Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/LiveJournal

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LiveJournal was created in 1999 by Brad Fitzpatrick, an American programmer, who wanted to keep his high school friends updated on his activities.

Fitzpatrick thought of a resource that could be used to create and update online journals. That’s the origin of Live Journal, a web service that is easy to use as people do not need any previous knowledge on computer programming.

Once the user has registered (they do this by filling in personal information in the Live Journal web), he is given a virtual space where he can upload any kind of information: text, messages, photography, graphics as well as videos.

Fitzpatrick also took into account visitor participation since Live Journal spaces emphasize on user interaction. That’s why lots of people are using this resource as a tool to facilitate communication with others: people they know, people they would like to know, people that share their own interests, people who have friends in common, people from every places. Users not onlt use Live Journal for keeping record of their lives, but also as a web where they deal with a specific topic and people can get information from there or supply with new data to other participants. LiveJournal is also very common among groups of people who share, for example, a school course and they profit from this web service as another device for learning. We’ll see some examples on this later.


You can have different types of accounts

  • Basic account: these are free by just signing up. They offer a limited number of features compared to the other accounts. However, they cover all of the users' needs to share information in an interactive way.
  • Early Adopter: it is no longer open to new users because it was only available to users registered before September 14th, 2000. Early Adopter offers some extended features over free account users, but do not receive any new paid features.
  • Plus account: these accounts’ features are improved in comparison to the basic ones, and storage is enlarged. This service is free, but subsidized by advertising.
  • Paid account: these are available for term-based fee and offer more and better features: premium features in style, userpics, ability to create custom mood themes; ability to insert polls; an e-mail address; access to text messaging features; ability to see 100 recent comments (against the 10 that the basic accounts allow); ability to expand collapsed comment threads, and to have Basic, Early Adopter, and Plus users expand collapsed comment threads in users’ Paid journal or community; access to friends of friends list; and filter security. Users who have opened this type of accounts cannot transfer them or ask for refund.


Main characteristics of Live Journal

  • Each journal has its own web page. •Users can comment on other journals. •It has blog service and friends list. •Users can upload graphic avatars which appear next to the username.
  • Each user has a “user info” page where he can write contact and biographic data, list of friends, interests, communities and school the user has belonged or still belongs to.
  • It also has “voice post” (one can record a message instead of writing it) for its paid users.


Teaching ang learning possibilities

  • Virtual Campus: this is an online space that universities or colleges use in order to replace or complement regular courses. They are usually administrated or guided by a teacher, professor or an assistant. •Communication and exchange space for teachers and students: teachers and students can make profit of this when classes frequency is not enough and they need to communicate between lessons.
  • Discussion forums: they are virtual places where members can debate on a certain topic. This may be an advantage as regards shy students who do not usually participate orally in regular classes. This may be useful when working with content-teaching.
  • Virtual agenda: to keep a course schedule. Students have the possibility to check their deadline homework, exams or important events.
  • Communities: they are useful tools for user interaction. Courses may profit from this resource that allows members to post as in regular journals.


Example links

Some teachers create a LiveJournal space in order to work through distance learning. This allows students to get in touch with their teachers permanently just by entering the web.

Others focus on a certain topic, subject or area, so people from different places of the world join the community where they can ask for specific information, start debates, share works, suggest or ask for sources, get to know about events or news published on the virtual board, find interesting and useful links, get to know people who share their same interest.


History Students

http://community.livejournal.com/historystudents

This LiveJournal has been open since 2003. It is an exchange space where members can publish essays, interesting articles, discuss about colleges and open debate that may be useful for research projects or thesis. But it is not a homework helper where students may ask questions as to find the exact answer.


Art Students

http://community.livejournal.com/arted

In this community merge two main areas: art and education. Its members are art students, art teachers artists or just art lovers. Open since 2001, this LiveJournal allows a space for education discussion (focused on art education) as well as a virtual place to promote lessons, get advice and vent.


Homeschooling

http://community.livejournal.com/homeschooling

LiveJournals may be maintained by teachers who want to accompany their students in their learning processes as well as by teachers, educators or people interested in educational issues who want to share educational experiences with others.

This is an example of a LiveJournal created and visited by people concerning about homeschooling. It was created in 2001. As it copes with rather a controversial issue, membership is moderated to avoid aggressive comments or flaming from people who are against homeschooling. Homeschoolers parents, homeschooled or parents with intentions of homschooling their kids, are participants of this LiveJ community.


Library

http://community.livejournal.com/libraries/

This is an interesting use of this web-service. It is used as a virtual library that people visit to enlarge information about any specific book, author or topic.


Universities and colleges

http://community.livejournal.com/agnesscott

http://community.livejournal.com/ottawau