I’ve had a few posts recently on using social media in the classroom (such as Facing Facebook, and Blogs and Wikis, and Backchannels). But these are only little windows into a large, and growing, body of literature on how to use these tools in education. The trend seems to be much stronger in K12 education settings than in college, but I believe that there is some overlap between the uses in the two realms.
One particularly useful resource is the web 2.0: New tools, new schools and the companion book, web 2.0 how-to for educators, published by International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The first is more of an overview and best-practices manual, whereas the second is a directed guide on how to use the tools in your classroom. Both are written by a professor of education and a technology in education specialist.
From the ISTE website:
What can Web 2.0 tools offer educators? Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging Web 2.0 technologies and their use in the classroom and in professional development. Topics include blogging as a natural tool for writing instruction, wikis and their role in project collaboration, podcasting as a useful means of presenting information and ideas, and how to use Web 2.0 tools for professional development. Also included are a discussion of Web 2.0 safety and security issues and a look toward the future of the Web 2.0 movement. Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools is essential reading for teachers, administrators, technology coordinators, and teacher educators.
Web 2.0 How-To for Educators explores the very best online collaborative tools available today (including blogs, wikis, and social networking) and Web 2.0 applications (Skype, Google Earth, Wordle, and more) that make a difference in education. Using a simple formula for each concept, the book describes what the tool is, when teachers should use it, why it is useful, who is using it, how you can use the tool, and where you can find additional resources. Practical examples from educators around the world offer an abundance of ideas, and the recommendations for further information and comprehensive lists of Web 2.0 tools and applications will be valuable resources as you integrate Web 2.0 technology in your classroom.
Here are some additional tips on web 2.0 tools especially for your own learning (which is how I recommend getting started), here are a few things to play with, courtesy of an article in The Science Teacher by Eric Brunsell and Martin Horejsi:
RSS Readers / personalized home page.
Websites and blogs often have syndicated feeds that you can aggregate into your own one-stop personalized news feed. Some good readers are:
Social Bookmarking Services
I’ve only gotten into these recently, but the ability to tag bookmarks for easy searching and categorizing seems to make a lot more sense than the folders that live on my Firefox browser, which never quite seem to allow me to find what I’m looking for. Diigo lets you create folders and add comments. Some often-used sites are:
I can’t sing the praises of Google Docs enough. It includes an online word processor, much like Word, but you can share documents with others and make real-time collaborative edits. You can create polls using Forms, have students fill in lab results into a collaborative spreadsheet, or work with each other on a collaborative presentation.
Online Concept Mapping
I hadn’t heard of this tool before reading the article by Brunsell and Horejsi, but I’m a big fan of concept mapping both to assess and to enhance learning. Apparently webspiration is a tool to do this online, and it’s got a public beta version. But it looks like it’s moving to an online subscription sometime soon.
You can find tons of useful video for your own learning or your students. For example:
- YouTube EDU. YouTube results relevant to education.
- iTunes U. Educational related iTunes offerings, from educational institutions.
- MIT Open Course Ware. Entire MIT courses online for your viewing.
- TED Talks: hundreds of free, short science lectures on everything under the sun (and beyond) from today’s visionaries
- NSTA Learning Center and Classroom 2.0 Live! Free webinars on science and technology teaching.
- KickYouTube. Allows you to download YouTube videos for viewing offline.
Other tools to get you thinking…
I’m a big fan of starting with the goal, rather than the tool, but there is something to be said for getting an idea of what’s out there, and getting inspiration from there. So, here are some other tools listed that might be of interest:
- Glogster. Interactive online posters using text images, video and audio.
- PhotoPeach. Online slideshows combining text and images. Might be used to document field trips, topical presentations, or lab procedures.
- VoiceThread. Like PhotoPeach, but with a voice option.
- ScreenToaster or Screencast-o. Capture what is on your screen to narrate presentations or other guides for students.
Again, a big old tip o’ the chalk to Brunsell and Horejsi for compiling the helpful list that inspired this post!