We hear a lot about the stages of web use. In Web 1.0, content providers delivered. In Web 2.0, everyone became a content producer. As Web 3.0 begins, the sharing and saving, filtering and annotating of content came into focus. By late 2009, Facebook and Twitter each surpassed email as the most popular way Internet users shared content electronically. In addition, social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Google Reader continued to grow in popularity.

The practice of saving information as bookmarks and clipmarks has always been a key to our own individual information consumption, but the practice of sharing what we find -- then keeping found things found -- increases the intelligence factor exponentially and across borders and disciplines. Folksonomy (Vander Wal 2007, D. Pink 2005), and more specifically, the use of tagging (W.T. Fu 2009), or "tagsonomy" is a key to communication and information searching, finding, and sharing across the web.

Skimming, Scanning, Saving, and Sharing

In this time of multi-media, mega-message intake, anyone who reads online develops a skim-and-scan method of reading to help them determine importance and relevance. Many of the online tools and social sites make keeping found things found in two ways: 1) Favorite or Star and 2) Tags. The favoriting within a site such as Flickr or YouTube ensures you can always return to find a particular piece of content, but also return so that proper attribution can be given if that content is shared.

Along with search capabilities, each social networking and content-sharing site has their own form of keeping found things found and all use a tag system so users can label content they produce and/or find. When searching for relevant content, think of tags as the labels or keywords. Then, once relevant content is found, save it using the site's favoriting system which can usually be found on every page of the site -- usually the click of a button or star. When the time comes to use the content, refer back to your favorites section of the site, and share the content (and make sure to give proper attribution).

Giving Proper Citation and Attribution

The All Rights Reserved copyright is automatically granted to the producer of any type of content. This copyright means the producer must grant permission before anyone else can share or use that piece of content. Creative Commons allows for the producers of content to grant the permission (and types of permissions) right up front - which paves the way for a quicker and wider pace of data and information sharing. In print versions, the URL where the content should be printed out fully, while in online publishing, either the full URL or a Hyperlink which contextually provides the original producer's name and the site where found is acceptable. For more information on Creative Commons Licensing, visit

Remixes and Mashups: Defining Plagarism

Plagiarism, based on the definitions found in most dictionaries, comes down to information theft -- or using something created by another and calling it one's own original work. The popularity of remixing or mashing-up content may, at times, be a violation of copyright (check for Creative Commons permissions), but is not necessarily plagiarist. In his book, Remix, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig (also the a co-founding board member of Creative Commons) writes about how past cultures used forms of remixing and how the age and economy of sharing is now upon us. A big part of this is how creativity is enhanced by the remixing and mashing up of content to offer different perspectives -- attributing the original creator while spreading ideas (both the remixed and the original) to various audience otherwise unlikely to be aware of the original.

5.1 Remix, Mashup, Attribute (Lesson One)

  • Have students create an account on a social networking or content sharing site.
  • Students can either remix multiple pieces or mashup from different forms of content
  • As students present the new product, make sure they've given proper attributions (and followed the correct CC license)

As an additional feature of this lesson, let the students grade each others work.

Teachers, who are infusing these kinds of literacy practices into their lessons, are producing learners who are truly web literate. They are the new heroes who are giving our precious generation of children the tools to live and prosper in our new world of fierce global competition.