Innovative Web 2.0 Platforms for the Classroom!
Ideas for Using Web 2.0 Ė Application for Educators
Published: June 7, 2010
by Laura Joy Perales
Need some collaboration, communication, and publishing platforms to use in your classrooms? Let me start out by expressing my extreme disappointment that some sites are blocked by our Tennessee Dept. of Ed.! The platforms I already have implemented in my classroom for next year are Google Docs and Calendar, WikiSpaces, and Diigo. Because weíve been using them for our PBL group, I understand how to use them and how to make them work. I updated my syllabus with the requirements for a Gmail e-mail account that students will use for all our sites. Weíll be doing multiple projects, both group and individual, and collaboration and communication will take place in these platforms. Skype is the only way Iíve even met my nephew, and the best feature (for student group work) is that you can conduct virtual conference calls. I could see my kids doing that.
I had planned to use EduBlogs last year with my AP class, but quickly discovered that the basic free account only allows for one user Ė me! As a result, I was interested in Blogger.com, and sure enough, it is not blocked, and itís free! You can create your blog website and itís easy to use. Theyíve added a lot of advanced features, too, like Group Blogging. This would be a great replacement for Edublogs with my AP students next year. Instead of keeping their thoughts in a journal, their thoughts can be shared, and that encourages them to challenge themselves because they know what they write will be published. Ning interested me the most because it has chatting, blogging, publishing, a website, individual user profiles, incorporation of multi-mediaÖ ďvirtuallyĒ everything, pardon the pun.
I know kids like to chat, so Chatterous is a unique way to do this. SpeakLike does not appeal to me. Itís too complicated to employ in my classroom environment . TodaysMeet, however, has potential. The Backchannel intrigued me and confused me! How exactly does it work? How do we ďsit in the same room and listen to each otherĒ? I had to set up an account to see how to use it in my room, but I like the concept of chatting out loud rather than in writing. Voice quality can completely change the way that something is interpreted, a limitation that typing alone has. Itís private, which is probably why it hasnít been blocked... yet.
I prefer to conduct discussion forums in our class WikiSpace. Edmodo is awesome for teachers who donít already host their own websites. On my site in Office Live I already have all of our assignments and media presentation available for viewing/downloading. WiZiQ works for me! You can make a class on the platform, and as many kids can join as you want without limitation. Teachers can make lessons and tests for free, and students can watch and take these lessons and tests. There are a lot of resources to help you learn to make the site work for you, and I plan to.
Last point of interest: video. I use TeacherTube to find videos to share with my kids, but I host my videos to Vimeo.com because there are fewer limitations in file size, types, and uploading. Vimeo is free to educators with 500 mb upload space per week, and the videos never get deleted. Itís simple to embed them in any site. Since I produce videos in my business, Iíve got all the resources that I need to make videos and convert them, but I found some platforms would be excellent for kids who have no knowledge of video design. Moonk will help make kids blogs better because they can make slideshows from their pictures. If they have their own videos or songs, they can make videoshows and a jukebox, then embed them. Blogger was specifically mentioned. I use SlideShare sometimes, but with Google Docs, Iím using it less and less.
Yodio would be super easy for kids to use. They would probably like it because they can record from their phones. Basically, they can take their pictures and a make a slideshow narrated by their own voices.
Animoto is, in a word, FUN! You can chose music, photos, and video clips and make a custom video, remix a video, spotlight a specific image, add texts, and share with others (links or embeds) and they can download too. Itís free for education. I watched some of the videos, and itís amazing how much you can do for free, and without having to know how to create a video from scratch. This would help kids make better quality projects without the technical knowledge base a video producer has. Glogster would be a great alternative to the traditional poster project. Here, students create virtual posters.
I saved the best for last. Voicethread. Itís simple, itís collaborative, and itís fun. Kids can record audio from a webcam, mic, or headset. They can import PowerPoint slides or upload images. Video uploads prepared ahead of time can also be uploaded for sharing. This is the perfect platform for Digital Storytelling, as others can comment, verbally, in writing, or in video, on each studentís video. When you view your video, you also get to see otherís feedback and reactions!
Media References - http://www.diigo.com/list/ljperales/web-20-applications
Author: Laura Joy Perales
Published: June 7, 2010 in Perception
Volume 1: Issue 2