Family legend has it that when my sister-in-law was at boarding school, she would write home saying ‘My friend for the week is…’ It seems there were so many new people to engage with that she was able to find a new friend each week. That’s similar to the way I feel about all the web 2.0 tools that I could use in my class!
When I first began exploring web 2.0 tools, I wanted to experiment with each new one I discovered! But I realise (I’m an Aussie, that IS how you spell realise) that it’s important to remember that the tech tools you use in your classroom need to support learning. It’s about the learning, not about the technology itself.
So bearing that in mind, here are two of my favorite web 2.0 tools for the classroom . These are the ones that I keep coming back to because they have been so successful in engaging my students and enhancing their learning:
ToonDoo is a wonderful online comic creator. Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know what a fan I am, since I regularly use my toons to illustrate my posts. Our school has it’s own ToonDoo space, which is a private, secure site for our students to create toons, express their creativity and demonstrate their learning. It’s excellent for second language practice too. I blogged about it here.
I find Voicethread a versatile tool for conversation around images. You can upload images or videos and comment either by typing or by recording your voice. Others can participate and comment, which allows for collaboration as well as feedback. Again, it’s great for second language practice. See examples here.
And here is a new ‘friend for the week‘, with which I have begun to experiment and whose usefulness for my students’ learning, I have yet to assess:
Primary Pad is a web-based word processor designed for schools, that allows pupils and teachers to work together in real-time. It is a very simple, straightforward tool for collaborating on a document simultaneously, which young kids could easily manage. My head is already buzzing with possibilities for how it could be useful for learning. More on that next time, after my students have experimented.
New series: ‘My friend for the week is…‘ (via Phyllis.)