While a vast number of Web 2.0 tools are available to all digital consumers, there are an immense number of tools available to enhance learning experiences in classrooms across the United States. One of the most widely used of these resources is the blog. Monthly and weekly blog posts are becoming common practices in elementary, middle, and high schools. These allow teachers to communicate class happenings, expectations, and projects with parents, community members, even other school staff members. In the article “A Day in the Life of Web 2.0,” by David Warlick, he explains that class blogs can be used for cross curricular lessons, professional development, and collaboration among grade levels. The teachers at my school are just getting in to blog posting. Administration has dictated that each grade level must have a blog with relevant information and dates for parents to access. While this is most definitely a step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go. Ideally, teachers and staff members would be creating individual class blogs, sharing blog postings, and accessing the blog posts of others. In his article, Warlick also explained that the superintendent even subscribed to the blogs to learn what was going on in the classrooms. What an effective way to learn about what’s going on in the classrooms each day!
Audio and video sharing is another way that teachers can harness the power of Web 2.0 tools. I see this as being a helpful resource for teachers, parents, and students. As a teacher, having the ability to record (either audio or video) messages or lesson content and digitially share with students and parents seems like a great idea. Whether for absent students or for parents that do not fully understand the concepts, sharing audio and video files seems like a wonderful way to communicate. Audio and video sharing for students seems like a great way to demonstrate knowledge and to share knowledge with others. It opens up student communication far beyond the walls of the classroom and the school and allows students to collaborate on a global spectrum.
Podcasts are a tool that I envision being extremely beneficial to teachers and students. From a professional perspective, I can see podcasts changing the face of professional development. With the click of a mouse, educators can gain access to podcasts from dynamic and powerful teachers and speakers from around the world. In a school system that is plagued with financial challenges, this seems to be a positive solution for many seeking professional development opportunities. Just as well, podcasts can be wonderful learning tools for students. Again, with the click of a mouse, students can access a variety of audio files that provide meaningful, relevant, and applicable information for a myriad of individuals.
All Web 2.0 tools have immense potential to radically revolutionize the classroom. While I have had the opportunity to utilize many of these resources for instructional purposes (Twitter homework, Weebly Blog, Delicious bookmarking, and so on…) I feel that they are minor blips on the scale of technology in today’s classroom. These tools will not only increase student engagement and support constructivist learning tasks, it allows limitless connections to be made. These are the connections that will help our students thrive in a technologically advanced society.