Young adults today are known as “digital natives” because they don’t remember a time before computers, cell phones and all the technology that rules our lives today. This makes them very comfortable with innovations such as Web 2.0. To engage the children and youth you are mentoring, try using some of the programs below.
All Web 2.0 programs are fun, but some can also help keep you and your mentorees organized, or help with educational needs. Here are some examples:
Evernote allows users to upload pictures, text, links and more, then save and organize it all to individual notebooks. This Web 2.0 application makes it easier to remember things and gives users a handy reference tool for class, work or personal projects.
If you’re mentoring a school-aged youth, this Web 2.0 tool can help both of you. They’ll be able to make separate notebooks for school and fun, and can save all kinds of pictures and screenshots to this program. It really is great for study habits.
If you want to make a tutorial that will catch the wandering attention of the young adult you’re mentoring, Jing is an excellent option. It allows you to take screenshots and add captions, arrows and other flags to them. It also allows you to make a screencast, a medium that is easy for all ages to understand and appreciate. These short videos make explaining any website or computer program easy and fun.
This is a highly functional, yet still simple to use, calendar and to do list program. 30boxes organizes everything with tags and colors, and can email you reminders for important events. It’s very easy to enter new plans or things to do, and it has a handy check-off option that gives the user a real feel of accomplishment.
Other Web 2.0 programs are more focused on having fun, although still useful for a lot of educational purposes. Some examples:
Young adults love taking pictures of the fun they have with their friends. Slide.com helps them use these pictures, making them into a slideshow (which they can add music too) or a “funpic,” which lets users manipulate pictures, adding shapes, colors and word bubbles. They can then upload these photos and slideshows to various other websites to share with friends. You could also use Slide.com to make a slideshow of fun things you’ve done with those you’re mentoring—they’re fun to reminisce over.
Facebook and Twitter
These social networking sites are very popular, and possibly already in use by those you’re mentoring, but it can’t hurt to get a page yourself. It’s a new way to communicate with them and it’s fun. Both of these sites are a great way to connect with people and stay up to date on what’s going on in the real world. Also, it’s important to teach children and teens the importance of using these sites safely and smartly.
Web 2.0 is a large area that covers many different web applications. For even more Web 2.0 tools, many of which can be used by both you and your mentorees, head over to www.go2web20.net.