Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The 10 Best Free Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers

Steve Dembo of Discovery Educator Network shares the 10 best free Web 2.0 sites to transform learning-both your students' and your own.

Before sharing the tools he suggested that there are three broad rules for considering a tool a Web 2.0 tool. They are entirely web based, interactive, and they play well with others. This is his short list...

Bloglines: This aggregater allows you to grab information and bring it to one central location. The advantage is that you don't have to continue checking an array of sites to see if there are updates, rather this one stop shop shares the updates for quick and easy access to new information. The social part of this site (plays well with others) allows you to see who else is a follower of the blog.
Delicious: A social bookmarking site which allows you to store, share, and discover bookmarked sites. Forget the days of adding your sites to your favorites. The social part of this site, allows you to search within the delicious site and view the sites that others have bookmarked. It gives you the history on who bookmarked it, too. Tags allow you to tag the site for categorization. There is an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed which allows you to subscribe. If you find someone on delicious who is really organized, teaches a similar subject area, or has an area of similar interest to you, you could subscribe to their delicious tag, benefiting from their work. Also, you can bundle tags to make it easier for kids to search more easily if you use it in the classroom for students' research projects.

ShareTabs: Allows you to add a list of links to a window (central location). You can click, tabify them, see the preview, and the site creates tabs so you can click through them easily. You no longer have to type the whole url in the address bar. (Read more at this blog for classroom application.)

drop.io Upload files (images, PowerPoints, word docs etc...) The beauty is that you can phone it in, fax it, email it, text it, upload it, and share it. The site also allows you to do a full podcast for free, as well as provides a conference bridge. There are many different views in the settings, and drop.io provides you a chat box if you have friends on the site. You can use it to post assignments to your students and they can chat with you about the assignment. You can podcast through this site via a phone, and like the others on this list, it too, is totally free.
JayCut provides you with a full videobrowzer editor. Upload media, drag and drop into the video tab, and you can cut/edit. You can add images and JayCut has all your transitions, overlaps, effects, and titles. Audio is simple with a drag and drop. How do you get it out of JayCut? Download it or simply copy the embed code. Another bonus is unlimited capacity.

Edmodo, a private communication system built for teachers and students to share notes, links, and files.

Would you like to be able to easily poll your students, but don't want to spend money on a Classroom Response System? Try having students use their phone to text you their response. Poll Everywhere allows for 30 votes per poll for free. Set up many polls, download it as a PowerPoint, and as the results come in the slideshow will update. You can then copy, cut, and paste the results into anything. If you do want to do it in mass, they do have school versions for purchase. If every student doesn't have a cell phone, they can share their response via the computer. Just make sure that students have text coverage to make it a practical application in your classroom.

xtra normal: Text-to-speed moviemaking. Students can write a script and create a movie set. They can change the scene, the background, and the language. They can add animation. The only drawback is that when they finish the video must render. It gives you an embed code or can be published to youtube.
Livestream Allows a live free broadcast.

Prezi, a presentation tool that is much more intuitive than PowerPoint. No borders and slides. Simply add your links and talking points to this non-linear presentation and easily navigate to access information. To check out Steve's presentation from this session visit http://prezi.com/117545/.


Melissa Ross said...

Some of these look really great - I really like the drop.io one. I think he should add "unblocked at school" as one of the requirements to make it a great web 2.0 tool. ha ha

Annette said...

Thanks for a lot of great information! Some of these I have experience with but several of them I have never heard of. I am looking forward to checking them out.