Microblogging service Twitter grew its user base by more than 700% in 2008, according to Mashable. In terms of unique monthly visitors, Twitter's numbers rose from 500,000 to 4.43 million.
A set of blog conversion tools were released by Google this week. They support transporting user content from several blog platforms (WordPress, Livejournal, Moveable Type) into Google's own blog tool, Blogger.
There is a 1 meg cap on the amount of content which can be converted.
(thanks to Steven Kaye)
An essay on new media pedagogies comes from Howard Rheingold. "Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies" builds on history, touching on the alphabet, print literacy, virtual communities, and recent Web 2.0 developments. Rheingold then argues for new pedagogies aimed at teaching students how to critically participate in social media.
Increasingly, access to that infrastructure−the ability to upload a Macaca video or uncover a threat to democracy−has become economically accessible. Literacy−access to the codes and communities of vernacular video, microblogging, social bookmarking, wiki collaboration−is what is required to use that infrastructure to create a participatory culture.
What Web 2.0 tools work best for teaching and learning? Well-known anthropologist Michael Wesch is using Diigo for a specific classroom situation.
So far, Diigo seems best for the collaborative aspects of the project. It allows us to build up a massive database of links and notes that are collectively generated, tagged, and organized.
However, Wesch finds a couple of Diigo limitations, and offers a way around them.
But it is a total failure when it comes to the ability to create private notes and work offline.
Right now, the best solution I can imagine is a combination of Evernote and Diigo. Evernote for managing private notes and working offline. Diigo for sharing and collaborating. If Evernote could somehow be synced with Diigo we would have the perfect solution.
Wesch's observation appears in a blog post. A series of comments follow, offering suggestions and alternatives.
Education played a role when Edge.com asked a group of scholars, thought leaders, and activists a question about 2009 and the future beyond, what single thing will change everything? Education appeared in two of the responses.
Chris Anderson, curator of the TED conference, argues that the Web will expand education to a far larger audience than it now engages. On a related note, one physicist sees a mix of increased accessibility and new tools also growing and changing the experience of education.
Another crowdsourcing experiment comes from astronomy, with a call for popular observation of the Epsilon Aurigae binary star system. Two academic astronomers have asked for amateur skygazers to share their glimpses of the binary star, in order to solve a problem (weirdly variable brightness).
If astronomers can get thousands of reports from people monitoring the star, they can use statistical techniques to analyze the star’s behavior with high precision.
Apple's iTunes service will remove digital rights management (DRM) from its music store, according to this week's Macworld presentations. DRM, which restricts copying, will disappear from songs over the next couple of months. Users can remove DRM from songs they already purchased for a fee.