What is a Mashup?A web mashup combines web content such as news article, blogs, photos and videos withsome kind of other functionality, creating a service from two or more different sources.There are numerous mashups on the web, for example: data mashups, consumermashups, business mashups, education mashups, media mashups, and manymore. Mashups take a combination of information, mix it up and deliver in a new creativeand unique way. The end result is creating another way of looking at the information. Theuser can take a normally mundane source of data or API (application programminginterface) and think of a way to make it interesting. The combination of data or the newway of presenting the information can provide extra value when the mashup can be evenmore useful than the original websites. An educator can mashup different educationalsites, create new and innovative services, aggregate and stitch together the third partydata and engage the student while being creative with their lesson and capturing student’sinterest. Mashups are a new breed of web-based data integration growing across theinternet. The key to a mashup is the power of information obtained from theinternet. One of the most recognizable forms of a mashup, are in the form of applicationsfor mobile devices like the iPhone. Mashup applications like languagetranslators, restaurant finders and many more available for these devices by thethousands.
What is a Mashup? Image taken from: http://mashstream.com/semantic-web/about-mashups-and-linked-data/This image shows how data of information can be taken from multiple sources and integrated into one site (mashup).
Take a look at some examples and see how they can be used. www.completeschools.com
Complete Schools MashupThe mash-up that truly grabbed my attention is the Complete Schools mash-up found atwww.completeschools.com. This mash-up consists of data from EBAY, Google Search, and YahooAnswers and delivers a single source web-page on colleges and schools in the United States. Themash-up allows users to search colleges by the degrees offered, universities by their stateregion, private and public schools in a certain area, and also has a top rated function foreducational establishments. The site does this by using U.S Department of Education dataembedded with Yahoo answers to deliver relevant questions and answers about colleges anduniversities in the U.S (www.completeschools.com ). The great thing about this mash-up is that it is very user friendly. The average person coulduse this mash-up to perform a simple search of the schools in their prospective areas. Moreimportantly though, a parent or student could use the site to research potential colleges that offerthe types of programs they are looking for to enhance future development. From an educationstandpoint, the mash-up could be used as a presentation tool in the elementary and high schoollevels to make students aware of their educational options. Or as an academic advisor, a personcould provide students with institutions that meet their academic and location requirements forpost-secondary education. The advantages for a site like this are numerous but two very importantadvantages are adequate information to make an informed decision, and immediate access toinformation that would take time to locate otherwise. The fact that this mash-up provides accessto information on all the universities and schools in the nation at a click of a button is phenomenaland provides consumers the opportunity to get all the information they deem necessary on aschool or program and make a decision. This process definitely eases the burden of schoolselection. For instance, when I was looking at colleges in 1997, I had to browse through hundredsof brochures and call the institutions to get answers to technical questions. If I would have hadaccess to this type of system I could have used it to filter the requirements I was looking for andsaved an insurmountable amount of time.
Take a look at some examples and see how they can be used. http://www.epoliticalpower.com/
ePoliticalPowerEpoliticalpower is an online mashup site that offers a variety of mashed up data bases closelyconnected to voters, candidates and causes. The ePolitical Power mashup includesbiographical, financial and campaign information on national, state, and local levels searched byzip codes. This site has a wealth of information on the political candidates as well as who holdsoffice in the state you live in by entering your zip code. This site offers several newsfeeds from allover the United States, made simple for the user to only browse one site instead of several.ePolitcal Power focuses on candidates and politicians with the need to consider how the internetprovides political candidates with a high touch medium to reach new audiences and to enhance theexisting constituent relationships. In 2008 55% of the voters turned to the internet for informationon the Presidential election, changing the way winning candidates campaign. This site offers threedifferent power levels that you can register for with each one of them offering more, the higherlevel you register for. For example, you can access national database sorted by state of electedofficials in some cases down to the county level these levels are intended for candidates who aregetting their name and office advertised through a high traffic mashup site.An average person may use this site to retrieve information on the 2012 Presidential election fromnewsfeeds, locally, how to register, learn about the candidates, career politicians and the issuesthey campaigning for. Users can either do basic or extensive research, depending on what they arelooking. The site is very user friendly and self explanatory. The ePolitial Power site can be used tocompare the many different opinions of a candidates or career politicians. With the newsfeedsoffered a user can determine what they want to read, who they want to vote for and what theissues stand for. The newsfeeds give the factual information on several topics.
ePoliticalPower cont…The site can create teaching and learning in the classroom by allowing students tounderstand what the presidential election is all about in Social Studies. Students love toengage in “adult” decisions. I know my daughter will come home and ask me questions onissues and who I am voting for. She said she would like to work the polls to see all thecandidates trying to get last minute votes. She knows this because along with the teacher, Ihave her come and vote with me to see what the hype is all about. It is very important thatwe teach our students and children about voting and their rights as a United States citizen.Educators can make a game with the Presidential Election so they can research thecandidates. Asking students who supports this issue and why. Being creative withthem, having them blog or make a video. Students have textbooks that give information onthis but textbooks don’t have videos or blogs or current data. I am not an educator; if Iwere I think this constant wealth of updated information from the internet is easier thanthe textbooks that are outdated.When I researched this site, I started going into every tab to see what was offered and ithad everything a 21st century Presidential Election needed for the internet. I feel a SocialStudies educator would benefit greatly by having the students view the site. The site showsthe contributions, how to fundraise, how to get donations online, absentee ballots, issuesand candidates. It may be used in Math also with the fundraising and how much eachcandidate has and spent and how much people donated. Also, by having the students keeptrack of electoral votes by keeping an eye on who is winning each state. I feel this site canbe used in many subjects.
Take a look at some examples and see how they can be used. www.perspctv.com
Perspctv MashupPerspctv is an online search engine (mashup site) that uses keywords to search differentnetworks and gives the most recent information on the topic. The networks the searchengine searches on are twitter, blogs, and recent news (websites or news outlets). It will“compare, analyze, and monitor” your keywords entered into the search engine. Thesearch engine will compare up to 5 terms or keywords at a time. For example I can type inTigers, playoffs, sports and it will search for the keywords and bring up the most recenttwitter posts, blogs, and any recent news relating to the keywords. An average person may use this site to search for the most recent sports talk (as I gave anexample of above), to research information, or find the most recent information on afavorite topic. The site can be used to compare the many opinions and factual informationabout a topic. The Twitter account may show quick perceptions of a topic, the blog mayrequire more reading but can give much more information and also be based onopinion, and the news outlets may give factual information on the topic.This site can benefit teaching and learning in the classroom by allowing quick access tomultiple sources and by having the most recent information. Quick access to multiplesources is important because when a student is researching information they need toprovide a well-written paper with many sources. With this search engine the student has 3different networks available within one site. They can use keywords to search and findinformation easily. Another benefit of this site is the information is current and up to date.A student can still use textbooks provided in a classroom but as a lot of us alreadyknow, not all textbooks are up to date. To have access to current information provides thestudent with knowledge they may not have access to within a textbook. As an educator, Imay find teaching easier by searching for up to date information to teach to my students.
Perspctv cont…As I was “playing around” with the site, I started typing in many different topics. I searchedCampaign, Presidents and it gave me information about Barak Obama’s campaign withintwitter, blogs, and news outlets. If I were to research about campaigning I can see andcompare opinions about campaigns, the amount being raised, what the president is doingto raise money, and personal blogs regarding a campaign. A student can use this to gatherinformation pertaining to a social studies topic and use multiple sources to write a paperabout the topic.The site may also be used to look up science topics such as the process of photosynthesis. Ityped these terms and information came up explaining different processes ofphotosynthesis. For example, on one twitter post a photograph was posted about “theprocess of how these grass portraits were made through photosynthesis”. On a blog site itexplained the changing of leaf colors through the process of photosynthesis and on a newsoutlet they explained in depth about photosynthesis. Each of these 3 informational outletswas posted within the past 5 days. I think this is excellent to use for students who are justtrying to gather more information on something they may not understand to help themunderstand.In conclusion, I feel this site would be most beneficial to people looking to investigate andresearch information. The site gives information in multiple networks. The informationcan be given in opinion pieces or written to inform and give factual information. A studentor teacher can really benefit from this site by finding the most recent information given andcompare it to what they know already. It can be used to compare different sources and towrite different types of papers (opinion, research, informational).
In ConclusionProviding consumers with new sources of information by simply combining existing pools ofpages and data, the mash-up is by far one of the best resources for information andeducation. The mash-up allows an educator or an individual with a particular interest access toinformation that they deem important. For instance, mash-ups could allow educators to look atACT data across the United States to plan, change, or implement new curriculum in the hopes ofscore improvement. Or a fisherman from Toledo, Ohio could use a mash-up to view all of thefishing locations in the United States in hopes of catching a trophy fish. In either case, theinformation was only made possible through the creativity of an individual who decided toincorporate information from multiple sources into a new source page. The value for this typeof data is unlimited as long as there is a consumer interested in the combination ofinformation. The potential for mash-ups especially in the field of education is great as long asthe instructor is creative enough to use the information in an informative way. The risks andproblems of mash-ups surround invalid, incorrect, or skewed information. Since mash-ups are aresult of different API’s there is always the possibility of bad information from one of the APIinterfaces. It’s like the old quote, “garbage in, equals garbage out”, which shows how badinformation in the development of a mash-up will lead to bad output information for theconsumer. If this information is then used in instruction then a person could be learning thewrong thing. In either case, the benefits of the mash-up and the unlimited capability of the mash-up when incorporated with innovation far outweigh any risks in the utilization of mash-ups.Mash-ups are here to stay and will continue to grow but it is up to us to incorporate them intothe classroom.