What are your favorite Web 2.0 tools and why?  Maybe you really like Slideshare or SlideRocket (one of my new friends) or Zoho or Google Apps or PollDaddy.  These tools are small and powerful and can be a hoot to use.  I certainly look for tools that are easy to use and make my life easier.  In another post, I told you about Zoho Creator and Weebly.  These are certainly two of my favorites.  So much so that I regularly recommend them to others, particularly to classroom teachers.

Here's another of my favorites:  Jumptags.  Jumptags is a social bookmarking site, like Delicious and Diigo.  But it also allows you to create bookmarks for videos, RSS feeds and photos.  The bookmark for videos is both as a link and using the embed code, so you can keep up with the embed code easily.  I also have been able to hijack the video bookmark for presentations, like on Slideshare.  The RSS feeds are presented like they would in a reader/aggregator, so this is a real nice feature.  I've only used the photos a little.  Two other features that Jumptags allows are for bookmarking your own notes and any HTML code.  So if you happen to run along some Javascript code that you'd like to keep, there you go.

One other thing that I really, really like about Jumptags is the option to keep some things private.  I can keep some bookmarks private.  I can also keep some tags semi-private.  These semi-private tags although still publicly searchable are meaningful only to me.  For example, in the private tags, I use my course numbers to tag.  Regular folks won't appreciate that, but it does make it super easy for me to find my course bookmarks.


 
 

Last Friday, I presented a keynote address to the Tennessee Board of Regents eLearning Summer Institute on Web 2.0.  These ideas were collaboratively generated with Clif Mims, who happens to be at NECC in San Antonio right now.  In any case, some of the characteristics that I discussed with teaching and learning were:
    • low threshold applications, i.e., easy to learn and use
    • variety of tools and models
    • access to tools and knowledge, i.e., free tools and access to expertise and knowledge.

Some of the challenges I discussed were:
    • longevity, i.e., the short life span of the tools
    • uncertainty, i.e., whether the tools will  last
    • unconsolidated services, unlike the office suites that are all in one
    • student security and ethics, i.e., protecting student information and encouraging academic honesty
    • large numbers of applications.

What characteristics of Web 2.0 tools do you think make them attractive to teaching and learning?  As a corollary, what challenges do you feel exist to using the types of tools in our classrooms?

Download the presentation and presenter's notes below:

web2_teach_learn.pdf
File Size: 3626 kb
File Type: pdf
Download File

 
 

I'm conducting a workshop today for the for TBR eLearning Summer Institute at The University of Memphis on embedding stuff and widgets into your Web site, blog, wiki or Desire2Learn.  So, I'd love to hear your ideas about what you like to embed and where you go to get your embeds.  I'm also going to use this space to demo some embed codes, so it might look a little cobbled together.  That's intentional, though.

iGoogle, Pageflakes

Most people are probably familiar with widgets from iGoogle <http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en&source=iglk> or a site like Pageflakes <http://www.pageflakes.com/>.  You choose little tools to show up, sort of like a start page.  TIP: There's also a Pageflakes just for teachers <http://teacher.pageflakes.com/>, which has lots of widgets just for teaching.

Places to get widgets or embeds

1.    Tony Vincent’s site <http://tonyvincent.net/?q=node/43>
2.    Google Gadgets <http://www.google.com/ig/directory?synd=open>
3.    Widgetbox for all types <http://www.widgetbox.com/>

Unexpected places to get widgets or embeds

1.    Barnes & Noble Studio <http://www.barnesandnoble.com/bn-studio/videos-podcasts/index.asp?>
       See it in action at        
        <http://michaelmgrant.weebly.com/1/post/2008/06/brisingr-is-coming-september-20th.html>

Places to make your own embed widgets

1.    For photo slideshows <http://www.goodwidgets.com/widgets/share/69745>
2.    For forms <http://creator.zoho.com>
3.    For presentations <http://show.zoho.com> or <http://sliderocket.com/>
4.    For polls <http://www.polldaddy.com>
5.    For audio (mp3s) <http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/mp3>
6.    For charts <http://www.richchartlive.com/RichChartLive/>
7.    For spreadsheets <http://sheet.zoho.com/>

Some examples

1.   Slideshow: Kameilah Amaya <http://technology-education.weebly.com/my-artifacts.html>
2.   Slideshow: Jennifer Nelson <http://msjnelson.weebly.com/artifacts.html>
3.   Slidecast: Matt McLean <http://mattbmclean.wordpress.com>
4.   Zoho Sheet <see below>

 
 
Courtesy of Morgefile.com at http://morguefile.com/archive/?display=73746&

Dr. Bill Taylor, a Professor of Political Science at Oakton Community College, wrote a letter to his students regarding academic integrity.  I think this is awesome.  It spells out exceptionally well what he expects of his students and what elements of integrity they should expect out of him.  It makes his procedures for assessment and professionalism transparent to the student.  I think in teacher education, we would also liken this to dispositions.  But Dr. Taylor does a masterful job of explaining why academic integrity is important to him as an individual and why it should be respected by a profession.

What are your thoughts?  Does your school have a code of conduct for academic honesty?  Is it taken seriously?  Should teachers write letters like this home to students -- either for middle school, high school or college?  What about elementary schools?  We've all sat through the fourth grade reports on dinosaurs, where each student said the exact same thing.  Or for me, worse yet, is where you can tell the parents did the school project.  Where's the learning?  What might this letter look like to elementary school students?

I'm considering doing this with my students.  What do you think?  Should I?

 
 

Two of my favorite Web 2.0 tools of all time just went to the dark side.  Okay, that's a little dramatic.  They both just instituted new business models.  Zoho Creator, the online database and Web interface tool all in one, just added a business plan.  This, of course, placed limits on the free plan, including the number of applications and the amount of storage total.  Apparently, everyone else also loved this tool and the folks at Zoho decided they needed to cash in on that.  Well, I can't blame them.  It's really an awesome tool for what it does.  OgasaWalrus recommended that they might offer a lower priced personal or business plan.  I've done the ASP programming and I've done the PHP programming, and I hate programming.  So, to have a tool that will allow you to create a form and it generate the database connectivity behind the scenes is pretty spectacular.  I will certainly miss unlimited use of Zoho Creator.  I've recommended it (and the other Zoho brand of tools) to so many colleagues and teachers across the country I can't count them all.  I sort of wish there was a way to get a little reward for inviting people to use Zoho.  Hmmm?  There's another business model for them.


Weebly, another of my all-time faves and the host of this here blog, also just added a "Pro" plan.  This, too, generated a ceiling for the number of sites you can generate with the free plan.  I have encouraged double digits at least of individual teachers to use Weebly for their classroom sites and blogs.  Weebly is certainly unique, which is why I love it so much.  Weebly not only has a drag-and-drop interface but it will allow you to create a Web site and include a blog or multiple blog pages within your site.  Weebly was certainly doing this long before Wordpress added the features of menus and and static pages.  I believe that they may be experiencing some heavy volume and not enough support.  In a recent support email to Weebly, it took about 2 weeks for them to respond and they indicated the difficulties they were having.  So, maybe the Pro plan is a revenue generating method to help support the current users.  In any case, I will continue to use Weebly and recommend it...particularly to teachers.  It hasn't been blocked by school districts yet, and the drag and drop certainly make it easy enough to use with little to no instruction for the teachers.  Wonder if Weebly would institute the invite rewards too?


 
 
SlideShare | View

Consider this slide show on Slideshare: "Knowing.the.World.We.Live.in." In this slideshow, review it at full screen so you can read the legends for each slide. Another site called this "The Power of Stars." The message is powerful. Is the creation of this type of student product/artifact indicative of literacy in the Information Age? What if one of your students submitted these eight slides for an assignment? How would you interpret this artifact? How does this type of artifact fit within your theory of teaching and learning, particularly with respect to your reflection on active learning?

 
 

Consider this video: "A Vision of Students Today." While this is indicative of college students, what does this mean for learners in your context? How do we adapt instruction based on this message?  Should we adapt instruction at all based on this message?

 
 

<http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2006/05/the_sticky_classroom.php>
Way back in May 2006, David Jakes authored a blog post about what factors contribute to sustainable innovations (i.e., technology and pedagogy) in classrooms. These include institutional readiness for change, multiple entry points for novices and experts alike, value added and invisible technology.  Take a quick read. Take a look at some of the comments as well.

Do these still hold true today? Would you add others? Would you replace some of his?

 
 

<http://www.thefutureschannel.com/index.php>
I first discovered The Futures Channel inside Wired magazine. At this site, they have excellent videos and activities that are targeted at math and science but help create the relevancy and authenticity necessary for active learning, particularly in project-based and problem-based learning. For example, understanding windsail design helps connect quadratic equations.  See the lesson and resources for yourself.

What do you think about this site or do you know of other sites that offer relevancy and authenticity to learning?