Implications for Web 2.0 Tools, Part 1
I realize that there are some out there who do not believe in using technology in the classroom because it may seem to take away from the lesson and then there are those who absolutely adore the use of technology in the classroom. Today, I want to talk about certain aspects of technology in the classroom.
Web 2.0 tools are forms of technology that allow for electronic interaction for the user by the user. Believe it or not, we use these tools everyday. Don’t believe me? Do you have a Twitter page? How about a LinkedIn account? or do you have accounts for those addictive sites Facebook or Myspace? If you answered no to all of these questions, I envy your resolve. However, let’s go beyond the social networking sites and discuss sites like YouTube, VoiceThread, and this site that you are reading this blog on.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse, depending on how you use it. For language and culture teachers and those involved in linguistics, can truly find benefits in incorporating web 2.0 tools in the lesson plan.
YouTube: YouTube is an amazing site because you can find just about anything on any topic imaginable. Also, its free to create an account and upload videos. Now, there is an option to create a paid account for extra special features. One thing that I adore about YouTube is that you have the option to record straight from your camera to the YouTube account or you can record, save on the hard drive, and then upload the video to your account. Users are allotted a total of 15 minutes of footage per upload. So the possibilities for class projects are endless. (www.youtube.com). PS. Did I mention that YouTube connects to most blogs, social network sites, and certain email programs??
Voice Thread: I just learned about this site this past summer. This site can be used to create a slide show, create short audio files, or create a short video. Unlike YouTube, you are only given so much space for audio – a minute to be exact. Yet, users have created some amazing presentations. This site can be used to create virtual tours, tutorials, even games. Do not be afraid to use your imagination.
Blogs: There are all kind of blog sites on the Internet. We have Blogger(also known as Blogspot), Digg, WordPress, Aeonity, LiveJournal and several others can make for some interesting journaling projects. Some of these sites allow for vlogging or video blogs as well.
Email: When in doubt, there is always good ole’ email. This would be wonderful for tutors or teachers who want to check student comprehension by sending correspondence with directions or it can be used to do private tutoring. Try Gmail. Gmail has amazing features. Besides the chat feature, conversations are saved, documents can be created for PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. Yahoo has a chat feature on their email service now; so if you have yahoo, you do not have to do just straight email but you can have chats with students scheduled (monitored, of course).
Search Engines: There are plenty out there for your choosing; Google, Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Ask, Bing…and there are plenty of others out there in existence. These would be wonderful for research but also feel free to check out other features of these sites. Some of these engines offer email and chat services. Google is amazing for the Document features; they also have their own social network and it connects to your hard drive and also to YouTube.
Podcasts: If you are a tech-wizard, and are well versed in programs used for the creation more professional videos or have the equipment to record audio, then you may want to look into a podcast. There are free programs available for those who want to create a podcast or a video podcast. Some even will make audio files compatible automatically for iTunes. If you have a Mac, use GarageBand or the latest version of QuickTime. Also check out Podcast Assistant at http://www.10101software.co.nr/ (go to products link). There is also Gcast, you can create podcasts straight from your phone. Not only that, if you want to include music without having to deal with all that pesky legal copywright paperwork, this site will assist. It’s worth looking into.
Radio Sites: Have you considered creating a talk show or an audio blog? Check out BlogTalkRadio.com or Cinch.com. You can create a series of programs, have students create audio files related to particular lessons. Both sites are free but have features for upgrades such as website hosting, commercial fee broadcasting, professional moderating, and many more. Other sites similar to this are Gabcast and WildVoice. Some of these sites may also have podcasting possibilities.
I think I gave you A LOT to think about but on the next post, I will have a list of ideas that may help your students or clients and even help you, regardless if you are in education or not.