Today’s post is inspired by several email messages that I’ve received from my readers who have asked me about my favorite Web 2.0 tools. It seems that many of us are really trying to break the digital divide and engage with the various free tools available on the net. However, it is not about how MANY tools we use, but the WAY we use them. This blog is devoted to 10 commonly used Web 2.0 tools, and provides some creative ideas that might spark your imagination and inspire you into adapting them for your unique environment. Enjoy! (Each image is linked to the site for your convenience).
#1. WIKISPACES: A wiki is a space on the Web where you can share your work, your ideas, pictures, links, videos and media, etc. Wikispaces provides many tools to make this process easier. What can you do with wikispaces in your classroom or your training session?
a. Collaboration: Of course, you can use it for collaboration. For example, you can break your audience into groups and ask them to conduct research and compile their findings.
b. Presentation: You can use wiki for showing off the projects of your students (for example, a class dictionary created by your pupils, or a timeline of wars of the 20th century that they designed after researching each war).
c. Assessments: Since each participants’ edits are color-coded, you can access each students’ contribution to the project, as well as see their growth throughout the task.
#2. GOOGLE DOCS: This tool can be used for collaborative writing , where your participants share information and peer-edit before it goes into the final product. You or your students can set the permissions defining who is able to edit the document, make copies, or share it. You can also encourage your students to create their own documents and set them as a stand-alone website by clicking “Share” and then “Publish to the Web.” After that, Google Docs creates a unique URL address that allows those who have the link to view the document from anywhere in the world.
#3. EDMODO: It is an educational social network, that can be used for blogging, forums, and other collaborative uses. For instance, you can set up a Science Fair Exhibition Hall where each group can upload their videos, blogs, and Powerpoints of their group’s projects, or create a Virtual Tour where each member of the tour “participates” and “interacts” with the people and places that visit.
#4. WORDLE is a tool that creates word “clouds” from the text that you provide. You can use this tool to create a book quiz, highlight main concepts for the class, provide starter words for the students to create their own story, and create individual vocabulary items for scientific terms or foreign words. You can also develop a set of common netiquette rules in your class, or use it as an icebreaker activity where students create a list of words that they associate themselves with.
#5 WALL WISHER is an online notice board that can be created individually or collaboratively. You can use it for the orientation for the new students, introductions (where each participant provides their picture + 3 fun facts), a class calendar, or birthday and other messages. You can also highlight the main concepts with brief explanations, create study notes, develop databases (with brief description of each article/site), storyboards for creative writing/ movies, or webquests where you can post clues for your audience to search for.
#6. DIIGO is a site that helps you collect and organize ideas, create collaborative research, highlight main concepts, utilize sticky notes, images, video, text, and use it for online bookmarking. It is all-encompassing site that has the functionality of many other Web 2.0 tools that help you boost collaboration, and organize and present information in one location.
#7. TIMELINES As you probably guessed from its name, this tool allows you and your participants to develop various types of timelines. You can use this tool for the visual representation of the material, for note taking or for quizzes.
#8. WIX is a tool that allows you to create a free, professional looking website. Your students can develop a personal site, a group project, or a class portfolio that can be published and shared with others.
#9. PREZI- is a cloud based zooming presentations tool. With this tool you can develop dynamic presentations to help your audience visualize your ideas. You can use these presentations on or offline, and they can be developed individually or collaboratively. You can also easily transform your presentation into a mini movie that can be effortlessly embedded, along with YouTube videos, into your presentation.
#10. VOKI With this tool you or your students can create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, website, or in email messaging. A great activity that I enjoy as an icebreaker is to have students create their own avatar, and choose the language, themes, and clothing to explain their interests, backgrounds, and personalities.
This article is also available in Serbo-Croatian (translated by Jovana Milutinovich): http://science.webhostinggeeks.com/10-besplatnih-must-have-web+alatki
Here are some articles that provide other creative ways of using the above tools:
DIIGO in the classroom: https://sites.google.com/site/team8project9440/using-diigo-in-the-classroom-2
Using Edmodo in the Classroom: http://blog.edmodo.com/2011/01/17/more-inspiration-7-brand-new-ideas-from-teachers/
13 Interesting Ways of Using Prezi in the Classroom: http://www.slideshare.net/j3pr0x/13-interesting-ways-to-use-prezi-in-the-classroom
Voki in the Classroom: http://helenotway.edublogs.org/2008/01/19/voki-avatars-in-the-classroom/
105 Ideas for Using WallWisher in Your Classroom: http://seanbanville.com/2010/06/26/wallwisher-105-classroom-ideas/
45 Way for Using Wordle in the Classroom: http://languagesresources.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/23-ways-to-use-wordle-in-the-mfl-classroom/
WHAT TO DO NOW:
In the comments below please provide YOUR favorite Web 2.0 tools!
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