Tag Archives: web 2.0

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

Daily Toolbox – for Educators or anyone

toolbox1

I read a recent post by Claire Thompson called “Tools and Sites I Use – One Year Later“.  I really like what she did – last January, she blogged about the tools that she used regularly, and now she’s gone back and reviewed and updated that list.  Sounds like a fun way to reflect.

Here’s my list of tools/sites that I use just about every day:

  • twitter – probably my favorite tool now, the center of my PLN (personal learning network)
  • gmail – one personal account and one work account
  • Facebook – keep in touch with old friends and former students
  • Netvibes – my RSS reader, how I keep up with my favorite blogs (or try to, at least)
  • Firefox – just curious if I’ll still be using it next year, or a different browser like Chrome
  • WordPress – where I house this blog, and read many others
  • Lighthouse – more for my company; great, free application that enables teamwork and good project management
  • Yammer – microblogging, within an organization – basically there are about 8 of us at Inigral, Inc. that keep up with each other this way.
  • diigo – social bookmarking site where I keep my favorites and love following the daily links that I get via e-mail, through the Classroom 2.0 group.
  • Jing – slick image/video capture and sharing tool
  • Youtube – I end up watching something on here every day.  Will it hold its own against the competition this year?
  • Microsoft Office – (threw this one on here to see if I’m still using Word and Excel next year….I’m actually rooting for Google Docs!)

Tools I hope to use more:

  • Classroom 2.0 – an outstanding Ning with great discussions and many interesting educators to connect with
  • LinkdIn – professional networking site – you can find very unique skill sets here
  • Evernote – keeps track of life, in general, with to-do lists, pictures, voice notes, and more
  • Backtype – how I keep track of commenting on blogs – need to figure out how to tap into its full potential
  • Younoodle – a startup networking site
  • Flickr – I hope to start posting more pics
  • Any iPhone app, period – hope to get one soon!

Now….hopefully I’ll remember this next January 🙂

What do you use that’s not on my list?

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

Bloom’s Taxonomy for the Digital Age – Integrating Technology

Integrating technology into curriculum has been a popular topic in the blogosphere for some time now.  I’m starting to find more and more concrete, applicable ideas that have the potential to be easily integrated – thank goodness for collaboration.  I feel like we’re getting somewhere.

Check this out –    Andrew Churches’  “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy v.2.12“.


  • He brilliantly updates the 7 scaffolded levels with web-based skills such as searching, bookmarking, blogging, and collaboration and includes rubrics and exemplars of performance.
  • He’s actually been talking about this for almost two years.  Here, he offers digital alternatives for normal classroom activities, along with tools that can easily be used.

Another cool find – Stacy Baker’s blog on how she’s using technology in her Biology class.

  • My favorite find here, so far, is this amazing rubric that she has her students post on their blog or wiki page, where they have to justify their mastery of different 21st century skills – searching, publishing, reaching out to experts and more (this is the ideal performance).  Here’s the blank version that they have to fill out.

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

Web 2.0 and Education 3.0 links

I’ve gotten to that point where my list of “interesting links” is so huge, I’d better start picking out my favorites to focus on. Here are some of them:

A Directory of Learning Professionals on Twitter Jane Hart first put out a list of 101people to follow if you’re interested in education and web 2.0, but the list quickly grew into this – 330 and counting!

Soundsnap is a library of sound effects – so cool!  Can be downloaded and added to presentations, etc.

Jing is a tool that allows you to capture any part of your screen – images and even screencasts.  Very helpful for capturing diagrams and graphs to insert into handouts and presentations.

Make Belief Comix might be the easiest and most accessible cartoon-strip creator to use, even for young students.

EasyBib turns information about a source into a formal, MLA bibliography citation!  Even websites!

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Filed under Apps, Education 3.0, Technology, Web 2.0