Web 2.0

Experiences with Web 2.0 technologies

My experience using Web 2.0 technologies within this course has been exceedingly positive. In fact, I only wish I had the chance to explore more technologies (and I'm sure I will!)  Since I currently teach kindergarten ELL, I am perhaps slightly limited in what I can do with Web 2.0, but I have seen that Web 2.0 applications can certainly be used in and modified for the early childhood classroom. So far, I have experimented with Diigo, Weebly, and Google Apps (the slideshow feature.) Diigo and Google Apps slideshow were both new applications for me.  I had created a site with Weebly in a prior class (and I have a good basic understanding of HTML, having created an extensive site with it before.) However, I feel that my use of Weebly in this class was more meaningful and that I was able to explore all that Weebly can accomplish.  I remember feeling very frustrated with Weebly in the first class because often the elements would not work correctly.  The site seems to be functioning much better now.  I also appreciate that there are different designs one can use for different functions--this helped me to create a site about Henry VIII that had an "old world" feel to it.  I feel that this is important if one wants to pull students in and provide them with a meaningful and engaging learning experience.  I now feel much more positive about Weebly and what it can do.  I also understand its capabilties as a blog now. As for Google Apps, I had used it before, but had not explored the slideshow feature.  I had worked with Google Forms and Google Docs in a week long technology workshop. I also created a WebText about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a graduate ESL course.  I was impressed with what the slideshow presentation feature could do.  I felt that it was very user friendly and I think the fact that Google Docs can be shared online with minimal fuss makes it worth its weight in gold.  I have also recently discovered slideshare, which enables users to share slideshows as well as make them into slidecasts. I like the fact that slideshows can be embedded into other pages because it provides a much more professional look and removes the necessity of a student having to click on a link and go to another site (which could be a concern for kindergarten students, especially early in the year.)  I was not aware of Diigo until this course.  I had seen Portaportal used heavily in educational settings.  While I wouldn't use Diigo with kindergarten students because I don't think the format is very user friendly, I would use it with high school or college students and with teachers. I like the tag feature because it allows one to group links in categories.  Older elementary students and older students could probably even organize their research links on Diigo using the tags as they work (something to remember for a future librarian post!) I still like Portaportal, but Diigo doesn't require one to have a password to view the page, which is a positive. It also provides opportunities for networking and collaboration, something that I feel 21st century teachers should incorporate into their instruction as well as model themselves. I also used YouTube in that I utilized clips from that site.  It is a continuing disappointment to me that YouTube is blocked in our district, as I think there are so many ways it could be used in instruction.  However, I have been shown by our district's technology coaches how to save a video from youtube and upload it to teachertube, which is not blocked. Unfortunately, sometimes teachable moments are not always able to be planned ahead!

Implications for Future Teaching

My hands-on experiences with Web 2.0 technology in this course will certainly impact my future teaching. I think that simply having the opportunity to explore various Web 2.0 tools and "practice" with them has made me much more likely to use them in instruction.  This is probably what a lot of teachers need--some exploration time and guided practice in order to interact with the technology and understand how Web 2.0 could enhance their curricula. I know that I will use Web 2.0 applications heavily when I become a librarian. I anticipate creating interactive websites for students and teachers that would utilize these technologies.  I will also create authentic projects that encourage students to use Web 2.0 applications.  I especially love ToonDoo for ELL students.  This is an excellent, appropriate way for them to "show what they know" even though they may yet have the language to express that linguistically in the new language.  Therefore, whether I teach ELL, am a library information specialist, or am a professor, I plan on integrating Web 2.0 into my instruction and assessment, as well as my curriculum. This course has shown me that time spent helping students explore new technology is time well spent.   

Ensuring Student Safety

As I have learned in this course, it is important to ensure student safety while online. I plan to begin any interaction with new students by using NetSmartz.org and having a safety discussion. We will also role play potentially problematic scenarios (for example, what to do if one is messaged by another user who is a stranger on a publishing site.) I will discourage students from using their names or the name of our school, as this can lead to malicious persons uncovering more information about students.  If I am a library information specialist, I will advocate for a schoolwide Internet safety initiative.  I will also emphasize following acceptable use guidelines.

Web 2.0 Lessons