Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom
- Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
There are many teachers at various levels of tech savviness that are charging into the classroom armed with awesome tools from the Web. Many of these programs can be used with kids and adults in many capacities. Your imagination will determine how to use it. The sky's the limit!
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com.
edublog — FREE Why start a blog? It's easy to use and makes communicating with your colleagues easy. It also allows students and parents to interact with you and each other. Unlike a static Web site that only allows you to post information, a blog allows other to comment. It allows your voice to be heard out there in the blogosphere where others can validate your ideas and opinions or challenge you to react. (Wikispaces are awesome for that, too. Others can also upload information on Wikispaces and add to your page!)
Jing — This is a program that you can download for free. It allows you to take video screen captures on your computer and record your voice. It's great for making videos on how to open a new word document for kids, for instance, or for recording anything you see or do on the computer. All it takes is a click of your mouse on the Jing icon.
Animoto — FREE A great Web site for making a dynamic slide show with your video clips, photos, and music. Extremely user friendly, it gives you an embed code for your Web site or blog, a link to share with others via email or Facebook, and the ability to download the slide show or burn it to a DVD. Be sure to sign up for the educator version. I used an Animoto slide show in my previous post to create the tour of my classroom.
Blabberize — FREE This site is silly and loads of fun, allowing you to animate portions of a photo or clip art to make it look like the subject talks. So, for example, if I uploaded a photo of a cowboy, I could draw a cutout around his jaw and make the jaw go up and down as if he's talking. Then you record what you want the photo to say via upload, computer mic, or phone message and save it! Kids and adults think the results are funny, and it's super easy to use. I have the kids animate a self-portrait that they draw from the first day of school and tell something about themselves. Later in the year, we animate famous people for reports.
VoiceThread $60/year includes up to 100 student accounts. This Web site allows you to post a thread about anything that includes a video or photos. People can then add to the thread or leave a comment with their computer mic, keyboard, or with an old-fashioned telephone. The thread below explains what VoiceThread is and goes through a few examples. You can fast forward in the VoiceThread book by using the big arrow keys in the voice thread box. There are threads for every age and grade level. If you go to VoiceThread, search for the kindergarten thread on seasons. Many people across the country added to the thread, and it's cool to watch. Sign up for the educator account.
Glogster — FREE Glogster is a cool Web 2.0 tool that you can use in your classroom to introduce a new topic or have your kids create one for a culminating project or report. A glog incorporates video, sound, text, photos, and clip art on one Web page. If your students are creating a report, it's probably geared for grades 4 and up. If you as a teacher are creating a glog to launch a theme, it's a great way to really capture the students' attention. The Glogster Web site has tons of great examples, but Mary Blow, Scholastic advisor for grades 6–8, made an excellent glog to introduce herself. Check out her blog post about glogs. Sign up for the free educator account.
Prezi — FREE This is a great presentation tool to use in lieu of PowerPoint. It's similar to PowerPoint, but it's a little more nonlinear and cleanly designed. Instead of multiple slides in a presentation, Prezi uses one slide that you can zoom into to see your next segment or zoom out to show the next segment. You can also download Prezi onto your computer. Again, sign up for the educator version.
SignUpGenius — FREE This simple and easy to use site allows users to sign up for things online. For example, I use it for my volunteer sign-ups and party sign-ups. It keeps the chart online, notifies me when something changes, and emails a reminder to everyone a day or two before the event.
Creative Commons — FREE This site encompasses several other sites including flikr, jamendo, blip.tv, and Yahoo! images. It has tags that allow you to search for copyright free or limited copyright images, video, or music. This is a great resource for finding the right material to create multimedia presentations, glogs, podcasts, etc.
What is your favorite Web 2.0 tool and how do you use it?