Web exercises direct both instructors and students to useful and current web sites, along with creative activities to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics.
Wikipedia and the Wisdom of Crowds
You have probably gotten information from Wikipedia at some point, but have you ever looked behind the scenes at the community that creates all the content? Visit some of the pages under “Interaction” on the site such as “Recent Changes” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:RecentChanges). How often are changes being made on Wikipedia? What kind? Who do you think these users are who are contributing? Check out the entry for a topic that interests you and click on the Discussion tab and History tab for that article. How accurate do you think “the wisdom of crowds” is and why? How is Wikipedia different from a print encyclopedia?
What Kind of Tech User Are You?
Take the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Quiz: http://pewinternet.org/Participate/What-Kind-of-Tech-User-Are-You.aspx
Do you feel your type accurately describes you? Why or why not? Compare with your classmates. Does a certain type predominate? Using theories from Chapter 9 how do technological development and social changes interact in your life? How do you utilize “new media” and Web 2.0 in your life and why?
Visit the list of top websites in the United States as compiled by Alexa: http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/US. How would you categorize the types of sites that appear on this list? How many of these sites do you visit on a regular basis? Interpret this list in terms of Chapter 9’s analysis of the business models of new media companies and new media audiences. Are the top websites independent or are they part of larger media companies? How and why do you think these websites have become the top sites? How are they good examples of the possibilities of new media?
Young People and Social Media:
Examine these interactive data charts from the Pew Research Center on young people’s use of new media: http://www.pewresearch.org/2013/05/21/teens-social-media/ and http://www.pewresearch.org/2013/05/21/teens-on-facebook/
Does any of this data surprise you? Where do you fall within these categories? Has this changed since you were a high school student? How does this representation of young people’s social media use compare to the Forrester typology presented in Chapter 9? Why do you think this type of use by young people is of concern to researchers? How do these concerns connects with some of the theories around media and technology discussed in Chapter 9?