Absolutely amazing Web 2.0 tools are a fantastic way for teachers to foster interactive, media-rich projects. The great news is that most are free and don't require any software to be installed. Using free websites, students can create digital bulletin boards, interactive presentations and much more. With thousands of cool sites to choose from, let's take a look at five awesome sites for education.
Popplet is a one-stop shop featuring a combination of mindmapping, online bulletin board and presentation tools. It's extremely fun and easy to use and works great with a wide range of grade levels. Double-click anywhere on your Popplet board to add a content bubble (called a popple). A popple can hold all sorts of media including text, images, videos and even Google maps! Create mindmaps by dragging connections between popples and arranging content on the board. Finally, use Popplet as a unique presentation tool. Choose the order of the content using the presentation menu, then the app will zoom in on each popple while you are presenting. This is a great way to teach students to go beyond traditional, linear presentations. Make sure you give Popplet a try for its ease of use and versatility in the classroom.
Vuvox is an absolutely amazing Web 2.0 site for digital projects. Students can create a stunning digital collage which includes images, text, video and more. Think of it as a horizontal scroll of digital creativity. In addition, interactive hotspots can be included to display even more multimedia content. Cool image editing features are included, such as the ability to cut out part of an image. The final product can be viewed as a scrolling presentation or explored freely. Put Vuvox on your shortlist and use it for your next project-based learning unit.
Myna is a powerful audio mixing and creation tool that is a blast to use. Part of the Aviary suite of tools, Myna will rock your classroom! Students drag music loops to the tracks and create their own musical masterpiece. A cool feature is the ability for students to record their own voice, add effects and combine it in the mix. For example, students can create a radio commercial or audio for a video project. Please note that audio projects can only be six minutes total and each individual recording must be less than a minute. This restriction actually helps students keep their projects concise. The final product can be mixed down to an mp3 file and used in numerous ways.
One of the coolest online bulletin boards is definitely Linoit. Perfect for visual learners, your students will love building projects just like pinning items to a bulletin board. Set the background to look like a cork board or even use a picture such as a world map. Then add content with stickies, images, videos, documents and more. Have your students use Linoit for brainstorming as well as creating digital posters and multimedia projects. You can even use Linoit as a cool and non-traditional classroom homepage!
Flipsnack is a super easy and indispensable tool for teachers who want to share student work! In short, Flipsnack converts PDF files into really cool flipping books. Using this site is a snap - simply upload your PDF and voila! Flipsnack works great for displaying student work or sending out information to parents. If you have an interactive whiteboard try this: Scan your best student work and load it to Flipsnack. Then have each student talk about their amazing work at the IWB. They can “flip” the pages by dragging - they’ll love it! Try it for parent night as well! For personal use, scan all of your child’s drawings and create a flipbook of their masterpieces. Then, share the link with family.
The world of Web 2.0 offers tremendous opportunities for creative learning. Give these five Web 2.0 tools a try and let us know what you think in the EducationNation.com forums.
Mark Brumley is an educational technology leader, presenter and professional development facilitator who has lived and worked around the globe in his commitment to provide authentic learning experiences to enhance the education of 21st Century learners. You can follow him on Twitter @markbrumley and read his educational technology blog at MarkBrumley.com.
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