Using Web 2.0 to Change the World

While a lot of negative things have been said about the ways in which teenagers behave on the internet, there are also children and teenagers out there who are comitted to making a difference in other people’s lives, and who have been able to affect a far wider audience because of the internet.  Below are 3 examples that I’ve heard about recently: Ryan Hreljac, Laura Stockman and Chris Raine.

Ryan & Friend Ryan's Well Map

Ryan’s Well Foundation

At 6 years of age, Ryan saved $70 for a well in Uganda, and has gone on to inspire others to become involved as well by using the power of the internet to attrsct, share and globally motivate people.

In 1998, when Ryan was in grade one he learned from his teacher, Mrs Prest that people were dying because they didn’t have clean water to drink. He decided that raising money for people who didn’t have clean water would be a good thing. He worked for four months in order to earn his first $70. Ryan’s first well was built in 1999 when Ryan was seven years-old at a school in a Ugandan village.

Ryan’s determination grew from the $70 collected by doing simple household chores to a Foundation that today has contributed a total of 518 water and sanitation projects in 16 countries bringing clean water and sanitation services to over 640,000 people. The Foundation has raised millions of dollars.

25 Days to make a Difference

25 Days to Make a Difference

When 10 year old Laura’s grandfather died, she decided to do 25 acts of kindness in his memory. She set up a blog, saved $25 of her  pocket money and offered this as a prize for the best act of kindness by another child. In December 2008 she and her sister Nina again challenged people to help, and said that they would help the winner’s chosen charity for the entire month of January 2009. At the same time they wrote about what was happening on Twitter –

Albert Stockman was my grandpa. He loved helping other people, and he believed that everybody could make the world a better place, not just by doing big things, but by doing small things too… In December of 2007, I decided that the best way to remember my grandpa during the holiday season would be by living my life like he did, by making a difference and being a leader. I decided to honor my grandfather’s memory by trying to make a difference every day for twenty five days. I wanted to be able to do little things, like kids my age typically do, instead of HUGE things that are sometimes hard for kids like me. I decided to write about my adventures here, and I also created a challenge.

I challenged everyone who read my blog to TRY to do something every single day during the holiday season to make a SMALL difference in his or her world.

With 76,640 hits to date, Laura’s project inspired children and adults aliike to make the world a better place. These are a couple of comments that others wrote on her blog:

i love the idea of this website .i think it really incorriges people to do something to help other people and helps the world.i think everybody should make a difference ,not just in December in any day
of the year !!!!! (hannah)

Thanks not only for creating the project, but for deciding to share it with the world via a blog. I’m sure you’ll reach more people than you’ll ever know!

Hello Sunday Morning

Hello Sunday Morning

I first heard about Chris Raine when he was interviewed on the radio about his blog Hello Sunday Morning. He is “passionate about using mass communication for good” and set up his blog and a twitter account to share his thoughts on what is was like, as a young person, to give up alcohol for a whole year. He says:

“I have committed to not drinking for a year and doing observational & psychological research into youth behaviour to find a viable alternative to problematic youth drinking. This project is for young people who believe that there is a better way. It is about creating positive change to the aspects of our youth culture for future generations. ” Read more about him and his project here.

From the website:

“On January 1st 2009 Chris Raine drank what would be his last drink for one whole year.

The reason why this was his last, was due to a commitment he made to spend one year researching and experimenting as to what exactly it would take for a young person to change their drinking behaviours. He documented that process on his blog on

What the HSM research team found in that year was just how entrenched alcohol is in a young person’s life and how just little support there is out there for those that wish to change that.

Hello Sunday Morning has now become an opportunity for young people to get the support they need to shift their personal belief systems around alcohol and in doing so, shift those of the people that surround them.

This isn’t a project that is against alcohol or for lifelong abstinence. We believe alcohol has a place in our lives and in Australian society. Hello Sunday Morning is simply a project that is about supporting young people that believe in changing their own belief systems around alcohol.”  (

Working Together

If you would like to be involved in a project to help others and make a difference in someone else’s lfe, then join this ning created by Jenny Luca

“Working Together 2 Make a Difference is a community for educators, parents, and students who are involved in volunteerism and service learning. Our goal is to create and nurture connections that will provide all of us inspiration and support as we strive to give back to our local and global communities”



This wiki is the brainchild of educators on Conversations, a webcast on Please feel free to add ideas, resources, connections that can be used by students to help connect with and support Haiti.

The internet can be a powerful tool for changing people’s lives for good. Have you heard of any other examples where children and teenagers have made s positive difference using Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom

I really like Mark Woolley’s slide on the benefits of connecting people via Web 2.0:

  • collective intelligence – collaborative
  • transparent – instant gratification
  • non-hierarchical – democratic
  • potential for passion – ownership
  • open to public – real recognition
  • permanence – searchable resource