« A Healing Curriculum | Main | NCLB's Impact on Teachers »

Web 2.0 in Class?


Recent news stories and blog discussions have highlighted the growing use of interactive tools such as iPods and blogs in the classroom. Some commentators believe these tools can have a transformative effect on education by changing the way teachers and students interact and by giving students a more active learning role.

What's your view? Has the Web changed the way you teach? Should more teachers be encouraged to adopt interactive technology for classroom use?


I think that the use of technology in the classroom can change the way we interact with our students. Use of the computer is not a panacea to solve all problems. Today's kids are very comfortable in using the computer and other items new to the scene. That being said, they can access tremendous amounts of information but is this information true just because it is there? We can't be lulled into thinking they have understanding just because the information is there. What won't change is our role as the teacher to help students question, research,weigh merit or truth, problem solve, communicate effectively, or any of the other life skills that teachers currently teach their students no matter what the subject or grade level.


I couldn't agree with you more with regard to: 1)your statement that technology will not change the critical role of the teacher; and 2) the reality that access to information does not ensure knowledge acquisition or even that the information is reliable or accurate.

The responsibility, in my opinion, rests with the developers of instructional materials to provide teachers with web-based safe havens, where information can be "counted on".

The other great advantage of these digital environments versus traditional hardcopy books/materials is that the delivery of content can be functionally adaptable to allow students to match their unique learning sytles, backgrounds, and interests with varying modes of accessing information, such as computer-generated or human voicing for audible learners or synchronized highlighting (eye target identification) for students that have difficulty with eye tracking.

The term Web 2.0 is being used to refer to the new resources being made available that allow discussions to take place and ideas and information to be exchanged.

The "old" web is considered to be uni-directional. In other words, you had a web page and put your information out there and nobody else could comment on the information. The few execptions were things like discussion boards.

Blogs allow people to post ideas, but more than that most "educational" bloggers comment about postings made by other bloggers and link to those comments or include them in their posts. A coversation and exchange of ideas is actually taking place, and people are held accountable for their postings.

We have a writing club at our high school where the students post all their writing to their personal blog and then they make comments to other's writings.

Wikis allow even more collaboration, because people are able to add to and edit the same web pages. Wikipedia is just one example of a collaborative wiki - I have set them up for graduate courses with collaborative assignments.

More recently collaborative word processors such as Writely.com, ZohoWriter and Writeboard have allowed us to easily create collaborative documents in a word processing format (tabs, fonts, font colors, etc.) which is much easier to use than a wiki. I could teach a writing class using Writely.com and not need a word processor on the computer! And Writely.com will allow you to export the document in MS Word format.

The one drawback to these collaborative resources is that you can't add new pages to the same document like you can with wikis.

Another Web 2.0 resource that should be considered in education is JotSpot, a live group note-taking resource. We have used this during Interactive TV meetings and have had people from different sites working on the same set of meeting notes at the same time.

And then there are resources like del.icio.us, Furl, Flickr, Google Maps,

I have posted a collaborative document on Web 2.0 resources using Writely.com in case you want to explore more of these resources.

Why wouldn't we want to take advantage of these Web 2.0 resources in education?

The potential of Web 2.0 is that it opens the doors to the read/write web, as Will Richardson from Weblogg-ed.com notes. Students not only take information from the Web, they create content for others. They move towards being teachers of others, rather than passive receivers of information.

Additionally, Web 2.0 can extend the school day. Students won't stop learning at 3:00, they can go home and collaborate with others using class blogs, Moodle, or wikis. This collaboration might not be available during the day due to time constraints; Web 2.0 expands the day and allows students further opportunities to collaborate, create, and enrich their education.

I have just begun to use a class blog (www.thefourthstory.com/blog) to post our daily activities for parents, Internet activities for students, and as a place for students to collaborate. I also plan to use wikis for group and class collaboration, and Moodle for more formal class activities and enrichment opportunities.

Teachers are always working against time in the classroom. Web 2.0 is a way to provide more collaboration and knowledge-building opportunities for students.

Yes teachers should not only be encouraged but required to teach in the manner that will impact 21st century learners.

Has anyone tried using the word processor available at www.thinkfree.com? It's a java program that has a lot more functionality than Writely or Zoho. (It's like running Microsoft Word in a browser.) How do you think it compares to a word processor like Writely for use in the classroom?

In the spirit of Web 2.0, just two days ago, I launched a website called www.TeachersPayTeachers.com, which is an open marketplace for original educational materials.

Teachers who author high quality resources can open their own virtual "stores" and sell their hard work to other teachers who might rather spend time focusing on other aspects of teaching or who are just looking for something new and different. Quality will be regulated by user ratings and comments, and potential customers can ask Teacher-Author's questions about their materials through the site. We predict that there will be lots of feedback given and discussions taking place about the posted resources which will be good for everybody, especially students!

We are starting with a strong foundation of quality, as thus far, in a very short time, I've attracted 7 former State Teachers of the Year to post their work. I think it's terrific that a new teacher can now have access to a Teacher of the Year's original resources!

In my time as a NYC public school teacher, I came to the conclusion that most of what teachers have created over the years has NOT been posted on the web. I think this is so because there is no real incentive to do so, so I set out to change that.

Over time, I believe our site will spread and improve best practices!

Please forgive the misplaced apostrophe in the above post!

As a somewhat younger teacher (26), I am glad that more is now being done online. The teacherspayteachers.com site is such a great idea! We end up buying things new and at higher costs than if we had a network like this that would allow bartering, trading, etc.

Here at our HS, we have CyberHigh. Thi sis wonderful for those students needing to make up credits, or for those that need something different than a traditional education.

Blogs like these are so important, and it is a good sign that younger students are starting their own and responding to others. Could I submit that they are writing more than even my generation? Sure the text is filled with "C U L8r" and the like, but there is definitely a lot of learning opportunity here.

The CyberHigh mentioned in the previous post sounds terrific. The opportunity to use blogs as an interactive teaching tool is such a significant one. It goes along with the idea of interactive journaling, which helps my third graders hone their writing and readers' response/comprehension skills. Plus, how great would it be to set up a time to 'meet' virtually with students and parents via blog, say, the night before a big math test? Or, instead of assigning traditional book reports (which, with my third graders, sometimes ends up being more a product of parental "editing"/thinking), have students respond to questions about whatever book they are reading via blog on the class website?
I agree with earlier posts that our focus should be on using technology of whatever avenue to engage in a more interactive teaching process with students and parents alike. This way we are more the "guide on the side" rather than "sage on the stage", as the saying goes.

I would love to have time to use more technology in the classroom with my students. Teaching kindergarten PM only gives me three and a half hours of teaching time. With Language Arts and Mathematics it seems challenging to fit technology in. Once a week we have a half-hour computer lab and during centers we have a computer station. It just doesn’t seem to be enough time. The students love their time on the computers.

I use the web for researching new lessons for my kindergarten class. The web is rich with ideas and collaborating with other teachers on what lessons worked and which ones did not. I have found the web to be a huge benefit for helping me plan instruction.

The use of Web 2.0 for teaching is surely a nice way to reach to masses easily and at a very less price.

A new web 2.0 site which does similar thing for researchers is www.complore.com .It helps the resaerchers to collaborate their work from different geographies and culture. People can share their work with any body and any time

My favorite website merges hip-hop music and academic content.
Educational Hip-Hop is here to stay! What do you think?

Think he just got more marketing cash then the guys at www.kbteachers.com which offer much more content and more ways for teachers to be rewarded...

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Chris: Think he just got more marketing cash then the guys read more
  • Rory: My favorite website merges hip-hop music and academic content. Flocabulary read more
  • Raman Agarwal: The use of Web 2.0 for teaching is surely a read more
  • Shannon O'Neal/Kindergarten/Proctor Elm.: I would love to have time to use more technology read more
  • Bridgette Jakubowicz/3rd grade, Fallon School: The CyberHigh mentioned in the previous post sounds terrific. The read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here