Use of Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom: An Introduction

It is becoming increasingly important for educators to become knowledgeable about how to use Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms.  Students are already using a number of social media tools for their personal use, but they do not view these tools, like Facebook, as educational (Barack, 2010).  By ignoring social media in the classroom, teachers are missing an opportunity to engage their students in conversations and activities that will teach them critical thinking skills (Barack, 2010).  Students in the 21st Century need to develop these skills in order to succeed in today’s information society (Sadaj, Newby and Ertmer, 2012).  By using social media and Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, teachers are able to use a medium students can relate to as well as teach students how to use them responsibly and effectively in their personal and educational lives.

Teachers are often familiar with Web 2.0 tools, and use them in their own personal lives, yet they often don’t use these technologies for teaching and learning within their classrooms (Beaudry, 2005).  Part of the reason for this, is a lack of use of social media tools in education as a regular part of teacher training (Sadaj, Newby and Ertmer, 2012).  Most new teachers agree that incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into their classrooms would have a positive impact on student learning including motivation, communication, and catering to the needs of students with different learning styles (Sadaj, Newby and Ertmer, 2012).  At the same time they also feel that using these tools requires more effort to integrate within lessons because they need to come up with new ideas that aren’t already out there (Sadaj, Newby and Ertmer, 2012).  To some extent I agree with this, but as I am finding out through this assignment, there are numerous examples on the Internet of how teachers are using Web 2.0 tools for educational purposes.  Besides, a little extra effort may be worth it if it motivates students to learn and teaches them how to use social media technologies critically.

I had heard the term Web 2.0 before, but never knew what it really meant until a couple of years ago.  In 2010 I attended a Pro-D workshop on Web 2.0 because I had a temporary contract in a library at the time and realized I did not know anything about these online tools.  The workshop was mainly about letting information on the Internet come to you instead of constantly searching it out yourself.  IGoogle and RSS feeds were discussed as ways users can receive updates from their favourite sites without having to constantly check back with them.  However, Web 2.0 has a greater application than this.  According to Wikipedia, the term was first used in 1999 to indicate the technology on the web that allows users to interact and collaborate with each other instead of just passively viewing content (Wikipedia, 2013).  Web 2.0 does not indicate an update to any type of technological specification but instead only refers to the changes in the way people use the Internet (Wikipedia, 2013).

My temporary contract ended soon after the workshop, and as I didn’t have a personal need for the tools I learned about, and I didn’t pursue their use.  Therefore, my skill level in using Web 2.0 is minimal.  I have used a blog and wiki in other courses, but they were mainly to post assignments, and I haven’t used them to their fullest potential.  As a TOC I don’t have my own class yet which would benefit from using Web 2.0 tools, so for this assignment I will try each out as a single user instead of setting up a group or education account.

My background is science, so I have decided to look at the Science 9 Space Unit as inspiration for how these tools can be used, and to showcase any sample products I come up with.  I have looked at the tools listed in our assignment outline and have some preliminary ideas about how to use each.

  • Diigo – So far I see this tool mainly as a way to help students in their research.  Diigo allows the user to bookmark pages to be accessed from any computer, highlight text on the page, and add sticky notes.
  • Evernote – This tool lets users save and organize webpages, pictures, documents etc.  I see this tool as allowing me to save my resources and lessons online, accessed from anywhere, instead of in a traditional binder filled with paper.
  • Glogster – A glog is a way to create online posters and the term is a combination of graphics and weblog.  I plan on creating a poster to introduce an assignment for students to model how the site can be used to create their own posters.
  • Animoto – Animoto combines graphics, music and text to create presentations.  I think it would be a good way to hook students about a topic and my plan is to create one on the history of human knowledge of astronomy and space.
  • Prezi – Prezi is like an interactive PowerPoint.  I am not sure how I will use this except as a lesson like I would a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Voice Thread – This tool allows the user to add voice and/or text comments to a presentation.  Again, I am not sure how I will use this except maybe as a lesson for the students.

Four additional Web 2.0 tools are required for this assignment.  I haven’t chosen them yet, but I will be looking at finding tools to assist students in their research and presenting their ideas as well as creative ways of learning in the classroom.  I will be looking into each of the ten tools in more detail; discussing their potential in the classroom according to each site, giving examples of how teachers are using each tool in their classrooms, and how I think I could use each tool in my own teaching practice.

Barack, L. (2010). Savvy Web 2.0 teens forge critical thinking skills.  School Library Journal. Retrieved from

Beaudry, R. (2005). Exploring online learning resources. In R. Doiron & M. Asselin (Eds.), Literacy, libraries and learning (pp. 81-96). Markham, Ontario: Pembroke Publishers.

Sadaf, A., Newby, T. J., Ertmer, P. A. (2012). Exploring pre-service teachers’ beliefs about using Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 classroom. Computers & Education 59(3). pp 937-945. Retrieved from

Web 2.0. (2013, February 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:07, February 20, 2013, from


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