Wanago, N. (2013). Effective Web 2.0 Tools for Your Classroom. Techniques: Connecting Education And Careers, 88(1), 18-21.
This article discusses technology lesson plans that were put together by teachers from all over the U.S. This was a project done at the University of Arizona to address the challenges that teachers have today with incorporating technology into their classroom. The university thought that compiling an educator-tested tools list would be very helpful for teachers. A handful of the tools that they feature in this article are Lino, Popplet, GoAnimate, Timetoast, Storybird, and Glogster. Lino is a posting board where students can post pictures, videos, or websites about a certain topic. Popplet is used to create graphic organizers. Both Lino and Popplet are tools that can be used during a brainstorming lesson. By using GoAnimate, students can insert text into an animated video where they can also create their scene and characters. Timetoast would be a great tool to use in social studies, as this tool can be used to create timelines. Storybird is a writing tool where students can interact with pictures to start their own virtual journals. The last tool, Glogster, can be used to create posters online, which can then be shared to others.
The article goes on to give some helpful tips to educators who are just starting to use these tools in their classroom. “Start small, be prepared, keep the focus on the content-not the technology, and let students take the lead,” (Wanago 20). The University of Arizona has also created a forum that teachers can view and connect to other teachers who are currently using technology in their rooms. The last great piece about the tools that are described in this article is that they are all free to students to use. There are no fees attached to any of these tools, unless you choose to sign up for certain upgrades.
I really felt this article was helpful because it was simple. The tools were presented with the strategies or learning targets that they could reach. I feel the site that the University of Arizona has put together would be extremely helpful to those teachers who are feeling overwhelmed by all the different technology tools available to them. The site was also very user friendly.
When the article gave the reader some helpful tips about how to use the tools in the classroom I really connected with one. Wanago discussed keeping the focus on the content-not the technology. I think that is one of the problems we see with technology in the classroom today, and that is that teachers just try to throw the technology in without making that connection. Students still need to be aware of why they are doing a certain lesson and how the technology is going to help them reach their goal.