Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Final Thoughts for 2009-Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0: New Tools for Schools
“Schools are stuck in the 20th century. Students have rushed into the 21st. How can schools catch up and provide students with a relevant education?” Marc Prensky
What an exciting time to be in education and I hope that we, as leaders, administrators, teachers and librarians, can rise to the occasion of providing our students with the Web 2.0 tools they will need to be successful.
My goal is to increase educators' awareness of the Web 2.0 tools that are available and provide examples of how the tools can be used in the classroom to reach, motivate, educate, and assess students.
We are in a different "Flat World" today and things are changing at such a rapid rate that it is difficult to keep up with the latest "Digital Tools" for our students.
Students are miles ahead of adults, staff included, in their comfort with technology of cell phones, creating YouTube videos, IM, Blogging, Facebook and MySpace.
They have grown up with it and are as easy with it as we are with newspapers and TV. Schools are not at the level they should be. They need to prepare our students for the 21st Century jobs that require, global awareness, communication, teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and knowing how to collect and/or retrieve information.
I’m always interested in finding new ways to learn quickly and efficiently. It’s important to get the most educational value out of my time as possible. I think that applies to our students as well.
One method is to use 21st-century tools and projects that are models for driving change in education. Many of these tools are called Web 2 tools. We can transform our educational institutions into model learning environments that cater to the broadest range of users through collaboration tools. Through creating, communicating and collaborating, students can learn 21st-century skills while they master core curriculum skills and prepare to meet the demands of the global community.
Thomas Friedman's book "The World Is Flat" changed our views on globalization and trying to explain and understanding the forces driving the flattening of the world. From teleconferencing to podcasts and manufacturing, to restaurant order taking, educators need to realize that in the 21st Century classroom our students need to learn how to learn, teach the students to stay curious and innovative, if we are to excel in a global economy.
If we are the change our classrooms to reflect the 21st Century we need to adopt and incorporate the 21st Century models for school. I have listed a condensed version below of the skills.
• Use 21st Century Assessments that measure 21st Century Skills
• Evaluate the quality, relevance, and usefulness of information
• Knowing more about the world - creating global citizens
• Collect and/or retrieve information
• Information and communications skills
• Use digital technology and communication tools to Teach and learn in a 21st century context
• Thinking outside of the box - creativity and innovation
• Interpersonal and self-directional skills
• Digital Age Literacy
• Collect and/or retrieve information
• Learn academic content through real-world examples
• Organize and manage information • Interpret and present information
Things like global awareness, information gathering and manipulation, and just plain technology savvy are fast becoming the primary items that we as schools are going to have to ensure our students have when they graduate. Our exit exams and other measures of fitness for graduation have to be replaced with something more encompassing and rigorous.

Over the past year, I have been researching and interviewing small and large businesses to see what skills for success, students need to enter the workforce.
WEB reference here
The top 3 skills for that employees form small business owners to major corporations include:
• Creative problem-solving
• Critical and analytical thinking
• Information gathering, evaluation and synthesis
The other skills that employers want include:
• Team work
• Adaptability
• Literacy and numeracy
• Time management and organization
• Oral and written communication
• Initiative and enterprise
• Ability to apply discipline knowledge and concepts
• Interpersonal skills
• Capacity to manage stress levels
• Community involvement
• Personal attributes such as ambition, self-awareness and an inquiring mind.
There are two questions that need to be asked and addressed”
Question one: “What needs to change about our curriculum when our students have the ability to reach audiences far beyond our classroom walls?” Will Richardson

Question two: “How do we prepare our students for jobs that don’t yet exist.” Dr. Howie DiBlasi, “Emerging Technology Evangelist”

So what is the best way to get started? The following list has my favorite Web 2.0 tools and ideas to change your classroom or district. Each tool includes a brief description and the web site of the tool. All of the Web 2.0 suggestions are tied to the 21st Century Skills listed above and are designed to integrate with your curriculum and incorporate the 21st Century skills that apply.
Web 2.0 and who to invite to the table to implement 21st Century Skills. Web site :
Global Connections ePals is a social network optimized for K-12 learning. Over half a million classrooms in 200 countries and territories , and over 11 million students and teachers from 191 countries are building skills and enhancing learning with ePals. FREE e-mail for students

Eduhound Online Educational Resources - Thousands of free lesson plans that meet state and national standards

Curriki - is a community of educators, learners and committed education experts who are working together to create quality materials that will benefit teachers and students around the world. Free distribution of world-class educational materials. Project site: Think Together. is now part of ThinkQuest -- A learning platform where teachers and students create learning projects.
HotChalk - A 100% free curriculum management, content sharing, professional development, and social networking service with a simple mission: to make teachers’ lives better.
Free Technology for Teachers Free resources that teachers can use in their classrooms. awarded the Edublogger Award for "Best Resource Sharing Blog.
VoiceThread Online presentation site that lets you attach audio and video. Other users can leave audio and video comments. Ability to upload images or video files and then add text.
Our Learning Communities - Ning - Social Networking:
Ning lets you create new social experiences for the most important people and interests in your life. Ning offers an easy-to-use service that allows people to join and create Ning Networks. URL:
Join a Ning and collaborate
Classroom 2.0 If you ONLY join ONE NING.....Make this the ONE !!!
A social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education. Sign up participate in the discussions to receive event notifications, and to find and connect with colleagues. It is a FREE, community-supported network.

Create a Twitter Account Read what teachers are saying about Twitter:
"As soon as the lunch bell rings at his elementary school in Medford, Oregon, teacher David Cosand takes a few minutes to scan his mobile phone screen for messages that have accumulated throughout the morning in his Twitter account. In a few well-chosen words, the people Cosand follows via this free online service share their latest news, resources, questions, and (sometimes) trivia about education, technology, and related topics.
Cosand became a Twitterer about a year ago, and he now considers Twitter one of his best sources of real-time professional development. "I'm able to get information and find opportunities I wouldn't have been able to gather on my own," he
Discover RSS and subscribe to a Podcast or Blog RSS in Plain English-An introduction to RSS as a way to save time reading web sites. Watch a video here:
Google Reader
Google reader is my power RSS reader - it has great new features that lets me share and receive clippings from others and add clippings to my own blog. I link my Google Reader to my iGoogle page and feed my "Hotlist" of blogs/ links to my own blog/ and custom searches. Love Google reader.

NewsMap This meta analysis of the news provides your students News from around the world. Great resource when you are discussing cultures, comparing the leading news stories in various countries, searching for current events, searching for state literary and emerging news.

Digital Vaults - Education resources
It’s an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.
The Great Idea Finder Innovation - Creativity - Creative Thinking
Created to promote the progress of science and useful arts by providing a showcase for innovation. Their mission is to provide inspiration to the "inventor" in all of us. Great stories behind the world's greatest inventors and great inventions. They showcase the best and most innovative ideas.
Voki Allows students to create wacky avatars then record themselves speaking. Some teachers have found it to be a fantastic way to assess speaking in the target language. "What if the Voki was reading a list of spelling words? What if it was speaking another language? The site offers a high level of customization ranging from the overall look of the Voki to the sound of its voice.
Kerpoof - A site that provides a variety of creative for animation, drawing, and movie creation. Wide range of preset characters and environmental options, or they can create their own. Drag-and-drop simplicity coupled with advanced animation and editing capabilities that open the platform up to a range of curricular applications.
Diigo: Social annotation and bookmarking service where users can bookmark sites and add highlights and notes to them. Great for research. Social bookmarking site where users can save bookmarks and organize them with tags. Users can also take advantage of their network allowing them to add friends to their account and keep track of bookmarks left by each friend.