Changing the World Through Web Collaborations
Let’s take a look at six examples of web collaborations that are changing the world.
- Free Rice: If you have children in school, you’ve likely heard of this organization. Teachers love to use this site as a tool for practicing math facts. Free Rice is a not for profit website owned by the UN World Food Programme.The program’s goal is to provide free education to all and end world hunger by giving free rice to anyone in need. To do this, visitors answer questions from topics they choose including humanities, English, math, sciences, languages, geography, chemistry, and SAT preparation.For each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated. Schools often join as groups and work together to raise rice. For more information, go to Free Rice.
- The Unheard in NY Project: The purpose of this project was to give a voice to the homeless in New York City using social media, specifically Twitter. Four homeless men were provided used hand phones, unlimited SMS, and Twitter accounts.The four then texted over the course of 30 days sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences with the world. The world responded with kindness in the form of empathy, donations for material goods to their shelters, one man found his daughter after 11 years of separation, and two others received job interviews and more.Perhaps most valuable was the feeling that people cared about them as individuals. The project is currently on hiatus. For more information and to see a video of the men explaining what the project meant to them, go to the Unheard NY web collaboration project.
- Duolingo: Anyone out there interested in learning a second language? What… no time, no money? What if you could do it for free in your spare time at your own speed?Interested? Check out Duolingo.This organization aims to translate the entire web into different languages through collaboration. How? By teaching people a language of their choice (i.e., Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, or Italian) and in doing that, having the student translate materials from web pages.
Clients pay to have translations done; students receive their education for free in exchange for translating as they learn. Duolingo claims that if 1 million people signed on for Spanish lessons, the entirety of Wikipedia could be translated into Spanish in 80 hours. Holy frijoles Batman! For more information, see how you can collaborate with Duolingo.
- reCAPTCHA: Ugh, you know those silly codes we are forced to enter when signing into accounts online? So very annoying. Especially when you need to refresh the code five times before you can figure it out.Next time (hopefully before you reach orbit) think about this – you are providing a service by helping to convert the text of old English books to electronic form. As it happens, these books are particularly difficult for optical character recognition (OCR) machines to translate.Every time you translate an image into a word to validate your existence as a human being (and therefore subject to feelings of frustration), the results are sent back to reCAPTCHA who then sends it back to those in need of the service. It might just bring you back to Earth! For more information, check out reCAPTCHA.
- Wikipedia: This is likely one of the largest, most well known collaborations. Nearly everyone has used Wikipedia to find out something of interest. Know how they get their information? From groups of people collaborating via the web to write, edit, and fact check information on all manner of topic – for free. For more information, learn more about how Wikipedia’s collaboration came to be.
- Cuusoo (Lego): Who doesn’t love Lego’s? Okay, maybe you – the parent that stepped on the tiny Star Wars figure last night at 3:00 am whilst stumbling to the bathroom. We will exempt you. But, really who doesn’t love building with Lego’s?Fun for all ages! Oh, all right! We will also exempt all toddlers in the “let’s make Mom or Dad leap 2 metres across the room and put this tiny block in my mouth stage”. All others, pay attention!Lego’s are a wonderful, creative, fun for (almost) all people toy that holds kids’ interest for hours. Ever wonder where some of their great Lego set ideas came from? Lego lovers!
Yes, you could design the next best selling Lego set. Lego uses online collaboration to solicit innovative product designs from people all over the world. Anyone can submit ideas.
Ideas are shared online and receive comments and feedback from other Lego enthusiasts. Projects with 10,000 supporters (think similar to Facebook “Likes”) are progressed to the review stage for a chance to become a real product offering. If your idea goes to market, you receive 1% of total net sales in royalties. Check out how you can innovate and be apart of the ultimate kids lego collaboration.
Are you Collaborating on the Web?
These are just but a few ways web collaboration is changing the world. The sky’s the limit for collaboration. How will you use web collaboration to change your world?
Share with us. We will be sharing stories on how individuals/organizations are collaborating on the web to change the world we live in for the better.