What are Web 2.0 tools you might ask? Web 2.0 are internet tools that users can interact and collaborate with each other in a social media front. These tools are usually social networks like, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Digg, Google+ and many more. However, one that is being used in the classroom more and more is, Reddit. Reddit is a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of links or text posts. Users then vote each submission “up” or “down” to rank the post and determine its position on the site’s pages. Content entries are organized by areas of interest called “subreddits”. Registering an account with Reddit is free and does not require an email address to complete. Users are referred to as “redditors”, a portmanteau of “reddit editor”. When logged in, users have the ability to vote on submissions and comments to increase or decrease their visibility and submit links and comments. Users can also create their own subreddit based around any topic of their choosing, and interested users can add it to their frontpage by subscribing to it.
Now, how can Reddit be used in the classroom you might ask? Especially when many social networks are being blocked or rarely used in the classroom? What if you were reading a book on your tablet device or reading an essay and you could see all the comments and reviews for those documents? What if you have a question about a specific scientific subject or trying to get views on current events? You can use Reddit to see those reviews and also see if its newsworthy by the amount of votes it has. Wondering how you can find a different view on the holocaust or about current studies of the corral reefs? You can use Reddit to find those articles and use them for a source. Looking for tutorials on how to write your term paper better? You can use Reddit for that. Reddit is a community made up of both professionals and the average learner willing to share information with anyone who needs it.
In the classroom, using Reddit allows research to be more meaningful for the students as they read and search the articles. Being user driven Reddit is not only a contribute to a student’s knowledge but also a snapshot of what drives and what relevant concerns there are today. The open source of Reddit means it gives views from all corners follows every imaginable topic. However, it isn’t perfect. Reddit can also give a voice to concerning elements such as sexism and intolerance. Also, similar to Wikipedia not all the sources can be seen as trustworthy and the voting or up and down might be more on popularity than on factual basis. Plus, teachers might find it very hard to control or restrict students to the most appropriate areas for classroom use. Does that mean Reddit might not be well suited for your classroom?
That is up to the teacher and the students, Reddit offers a vast array of subjects that are beneficial to any learner but also like any other social media device comes with its own concerns. For many students, they find Reddit great for research topics, peer review journals and tutorials. The best classroom policy is to use it under control means and when subjects require uses of social platforms such as Reddit. It is by no means a perfect Web 2.0 tool but it can be a very beneficial one.
For more on Reddit uses in the classroom you can check out this Prezi by Elijah Frost Using Reddit.