What is a Mashup?A web mashup combines web content such as news article, blogs, photos and videoswith some kind of other functionality, creating a service from two or more differentsources. There are numerous mashups on the web, for example: data mashups,consumer mashups, business mashups, education mashups, media mashups, andmany more. Mashups take a combination of information, mix it up and deliver in anew creative and unique way. The end result is creating another way of looking atthe information. The user can take a normally mundane source of data or API(application programming interface) and think of a way to make it interesting. Thecombination of data or the new way of presenting the information can provide extravalue when the mashup can be even more useful than the original websites. Aneducator can mashup different educational sites, create new and innovative services,aggregate and stitch together the third party data and engage the student whilebeing creative with their lesson and capturing student’s interest. Mashups are a newbreed of web-based data integration growing across the internet. The key to amashup is the power of information obtained from the internet. One of the mostrecognizable forms of a mashup, are in the form of applications for mobile deviceslike the iPhone. Mashup applications like language translators, restaurant findersand many more available for these devices by the thousands.
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 theComplete Schools mash-up found atwww.completeschools.com. This mash-up consists ofdata from EBAY, Google Search, and Yahoo Answersand delivers a single source web-page on colleges andschools in the United States. The mash-up allows usersto search colleges by the degrees offered, universitiesby their state region, private and public schools in acertain area, and also has a top rated function foreducational establishments. The site does this by usingU.S Department of Education data embedded withYahoo answers to deliver relevant questions andanswers about colleges and universities in the U.S(www.completeschools.com ).
Complete Schools MashupThe great thing about this mash-up is that it is very user friendly. Theaverage person could use this mash-up to perform a simple search of theschools in their prospective areas. More importantly though, a parent orstudent could use the site to research potential colleges that offer thetypes of programs they are looking for to enhance future development.From an education standpoint, the mash-up could be used as a presentationtool in the elementary and high school levels to make students aware oftheir educational options. Or as an academic advisor, a person couldprovide students with institutions that meet their academic and locationrequirements for post-secondary education. The advantages for a site likethis are numerous but two very important advantages are adequateinformation to make an informed decision, and immediate access toinformation that would take time to locate otherwise. The fact that thismash-up provides access to information on all the universities and schoolsin the nation at a click of a button is phenomenal and provides consumersthe opportunity to get all the information they deem necessary on a schoolor program and make a decision. This process definitely eases the burdenof school selection. For instance, when I was looking at colleges in 1997, Ihad to browse through hundreds of brochures and call the institutions toget answers to technical questions. If I would have had access to this typeof system I could have used it to filter the requirements I was looking forand saved 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 databases closely connected to voters, candidates and causes. The ePolitical Powermashup includes biographical, financial and campaign information on national,state, and local levels searched by zip codes. This site has a wealth ofinformation on the political candidates as well as who holds office in the stateyou 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 insteadof several. ePolitcal Power focuses on candidates and politicians with the needto consider how the internet provides political candidates with a high touchmedium to reach new audiences and to enhance the existing constituentrelationships. In 2008 55% of the voters turned to the internet for informationon the Presidential election, changing the way winning candidates campaign.This site offers three different power levels that you can register for with eachone of them offering more, the higher level you register for. For example, youcan access national database sorted by state of elected officials in some casesdown to the county level these levels are intended for candidates who aregetting their name and office advertised through a high traffic mashup site.
ePoliticalPowerAn average person may use this site to retrieveinformation on the 2012 Presidential election fromnewsfeeds, locally, how to register, learn about thecandidates, career politicians and the issues theycampaigning for. Users can either do basic or extensiveresearch, depending on what they are looking. The site isvery user friendly and self explanatory. The ePolitialPower site can be used to compare the many differentopinions of a candidates or career politicians. With thenewsfeeds offered a user can determine what they wantto read, who they want to vote for and what the issuesstand for. The newsfeeds give the factual information onseveral topics.
ePoliticalPowerThe site can create teaching and learning in the classroom by allowingstudents to understand what the presidential election is all about inSocial Studies. Students love to engage in “adult” decisions. I knowmy daughter will come home and ask me questions on issues and who Iam voting for. She said she would like to work the polls to see all thecandidates trying to get last minute votes. She knows this becausealong with the teacher, I have her come and vote with me to see whatthe hype is all about. It is very important that we teach our studentsand children about voting and their rights as a United States citizen.Educators can make a game with the Presidential Election so they canresearch the candidates. Asking students who supports this issue andwhy. Being creative with them, having them blog or make a video.Students have textbooks that give information on this but textbooksdon’t have videos or blogs or current data. I am not an educator; if Iwere I think this constant wealth of updated information from theinternet is easier than the textbooks that are outdated.
ePoliticalPowerWhen I researched this site, I started going into every tabto see what was offered and it had everything a 21stcentury Presidential Election needed for the internet. Ifeel a Social Studies educator would benefit greatly byhaving the students view the site. The site shows thecontributions, how to fundraise, how to get donationsonline, absentee ballots, issues and candidates. It may beused in Math also with the fundraising and how mucheach candidate has and spent and how much peopledonated. Also, by having the students keep track ofelectoral votes by keeping an eye on who is winning eachstate. I feel this site can be 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 useskeywords to search different networks and gives the mostrecent information on the topic. The networks the searchengine searches on are twitter, blogs, and recent news(websites or news outlets). It will “compare, analyze, andmonitor” 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 in Tigers, playoffs, sports and it willsearch for the keywords and bring up the most recent twitterposts, blogs, and any recent news relating to the keywords. An average person may use this site to search for the mostrecent sports talk (as I gave an example of above), to researchinformation, or find the most recent information on a favoritetopic. The site can be used to compare the many opinions andfactual information about a topic. The Twitter account mayshow quick perceptions of a topic, the blog may require morereading but can give much more information and also be basedon opinion, and the news outlets may give factual informationon the topic.
PerspctvThis site can benefit teaching and learning in the classroom byallowing quick access to multiple sources and by having themost recent information. Quick access to multiple sources isimportant because when a student is researching informationthey need to provide a well-written paper with many sources.With this search engine the student has 3 different networksavailable within one site. They can use keywords to search andfind information easily. Another benefit of this site is theinformation is current and up to date. A student can still usetextbooks provided in a classroom but as a lot of us alreadyknow, not all textbooks are up to date. To have access tocurrent information provides the student with knowledge theymay not have access to within a textbook. As an educator, Imay find teaching easier by searching for up to dateinformation to teach to my students.
PerspctvAs I was “playing around” with the site, I started typing in manydifferent topics. I searched Campaign, Presidents and it gave meinformation about Barak Obama’s campaign within twitter, blogs, andnews outlets. If I were to research about campaigning I can see andcompare opinions about campaigns, the amount being raised, what thepresident is doing to raise money, and personal blogs regarding acampaign. A student can use this to gather information pertaining to asocial studies topic and use multiple sources to write a paper about thetopic.The site may also be used to look up science topics such as the processof photosynthesis. I typed these terms and information came upexplaining different processes of photosynthesis. For example, on onetwitter post a photograph was posted about “the process of how thesegrass portraits were made through photosynthesis”. On a blog site itexplained the changing of leaf colors through the process ofphotosynthesis and on a news outlet they explained in depth aboutphotosynthesis. Each of these 3 informational outlets was postedwithin the past 5 days. I think this is excellent to use for students whoare just trying to gather more information on something they may notunderstand to help them understand.
PerspctvIn conclusion, I feel this site would be most beneficialto people looking to investigate and researchinformation. The site gives information in multiplenetworks. The information can be given in opinionpieces or written to inform and give factualinformation. A student or teacher can really benefitfrom this site by finding the most recent informationgiven and compare it to what they know already. Itcan 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 poolsof pages 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 interestaccess to information that they deem important. For instance, mash-ups could alloweducators to look at ACT data across the United States to plan, change, or implement newcurriculum in the hopes of score improvement. Or a fisherman from Toledo, Ohio coulduse a mash-up to view all of the fishing locations in the United States in hopes of catchinga trophy fish. In either case, the information was only made possible through the creativityof an individual who decided to incorporate information from multiple sources into a newsource page. The value for this type of data is unlimited as long as there is a consumerinterested in the combination of information. The potential for mash-ups especially in thefield of education is great as long as the instructor is creative enough to use theinformation in an informative way. The risks and problems of mash-ups surround invalid,incorrect, or skewed information. Since mash-ups are a result of different API’s there isalways the possibility of bad information from one of the API interfaces. It’s like the oldquote, “garbage in, equals garbage out”, which shows how bad information in thedevelopment of a mash-up will lead to bad output information for the consumer. If thisinformation is then used in instruction then a person could be learning the wrong thing. Ineither case, the benefits of the mash-up and the unlimited capability of the mash-up whenincorporated 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.