at 7pm and he will address this topic as well as another speaker on March 24th