As a former teacher, I know how hesitant we can all be when trying new things in the classroom. There’s always someone telling you why (shiny new object) is going to “improve” things even when, 9 times out of 10, those new things ended up creating more problems than they solved.
Not in the case of Web 2.0.
The power that certain tools like wikis, social networking sites, and group presentation software can give to teachers and their students is still unknown. Up until now, applications have already been created for ease-of-use, so some of them might *actually* make your life easier.
Here are some ideas for integrating some specific tools to promote collaboration, and some links to others who have good ideas or have even tried this integration already:
- Using a wiki: this can serve as a good ‘homepage’ for a course, but it can do so much more, too! I suggest creating assignments that will require students to add and review others’ work. The highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy is evaluation, and this is a very easy way to hit that mark and get students to think more deeply and broadly about what they’re learning.
- Using YouTube: have students post videos – skits, conversations, creative representaions of the material that they’re synthesizing, as well as post response videos and comments.
- Using Facebook: go beyond just creating a group for your class if it’s available; use a community-building application such as Courses or Schools.
- Yammer is a great tool for keeping members of a smaller group up-to-date on the progress of projects. Students can use this to delegate roles and ask each other question as they go.
- There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free tools out there – find what YOU feel comfortable using.
Here are some links to….um….links:
- – Larry Ferlazzo’s “101 Free Learning Tools”
- – Vicky Davis is finding new, cool things almost daily.
- – Rober Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers blog
And here are some teachers who are reporting on their results:
– check out Fred Stutzman’s manuscript on how the ‘integration’ went in his class
– Dean Groom offers some tips for teachers who are ready to ‘jump in’ and reports on how integrating on-line tools helped the collaborative efforts for a group project.