Using Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom By Christina Roberts
How can Web 2.0 tools be used to engage students during a lesson?
Web 2.0 tools help keep students engaged by integrating the things that they already do and know how to do best – use technology and the various resources it offers. According to the Web 2.0 quiz, 96% of students have a Facebook account! Using websites such as Gizmoz to create an avatar of a celebrity to introduce a lesson, having students vote on a topic by using their cell phones, or allowing students to discuss topics using Web 2.0 tools such as Diigo or Edmodo will certainly peak student interest, helping them to become more engaged in a lesson.
How can Web 2.0 tools be used to elicit students prior understandings of a concept?
Web 2.0 tools can be used in many ones, and one of these ways includes eliciting students prior understandings of concepts. By using a presentation tool to show something students already know, mobile tools to give students a poll to see where they are at in understanding a concept, or community tools to create discussions, Web 2.0 tools really help students to express what they already know to help them to prepare for what they will learn next.
How can Web 2.0 tools be used to develop a student’s abilities and understandings about inquiry?
Web 2.0 tools can help develop a student’s abilities and understandings about inquiry mostly by helping students to share, collaborate, and present. Community tools can help students to identify questions to answer, design and conduct an investigation, gather and analyze data, and use the knowledge they have gained to explain results with evidence. To present their results and communicate explanations, students can use the presentation and video tools as well.
How can Web 2.0 tools be used to support the process skills associated with inquiry based learning?
The collaboration, discussion and presentation that Web 2.0 tools help to facilitate certainly help support process skills associated with inquiry based learning. In particular, according to the Consortium for School Network, some of the top reasons superintendents named for using Web 2.0 tools include that they increase critical thinking, introduce students to alternate learning environments, extend learning beyond the school day, promote lifelong learning skills, and one of the most important parts of process skills, they help students to find new ways to do new things. As with process skills, all of these reasons to use Web 2.0 tools can really prepare students to learn and apply new knowledge to any situation!
Can Web 2.0 tools be used effectively to assess student understandings of a concept?
Yes, I do believe that Web 2.0 tools can effectively assess student understandings of a concept. Web 2.0 tools allow students to show many of the understandings of inquiry through collaboration and presentation, such as using technology to analyze results of an investigation, creating explanations that emphasize evidence, gaining new knowledge through legitimate skepticism, and experiencing new ideas as a result of investigation. All of these characteristics can be shown and experienced by collaborating and discussing results of an investigation and by creating a presentation that includes an explanation the results based on evidence.
Presentation tools are a great way to enhance the final product of project students have been working on in class. These tools help to keep students engaged because they get to work together in a hands-on environment, exploring something they use quite often, the Internet. Additionally, a student does not even need PowerPoint to create a presentation. Web 2.0 tools such as 280 slides help students create presentations that can be shared anytime, anywhere, as well as several other presentation tools such as Prezi or picsviewer.com.
Students who are especially interested in making and watching videos will be very engaged when using video Web 2.0 tools. There are lots of great tools that can be used to create videos, such as Gizmoz which allows one to create their own avatars or even celebrity avatars, which would certainly keep students engaged and interested in a lesson. Also, students can use a Web 2.0 tool such as Xtranormal to create videos based on text and present a discussion or new topic.
Mobile tools would certainly keep students engaged because students are constantly checking their cell phones, even when they shouldn’t be! Polleverywhere.com is a great website that allows students to text responses to polls that update live. But unfortunately students are supposed to keep their cell phones in their locker at school. Luckily I have “clickers” that come with my Promethean Board that does similar polls and texted answers. Although mobile tools could keep students engaged, they could also be a distraction which is why most schools do not allow cell phones in the classroom.
There are many great community tools out there that really help students to connect and collaborate when working in groups such as Google Docs, Wiki, and Edmodo. These tools would certainly help students to be engaged by allowing them to contribute to group work by posting their thoughts and ideas and working to create documents and presentations together with their classmates.
Discovey Education: Web 2.0 Tools. (2010). Retrieved from http://web2010.discoveryeducation.com/web20tools.cfm .