Tag Archives: education 3.0

Ten Free Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom

– guest post by Karen Schweitzer

Where to Find Free Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom

Teachers who want to put web 2.0 technologies to work for them can find many different free options online. There are tools for creating online classrooms, social networks, student podcasts, web-based flashcards, elearning modules, and much more. Here are 10 free web 2.0 tools for teachers to try in the classroom this year.

Engrade – This popular online classroom community provides a free set of web-based tools for teachers who want to integrate web 2.0 into the classroom. Tools include an online assignment calendar, an online gradebook, an online attendance book, secure online messaging, and instant progress reports. Engrade is a great way for teachers to constantly stay in touch with students, parents, and administrators.

Engrade logocramberry logoelgg logo

Elgg – This social engine provides all of the tools a school or classroom needs to create their own community site or social network. Elgg is an open source program, which means it is free for everyone to use, and includes an online community where users can learn and share their experiences.

Cramberry – Cramberry is a unique site that makes it easy for students to learn and study new material through online flashcards. Students or teachers can make customized sets of cards that can be printed or studied online. When students choose to study online, Cramberry tracks learning progress, builds study schedules, and shows cards in a specific order so that students can get extra practice with the cards they have trouble with and stay current with other cards.

PodBean.com logoPodBean – More than 200,000 people have used PodBean’s free publishing tools to create and publish their own podcasts. PodBean’s tools work especially well for classrooms. There is no tech to learn–podcast episodes can be uploaded and published in a matter of minutes.

Eduslide logoEduslide – Teachers can use Eduslide to deliver elearning modules to students inside and outside the classroom. Modules can include multiple lessons with text, slides, flashcards, links to other sites, audio, and video. Teachers can also access lessons created by other Eduslide users.

Writeboard – Writeboard is a free web-based tool that allows students to easily collaborate on a single document online. Different versions of the document are automatically trackeWriteboard logod and saved so that old ideas are never lost and can be easily monitored by teachers. Created Writeboards are always kept private and can only be accessed by people with the password.

Web-Chops logoWeb-Chops – This free web tool is perfect for teachers who want to share websites with students but want to get rid of ads and other questionable material. Web-Chops allows users to “clip” any part of a web page and rearrange clips onto a custom page that can be shared with other people.

Yugma – Yugma is an excellent tool for teachers who want to share their desktops with other students in the classroom or conduct parent-teacher conferences online. The site’s free service supports up to 20 attendees at one time and includes 24/7 support through forums, tutorials, and new user guides.

Yugma logo knowitall.org logo

Knowitall.org – Designed specifically for the classroom, this network of education sites can be used to engage k-12 students in learning. Sites include videos, simulations, image collections, virtual field trips, games, and interactive learning experiences.

Arcademic Skill Builders logoArcademic Skill Builders – This site provides free, educational video games that are research-based and standards-aligned. Games can be played alone or with multiple players and provide a safe environment where students can learn and have fun at the same time. While playing a game, students cannot be contacted by anyone outside the classroom.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the author of the About.com Guide to Business School and also writes about online degree programs for OnlineDegreePrograms.org.

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Filed under Classroom, Education, Education 3.0, Instruction, Technology, Web 2.0

21st Century Students need 21st Century Teachers

I’m recycling a couple of videos that I have posted in the past, mostly because I believe that they’re worth watching again.  These videos – the original higher ed version of “A Vision of Students Today” by Mike Wesch, the spin-off , called “A Vision of K-12 Students Today”, and “The Networked Student”, created by Wendy Drexler‘s high school students  – bring to mind many thoughts that I find both challenging and encouraging.  Hopefully you will, too.

Students are moving forward, in terms of technology, and they are finding limitless opportunities to explore and create on-line.  Are we making sure that we teach them how to do this wisely?  Are we building on these innate interests and talents?  Are we harnessing the power of technology to optimize their educational experience?

A Vision of Students Today (higher-ed)

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

Networked Student (by students)

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Filed under Classroom, Classroom Culture, Education, Education 3.0, Higher Ed, Instruction, Technology, Web 2.0

Bloom’s Taxonomy 2.0

Over the few months that I’ve been blogging, my post on Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy has been the biggest hit.  And, what interests my readers interests me.  Here’s more on the subject:

Probably every classroom teacher in this country has at least come across Bloom’s Taxonomy at some point.  Most of us can recite the ‘level’s by heart, in order from lowest- to highest-order thinking:

Knowledge –> Comprehension –> Application –> Analysis –> Synthesis –> Evaluation

We’ve come to associate certain action words, activities, and types of questions with each level, and we know that the higher the level, the more challenging the approach.  It ‘s helpful to think about where your content falls on this scale.  I must admit that I referred to my laminated ‘Bloom’s Chart’ almost daily during my first year – because it was useful, but also because I couldn’t quite remember it.  Something about it didn’t seem to stick – it seemed contrived, a little archaic, and not very user-friendly.

Enter: Bloom’s revised Taxonomy, ca. 2001, by Lorin Anderson.  From Mary Forehand’s article on Bloom’s Taxonomy:

During the 1990’s, a former student of Bloom’s, Lorin Anderson, led a new assembly which met for the purpose of updating the taxonomy, hoping to add relevance for 21st century students and teachers. This time “representatives of three groups [were present]: cognitive psychologists, curriculum theorists and instructional researchers, and testing and assessment specialists”… Like the original group, they were also arduous and diligent in their pursuit of learning, spending six years to finalize their work.

Let’s look at the original and the revised versions side-by-side:

Bloom's - Original and Revised

“The graphic is a representation of the NEW verbage associated with the long familiar Bloom’s Taxonomy. Note the change from Nouns to Verbs [e.g., Application to Applying] to describe the different levels of the taxonomy. Note that the top two levels are essentially exchanged from the Old to the New version.” (Schultz, 2005)

6 years to change nouns into verbs and to flip two levels??  I guess Bloom had it almost just right.  Despite the parsimonious revision, the new taxonomy makes alot more sense to me.  It also seems to make alot of sense to Andrew Churches.  If I was still in the classroom, I would definitely toss out my old ‘Bloom’s chart’ and replace it with this:

Churches_Blooms_chart

Notice that the yellow box contains 21st-century-type/web 2.0 skills!  Churches takes the taxonomy and almost completely updates it again – providing digital verbage that you can easily apply in your classroom.  If you’re a forward-thinking instructor and you’re interested in integrating more technology into your instruction, check out ANDREW CHURCHES’ entire paper – BLOOM’S DIGITAL TAXONOMY – here.  He gives great, concrete examples of how to apply these ideas, he lists many free resources that can be used, and he has tons of rubrics for different activities that address the different levels.  Fun read!  Makes me think again about my retirement from teaching…

Do you use the old Bloom’s or the Revised Bloom’s?

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Filed under Classroom, Curriculum, Education, Education 3.0, Instruction, K-12 Curriculum, Technology, Web 2.0

The Beauty of Personal Learning Networks

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve already begun building your personal learning network.

Here is a clever video called The Networked Student about how students are doing it these days, and how this new approach to learning will enhance their 21st century skills.  Highlights include using iPods to listen to college lectures posted on iTunesU and videoconferencing with experts for research projects.  It was created by Wendy Drexler‘s high school students (!), inspired by a course on Connectivism offered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens this fall.

It sums up the role of the teacher as this: a learning architect, a modeler, learning concierge, connected learning incubator, network sherpa, synthesizer, and a change agent.  Educators will be solely enablers of searching and discovering, creating life-long learners who will be invested in their own learning.  Every small step you take in your classroom to encourage exploration and collaboration brings us all one step closer to this goal.

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100 Things You Can do with RSS Feeds

Who knew that RSS feeds could do so much?!?

  • Books. Read books with DailyLit. They will send sections to you each day via RSS feed.
  • Word of the Day. Get a new vocabulary word sent to you every day with Dictionary.com.
  • World News. One of the top news agencies offering world news brings it to you via RSS feed at Reuters.

Check out this list of 100 cool things you can do with them written by Alisa Miller.

If you’re not quite sure what an RSS feed is, watch this:

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Filed under Classroom, Education 3.0, Technology, Web 2.0

Weebly Rocks! Build a classroom website, or one for each student!

While visiting San Francisco, I had the pleasure of attending a spontaneous party – we were celebrating Weebly‘s 1,000,000th user!

A proud moment in the Weebly office

A proud moment in the Weebly office

Not only is this a quality website-building tool that everyone can enjoy but, specifically, many teachers have found that it offers a very easy and streamlined solution for organizing their classrooms. Here are some examples:

A high school math site called Mrs. Tentoni’s Algebra II

A P.E. teacher’s site

A kindergarten teacher’s site, Mrs. Boggess’s Kindergarten Web Page


A friend of mine set up a Weebly page for her son’s class – the teacher and the other parents loved it so much, Camille made a screencast about classroom Weebly’s so that others could tap in to the power of this tool.

Check it out:

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Filed under Apps, Classroom, Education, Education 3.0, Technology, Web 2.0

Nelson’s “How to Use Blogs in the Classroom” – Education 3.0 in action

While I’ve been thinking about how teachers can put web 2.0 to work for them and their students, many other people have been, too. Just came across this post by Charles Nelson about “How to Use Blogs in the Classroom“, something I hadn’t mentioned in my previous posts.

He’s got some great links about ‘how to use blogs’ and ‘how not to use blogs’, as well as information about RSS feeds. Here’s a good summary:

“In a nutshell, the combination of blog writing and news feeds helps connect students to one another and to others outside the classroom, creating networks of learning that promote reading, writing, and critical thinking”.

I concur.

Thank you to Maria Perifanou for bookmarking this to the Classroom 2.0 Diigo Group.

Also, if you’re not quite sure about blogging, here’s an entertaining introduction from the Common Craft guys:

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