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How to Use Web 2.0 Applications in Class

How to Use Web 2.0 Applications in Class
Do you consider yourself a technology novice or an expert? No matter what level you are, using technology to connect with your students can be an important tool. It may be easier than you think to incorporate into class. Web 2.0 applications are a fairly new trend that aim to facilitate creativity and collaboration- a perfect pairing for a classroom full of students.




Sketchcast

What it is:

Another web 2.o tool, Sketchcast is a new way for you to communicate with your students and for your students to communicate with one another. A Sketchcast is a recorded online sketch. Think an online whiteboard recording. Sketchcast offers the ability to record a sketchcast with or without a voice.

h4. How to integrate Sketechcast into the classroom:

How many times do you remember this scenario as a student: you watched the teacher teach a new math concept, understood it perfectly in class as you watched the process only to get home, look at the notes you took and have no idea what to do? I suspect if we are honest, this happened with more than just math. Enter Sketchcast. Now you can enable your students to be more successful by Sketchcasting new concepts and lessons. Sketchcasts can be embedded in your classroom website or blog or accessed on your Sketchcast channel. Now when students get home and have the “I don’t remember what to do” panic, they can get online and re-learn the concept with your virtual guidance. Could it get any better than that?! This could also be a solution to feeling like a broken record and repeating the same directions a thousand times (come on be honest, I know I am not the only one who has to do this!) If you have access to a projector, create the Sketchcast as you are teaching your students (instead of the whiteboard). This will keep you from doing everything twice and students can re-view the exact lesson you taught. Cool! Sketchcasts would also be fun for students. Let them practice that new concept online in a Sketchcast for their classmates to visit. Sketchcasts would also be a great alternative to the traditional book report. Give your students a new method for sharing ideas and get some great mouse manipulation practice in at the same time!

Tips:

Sketchcast requires registration to create a Sketchcast (including email address). For younger students who may not have an email address, create a student classroom account where all students can login and create a Sketchcast.

Be Funky

What it is:

Be Funky is a web 2.0 application that lets students take any picture and transform it into a cartoon or a sketch.

How to integrate Be Funky into the classroom:

Use Be Funky in conjunction with other tools such a Bubblr (see post from the 16th) or software like Comic Life (check out iLearn Technology store for Comic Life). Since Be Funky changes a regular photograph into a cartoon, you can create cartoon comic strips in class. Transform field trip pictures into cartoons and invite students to create a comic strip retell about the field trip. Students can be the star of their own comic strips where they create a comic autobiography. Take pictures during a science experiment and create a comic strip with the scientific process of the experiment.

Tips:

Be Funky requires you to have an account (this is free but asks for an email address). If you plan on having your students transform the pictures into cartoons you may think about creating one class account for students to use. I wanted to download the cartoon picture to my computer so that I could use them in Comic Life. This is not an option that Be Funky offers so I created my cartoon and then took a screen capture of the cartoon to save it as an image to my computer.

Digication

What it is:

Digication is a website that allows teachers and students to create and keep e-portfolios. E-Portfolios are online spaces for teachers and students to communicate, share, reflect and collaborate in and outside of the classroom and have created exciting opportunities for teaching and learning world-wide. E-portfolios can be a continuing body of work that follow students throughout their school experience. The communication aspect that Digication provides makes for a richer school experience. The Student/Teacher edition of Digication is free.

How to integrate Digication into the classroom:

Digication e-portfolios can be used in the classroom as a means for communication between students and teachers. It can also be used as an introduction to the student for other teachers. Students can use Digication for publishing school work, sharing school-related accomplishments, use for college admissions, sharing ideas and showcasing work, and build powerful learning communities with other students within the school. Students can control who has access to their e-portfolio and have control over the navigation of their e-portfolio. An e-portfolio can be a work in progress throughout the students school career. It can be used by teachers to see the progression of student ability throughout their school career. Teachers can use Digication to document student work, create a class/course website, share best practices in education with other teachers, gain recognition, link to external websites, upload documents that you have created, and display flash movies from your e-portfolio.

Tips:

Ideally Digication would be used school or district wide so as to create a body of evidence in an e-portfolio.

Fleck

What it is:

Fleck is a free web application (it doesn’t even require a download!) that allows teachers or students to add notes and bullets to any web page. The annotated pages can then be posted on a blog or shared with students or colleagues. This is amazing! Fleck also provides you with a history of all the pages you have Flecked so that they can be updated and visited again and again. Fleck makes the Internet a collaborative learning experience.

How to integrate Fleck into the classroom:

Fleck can be easily integrated into any curriculum. Imagine finding a really great site on the Civil War that you want to share with your students. It is a very comprehensive page and has more information than they need. Fleck the site with your sticky notes about important information. Add bullet points to the information that you want them to be sure to read. Share your Fleck with your students and they will be able to complete an activity independently as though you were sitting their with them and guiding them through it! Students could use Fleck while they are completing research projects. They can bullet important information on sites as they are gathering information. When students are working on group projects that require the Internet, they can share their Flecks with each other as they research. This is a COOL tool. I know that you will come up with other incredible uses for Fleck. Be sure to share those ideas with us in a comment!

Tips:

Fleck will allow you to add notes to web pages without an account, I recommend a free account so that you can share your Flecks and save them.

VoiceThread

What it is:

VoiceThread brings Web 2.0 communication to presentations. Slide show presentations are no longer static, VoiceThread makes them interactive collaborative learning experiences. Features include: the ability to create voice comments, voice recording within a browser allows for recording of multiple voices, doodling which captures drawing as an animation synced to voice or text commentary…listeners can watch the process, voice threads can be embedded in other sites, one account can have many identities so a classroom can switch identities on the fly without having to sign out, media importing so slide show presentations and pictures become collaborative conversations, comment moderation abilities, and the ability to zoom in and pan images.

How to integrate VoiceThread into the classroom:

VoiceThread has hundreds of uses, the following are a few that I came up with. Use VoiceThread to create a time line of the students day. Students can record themselves describing different events of the day. Parents and out of town family can see what happens on a typical day in your classroom. Debates can be hosted and conducted using Voice Thread. VoiceThread can make history interactive, for example, host an art history artist critique and discussion. Create a book group using VoiceThread where students interact and discuss their reading together. Students can read their stories and record as a VoiceThread (this also makes a special keepsake!). Teachers can use VoiceThread for math problem demonstrations, step by step science “experiments”, staff training, or to teach a second language. Computer teachers, what about creating Voice Threads to teach your students when you can’t be there? This would make life easy for a substitute and ensure that your students are on track when you return.

Tips:

Go to the “help” section of VoiceThread for some great interactive tutorials.

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