While many of you may be heading for the beach this week, it won't be long before you're ready to start exploring some new tools to help your students be better creators and collaborators when you go back to school in the fall. This week we published a new video on Nicole Dalesio, a fifth-grade teacher who uses all kinds of free technology tools in her class to keep her kids engaged, and it inspired me to go hunt down the best tutorials for all these great, free Web 2.0 tools. Did I mention most of them are free?
While screen-cast tutorials may not be the most edge-of-your-seat viewing, once you've got the basics, you can start digging in to the tool itself. And the best part is, learning to use these tools is as fun for you as it is for your students. What are you waiting for? Try something new in ten minutes or less!
Web 2.0 Tools Tutorials for Teachers
Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.
- Super Storytelling with StoryBird (04:31)
StoryBird is a collaborative, web-based storytelling tool. Very little teacher prep time and lots of fun! Check out this Edutopia blog post by Lisa Dabbs on using StoryBird for beginners.
- VoiceThread - Simply Speaking (02:21)
Want to create an online discussion with your students, based on media assets like images or videos? VoiceThread lets you do that. Even cooler, the comments themselves can be text, video, or audio. A collaborative multimedia explosion! This video is a great overview in just two minutes. We have another Lisa Dabbs how-to blog post for VoiceThread, too.
- Edudemic Uses Pinterest (05:32)
Pinterest is one of the latest darlings of the internet, and teachers were quick to find classroom uses for this visually appealing and engaging social bookmarking website. Edudemic shows us how. You can also read a blog post by Eric Sheninger on the topic.
- Dropbox (05:25)
Easily the coolest web-based cloud storage solution out there, Dropbox makes it easy to share and access any kind of files from any device with a connection. Adam Bellow from EduTecher walks us through the joys of Dropbox. Nicholas Provenzano also wrote a blog post about the benefits of cloud-based storage.
- How to Use Animoto for Education (04:17)
Animoto makes it easy for you and your kids to build a professional-looking video using images, video clips, and audio of your choice. You can upload your own, use their library, or gather from around the web. Blogger Ron Peck shares ways to use Animoto and other video-production tools in the classroom.
- Twitter for Educators (07:51)
The education community has really embraced micro-blogging site Twitter -- both for classroom use and for DIY professional development. This how-to vid is produced by an ed tech company, but it's fairly recent and quite comprehensive. Joe Mazza shares twelve reasons to start tweeting this summer in this blog post.
- Evernote Tutorial (09:33)
Evernote is like a virtual junk drawer -- you can save images, links, text, voice memos, etc. -- and then access them all from multiple devices or share them with other users. Power users say they can't live without it!
- Prezi Tutorial (03:16)
Linear slide presentations are so last decade! Check out Prezi, a non-linear storytelling tool that lets you share your ideas from a virtual canvas. This tutorial is aimed towards students, but has all the basics.
- Edmodo Made Easy (05:02)
Edmodo is a popular social network application designed for educators and students to connect and share information -- like a safe and secure Facebook for schools.
- Google Docs - The Basics (07:56)
Google Docs is not really about whistles and bells so much as filling basic needs -- it's a great way for teachers and students to back up, access, and collaborate on spreadsheets, word processing documents, and presentations. Then, this Edutopia article on Google for educators takes you beyond Google Docs.
- Detailed Tutorial on Glogster EDU (05:04)
Use images, audio, and video to create a fantastic interactive poster with your students using Glogster -- an online tool to create "graphic blogs."
- You Suck at Photoshop (03:47)
If you've really made it through watching all those dry tutorials, you deserve a good laugh. This is an ENTIRE SERIES of parody tutorials on Photoshop. Definitely not safe for work -- but hey, it's summer! Laughing Squid has the full story on this hilarious series.
More on Free Web 2.0 Tools
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools out there, and even finding the best support resources can have you tearing your hair out in no time. My suggestion? Pick two or three new tools you want to focus on this summer and put your energy into getting comfortable with just those tools. Don't spread yourself too thin -- there's always next summer.
In the meantime, here are a few resource guides to help you in your search for which fun tool you want to use first -- some include brief descriptions or reviews. Most of the tools featured in the playlist have special websites just to support educators, I've linked to them in the descriptions above. And if you're really jazzed about a tool not featured here, I've listed a few of my favorite tech tutorial sites for educators, where you can find videos to teach you how to use nearly any tool you can find. Happy learning!
Guides for Web 2.0 Tools