Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/Open Diary

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Open Diary is the oldest online diary (a personal diary or journal that is published on the World Wide Web) community. It was founded on October 22, 1998, which made it an early example of social networking software, i.e., it aimed at building an online community of people who shared interests. Bruce Ableson, known as its creator, is considered The DiaryMaster. Some other cutting-edge features of OD (as it is often abbreviated) was the inclusion of blogs with comments (which then led to the creation of blogging sites), the possibility of indexing diaries by age and location, and friendly-only privacy (the possibility of choosing who can read your entries). OD allows its users to create private, public, or friends-only diaries. If the level of overall privacy allows it, within a diary the different entries, which are unlimited, may also be public, private or friends-only.

Diary entries on the site accept user comments, which can be linked back to the diary. Notes left on diaries can be public or private (only visible to the entry author), and diaries can be set to accept anonymous notes from people outside of Open Diary, or from members only. Both entries and notes may be examined by the Spellchecker.

The Diary Circles feature provides a place where entries of a similar nature can be posted together. These circles are linked to the Open Diary Boards, a message board component that was added to the site on in 2006. The most popular circles include "Depression", "Relationships", "Poetry", "Love & Passion", and "Advice Wanted".

Entries recommended by Open Diary users are listed on the Reader's Choice page. At the same time, users can create a "Favourites" list by bookmarking other diaries of their interest. They may also add a list of "Interests" to their profile, and search for diarists who have expressed interest in a particular topic.

A major upgrade to the Open Diary software was released 2003:the "Favorites Only" (later Friends Only) option for diary access, private notes, member interests, and other features for friends who could be selected on a person-by-person basis.

The inclusion of a new interface gives now users the option of including profile pictures. Moreover, OD provides free e-mail service, which is not restricted to OD members.

In February 2009, Open Diary 6.0, a broad upgrade to the site, was released. This new interface allows user to tag entries, store pictures, add videos and navigate more smoothly, among some other features.

OD introduced the premium service Open Diary Plus in 2001, a paid version of the original Open Diary. Apart from being free from advertisements, it offers several new features such as the possibility to block specific users from reading the diary or to organize the diary into chapters.

In 2004, after a major hacking attack, Ableson (the owner) decided to create $100 Lifetime Subscriptions, stating that this new membership level aimed at raising money since subscription rates had decreased, which caused Open Diary to go into debt. Lifetime members were told they would be given extra features, communication, and consideration beyond the OD Plus level.

As the site was featured a Yahoo! Pick Of The Week and membership increased rapidly by late 1998, Its creator decided to release two related websites: Teen Open Diary and Quit Smoking Diary.

Any entries or notes posted by members that do not follow certain rules, such as not using copyrighted materials, will be removed, and the diary account of the person responsible will be suspended or deleted by Open Diary administrators.

We need to take into account three important points to start our own diary: User Name Users should select a name that will identify them and differentiate them from the other people. They may use their real name, but not the real name of another person. Password The password chosen must be at least eight characters, and can be up to thirty characters. The password is case-sensitive, so users should pay attention to lower and uppercase.

  • E-mail

Users’ e-mail address is required to start a new diary. In case people forget their login name or password, the e-mail address will be needed to retrieve them.

  • Copyrighted Materials

Open Diary members must abide by all copyright laws when posting text or images in their diaries that were not created by them. In case they want to repost a text written by another diarist, they should get permission first. Therefore, members must not post copyrighted materials (either words or images) without explicit permission from the author or artist.

Teaching and learning possibilities

Teachers can create different uses of motivation strategies since this site offers various possible advantages in fostering English in the classrooms. It is important to highlight the fact the teacher should formulate the norms explicitly, and have them discussed and accepted by the learners, before starting to work on the site and develop a collaborative relationship with the students’ parents.

Develop an open-minded disposition towards the language. The teacher will promote the students’ awareness of the instrumental values associated with the knowledge and correct use of the language.

Finally, the teacher will work with the mistakes that students cannot correct themselves with the whole class, i.e. they will be working on common errors.

Having described the use of this Open diary as an effective and valid tool for teaching English, we have concluded that learners may maintain a positive social image while engaged in the learning tasks, guided and monitored by the teachers. It is thanks to the production of their own journals that students will promote self-motivating capacity and relieve the monotony of learning a new language in a different way.

Taking these points into consideration, we are firmly convinced that children are learning English through the use of technology, in other words, they are getting more used to dealing with computers.