Tag Archives: Web2.0

Use of Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom: A Reflection


When thinking about my choices for this Assignment, my first thought was to look at Web 2.0 tools.  However, as the time drew nearer to actually start the assignment I hesitated.  I found the idea of creating with online tools to be intimidating, as I have almost zero experience with Web 2.0 technology.  I thought maybe it would be better to create a blog and review some educational papers instead.  I could do that.  However, I wanted to challenge myself so I decided to stick with my original plan and explore how Web 2.0 tools can be used in education to enhance student learning.  I am very glad I did.

Throughout my exploration of Web 2.0 tools I found many teachers and classrooms using them.  However, my experience as a teacher and TOC is that using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom is not yet very common.  This may be due to the fact many teachers are unfamiliar with these technologies and are unsure about the safety issues regarding their use in the classroom (Schuck, Aubusson & Kearney, 2010).  As well, Web 2.0 tools offer a different way of teaching and learning with the “expert giving way to the collaborator” (Hargadon, 2008).  I think many teachers are not comfortable yet giving up their role as expert, to learn alongside with their students.

Many of the tools I tried were fairly easy to figure out.  There were a few frustrations getting started, but most sites had good help videos for beginners.  For those that didn’t, I discovered instructions could easily be found elsewhere (usually YouTube videos).  However, except for Popplet, I kept forgetting to utilize outside resources until after I had a particular tool figured out.

One challenge I faced when creating with Web 2.0 tools is attribution.  We, as teachers, are constantly telling our students they need to give credit for information, images, audio or whatever else they find and use no matter what the medium.  When working with many of these tools I noticed there was no way to easily give credit for the information I used.  Glogster and Popplet allowed me to choose images from Flickr, but didn’t give any information about their origins.  Do I assume they are “free” to use and don’t require attribution?  The pictures I used for my Animoto are part of the public domain, but I could have used others that were not.    Information sharing has become so widespread on the Internet, it is easy for students to feel they can use whatever is there for their own purposes, and many Web 2.0 tools let them do this easily.  It is now more important than ever that students learn and understand plagiarism, copyright and Creative Commons licenses.

British Columbia’s Education Plan calls for “learning empowered by technology” (BC Ministry of Education, 2012).  It encourages the use of technology in classrooms to better prepare students for life in a digital world (BC Ministry of Education, 2012).  However, experience and interest of teachers is often the driving force behind how technology is used in classroom, not the curriculum (Beaudry, 2005).  BC’s Education Plan promises support for teachers in acquiring the knowledge of how to use technology to benefit their students (BC Ministry of Education, 2012) and teacher-librarians can be a part of that support.  Teacher-librarians have become leaders in their schools in teaching information literacy and technology skills to both teachers and students (Beaudry, 2005).  Exploring Web 2.0 technology for this assignment has given me more confidence to assume this leadership role.

Creating with Web 2.0 tools has increased my comfort level in working with online technology.  Teacher-librarians need to have an understanding about all the resources available for students and teachers to use, and technology resources was one area where my confidence was lacking.  This assignment has changed my outlook from apprehension to being interested to explore more.  As a teacher-librarian, I now plan on using technology and education blogs and other websites to learn about new tools and how they can be used in education.  Passing on this knowledge to students and teachers will be part of my role.  I think the challenge will be to decide which tools to learn and to ensure the technology I choose is appropriate and will contribute to student learning in a positive way.  I don’t think using technology for the sake of technology benefits students.  The technology itself would become the focus instead of the content it is trying to explain or display.  Another challenge may be getting teachers to try the online tools I find for them.  Though most teachers use technology in their personal lives, they often don’t use it in the classroom with their students (Beaudry, 2005).  I will have to demonstrate how technology in the classroom can benefit themselves and their students.  I am now looking forward to these challenges in my future role as a teacher-librarian.

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


BC Ministry of Education. (2012). BC’s education plan. Government of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://www.bcedplan.ca/assets/pdf/bc_edu_plan.pdf


Hargadon, S. (2008, March 4). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.stevehargadon.com/2008/03/web-20-is-future-of-education.html


Schuck, S., Aubusson, P., & Kearney, M. (2010). Web 2.0 in the classroom?  Dilemmas and opportunities inherent in adolescent web 2.0 engagement, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 10(2), 234-246. Retrieved from http://editlib.org/d/31422







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Diigo: A Bookmarking Tool

There are a number of bookmarking tools available on the Internet, Diigo being one of them.  According to their website, Diigo is a “cloud-based personal information management system” (Diigo, 2012).  The title, Collect and Highlight, Then Remember, says it all.  Diigo allows its users to collect and save webpages, notes, images and documents as well as allowing highlights and sticky notes to be added.  New tools with Diigo 5.0 let’s people also capture and take screenshots of webpages and easily share them with others.  Educators can upgrade for free to receive a Diigo Education domain (administrators for the whole school) or a Diigo Educator account (individual teachers).  The advantages of this are that student accounts can be set up as part of a group so students can collaborate and share information within or between classes.

Of the six Web 2.0 tools we are to look at for this assignment, Diigo was the only one with which I had previous experience.  A Web 2.0 workshop I attended at a Professional Development day a couple of years ago touched briefly on Diigp’s use as a research tool.  With Diigo, the user is able to highlight text on web pages, add sticky notes and create bookmarks that can be accessed by any computer.  However, at the time, I didn’t pursue its use.  I didn’t really have a personal need for Diigo and as a TOC I didn’t see much of a professional need for it as well.  Since I know a little about it I decided to start with Diigo when looking at these Web 2.0 tools.

When I logged into Diigo once again I discovered my library of bookmarks but I no longer had my Diigo toolbar.  I have recently switched home computers from a PC to a Mac, and found out you can’t get Diigo toolbar for Safari.  Instead of downloading Firefox (a browser which supports Diigo toolbar), I decided to see how much I could do with Diigolet.  Diigolet is available for Safari, though it not as powerful as the Diigo toolbar.  With Diigolet the user can highlight, post sticky notes, bookmark pages or save them to read later offline.

What I really like about Diigo is the ability to bookmark webpages and then be able to access them from any computer.  As students don’t often have the option of working on the same computer all the time, this feature would allow them to more easily keep track of their online research wherever they are working.  Though Diigo claims that highlighting and adding sticky notes leads to active e-reading and better retention with information (Diigo, 2012), I think this is true only if the tools are used properly.  Being able to highlight text on a webpage is good, but students may not process the information as well if they are not taking their own notes about the topic.  One thing I did as I was looking for information for the Space Unit for Science 9, was to highlight sections of the text and then add a sticky note that summarized the information in my own words.  If students are encouraged to use the sticky notes in this way I think there would be “better retention” and it may lessen the temptation to plagiarize.

Another thing I like about Diigo is My Library, where all your bookmarks are stored.  Bookmarks can include descriptions, tags, and lists, so it is easy to organize and then retrieve them.  Highlights and sticky notes are visible for each bookmarked page at My Library, so students don’t have to return to the website and hunt for their highlights within pages of text.

For this assignment I wasn’t sure how to share how I used Diigo without the Diigo toolbar, which allows for screenshots users can share.  I was going to download Firefox on my computer, when I found Diigo browser, an application I could download on my iPad.  The browser has many of the same tools as the toolbar.  It allowed me to take screenshots and upload them to awesomescreenshot.com.   I couldn’t figure out how to “share” them with my Blog, but the links should take you to them.  The first one is an example of how a webpage can be annotated using the Diigo browser (or toolbar).  Diigolet only allows you to highlight and add stick notes, not capture anything.  The second link is an example of how bookmarks are stored in My Library.  Tags and lists make it easy retrieve the information.



I have started to use Diigo for my own research and readings for this course.  It allows me to work from my computer or iPad because both are synced together.  I no longer have to remember which webpage I bookmarked on each device.

Next Steps: The next step (if I had my own classroom or library) would be to get an Education account. It has a few limitations, but it is free and it not only gives the students an opportunity to use the tool, but gives myself as a teacher, the chance to monitor how they use it.  I see Diigo as a way to allow students to be more organized with their research while at the same time allowing a teacher to help teach research skills.  By monitoring students’ highlights and sticky note summaries, a teacher can provide feedback to the students about their research skills: are they highlighting the main points, have they missed something important, are they highlighting too much, are the summaries appropriate to the information collected and in their own words.  Though these skills are taught without Diigo, I think by having a visual record of highlights, students would more clearly be able to see the answers to the above questions, especially if the teacher models the process with Diigo beforehand.

Collaboration is another use of Diigo proposed by the website.  By allowing students to collaborate and view each other’s research, a greater understanding of the topic being studied can be achieved.  However, I would not encourage collaboration between students until they are comfortable using Diigo themselves first.

I have not tried any other bookmarking tool so I have nothing to compare it to, but in the future I will definitely encourage my students to take advantage of a bookmarking tool like Diigo.

Diigo (2012). Collect and Highlight, Then Remember.  Diigo Inc. Retrieved from https://www.diigo.com

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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 http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/885335-312/savvy_web_2.0_teens_forge.csp

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 http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/science/article/pii/S0360131512000851

Web 2.0. (2013, February 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:07, February 20, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Web_2.0&oldid=539226118

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