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Web 2.0 Tools for Educators

Technology encompasses many facets of an educator's daily routine. E-mail, classroom websites, online gradebooks, remote printing capabilities, and a variety of other technology tools have allowed teachers to become more productive and to minimize the time dedicated to administrative tasks. However, there are many other technology tools that can be utilized to enhance the instructional practices of teachers as well. These technology tools include Web 2.0 applications which can greatly enhance and support student learning. Web 2.0 tools serve to facilitate collaboration, communication, information sharing and learning on the World Wide Web. This is arguably a vast improvement over the earlier offerings on the web (Web 1.0) which were static and limited in terms of the collaboration and learning opportunities offered through Web 2.0 as they promote opportunities to enhance student learning like never before. This wiki page (a great example of a Web 2.0 tool) presents various articles, resources, and applications in support of Web 2.0 technologies for teachers and students.800px-Web_2.0_Map.svg.png

Point of Perspective
The following video presentation contrasts the learners of today the learners of yesterday: Education Today and Tomorrow As such, this brief video serves as a suitable starting point in support of using Web 2.0 tools to enhance teacher development and student learning.

Web 2.0 Tools and Resources for Educators

Web 2.0 Resources Galore
This is a great link to learn more about various Web 2.0 resources for educators. Web 2.0 for the Classroom Teacher

Examples of Great Web 2.0 Applications
Check out Animoto. This is a web-based product that allows its users to create music videos with existing photos or video clips. To learn more about Animoto, click this link: Animoto Educators may sign up for a free, renewable six-month all-access account: Animoto for Education

Here is fun way for teachers or students to create comic strips. This would be useful for a variety of subjects including social studies, language arts, and event foreign languages. In fact this program allows for comic strips to be created in a veriety of languages. Click on this link to start creating your own comic strips: makebeilefscomix

For educators looking for an online journal for professional development purposes or for facilitating classroom writing assignments, take a look at Penzu. This product allows for the printing or exchange of journals via e-mail.

Have some fun by creating your own video production utilizing either classic movie clips, East Indian film clips, or sporting event clips and adding your own subtitles. This free website is user friendly and offers a creative way for students and teachers to present important concepts in or out of class. Click this link to get started on creating your own video with classic movie clips: Classik TV

For educators that enjoy utilizing web based discussion boards, consider trying Voxopop , a web based audio tool that allows students and teachers to build upon audio based discussions.

Accessing Web 2.0 via One-to-One Technology
Interested in incorporating Web 2.0 into instruction but short on access to computer labs or classroom access to technology? Take a look at this website that offers the means to use affordable, portable computing devices to exchange information and to share ideas. The site also offers assistance with grant writing to get this interactive web based technology in the classroom. For technology enthusiasts interested in one-t-one technology this is a great product to look into. www.goknow.com

Articles and Informational Resources

Parental Fears of Web 2.0 Applications
This is an interesting article that brings to light the disconnect between students and parents when it comes to utilizing Web 2.0 programs like social networking sights. Perhaps educators may play a greater role in teaching students how to responsibly utilize social networking sights. Here is a link to the article: HAGELIN: Web 2.0 runs wild

In Support of Web 2.0 in the Classroom
This blog entry advocates for a greater use of Web 2.0 in classroom instruction. The author, Steven Hargadon, advocates for greater use of Web 2.0 tools by teachers through providing an explanation of nine different trends in how students learn as well as how they receive their information. Web 2.0 is the Future of Education

About Web 2.0
This brief video not only explains what Web 2.0 is but it also provides an explanation of how Web 2.0 difers from Web 1.0: Understanding Web 2.0

Suggested Books
Wired for Learning: An Educator's Guide to Web 2.0
"Web 2.0 is a term used to describe an apparent second generation of the World Wide Web that emphasizes collaboration and sharing of knowledge and content among users. With the growing popularity of Web 2.0, there has been a burgeoning interest in education. Tools such as blogs, wikis, RSS, social networking sites, tag-based folksonomies, and peer-to-peer (P2P) media sharing applications have gained a prominence in teaching and learning. With "Wired for Learning: An Educators Guide to Web 2.0" there is tremendous potential for addressing the needs student, teachers, researchers, and practitioners to enhance the teaching and learning experiences through customization, personalization, and rich opportunities for networking and collaboration. The purpose of this text is to clarify and present applications and practices of Web 2.0 for teaching and learning to meet the educational challenges of students in diverse learning setting. This text will bring teachers and university education into a bold new reality and cause them to move to think differently about technology's potential for strengthening students' critical thinking, writing, reflection, and interactive learning."

Web 2.0 for Schools: Learning and Social Participation (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies)
"In the lWeb_2.0_For_Schools.jpgast five years, Web 2.0 applications vast virtual worlds, multiplayer online games, social networking, and file sharing among them have inspired new notions of what it might mean to be literate in the twenty-first century. While previous scholarship on Web 2.0 has focused on its social and recreational uses, this book explores its ability to enrich and transform the educational experience of children and young people. It discusses the opportunities and risks presented by this large-scale shift in popular engagement with new media, and uses illustrative vignettes to document the work of innovative educators who construct new ways of thinking and being around Web 2.0."

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms
"Hits the nail on the head by emphasizing how technology can be used in ways that go beyond one-on-one student use of software programs and teachers’ use of PowerPoint for presentations. The book emphasizes the collaborative work and learning that can occur when educators take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer." (Erica Boling, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education )

"This is a book that I would use immediately with my preservice teachers or department if I were a K-12 supervisor. Important, though, is getting it in teachers’ hands as soon as possible." (Karen Stearns, Assistant Professor )

"With updated research and links, the second edition shows educators at all levels and disciplines how to use digital tools to create relevant, interactive learning experiences."

My comments:
The author, Will Richardson, presents an optimistic view of Web 2.0 as an instructional tool. Richardson is also dismayed at the lack of movement in the educational community toward incorporating more technology into instruction or face the possibility that educators become irrelevant to students as students interact with Web 2.0 technologies in their personal lives on a daily basis. Richardson presents some practical advice in cautioning the reader to become personally adept at technologies before incorporating Web 2.0 tools into one's curriculum. Beyond what the title suggests, Richardson also presents chapters on benefits of RSS and the Social Web (e.g. Twitter and social bookmarking). Richardson summarizes the book with a concept of a "New Literacy" that must be developed by teachers and students. He also speaks of "Big Shifts," particularly with regard to the way in which we deliver information and resources to students.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

As a technology "enthusiast," it is exciting to contemplate the possibilities that web 2.0 tools can lend to the skill sets of an educator from both a personal and professional perspective. Web 2.0 offers new and ever increasing ways for people to share, exchange, and collaborate. This brings about many new opportunities for educators to deliver instruction in ways that appeal to the student of the 21st century.

Focusing on Web 2.0 as a medium for improving teacher development and instruction truly opened my eyes. Though I consider myself my adept at technology than most, I was extremely surprised at the volume and variety of Web 2.0 offerings that can enhance one's personal and professional life. Certainly, there are concerns and considerations with the issues of the safety and security of our students and their personal identities as they embrace education for personal and educational purposes. For this reason, among, others, it is incumbent upon educators to stay with or ahead of the technology curve especially as they seek to incorporate Web 2.0 tools and other technologies into the curriculum.

Because of what has been made possible by the advent of Web 2.0 tools and applications, the internet has truly become a dynamic place for people to learn, present, share and collaborate. I am optimistic of an educational future where conventional instructional practices and innovative technologies are bundled together to truly provide a 21st century education for our students.

In summary, I would like to leave you with this though provoking video as we move forward as educators focused on the 21st century: The Machine is Us/ing Us