Web 2.0 tools are new to education, but are a great use of technology in the classroom. I found a new tool that I had never heard of before. It’s called Padlet.com. You are basically given a blank “wall” or “board” that you can decorate and use for discussion or lecturing or to post messages. Although email or regular discussion boards on blackboard (or similar sites) could do basically the same jobs, this could be more entertaining for students. It’s sort of a combination of facebook and pinterest. They get to write on walls/boards and see their classmates’ comments. I think it is a good tool because students can have fun with their assignment as well as get input from their classmates even though they are in separate houses. Homework is usually an independent project to see how much the student understands and remembers; however, posts on Padlet allow students to interact and share their knowledge with each other from home.
Right when I discovered Padlet, I started thinking of its many uses in a classroom setting. I thought of using it for a discussion where students can interact and debate or use it just for sharing opinions and/or ideas. Padlet’s homepage gives examples of ways the site can be used and I really like the idea under the “Teach” section. The example is a “Word of the Day” board where the students have to use the word of the day properly in a sentence. This could be a great way to go through a list of vocabulary words. It also showed that the teacher could comment on the board and say right away if the word was used correctly or incorrectly. This board gave me the idea that teachers could use this site for review or to introduce the next day’s topic. Padlet is very easy to navigate and to set up and use a board.
I think Web 2.0 technologies are useful in the classroom; however, not every tool will work in every classroom. Some tools are more suited for middle or high school aged children. For instance, I would not use blogs in my elementary school classroom; unless it was my own blog for the parents to read. I would not ask elementary school students to keep up their own blog or twitter. I think at a young age students cannot handle large ongoing projects like those, but they can use those types of technologies. A classroom blog or twitter can be interesting teaching tools as well as ways to reach out to parents. The textbook mentioned email group projects, but I think that type of project is sort of outdated and not necessarily appropriate for all ages. Not every child has their own email address and it could take a while for emails to show up and students could be on at all different times. A discussion board allows students to leave their comment and/or respond to someone else and all of the posts are in one place rather than mixed in the inbox. I also plan to make my own website for the class so students have another place to check what their homework is and parents have a way to connect to the classroom.
I didn’t particularly like the web hunt activity because I didn’t learn anything. I have grown up using google and other search engines to find information. I think the assignment could be more beneficial next time if it had multiple steps for one search rather than one step for multiple searches. Once we found, for example, an article on Christopher Columbus, we could have then been asked to find out if it was a good source of information. Also, although we discussed shortcuts for searching in class, I did not find it necessary to use them in the assignment. I think it will always be important to teach students how to search for information in an efficient way, but at an early age so that they can utilize their knowledge throughout their education.