When I first heard the term “Web 2.0 Tool” in class 3 days ago, my first response was “What the heck is Web 2.0?” After having the term explained and looking up some examples I can honestly say that I am a Web 2.0 Tools addict! Not a day goes by where I am not using them for some reason or another. I use them on my laptop and my phone. Some of the ones that I use most frequently: blogger, twitter, twitdroyd, youtube, pandora, goggles, facebook, waze, layar, gotv, yumondo, signalmap, googlemaps, delicious, familyfeud, prezi, etc. In many ways, these technologies have made my life a little more efficient. One of the biggest ways that they have accomplished this is through various social networking tools like facebook and twitter. My family and most of my friends live out of state so it can be a real challenge to keep in touch as much as I would like to. Social networking tools make this a lot easier. I may not have a half hour to talk to my sister on the phone, but I can quickly pop by her facebook page and see what she’s up to or leave her a message.
Of course, there is also a down side to these tools. They can be very distracting. More than once I have found myself wasting away the minutes (or hours…eek!) on facebook when I was supposed to be doing school work. But I say the good far outweighs the not-quite-so-good!
I intend to use technology and particularly Web 2.0 technologies as often as I can think of uses for them. Too often teachers expect their students to meet them in terms of instruction but that is largely ineffective. In order for students to get the most out of school, they need to feel challenged and motivated. The best way to do this is to use things that they enjoy and are familiar with. When I was in elementary/middle school, television was the big “educational frontier” in the classroom so teachers tried to find ways to integrate videos into their lessons whenever possible because they knew that it would be of interest to us. When I was in high school, computers were still pretty new in the classroom setting (there was no Wikipedia, Facebook, or even Google) so many teachers tried to find ways to use this new medium. I knew that I enjoyed the use of these things when I was in school, so why wouldn’t I do the same thing for my students?
I liked the DyKnow Vision idea discussed in “Connecting to the 21st-Century Student,” but I know that there are many more ways to utilize Web 2.0 technologies as well. I know that I will use YouTube, Wikipedia,blogs, and Prezi often but I also am loving some of the new technologies I have been introduced to such as animoto, glogster, bubble.us, and Xtranormal to name a few.
I cannot even begin to imagine where technology will be in 5-10 years from now but I know that it will be incredible. I imagine that most schools will be equipped with individual laptops for every student, SmartBoards in every classroom, and a much more global perspective on education. Students will have the capabilities to research and complete school assignments in a way that they never have before. In a history class, students will be able to take a real-time virtual tour through the city of Rome rather than just looking at some pictures or reading about it in some book. In a biology class, students can will be able to watch a real life surgery and talk with the doctors or nurses as (or after) they do the surgery. In an English class, students will be able to read textbooks via hand-held devices that allow them to highlight important passages or instantly look up vocabulary words. The possibilities are endless and they won’t be disappointing!
I imagine that in 5-10 years from now I will be trying my best to do the same thing I am trying to do now which is utilizing EVERY resource that is available to me. Chances are good that it will take me a lot longer to learn these technologies than it will my students 😀