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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

Joel's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Go2web20.net is a Flash site. Navigation is particular perverse on Flash sites. The site loads slowly. It couldn't be worse.

Simplespark, mentioned in the top post by Richard Fair, is a couple of orders of magnitude better code.

For a critique of Flash sites, with comments, see,
j-walkblog.com, (scroll up, too).

and here,
glyphobet.net, for "Why your Flash website sucks."

Many users set their browsers to block Flash sites.

- govtwork

J. Moulton's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Joel & Richard -

And that, once again, is why my five favorite words continue to be, "Jim, have you seen this?" The human network is, in the end, the most important one, eh?

With no pride of authorship, I remain,

Jim

;-}

Carolyn Stanley's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We are test driving the free Google School apps for education in our middle school. We bought a domain name for only $10.00. I was able to upload 100 kids as users all at once using their mass enrollment tools and an Excel file converted to a CSV file. (I learned how to convert an Excel to CSV as I was working on the project.) The students will have access to the collaborative tools - Google Docs and Google Sites. They will also have email, but, for now, it can only be used with other members of the domain. Our first project will be having the students build a web page on all aspects of weather which they will use as a review for the unit they are studying in science. Hopefully, it will be a nice resource for other students around the world.
We have used Google sites before with two other teams, but it was a laborious process to get all of the kids uploaded individually; each kid set up an account, but there was confusion, forgotten usernames and passwords, etc. Still, the group web page the 8th graders produced on Native American Indigenous Cultures was a success for the most part, and the kids said they enjoyed putting their pages together far more than just writing a report. They also said they spent more time on the project knowing that their peers would be looking at their pages and commenting.
Of course, we stress ethics as well as the assignment.
Carolyn Stanley
Bethany Middle School
CT

Jered Phillips's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Joe I an just starting my masters on instructional tech and I am amazed at the applications you mentioned. I get excited when I hear about the use of podcasts and twitter for parent involvement. I will check out your site. Thanks for the heads up.

Steven Levy MD's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Web 2.0 and online interaction is not only an important addition to education, learning to interact online with one another and teachers is a critical part of their education - aside from the actual subject matter. I view my own son playing "World of Warcraft" - an online multiplayer game- with a certain frustration as I'd rather see him reading. However he is actually learning the critical lessons for future work- collaboration on projects in real time, internationally and 24/7. This is the future of human interaction and future work. Online tutoring is another aspect. I suggest looking at www.youronlinetutors.com as a model for the future of tutoring- low cost, international, 24/7.

J. Moulton's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi, Carolyn!

Thanks for sharing such a complete description of your efforts. Aren't the Google Tools so powerful? Each is great independently, but when one pulls them together... Yippee!

Along the same lines as you describe, I have built a Google site where kids and teachers can ask me questions about India, where I be traveling and working for the next 3 1/2 weeks. I added a page at the end where I describe the different tools and how they are being used.

The idea is three-fold:

1) To help teachers teach kids to ask better questions.
2) To help me have a richer experience in India by being "on a mission" for kids!
3) To demonstrate how the Google tools can be used together to build powerful project sites

Check it out here and let me know what you think:

Cheers, and thanks again for sharing. I enjoy hearing the excitement in your voice.

Jim

Karen Johnson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

In an Ed Tech course at the University of Florida, we were introduced to Go2Web20.net. I like the idea that it is organized by Web tool type. As a librarian and faculty development facilitator, I have dazzled several teachers with these sites.

I also teach Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS) in our school's IB Programme. I turned right around after my class and extended the learning to my students. They are now very acquainted with the pros and cons of the different types of Web 2.0 tools. Categories rule!

Karen Johnson
Clearwater Central Catholic High School
Clearwater. FL.

Chris Taylor's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Jim,

You are exactly right. It is mind-boggling to think of all the possibilities that are out there on the Web for teachers to use. At first, I thought, "How can I possibly learn all this?" I now realize that if I can use a few tools here and there and incorporate it into the classroom, I will only become more comfortable with it as time goes by. Then, I can continue to adventure out and do more and more with the Internet resources that are available.

I have only been investigating the Web 2.0 since about February. Currently, I am in a graduate program at the University of Florida and it has been fantastic. It has allowed me to expand my horizons and try new things with my students. So far, participation has been low. However, I expect that to change next year when I can implement it at the beginning instead of three-fourths through the school year.

Here are a few of my attempts of trying to incorporate the Web 2.0 into my classroom and district. First, I created a wiki for Social Studies teachers to share our resources and lesson plans. It is located at http://volusiasocialstudiesteachers.wikispaces.com/. I also created a treasure hunt for my Andrew Jackson unit. It is located at http://www.kn.att.com/wired/fil/pages/huntandrewjmc.html. Finally, I have attempted to create my own blog. It has not gone well but like I said, I expect better things next year. It is located at http://taylorvillepost.blogspot.com.

Thank you for the resources that you provided. I tagged it in my Delicious account. I appreciate it.

Chris Taylor

roger's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I think that Web reading/writing, or as we call it, Web 2.0, in the cultural, social and intellectual sense, would have a greater influence than even the invention of printing machine. I believe that we can not even begin imagine the changes, because the bilateral nature of the Internet is blossoming like a flower, so that even those who spend time imagining the future changes will be struck by the fact of reality.

Carolyn Stanley's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi, Jim,
I am sorry I did not come across your response to me until this evening, June 3, 2009. I assume that you have returned safely from India. I did take a look at your wiki, and I think it is a nice model. Two teachers from our local elementary school traveled to China about the same time you traveled to India, and they kept in touch with their students via a blog. Here is the link:
http://connecticutchinaconnection.org/
I thought the page with all your photo videos was great, and I also enjoyed reading some of the questions and responses. I will have to take more time to investigate the resources you provided on helping students to frame good questions.

The Google for Schools Apps was successful, and the kids on the green team did a nice job creating the web pages where they taught each other about the weather topics their teacher wanted them to grasp. Their teacher was also an enthusiastic participant and ended up creating a team website for the team teachers, something he'd always wanted to do but never had time to using Front Page or DreamWeaver. Google Sites makes it so easy.

Can you help me? How do I track my responses to blogs, so I know when they've been published and commented on?
Thanks,
Carolyn

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