Jess and I are researching and putting into motion laying the eplanks for a web2.0 based school or 21st century classrooms.
At recent workshops we were rather shocked to find some teachers did not even have email addresses and lacked extreme confidence with basic computer skills, let alone know anything about web2.0.
It would be interesting to find out what started other staff on their journeys with web2.0 to see whether this might help others get kick started. So,

1. What prompted or triggered your advent into web2.0?
3. Which web2.0 tool did you try first?
2. What has helped keep you on this journey?
Looking forward to your replies.

Tags: 21stcenturylearning, gettingstarted, reflections, startpages, web2.0

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Hi Anne,
I just love Web 2.0. I guess the first thing that drew me to usig Web2.0 aps was that most are completely free. The 24/7 availability also makes it a viable resource in education. Teachers and school officials are not aware of these resources, making it difficult to speak in an understandable language while trying to convince the implementation of such resources. I just love the fact that the students GET it! They are so excited about using these tools because not only can they build, collaborate and create while in class, they can also access these tools, peers and creations outside of school. Web 2.0 tools makes it easy and are extremely useful to them. My goal is to eventually get my colleagues to see the importance and simplicity to many of these applications. I am hoping to do so through training and support. I have created a resource http://web20guru.wikispaces.com for them so that they have resources and integration strategies at their finger tips. It will be a long road, but one worth traveling. Your idea and plan is really exciting, can't wait to follow your progress.
Upon reflection, thought I had better answer the questions myself.
1. 12 months ago, I got an email from our cluster schools co-ordinator asking whether we had got onto web2.0 as web 3.0 was on its way. I didnt even know there was a web1.0 at that stage. Soon after I attended a statewide computer conference where I attended any session that mentioned web2.0 and was hooked. It sounded great. However, soon after I received an education department grant which reuqired the use of web2.0 as part of its criteria, so that is when I started blogging.
2. My first tool was delicious
3. My social networking (personal learning networks both local and global) have kept me going and informed, and the sheer enthausiasm of my students.
Hi Anne
1. Read an article on it in the Christian Teachers Journal (Journal for CEN (formally CPCS) schools in Aus) outlining some of the different web2.0 technologies and decided to check it out for myself.
2. I tried del.icio.us first. Already understood what a bookmark was so it seemed like a natural progression to try and do them a bit better!
3. I suggested to my principal that we do an ICT challenge with the staff where I introduced a web 2.0 in a short presentation to the staff and gave them some info to go away and play with it then come back to the next meeting to discuss it. It just all exploded from there.....the tools themselves are interesting, the collaboration is great and I have the support of my Principal to keep encouraging it at school.
1. I think the first thing that prompted me was Wikipedia - I loved this idea of a website that could be edited by anyone easily with very little knowledge.

2. The first Web 2.0 tool I used was Wikispaces. It took me a little time to find out about it and I used it to create many sites for my ESL students to use. I also used Hot Potatoes to create exercises online for my students - not sure if you would class these pages or the program as part of Web 2.0 though :-)

3. I think discovering many new Web 2.0 sites, using places like Classroom 2.0 or other forums where people posted about them. One of the last few that I found out about and really liked for my students was Quizlet. I was really impressed by this site and created a lot of stuff there for my ESL students too. Ning is another one that I hope will get used a lot by my students from the start of next semester. Recently I found Yacapaca which I hope to get to use a lot with my students. As my wife and I will become co-owners of one of the schools we work for next semester there's not really any restrictions on us for which sites can and cannot be used :-D
I started playing with Web tools because they're cool. I'm very curious by nature, and this was something I found easy to master.
What kept me going was these tools seemed to captivate the students' interest. That's definitely something you want.
What kept me going after that was that so many of these tools made my life easier. Computers, properly employed, can really make a teacher's life simpler.
I found wikis, blog, del.icio.us, and Moodles all about the same time, so I'm really not sure which one was first.
1. Won a year long subscription to Blackboard at NECC 2004; wrote online curriculum and did online book discussions for gifted students; also started using Backflip to organized favorites at about that time
2. Co-teacher came back from state gifted conference September 2006 raving about podcasts.
3. Waited two months and started researching podcasts, blogs--decided on a student blog November 2006
4. The rest is history--we've since done the student blog (I also have 2 personal blogs), 5 wikis, 3 major online curriculum websites, 50 podcasts, online collaborative timeline, videos, collaborative programming, 4 online book discussion using Moodle....and on and on.

Let me know if you want to see any samples.
Would love to see some samples. Your student blogs are great but put the links in again as others visiting this discussion would be interested.
I've known for a long time that technology was going to become a BIG player in education. In fact, I held off on getting my master's degree until I could find just the right educational technology program. Something about technology simply enthralls me. Today's student was born into the digital age. We teachers have to embrace that because it is the way our world does business. I see too many teachers using today's technology like yesterday's technology and that concerns me. My response is to constantly be seeking out the newest stuff and modeling it in my room for others to catch the fever. One frustration for me is that my district is large and the technology dept. is conservative. Many of the web 2.0 tools are simply unavailable to us due to filtering and blocking restrictions. I have noticed a couple of new professional development offerings recently that seem promising, but only if the tech. dept. will ease up on our school network. I envision some conflicts between the PD dept. & Tech. dept.
Anyhow, I guess my answer is simply that I started using Web 2.0 so that I can work smarter and engage more students.
We use Google Earth in my science lab. I don't know if it is the first tool I used and to be honest I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the diff. web 2.0 tools and differentiating between 1.0 and 2.0 (still a bit of a new concept). I think I was using web 2.0 without knowing it for a while. (especially since I used blogger with my students about 4 years ago I think?) Anyhow, Google Earth is awesome for studying weather, landforms, solar system/shadows, and any other geography topics that come up. We use spreadsheets during our weather study and I'm now thinking that we should use the collaborative spreadsheet feature so I'm looking forward to investigating that further.
So, far my interest in technology integration has been enough to push me forward in my journey. I expect that this network will have a greater impact on my continuation of the journey.
1. I've always been a computer user. I might even be considered one of Warwick's digital natives. I suppose that since I'm used to the technology and use it personally, it's pretty easy for me to use it professionally. If there is something that I want to use in the classroom, I use it personally or socially first.

2. I suppose my first tool was simple enough - my web page. It was pretty easy to have interactive pages for the students and for parents.

3. Looking at how other teachers successfully use technology in the classroom has been the biggest help for me. I know HOW to use Excel (and have lots of chances to take professional development over it), but how can I use it in the classroom?
Wow, you have been at the technology a long time. I went to a conference in Shanghai last year and was able to listen to many of David Warlick's sessions. They were highly motivating. So, where are you today in using technology with your students or classroom? Do you use online learning or virtual classroom software.
I am a traditional (hah!) teacher at a 1:1 school, but we serve all at-risk students. My classes are very small, usually no more than twelve students. I don't use a textbook with my students anymore. It has been the *best* experience and has really opened up my curriculum. My district is not a fan of open source software, so we use Angel's Learning Management System. We also have CPS, Exam View, DYKNOW, and Microsoft applications.

I refuse to go paperless, and we still do foldables, but many times we print our templates instead of doing the "hot dog fold". I still have markers and construction paper and pens and pencils in my classroom, but we just don't use them often.

I do all of my testing online through Angel - that has been a lifesaver for me!

I'll record my lessons for students who are absent or who need a reminder. I'll do a mp3 of my test reviews.

I try to integrate non-standar technology in my classroom as well. For instance, once when we came across the word "toothsome" in a story, I had my students text someone to tell them they were toothsome. Of course, the recipient then texted back with WTH, and my students then had to explain what toothsome was.

I have an interactive whiteboard, but honestly, I don't use it. The laptops we have have made the whiteboard obsolete. I did use it when I was teaching in the traditional classroom, though.

We use DYKNOW for our classroom management software, so I can see (and control) what my students are doing on their machines. A neccessity. For the first few years, we didn't have anything, and people just expected us to monitor computer usage by walking around. HAH!

I love that we have instant access to learning. And when I say "we", I mean the students. If we are talking about the carbuncles in the Canterbury Tales, someone will go to Google images.

We don't have a complete library in our building, so that makes researching with books a little hard, but I'm focusing on just basic format for a research paper after speaking with the community college in our area.

I don't think online classes are very good with my group of students. They respond very well to a teacher who has taken a personal interest in them, but hate taking online classes. They just cheat their way through those. Our district is starting a drop-out prevention program at night and it will be all online.Honestly, I'm a little skeptical. Even our GT and highly motivated students struggled with the online classes, and it generally wasn't becuase of content. We won't allow students to take a TAKS tested subject online if they have haven't passed the course yet (i.e. If they haven't passed the exit level science test, they can't take Biology online).
Your classroom and school sounds similar to mine. An alternative school with non traditional learners. My greatest problem still revolves around student ability issues and passive aggressive behaviors. Some days the simple act of turning on the computer can take the entire class period. I am interested in your software suggestions. Thanks for your comments.

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