Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tried and True Web 2.0 Tools

At a recent conference I attended, I realized how much teachers are creatures of habit. While I love to incorporate technology, I have to make room for these new tools. These are a few of the Web 2.0 tools I have regularly incorporated into my teaching. They are free and have been successfully used by my JH and HS students. Give them a try and see if you don't make a habit of using them.

Some Basics:

Edmodo --It is very important to have one place where students can access materials, ask questions, and communicate with each other. Edmodo does all of that and more in a user-friendly way. It has been especially helpful when we have mock-elections in Government class. I create a small, private group for each political party and they can connect easily.

Google Drive -- I love that I have all of my class documents with me wherever I am. Students have also grown to love it and find it to be a great way for students to collaborate group projects.

More Advanced:

LiveBinders -- Allows students and teachers to create a three-ring binder of sources online. I have created binders that students can use for sources for a project (organize tabs and subtabs). I have also had students create their own binder of sources that they share with me.

Infogr.am -- This is awesome! Students can create their own infographics. They can drag and drop different visuals, inputting the numbers they need to customize it. Looks really impressive.

Padlet -- An interactive, online bulletin board. This is a great online space for students to share ideas and respond to each other. It is great if you are crowdsourcing facts and/or ideas because students can access it on the web as opposed to writing down ideas on a big piece of butcher paper and having to take a picture of any information you want.

Screencast-o-matic -- Students can create their own screencasts. They drag the recording area to be as large as they would like and then start recording. They don't even need to log-in and it easily uploads to YouTube. I especially enjoyed having students create a Renaissance Art Gallery Tour. Although, I recently ran into some problems trying to run it on my Mac.

Timeline JS -- As a history teacher, I usually assign at least one timeline. A few years ago I gave students the option to create one using this site. They were skeptical at first, thinking it would be impossibly complicated. They were pleasantly surprised when they simply entered the information into a Google spreadsheet and the program did its "timeline magic." Many have used this again in other classes.

Looking for more? These tools are all east to stumble upon if you are looking. Resources are always getting shared on Twitter. And the jackpot of all kinds of free, educational tools and websites is Richard Byrne's Free Technology 4 Teachers. You will not regret visiting that site!

What are some Web 2.0 tools you are in the habit of using?


  1. Kaelyn, note the annotations that you provided for each item. A good habit to develop as a blogger.

  2. Hi, Kaelyn: I enjoyed this post and I feel like you hit so many of the solid tools that any teacher would benefit from. Nice to see Timeline JS on the list. I agree with your assessment, as I was also blown away by the elegant timelines that are produced by this tool.
    I wanted to add a few others that have been winners for me:
    Thinglink - Allows for hyperlinks to be embedded in images (and now videos!). I have students annotate famous images with additional info - or embed questions for them to answer.

    Diigo - A bookmark service, but one that allows 'groups' to be created. I often collect pertinent research links into a group, then share the URL of the group to the class. Now, students have to just click on the link instead of typing!

    TodaysMeet - Lets me create a quick and private 'chat room', where students can exchange ideas during class - and I have a written record that I can refer back to when I am reviewing the lesson and planning ahead.

    Again, thanks for this list and your comments!

    1. For some reason, I had trouble with Thinglink when trying to use it last year (maybe their site was down). I also have not jumped into backchanneling, but Todaysmeet is definitely on my radar.

  3. My Screen Recorder Pro is a better screencast software tool. Records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone - or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to AVI, WMV, MP4, or FLV. Just perfect for creating tutorials, demos, and presentations. Plus, java is not required and there are no limits on recording length. Also, the recordings play back on any device.