I have been asked to conduct an in-service this summer on Web 2.0 tools. Please help me formulate a list of essential tools that I can introduce to these teachers. Most do not use much if ANY technology in their rooms currently so I need to keep it very simple. I want to really drill into five or six things that they will immediately want to use. I don't want to overwhelm them and have them go away thinking they could never use any of it. I plan to introduce them to the Ning of course as a venue for great ideas and possibly Twitter. I want to show them Skype because I've used it so much this year. Would love to get into blogs and wikis. What else do you all think and what clients are most user friendly?

Tags: 20, teachers, tools, training, web

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As for an immediate list I would go with these...

1. Ning
2. Class Wiki
3. Animoto
4. Twitter - but refer to my blog for this idea.
5. Toon Do

They are all easy to present and implement. I have also done a skype session with a neighboring school district. We conducted a classroom discussion via skype on Hamlet. The kids could interact with each other and see each other. It was a truly rewarding experience for the kids and teachers involved. I would love to set up an international session for next year and it is on my short goal list. Basically set up a wiki that say a class in Nepal can use and one that my students can use. They can discuss and post on the wiki and one of the final elements would be a skype session. I am excited about piloting this idea and will keep you posted on how it goes!
I love the idea of international collaboration, Andrew! None of the other posts here really mentioned that, and it's such a powerful part of the web 2.0 experience...the wisdom of the crowd, and not just the same old crowd. (Even having students in grade 3 collaborate across urban, suburban and rural districts in the same state can be such a powerful way to accomplish the social studies standards on "community" and much more.)

After having attended and presented at more inservices than I would like to remember, what stood out was the sessions that focused on application to student learning.
Teachers need to know a couple of different things:
1) What buttons to push to make it work ... and too often, this is where the workshop ends
2) What class management (and administration management) issues will arise from using this and how to deal with them
3) Where and how to integrate this within my curriculum/textbook/standards of learning/scope and sequence
4) What inspiration or maybe vision of how some others applied this to their classroom successfully

I do not believe in the Imelda Marcos style of tech training....800 way cool "things" in the closet...when I have just two feet to wear those "things" (shoes or web 2.0 tools).

The idea of using a blog as part of the class is fantastic. Teachers teach as they are taught. Use the blog, and they will leave having a much better idea of how to use one. In one graduate class I taught, I required each teacher to create a resume, a biography and a CV. They had to post those and then had to provide commentary and feedback to so many others in the class. What happened was amazing...they helped each other, and most of the class did a second draft (not required) and more than a third did a third draft and solicited class feedback. After that, the teachers really "got it" about collaborative learning with online tools in a very visceral way.

I encourage you to show some assignments that could be used at different grade levels or in different subjects that use blogs in varied ways. Here are just a few that are helpful. Your teachers need to think through the reasons to use the blog tool, and what it might replace or how it might be more effective than something they are doing now.
* Carol Bar in Blue Valley (KS) uses a blog for AP French, ONLY with her students, who respond in French to writing prompts much like those on the AP French exams. Her students love it, her grading/correcting of student work has drastically decreased because of her classroom management strategies, and the bottom line is that more students are getting higher scores on the AP French exam. Not a traditional blog? She does what meets her instructional needs.
* Other language teachers use a blog, of US language learners with native speakers in the target country (Spain, France, Italy, etc.). In that chapter where they learn the words around the house (chair, table, kitchen, etc.), many teachers assign a paragraph that tells "about my house." How much more powerful to share that, either through an electronic pen pal or a blog!
* A grade 5 class in Easton, CT, does a "twin blog" with a class in Kenya. They take a lot of photos of things around their schools and write about them, comparing specific items in the communities and schools (picking up on SS standards). Going beyond that, they do a project on water and water quality and collect and share data from their two communities. Metric learning is embedded in data collection; math in the analysis; and there's a lot of reading, writing and social studies too. It's not one more thing; it makes the curriculum come alive.
* A teacher in San Diego has an international literature blog for high school students to discuss books they have read...with classes from China, Italy, Brazil etc. participating. How rich to hear comments from Brazilians on The Alchemist, and for non-US students to get perspective on A Streetcar Named Desire. She also sets up an occasional Skype session....a challenge because of time differences. Brazil was easier for time, but they aren't in school in January-March. So there are management challenges to consider.

As the class starts, how about an online survey such as the powerful ProfilerPro from ALTEC? You could have some questions constructed and find out who might be hidden assets in the course. ProfilerPro It's more powerful than a pretest because you can set it up to show the patterns of knowledge and who are already power users within a class. (They have some existing questionnaires that you can adapt, too.)

You could also have small groups become proficient in self-selected tools. A few want to learn Twitter, but that doesn't mean the whole class has to. The goal isn't the tool! Encourage them to learn and think about why and how they would use this with students. Good luck!
Great, great thoughts. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this reply.
Great list, Andrew. Thanks a bunch. I'm not sure if you've heard about Sylvia Tolisano's project: Around the World in 80 Schools. I signed on with this great project in the fall and was put in contact with several international schools. My fifth graders had fascinating Skype conversations with Thailand, Australia, Spain, Chicago, and North Carolina. You can see our calls on my blog. I did not get around to setting up a collaborative wiki, but would've loved to have done that. If you're looking for global collaboration, this is a great place to start. If you're ever looking for a US class to Skype with, definitely let me know!
For global collaboration, ePals offers a social network of teachers in 200 countries, with more than 16 million students, who are looking for project partners and collaborators. There's embedded language translation in the teacher profiles, in the student and teacher forums, and in the student email system. Teachers can expand to use Skype, videoconferences, even exchange picture postcards, etc. as they wish. Right now there are 20 grade 5 classrooms in Iraq that would like to have US students to write to....just as most American students go on summer vacation.

The site also has TRUSTe certification, which says they meet the highest standards of student privacy. Not all blog, email, web 2.0 sites have this. District IT directors look for TRUSTe certification to make their lives easier, so look on the sites you are showing to see whether or not they have met that high standard.
I actually created an account with ePals last fall, but that's as far as I got. I have it written on my summer "to-do" list!
Google Documents was recommended to me by a Ning member. Great collaboration tool.
Nice slides! Thanks for the link. This would be great to go through as a closing or just an overview. I think if I tried to get into this many tools with these teachers, they'd walk out!:)
Hi Tamra,
I will also be teaching a similar one day course this summer for my district. It is actually going to be split up with Prek-5 teachers in the am and 6-12 in the afternoon. I really only have each group for 2 hours. This course will be held in the beginning of July. I just joined this district. The level of technology use and infusion is very low. It is also my experience that detailed workshops on a single topic in July usually do not carry over well into Sept. Everyone forgets. This is especially true for the low users.

My plan is to introduce 4 or 5 tools. To be successful i believe I have to not only introduce the tools, but i also must provide relevant examples of how they can be used in each subject area/grade level. I also need to show examples. My goal is to spark an interest in these tools. I hope to have the teachers thinking about how they could use these tools in their class/curriculum beyond my examples. If all goes as planned 10% will take something and run with it and 20% will contact me to assist on implementing one of the tools in their classroom. The others will need more exposure and workshops.

I am planning on introducing the following:

In pre-k-5:
- Digital storytelling
- video conferencing with skype and collaboration on a wiki
- podcasting
- social bookmarking (A tool for them)

Grade 6-12
- Social Network for your class using NING.
- Wiki's
- video conferencing and collaborative projects
- Social bookmarking
- Digital storytelling/podcasting
- Google Earth - Integration ideas for all subjects.

This is my tentative list for right now. There are so many tools that i could speak about. I may adjust this list. I would be happy to share resources with you as I put them together.

I maintain a personal ed tech blog at I also maintain a wiki with resources at
This sounds like an excellent plan. Coming from teaching at the fifth grade level, I have to mention VoiceThread to you. My kids loved it last year. I also used it for preschool for a very neat little project. Take a look at it on my blog if you get the chance.
Another idea that isn't a direct tool for the classroom would be to use some kind of aggregator or reader to be able to manage the reading of multiple blogs. Personally I like using iGoogle for various reasons, but Google Reader, Bloglines, and any of a number of other things fit the bill too. The power to personalize a learning portal can be a real eye opener for many teachers!



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