Learning with Web 2.0

In this post I’m just going to share the different Web 2.0 tools I currently use in the learning processes in my classes.

  1. Wikispaces . The class wiki for each of my classes is the center of our online learning environment. The students get almost all class information and due dates here; they complete class activities and discuss various topics; they collaborate with partners to achieve goals for projects; they share and comment on information provided by me and other students, and they embed and link to work here from other Web 2.0 sites. Links to my class wikis: Asian Studies, All grade 9 Asian Studies, IB ITGS.
  2. Diigo and Delicious. These social bookmarking sites are used to collate resources for my classes. I bookmark sources relevant to the different content we cover and tag each source with a certain tag which causes the source to appear on the class wiki through a link roll. At the moment, I do this link rolling process through Delicious. I’m in the process of moving all social bookmarking process to Diigo. In Diigo, I’ve created a group for each of my classes. The students join Diigo and become members of our class group so they can share resources with each other and collaborate in the research process. Soon, I’ll be showing the highlighting and commenting functions of Diigo that make the bookmarking and sharing process even more dynamic.
  3. Google Docs. As a collaborative writing tool that stores documents in the cloud, I use Google Docs on occasion to have students complete written activities they do in a group context. I also have them do collabortive planning here, as well. Here’s an example of a collaborative piece of writing my IB ITGS HL students did. All the assessment is done right on the document- no printing, no converting to a MS Word file.
  4. DropBox. This is a fantastic online file storing and sharing application. It looks and works just like a Documents folder on a computer. The difference is that it’s connected to and syncs through the Internet to other computers on which you have DropBox installed. Alternatively, you can access your files through the secure Dropbox website. You can also share folders and files with others who have a DropBox account. Any kind of application file can be shared. I’m doing this process with five IB extended essay students where they save all work in a shared DropBox folder. The IB coordinator is also part of each shared folder. We can view their work whenever we want, and give give feedback that the student sees as soon as we save the file. It’s a wonderful tool.
  5. Issuu. This is an online publishing tool. You can publish any kind of document here that then appears in a beautiful and easy to use viewer. Documents published to Issuu are completely searchable through web, so they can be considered officially published to the world. In my Asian Studies class, grade 9 students who had chosen to do a magazine article for an assessment had their articles collated and published through Issuu. See an example here.
  6. YouTube. I don’t need to explain what YouTube is. For the same assignment where grade 9 students were able to choose to do a magazine article published through Issue, the other students chose to do a documentary style video that was published through YouTube.
  7. Xtranormal. This is a site about which I recently learned. This is a simple video creation site (cartoon-like) where all you have to do is insert some text, chose a character and background, and you end up with a cool little movie. I will have my grade 9 students use this site as supplement to an opinion (for/against) paper they will write on a controversial topic about which they will be studying. They will take their for/against arguments, make them sound more conversational, insert the text into the script for two different characters on Xtranormal, and create a virtual debate between the characters. Here’s an example I created for the students to view.
  8. MindMeister. This is a cool collaborative mind mapping tool. I just used it for the first time with my IB ITGS class. They used it with fellow group members to brainstorm ideas and start planning for a group project. It worked out well and allowed the students to easily complete this task outside of class since each person could access the centrally located mind map online.
  9. Gliffy. Gliffy is an online, collaborative diagram software. It allows you to create professional-looking flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, and technical drawings. As part of the same project for which ITGS students used MindMeister, they used Gliffy to show the layout of the network they are creating as part of their project. Gliffy has nice, visual icons for many different contexts. For the network layout, it provides icons for servers, computers, firewalls, hubs, etc. Here’s an example of a group’s work in Gliffy.
  10. VoiceThread. This is becoming a very popular medium for presenting work at all grade levels. VoiceThread allows you to share images, documents, PowerPoint presentations, and videos. The great thing is that you can do this collaboratively with anyone with an account anywhere in the world. Moreover, you and your partners can narrate on top of the images or slides. Here’s an example from a global collaboration project my IB ITGS students did last year with a school in Shanghai and Helsinki, Finland.
  11. SurveyMonkey. This site does exactly what its name says- surveys. I used this to do a student-teacher feedback survey I’m required to do each year. I also used it once to do a low-stakes, formative assessment quiz. It worked very well! We were able to see a summary of the class results within seconds of the last person finishing the quiz. We were then able to discuss immediately why any question was missed, thus giving immediate feedback to the students in the process.

About togalearning

Technology Learning Coach, High School Social Studies and online IB Psychology teacher

Posted on April 12, 2009, in Education, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Great posts, we always love it when we hear how our students are using these technologies in their own classroom. Did you use all of these before this program, or have you added a couple? Sounds like a great class, how are the students responding?

    Linda Burns

    • I used most of them prior to starting the program. I learned about Xtranormal back at the ADE Asia conference in November 2008, but then forgot about it until last month’s class when I was re-exposed to it. The students are enjoying using the tools. They are also learning not to use so many different user names and passwords as they have to create more and more accounts with the different sites. Something like OpenID needs to become more pervasive in the Web 2.0 world, I think, so there isn’t such a management issue with user names and passwords.

  2. I love ISSUU! That’s just what I was looking for.
    What a great find! Thanks for sharing all these cool links.
    I also took a look at your students’ work. Good stuff.

  3. Every time I read your blogs, they are so full of useful sites I end up straying from my train of thoughts to persuing the new sites you have introduced me to…Iam such a flintstone …Thankyou for the insightful and informative blogs…when I grow up I want to have a working knowledge of a small fraction of what you know and use…your students and fellow educators are fortunate.

  4. Tom, this blog was extremely helpful to me since we are just beginning to add some of these tools into our classrooms. Is there a way to link this blog to the blog I’ve created this month? If so, would you be willing to do so?


  5. Ronald and Diane,

    Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad the post was helpful for you.

    We all have to start somewhere- steps turn into strides; strides turn into sprints. Just keep reading, trying things out, having conversations both online and in-person with as many people as possible, nurture your PLN, and you’ll be flying with all of this soon!

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