Sunday, 21 February 2010

MySpace

MySpace is a social networking website - a popular web destination that allows users to interact and share data based around permissions granted to photos, comments and other items with site "friends".

MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006, with a strong demographic of US teenagers. The 100 millionth account was created on My Space during August 2006 and currently has about 20 million users.

MySpace was also one of the initial launch partners for OpenSocial - the set of Web APIs for working with Social Network data. You can read more about OpenSocial here.

The set of Web APIs used by the Icodeon Common Cartridge Platform closely mirrors the Web APIs used in OpenSocial - which opens up an opportunity for writing  apps that integrate e-learning content into group, peer, collaborative and social contexts.

The IMS Common Cartridge specification includes a schema for an intstructor to set up a discussion topic - with rich HTML formatting, images, links and attachments. The XML below conforms to this schema, and could be added to a cartridge:

<dt:topic xmlns:dt="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsdt_v1p0">
 <title>The Psychology of Faces</title>
 <text texttype="text/html">
   Might there be a culture in the world that expresses joy 
through scowling and fear through laughter? Does your dog 
smile when he's happy?<br/>
<img src="$IMS-CC-FILEBASE$../I_media_R/smiling_dog.jpg"/>
</text>
<attachments>
  <attachment href="angry_person.jpg"/>
 </attachments>
</dt:topic>

It is simple for an OpenSocial app to construct an HTTP request to the Icodeon Common Cartridge Platform - which then responds with a data format (OpenSocial JavaScript Object Notation, OpenSocial XML or OpenSocial ATOM) that can easily processed into the MySpace app canvas:

GET /cartridges/{cartridge}/items/{item}/topics/psychology101

The result is a Common Cartridge discussion with all the specificed rich HTML formatting, images, links and attachments running in a group, peer, collaborative and social context.

The discussion posts are persisted to the Icodeon Common Cartridge Platform - the discussion can be concluded when the instructor decides and a transcript of the discussion printed off from the Icodeon platform - either for assessment/grading or for classroom use.

The resulting discussion running in MySpace  is shown below - click for full-size image.

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