That said, here are some web 2.0 services that I think might have their uses in education. As ever, I’m not advocating the use of centralised, commercial applications in education; I believe localised open source software most often provides the best solutions. However, the approaches below have potential.
“Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.”
Or to put it another way, it’s a very simple way for web applications to save and retrieve data to an external filestore, using existing lightweight standards. Amazon charge per Mb for this – but wouldn’t it be interesting if there was one central datastore for a university, school district or organisation, that any number of applications could use if they adhered to the standard?
“DabbleDB is a platform that allows you to create applications online using a web interface. The sort of applications you would create and then use are what most of us normally hack together in a spreadsheet or using some other database application that is often complex.” (TechCrunch)
This is the first generation of point-and-click application builders, a category which I believe Ning will also join. Previously, applications – even desktop-bound ones – have really been the realm of programmers and technology specialists.