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February 24, 2008

Web 2.What?

It’s Web 2.0, and if you don’t know what it is or why you should know about it keep reading.  You are experiencing a piece of this collaborative approach right now.

Web 2.0 refers to a new and improved form of the World Wide Web. The following are some examples of Web 2.0 that teachers around the world are incorporating into their classrooms daily:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Podcasts
  • Social bookmarking

I recently attended an educational technology conference in Austin, Texas, where I met many innovative educators who are using Web 2.0 applications in their classrooms. You may be surprised to learn that students in pre-k and kindergarten are using this technology in their classrooms. At the conference, I attended presentations on the educational applications of Web 2.0 elements such as blogging, using wikis, and podcasting.

In a session by Alan Engle, former Disney Teacher of the Year, he shared how to use social bookmarking tools like del.icio.us to help organize, expand, and support classroom instruction. He likened social bookmarking to Six Degrees of Separation and he was absolutely right - after only several minutes of networking on del.icio.us I found links to Inside Pre-K. By tagging sites using del.icio.us and adding people to your network you can discover hidden gems on the web you would have never found otherwise.

If you are still scratching your head trying to think of ways to use these tools in your pre-k classroom, check out Miss Erin’s Preschool blog or Kindergarten Tales to see examples of classroom blogs and visit Small Voices for examples of classroom podcasts.

As I attended each session at the conference I noticed a recurring theme. Most of the presenters gave the same rationale for using Web 2.0 elements in the classroom:

  • Interactivity: Using technology actively involves students in the learning process.
  • Engagement: Students using technology become active participants in the learning process instead of passive listeners.
  • Motivation: Using technology can reduce discipline problems. When the student is highly motivated to participate, there is little time for trouble.
  • Empowerment: Using technology allows students to take ownership of the project.
  • Differentiation: Using technology allows students to use different learning styles. Students who are visual learners can read information; auditory learners can listen to information in the form of podcasts.

It’s clear that Web 2.0  has real educational value. Now, we need to learn how to implement it in our classrooms. If you have an implementation to share, leave a comment on this blog, and let's talk about it the Web 2.0 way.

Still skeptical or confused?  For a quick 101 lesson on some Web 2.0 tools and concepts, check out these videos on blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking.

Comments

Thanks for linking to my blog! My students love watching themselves in the slideshows, and my parents really enjoy seeing what is happening in our classroom!

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