User:Leighblackall/The Popular Internet
We recommend that academics and educators use the popular Internet as their platform for open education and research. Doing so will render their work more accessible, helping them to connect with other practitioners and potential learners, informing future teachers and researchers, and enabling (through open formats and free copyrights) the development of diverse and sometimes innovative practices from which they themselves may learn.
So what is the "popular Internet"? We'll start by looking at some simple user statistics in Australia...
Internet in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, of a total population of 21 million Australians, there were 10 million using a broadband Internet in 2009, with 9.8 million for personal use, 5.3 for education, and 5.2 for work. By way of forecast, 96% of 12-14 year olds use the Internet for educational purposes. That's a generation 5 years our from a tertiary level of education.
What though, is the most popular aspects of the Internet to those Australians?
10 most visited websites
According to Australian Internet usage data gathered by Alexa.com, the top 10 most visited websites in Australia are:
- google.com.au - Search the web from Google Australia's homepage.
- facebook.com - A social utility that connects people, to keep up with friends, upload photos, share links and videos.
- google.com - Enables users to search the Web, Usenet, and images. Features include PageRank, caching and translation of results, and an option to find similar pages. The company's focus is developing search technology.
- youtube.com - YouTube is a way to get your videos to the people who matter to you. Upload, tag and share your videos worldwide!
- yahoo.com - Personalized content and search options. Chatrooms, free e-mail, clubs, and pager.
- live.com - Search engine from Microsoft.
- eBay.com.au - Auction sales with a focus on Australian buyers and sellers. Includes policies, search by produ... Morect type, and links into the international site for additional listings.
- wikipedia.org - An online collaborative encyclopedia.
- twitter.com - Social networking and microblogging service utilising instant messaging, SMS or a web interface..
- blogger.com - Free, automated weblog publishing tool that sends updates to a site via FTP.
Interestingly, an encyclopedia ranks at 8th most visited website, followed by a self publishing service named Blogger. Search engines, social networking, social media and social trading occupying the other places in the rank. So we could perhaps boil this down to Australian's primarily search for local content, socialise on Facebook, share videos on Youtube, trade on eBay, and refer to a socially generated encyclopedia for information. A significant proportion then use Twitter and Blogger to both read and write. Clearly the Internet in Australia is a socially constructed experience.
In contrast to this, recently published research (admittedly from the USA) showed an average of 82% of Faculty in universities never use social media in their research or teaching! A similar study has not been conducted in Australia.
Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 - The proportion of children accessing the Internet increased by age, with 60% of 5 to 8 year olds accessing the Internet compared with 96% of 12 to 14 year olds.
Australian Social Trends, 2008 - Almost all (98%) of the 9.9 million Australians who used the Internet at home reported using it for this purpose. Just over half (53%) used the Internet for education or study and a similar proportion (52%) used it for work related purposes.
Apart from the measurable opportunities in terms of engagement, marketing, and savings in infrastructure and service costs, academics and teachers have the opportunity to establish a web presence for themselves and their work. This can help to connect and network with people who share interest in their field, which can lead to a range of opportunities from new students to contract work and networked teaching.
- Wikipedia:School and university projects - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Have students contribute to Wikipedia to make your class more interesting, teach them about Wikipedia, wikis and online collaboration, and help the Wikipedia project at the same time.
- Wesch - Anthropology Program at Kansas State University - Award winning US proff on Anthropology. Uses social media as a basis for teaching and researching the course