Teaching and Learning Web 2.0 Tools

WOW!   Web 2.0 tools are amazing and easy to learn and use.   Most tools have some form of pedagogical usability to enhance the learning of all students in different learning settings.   Web 2.0 tools bring a level of differentiation  to a classroom,  I believe, in which teachers have  not been able to meet effectively with multiple learning styles and  leaning abilities of students.   The strengths of Web 2.0 tools range from easy to use, easy to learn, a differentiation platform with certain tools being able to interface/connect with other Web 2.0 tools.  These tools lend to dynamic, instead of static learning or should I say, they lend themselves to interactive, collaborative, and extended learning opportunities for users.   Moreover,  Web 2.0 tools create the ability for students to be continuous learners; extending learning beyond the classroom and provides students with a global perspective.    For example, my daughter has never been one to watch news, but her Twitter feed is full of news feeds from CNN to Entertainment news.   Therefore, Web 2.0 tools help to keep her relevant, learning in real time, and in control of her own learning.

The only pitfalls I see to using Web 2.0 tools is privacy and the risk of typing or placing something in the cyber world that will travel across the world.  I also believe that continuous use to these tools will promote social skills deficits, because people are not having to have face-to-face communication.


Digital Footprint 12/10/13

My Digital Footprint has expanded by the following: Linkedin, Diigo, Protopage, Google+, an untitled Prezi,  Facebook, Twitter, my Blogs,  and a YouTube Channel. Now my picture even pops-up!   Where as,  I am grateful that I have learned new Web 2.0 tools; I feel my privacy has been somewhat invaded.  This is funny, upon the completion of this post, I will go and make everything I can private.   In conversations with others they enjoy searching their names to see what they find. I on the other hand want to use and learn Web 2.0 tools, but I want the privacy. Unfortunately, I must understand when using the internet period, privacy is something I will have to forego.

Remaining Technology Relevant

My implementation of Web 2.0 tools over the past 6 weeks has helped me to realize that I was a technology hermit and to remain an effective and relevant educator, I need to keep  up-to-date and abreast of new technology.   Students love say the word “relevant” – I hear it in always and in my on home by my teenager.   So in order to remain relevant,  I decided to take steps to enhance m own professional development.  

My professional development goals will contain, not only, trainings or conferences that will keep me abreast  of legal and educational practices, but technology and how it enhances the educational achievement for students and teachers.  Technology has been the factor that has transformed how I use my phone (smart phone), how I get music (digital music), and now how we teach (my district is moving to a digital platform for instruction, next year).   My district has developed webinars for the educational staff to learn or remain “relevant” as it relates to technology.  From  webinars to techno tips sent in the form of email blasts are provided to district personnel weekly, all in the name of keeping up with technology. Now, instead of bypassing those educational opportunities to  learn new Web 2.0 tools, my focus will be to attend and participate in as many as I can.  

This week, I demonstrated the use of Edmodo and Google Drive (no that I know a great deal) to 6 people.  These were people who I thought had more technology know how than I did.  It is not as though they had no knowledge, they just had different knowledge of other Web 2.0 tools.   So in sharing of knowledge, attending tech trainings, using the  tools I have learned, and understanding the use of technology does enhance the learning environment for all students, even those with disabilities.   Lastly, I will write into my appraisal, a continuous improvement goal to increase my learning and implementation of technology to enhance the learning experience for students and teachers.    



Social Bookmarking

Who knew?  Most certainly not me!   Social Bookmarking is a term I had not heard of and even the term tagging had a different connotation for me.   This week using Diigo Web Collector, I am learning the practice of bookmarking, tagging, annotating, and/or reading others’ collections of web documents.   Normally, if I wanted to locate/search for something on the web, I would always begin with a simple Google search.  Then,  I would have to painstakingly reading or select which search item to read. If I found something interesting, I would take notes or copy the information into a word document to retrieve for later.   Searching in this manner  was time-consuming and I didn’t know how to save all of the documents read.   

Utilizing Diigo, I am able to search for information based on tag or collected web documents that others have read or collected.  Diigo allows its users to save, read later, share with a group, highlight, comment, and create a list of bookmarked web information.  Diigo’s users are able to create a network or a group to share or read shared/collected information.  Users are able to search topics by tags which streamlines searches to the specific topic.   I am enjoying bookmarking information and reading bookmarked and tagged information by others.    

Aggregating pages

Aggregating pages

This week I explored Protopage, a Web 2.0 tool that allows the user to connect to other sites/pages.  This is similar to a web development site that includes different Web 2.0 tools through widgets.  Protopage has been called, by  some internet users, a virtual desktop or a RSS reader.   Protopage was launched in London in 2005 and by some internet sources has outlived the competitor iGoogle.

Protopage allows its users to customize their page by utilizing color settings and widgets.   Through widgets, users can organize and select the information which is frequently accessed.   My Protopage eliminates accessing each email, news site, and daily accessed sites separately, because they are all in one place.  I asked  other educators if and how they use Protopage.   Unfortunately, my colleagues were not familiar with Protopage.   However, an AP History teacher informed me that he would create a Protopage to streamline  research and information sites he would like for his students to use in completing DBQ’s (document based questions),and short answer essays.

I still have to continue to learn how to customize and create more tabs on my Protopage, as well as, learn how to access and locate RSS feeds from some sites.

YouTube Adventure



YouTube is a Web 2.0 tool that I am most familiar with, due to my son’s utilization in highlighting is talent.   Initially, I believed YouTube to be a place where people placed crazy and insanely funny videos.   So, YouTube was my “go to” when I needed a humor fix.  But in 2010,  I learned two  new terms “YouTube famous” and “YouTube knowledge”, my children and students introduced me to Chocolate Rain, Mr. Smith, and other people who received recognition from what they placed on YouTube.  Moreover, I learned that students were using YouTube to assist them with assignments.  Therefore, YouTube had become a source of information and learning.  

This week, as I explored YouTube, I learned this is a platform to upload, view, and share videos.  Unregistered users can view videos or become a registered user to be able to upload, view, and share videos. YouTube says that roughly 60 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute, and that around three quarters of the material comes from outside the U.S. The site has 800 million unique users a month and is the most visited site outside of Google and Facebook.

I found videos of my son playing high-school and college football and an interview he did with Ric DeMarco.  I also found videos of my daughter’s show choir and varsity choir performances, and even a video of the play Into the Woods she recently performed in. I viewed videos of street fights, home repairs, performances, videos with motivational and inspirational messages,  news bloopers, TV shows, sporting events,  and footage from tornadoes. Being that I am a visual learner, I love any video that is not longer than fifteen minutes.      A few months back, I  saw the movie Fruit vale Station, which shows video of a young male being shot in the back by local officers and I later learned that portions of the video clips were compiled from YouTube.  

Per Doc B’s instructions, I created a public and private playlist, browsed channels, subscribed to some channels, saved videos to view later, and created my own channel (don’t worry, I will not be uploading anything – I feel too private at this stage to do that).  I didn’t know of the term video-blogger until this week, and I learned users can view what is trending on YouTube, as well.  I have never been one for politics or politicians, however, I am interested in learning more about CitizenTube ( a YouTube channel of news and politics).  

In the field of Special Education, there is listed a great deal of information/videos, however, as with all Web 2.0  – you must have time to use each tool and I am so short on time.  

Twitter Adventure Part II

As an educator, Twitter provides the following educational opportunities for students:

  • Vast sources of information for brainstorming projects
  • Differentiation of informational sources
  • Connection to a global perspective of a learning concept
  • Increases a student’s ability to participate in class discussions
  • Allows students to remain engaged in learning beyond the classroom
  • Provides real time relevance to concepts being presented in class
  • Gives teachers a method to formatively assess student’s understanding of a learning concept
  • Provides a tool to help students’ increase their knowledge level to engage in critical thinking
  • Allows students to use a tool that can interface or sync with other technology tools

Twitter, at first sight and use, did not seem extremely useful in a classroom, but upon engaging in the world of Twitter, educational opportunities to enhance learning of students are possible via Twitter.

Twitter Adventure


My Twitter Adventure really began about a year ago as my children moves to Twitter.   I created an account but never used it what so ever, my go to social media remained Facebook.   When you are dealing with your children, I listened to their comments such as why did you post that, or why did you put that on your timeline?   So I really thought I was too old to use social media in the correct way.   Neither of my children wanted to be connected with me on Facebook and  Twitter so we settle for Facebook.   However, I noticed how in conferences, during news shows, or on my favorite sites on the web all had a connection or a notification to Twitter.

This year, I decided to learn more about the use of Twitter, therefore this class would assist me in learning more.   This week as I explored Twitter, I learned how to search my “#” hashtags and learned how to know what was trending on Twitter by hashtags.  This week I learned that Twitter is a form of micro-blogging (I have never blogged) and is a social messaging forum.  Micro-blogging with by using only 140 characters (I think) makes it easy to read and receive blast of information without reading lengthy messages.

Through Twitter I am able to remain abreast of up to the minute news.   I have followed many news sources and the brief information that may lead to an Instagram or news article is quick, easy, and manageable with TweetDeck or HootSuite.  Twitter can be humorous, this week HomeDepot placed an ad on Twitter of two African American men and monkey playing the drums and it stated something to the effect of which does not belong.   Now please understand the essence of the tweet was racist but the tweets that followed were hilarious.  All of the tweets poked fun back at HomeDepot and all HomeDepot come do was continuously  convey their sorrow for the tweet.    For me, Twitter is information, information, information, from weather, sports, politics, movie reviews, or in the field of education is powerful.

Social and Professional Networking can be done by utilizing Twitter to connect people and create communities.  As with any tool there was technical language  that I had to learn from RT, TweetUps, TT, FF (#FollowFridays to gather followers), IRL (in real life), to having someone famous follow you back has been a learning experience.  I have never used #-hashtags so much in my life.    The Mention function is used to see if anyone replied to any of my tweets (frankly I don’t care), however, I learned from students that it is so cool to have lots of mentions and having people follow you on Twitter due to some your tweet.

Mostly Twitter robs you of time, because I find myself seemingly in an addictive manner accessing Twitter to see what is going on in the world or using it as a cover when I really don’t want to bothered by some people.

Digital Footprint

In examining my digital footprint, I was surprised at the information I found.  There were 8 Google pages with my name, but most were sites that charged a fee to give my address and phone number.   I found one true picture of myself and several of my children. However, I was very surprised to see that my last three addresses were listed even though one was not in this state.  The information I found was my LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter, Facebook accounts and a site that gave an appraisal of my existing home.  There was even a newspaper article from Edmond, Oklahoma dated 1/24/2001 of an interview I gave to a news reporter as I researched for a public school for my son.  The web holds more information about me than I realized.  There is even a site that contained public information concerning my divorce (which was over ten years ago).

I won Secondary Teacher of the Year for district and there was information on the internet about that and my current salary.  The information that I was most surprised by was my children’s information and how my name was linked to their information.  My son is a Cadet at West Point and a starting running back…WOW, the information! His information from Youtube to news articles, and hundreds of pictures was vast.  My daughter, a Lady GaGa lover, was also listed with various pictures of her and her cats and thousands of tweets.   My digital footprint revealed that nothing is private which is very scary to me.   This ushers in a sense of caution in the sense that what you may think is private or a harmless statement can linger in the cyber world for years.

The funniest thing I found was site with a mugshot, I don’t have a mugshot, but I was curious.  Thankfully, it was not a mugshot of me, but that of another person with the same first and last name, but different middle name.   I’m even afraid to publish this post in fear that it will surface somewhere on the web.