W EB 2.0: F ILLING M Y T OOLBOX “A Final Reflection” By Christina Gaura EDUG 570
I NTRODUCTION I’m writing this to share with all those other teacher’s out there (especially those at Oak Glen) that wonder how they’re going to adapt and keep up with the ever-changing technology. When I started my technology adventure I was totally unaware of how little I knew. I was the one politely listening in class for the first hour. All the while wondering what in the world is Web 2.0? After I finally got up the courage to raise my hand and ask, it was comforting to hear another teacher say, “yeah, what is it anyway.” Technology is just too important. It can’t be ignored. After this class, I have a real taste of the possibilities. I’m excited to be a teacher at such a critical time for reading and writing!
I N T HE B EGINNING Before my class I was at more of a Web 1.0 level. I would never have thought of creating my own website(wiki or Ning). I confess instructional technology was not my strong point. Some technology formats I was familiar with are listed below. Email Word Documents Texting/cell phone Digital Photography What is your technology comfort level? What are your strengths? Can you teach them to other teachers? We can learn together…
N OW On the following pages I will describe where I’m at now in my level of technology comfort. The technology projects I have created serve as the beginning of my web 2.0 toolbox. You can create one too…one click at a time!
W IKI In technology class I learned to make my own website using a wiki. A wiki can be used to share information with students, teachers and parents. Students can also complete assignments and post research and work on the site which facilitates a unique atmosphere of collaboration! Just think, the students can take responsibility for their learning and help each other! My wiki is called “LansingReadingTeacher” and can be found on wikispaces (where educators can get a free and secure account with no advertising) at the following web address: http://lansingreadingteacher.wikispaces.com/ http://lansingreadingteacher.wikispaces.com/
D IGITAL S TORY We want our students to do more reading and writing. Consider digital stories. Digital stories are an exciting way to combine reading, writing and creative thinking in a collaborative process that your students will love! I have learned that a digital story can be made using something as simple as a power point with text and pictures. Voice recording and music add to the creative element. Students can use programs such as Animoto (found online) and Photo Story 3 for Windows (what I used). I also experimented with making a simple story for kindergarteners using Kid Pix and Photo Story 3. I think all of our students can benefit from writing digital stories. Even the littlest students can dictate to the teacher and/or record their voices. See my wiki for examples of digital stories. http://lansingreadingteacher.wikispaces.com/Digital+Storie s http://lansingreadingteacher.wikispaces.com/Digital+Storie s
N ING A Ning, like a wiki, is a social networking site. There are free Nings available for educators. These can be wonderful ways for students, parents and teachers to connect. I find that the Ning is probably more appropriate for teachers to connect and share expertise than for younger students. You can post blogs, links to other sites, pictures, videos and much more on a Ning. My Ning is called LansingReadingTeacher. Feel free to check it out and join at: http://lansingreadingteacher.ning.com/ http://lansingreadingteacher.ning.com/ You can also create your own Ning!
W EB Q UEST A web quest is a powerful learning tool. Teachers can plan a wonderful learning experience that will foster collaboration, creativity and independent learning using a web quest. This type of learning fosters the higher level thinking that we are constantly striving to include in our teaching. Your students will get excited about learning if you use a web quest. Consider including one and find out. Setting up your first web quest can be a daunting task, but never fear there are many resources available on the web and some sites where you can even borrow a web quest. Check out “The Webquest Page”, Quest Garden and Zunal Web Quest Maker for examples and ideas. http://webquest.org/index.phphttp://webquest.org/index.php http://questgarden.com/ http://www.zunal.com/ Feel free to use my web quest. You can find it at: http://lansingreadingteacher.wikispaces.com/Sea+Animal+Web+Q uest http://lansingreadingteacher.wikispaces.com/Sea+Animal+Web+Q uest
D IGITAL F IELD T RIPS While researching my web quest I stumbled onto a list of resources for Digital Field Trips. This is a great idea for a way to introduce a unit and or to further study on a topic. Just think, your class can visit the Smithsonian without leaving the school. This could even be a whole class trip by utilizing Smart Board Technology. Another possibility is that students could complete the field trip as extra credit or homework from the comfort of their own homes! Follow this link to a bunch of trips. http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listvirt ualgr.html
E SSENTIAL W EB 2.0 S ITES There are so many other instructional technology opportunities out there on the web. During my class I explored some of them using a list given in class. The link to the different sites is below. Check out some of them and get started on filling your toolbox! http://www.onlinedegree.net/100-essential-2-0- tools-for-teachers/
I N T HE F UTURE I can envision a workshop for our school to learn about the many Web 2.0 possibilities. I hope to see more web quests, wikis, Nings, Digital Stories and other Web 2.0 applications happening in our school. By the end of this school year we will have Smart Boards in every classroom. I hope this triggers an explosion of instructional technology!
C ONCLUSION My technology adventure is just beginning. I hope to keep the momentum going. I have been reading and writing more with this class than any other class I have taken. It’s fun, and I know my students will love learning with technology! It’s our future, and as educators we need to embrace it.