Incorporating Web 2.0 into your classroom requires just a bit of ingenuity and cooperation from those that handle your school’s network, firewalls and filters. The rest is up to the teacher to make sure that all students have access to a computer either in school, at home, or at the city/county library.
So, how can this become part of the school’s culture, a commonplace bank of knowledge that is assessable to all teachers and students? First, there needs to be a board and administration commitment on implementing a plan to disseminate the knowledge to all teachers and an expectation of the school district that teachers must utilize external web resources to reinforce the subject matter that students need to learn.
Let’s think of this as a recipe for Grandma Hannah’s special cheesecake or potato pancakes. Although it is not an exact science, it takes the right ingredients, mixed together, with the correct temperature for the end product to be enjoyed by everyone.
First, we must not think of Web 2.0 just as technology but as an adaptation to the cultural change that puts our young learners in closer communication with the vast resources at their fingertips. It is part of the collaborative learning process which transfers to the life skills and "team player" mentality that higher education and workplace leadership is seeking.
- The School Board
- The Superintendent
- The Principals
- The Curriculum Coordinators
- The Teachers
- The Technology Directors
- The Students
- The Parents/Guardians
The first two ingredients – the school board and the superintendent – must provide the leadership and ensure that the technology and acceptable use policies incorporates all the language and legal protections for teachers in order to allow students to be creative in the use of special websites.
This is then followed by the principals that must model a culture of change. After all, if teachers are expected to mix technology with traditional teaching practices there needs to be some demonstration of document sharing and use of animations to convey the message for motivating others to come on board.
Most importantly, teachers have to see, feel and understand the vast resources available to them at their fingertips. This will not work by sending out a memo or providing websites to teachers. It will only occur through hands-on experiential learning – by putting teachers in front of computers and having them alternate stations to try some of these Internet resources.
Ok, I guess I can share a few of these gems for you to try on your own, however you need to think in terms of your lesson plans and how these excellent programs can enhance teaching and learning.
To get you started go to:
- www.animoto.com –A show and tell picture montage with music
- www.voki.com – An avatar with customized characters
- www.xtranormal.com – 3D movies incorporating your text
- www.pixton.com – A way to create comics on-line
- www.wordle.net – Putting text together on people or subject matter
There are hundreds of other sites that are grade appropriate. Many tie into: Digital Text Resources, Educational Support Resources,, Special Education Resources and Video Resources.
Now think about how your students are communicating to each other these days. Text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Cell Phones. We must begin to incorporate the students’ world into the new reality of teaching. We have to challenge our own comfort levels and be willing to explore new avenues, and we must carefully determine the correct mode of communication for the relationships that we have and are trying to begin or enhance. Why? Because the world continues to change and evolve and self-learning is key for educational advancement.