George Lucas Educational Foundation
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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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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."

  12. 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

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itmadesimple's picture

There are some great resources. In australia there was a project in he last year with the School Library Association that enlisted students to help build and create web2.0 resources for other students and teachers and reflect on the process. A great idea and another great resource

Natalia's picture

Now more than ever the Internet offers an abundance of tools and resources that can enhance the learning environment, motivate students, and stimulate learning. It can also be very overwhelming sorting through these vast resources and learning to operate them efficiently to find what will work for you. These easy to follow tutorials that you provided could really help save a lot of time for busy educators in their efforts to find the appropriate tools that will benefit their students in the best possible way. I was especially excited to learn about the Prezi and the Animoto. This is something I can see as being a very valuable addition to my instruction and teaching techniques, and could help me get my students engaged and excited about learning.

Dawn O'Keeffe's picture
Dawn O'Keeffe
Parent and TV and Film Producer


I'm with a film and web project called GO PUBLIC based in Pasadena, CA. We sent 50 filmmakers (40 professional crews and 10 high school student crews) on to all 28 public school campuses here with the intent of capturing a "day in the life" of one very diverse public school district. We were granted unprecedented access to show what happens behind those walls through 50 different lenses. We'd love if you would have a look at our site, , and consider sharing a link with your readers via your blog. Or like us on We are counting down to the launch of all 50 of our short films on August 15. Here's some of our past teaser videos as we march to our 50 story launch date...

Thanks & GO PUBLIC!

Debbie's picture
Middle school special ed teacher now in Pueblo, Colorado

Hi Amy,
I really appreciate all the informative video! I'm starting at a new school this coming year which has not really used Web 2.0 in the classroom. I am wanting to start implementing Web 2.0 right away in my classroom and was wondering what you would suggest I begin with to grab students' attention? I will be teaching middle school 6th, 7th and 8th grade special education ELA and reading. Also, any suggestions for next steps would be great!

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

Hi Debbie ~

Thanks for reaching out! My first instinct, since you teach ELA, is that Storybird would be a fun tool to try -- and we have a great article with lots more information about Storybird by Lisa Dabbs here.

But -- since I myself am not in the trenches in the classroom, I'll refer you to the experts -- I think you might get some great ideas by posting your question in some of our community groups. You can paste in a link to this blog and ask if other teachers have experience with any of these particular tools in the classroom, and see if they have suggestions.

Try the Middle School group, moderated by our fantastic blogger Heather Wolpert-Gawron.

Or alternately, there are great folks in conversation in the Special Ed group.

Or go to the Technology Tools group, where you might find a broader range of folks who have used these tools with their students.

Best of luck to you!

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