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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Web 2.0 Tools, and Keeping Up with the Internet's Evolution

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant

This morning, I got an email -- from a wonderful fourth-grade teacher in Vermont -- that passed along a recommendation about a Web site called Go2Web20.net. So I went poking around and found that I had written a post about Go2Web20.net a year ago. But something has changed.

When I checked out the site, I found a much better design than I remembered the last time I was there. I found a wonderfully simple site -- an easy-to-browse catalog of Web 2.0 tools that is even richer than before. If you ever needed to be convinced there is more out there than you knew existed, here you go. Hold on to your hat.

Seeing this huge collection again made me think about how hard it would be for a novice to choose a place to start, how they -- like I do -- have to count on the experience of others to tell them what might be effective in their classrooms. It is the experience of others that informs all of us.

We cannot be expected -- and cannot expect ourselves -- to know where to find the best stuff, especially when "best" depends on the student, the lesson, the teacher, the grade level, the location, and technology access.

Looking at my earlier post, I saw that it ended with these words: "So, how about it -- take a look at the directory and see if you might not discover something that could help. And then come on back to the good old Spiral Notebook and let the rest of us know what you're going to do."

But only a handful shared. So I am wondering if we were just a tad too early. Maybe Web 2.0 stuff was too edgy then. But I know there are tons of teachers doing lots of great things now.

So, here I go again: Given the specifics of your situation, and if you had to make a choice, what is the Web 2.0 tool that is making the biggest difference for you and your kids, and why? Can you link us to what you've done with it?

Thanks for sharing and for helping a novice begin thinking about the possibilities and the purposes!

Jim Moulton

Technology Integration and Project-Based Learning Consultant
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Comments (15)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Joe O's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

There needs to be greater sharing amongst educators. The opportunities are limited to the imagination for the current "iLearners". Have you been using digital files like mp3's to teach? Have you started podcasting your lessons? Why not? It would be ideal for sick students that miss a day. Have you been using twitter to generate parental involvement? These are all ways to leverage devices constructively. The kids are using them all the time anyway..it would be better to fill them with content that is actually useful..go to www.rhymenlearn.com I'm still early in start-up phase but you get the idea. I send out free content every week via email on the how to..If any more companies like this exist please send them my way..Thanks!!

Jeremiah Hackett's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Go2Web20.net is a daunting website, Jim, and one that I've spent (literally) hours playing with. Every time I look into it, I constantly think this would be cool and this would work so well in my XXX unit. I have pulled much from it that has enriched both my classroom and my life.

That being said, I hope the first advice veteran teachers are giving to younger teachers is not which Web 2.0 tool to use, but rather a caveat in riding their chosen tools to the end of the year, as well as a clear curricular frame that the technology support. Such guidance would have guided me well my first year of teaching --- a year that looked more like a Web 2.0 barf than as sound teaching, as I pulled my students through one web-tool after another, telling them that we were all learning in the process.

Kids like technology --- sure. But more than that, they like consistency, transparency and relevance. The 2.0 possibilities so often come across as one-offs, and we oftentimes lose sight of our curriculum behind the sites we use.

That being said, as sound tools, I think the 2 best tools are the oldest: a Ning (which gives a blog to each student and a threaded forum) and a means of creating digital storytelling content. Embed the usage of each into the course from day one, hammer the multifoliate aspects of each from the first day, and I think you have enough fuel to feed an entire year. Save Go2Web20.net for mid-June, when you're thinking about the year to come.

J. Moulton's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jeremiah -

Well said. Choice is a good thing until the choices become overwhelming. I am reminded of a piece I posted here on the Spiral Notebook a while back, entitled, "Too Sweet and Juicy: Can There Really Be Too Much of a Good Thing with Tech?"

Like everything, becoming clear and focused is always a help. I like your suggestion that teachers decide on the tools they are going to use, and then, "Embed the usage of each into the course from day one, hammer the multifoliate aspects of each from the first day..."



Richard Fair's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know if you have tried it yet, but there is another great site at www.simplespark.com that allows you to enter a search topic like education and then returns a "multitude" Web 2.0 oriented sites. I am in the process of reorganizing my middle school curriculum and also working with other teachers in my school to integrate Web 2.0. It is great to find all of these available resources, but there just never seems to be enough time to try them all out.

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