Monday, September 30, 2013

Web 2.0 tools... How to choose the right one?

Start working with Web 2.0 tools in the classroom can be a hard and painful process that can lead to throw in the towel, before getting some results.

But if you have a little patience and keep some considerations, I promise you some immediate successes.

Internet offers many and different tools to work English as a Second Language in the class: online text editors, visual dictionaries, audio books, virtual Bulletin Board, corkboards, presentation and display tools, interactive games, micro-blogging and even a complete ESL Lab full of audio files to listen and learn English.

But... how do we choose the right one? 
How to build our “Web 2.0 Tool Kit”?

I found an article in webtools4u2use.wikispaces.com with suggestions for building our “Web 2.0 toolkit” and for finding the right tool for every occasion.

One first idea we do never forget is: "Like real tools, your Web 2.0 “Tool Kit,” will get old, and better tools will come around, so always remember to go back through the process every once in a while to see if it’s time to re-tool. Also, by all means continue to add new tools and grow it as well!!"

 
Here it is a very useful 2.0 tools web. If you click on the + you can have some examples of these tools.

Another interesting article is Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Teaching and Learning, in which TomPreskett suggests you ask the following questions befor to add a new 2.0 tool to your tool kit:
  • How intuitive is it? 
  • How many stages are there? 
  • How easy are key functions? 
  • Does it do what I want it to? 
  • Is the language and terminology they use right for my context? 
  • How much learning would it take for learners to work it out? 
  • How does it look, and is this what I had in mind? 

I suggest you to read about the ways others approach the problem and introduce you to a lot of different, powerful and useful tools.

But meanwhile you decide (or not!) how to organize your Web 2.0 toolkit, you can start having a look to this site: K-12 Tech Tools.

 It is actually a collaborative wiki driven by a core group, but also relies on contributions and editing from its members (842 nowadays!). Its goal is making "it easier for you to integrate technology into your classroom."

The site includes "more than 1,000 free online technology tools...categorized by subject, grade level, and standards." I looked at English (vocabulary development and writing tools), Tips for Integrating Technology into Your Classroom, and their listings for Art 6-8 sites, and I was impressed with their listings.

And do not forget to have a look at Flipped Learning if you are interested in “flipping” your classroom.

Something that should be appreciated is that the links are frequently checked, reviewed and corrected, so you won’t find many dead links!


Finally: Improve your confidence level, explore new technology tools, look up online tutorials/videos, spend a few hours familiarizing yourself with different software programs and online tools, and ask for help!

You won't want to teach a lesson with a technology part if you don't feel confident using technology.

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