This report analyses and evaluates four web 2.0 tools that are suitable for primary classrooms. The recommended web 2.0 tools that will be outlined in this report are: Story Jumper, Edmodo, Class Dojo and Voice Thead.
- Legal and privacy information is detailed within this report for each web 2.0 tool that is suggested.
- An evaluation of the effective and ease of use is provided.
- The costs involved in the implementation of these web 2.0 tools are outlined.
- An implementation proposal demonstrates how this tool could be utilised within the classroom.
- Curriculum links have also been included to ensure that teachers are well informed on how this tool could be effectively used to enhance the learning outcomes of their students, while addressing the curriculum and utilizing the 21st century digital technologies that are readily available.
Web 2.0 is the current generation of technology. Web 1.0 was about viewing and linking and now web 2.0 has expanded and evolved from this initial tool. Web 2.0 is, “a second generation of the world wide web. Conceived as a combination of concepts, trends, and technologies that focus on user collaboration, sharing of user generated content, and social network” (dictionary.com). The Digital Education Revolution is greatly impacting on the education system and the way 21st century students access their learning. “Technology will never replace teachers. However, teachers who know how to use technology effectively to help their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those that don’t” (Catholic Education Office Sandhurst, 2009). Web 2.0 tools offer a wide range of use within the classroom. By integrating it into our best teaching practice, students can achieve optimum results. Many educators emphasise the creative, student-centred pedagogical approaches facilitated by digital tools, while others stress the role of online communication and collaboration in creating well-informed and well-connected global citizens (Pegrum, 2009).
The purpose of utilising web 2.0 tools in education is to enhance student’s learning by providing an environment that allows them to participate in a portable, personal web that is individualised. Students are able to access content being taught in various environments e.g. their classroom, the library, at home, at a friend’s house etc and access this content in their preferred learning style. To be able to participate fully in today’s technologically advanced society, students need to build information literacy skills and possess some level of ICT competence (The ECDL Foundation, 2011).
Due to the developing popularity and demand of technology within the education system, various research has been conducted on the implementation and effective use of technology within the classroom. Light and Polin (2010, pg.20) report that effective teachers are “using web 2.0 tools to create virtual learning environments (VLE) that support their pedagogical goals, both at the classroom and district level, and extend learning beyond the physical walls of the classroom”. However, in many cases the issue is not the lack of online tools available, (as there are many to choose from) rather a matter of how teachers can effectively utilise these tools and integrate it within the curriculum content.
It is with this advancement in technology that the education system has modified and added additional student learning outcomes to adapt to the 21st century environment. The implementation of the new Australian curriculum means that teachers (now more than ever) are required to update their ICT competencies as students need to be taught how to use ICTs effectively across the curriculum, with specific requirements to investigate with ICTs, create with ICTs, communicate with ICTs, manage and operate ICTs, and use ICTs in socially and ethically appropriate ways (ACARA, n.d., b).
Therefore, web 2.0 tools encourage critical thinking, collaboration with others, creative thinking, effective communication, gather, analyse and synthesis information. These technical skills prepare students for achieving success later in life are integrated throughout the ISTE Standards for Students (International Society for Technology in Education, 2007). This report demonstrates how four of the many web 2.0 tools that are available can be implemented into the classroom to enhance student engagement, motivation and learning outcomes.
Resource #1: Story Jumper
Story Jumper is an excellent tool that can be used throughout literacy sessions. Students are able to create and publish their own stories. They are able to understand the process of composition and relate their experiences to those of the author and illustrator. Students are also able to use both digital and old sources (such as the old pen to paper) methods when writing their stories. Photos or scans of the images created by the students can be imported online and then used in their story. Therefore students are able to use a range of techniques that they have witnessed through previous book studies within their own book. “Story Jumper works for a wide age range; little kids will love just playing around with the graphics, and older kids can construct a more advanced story using the advice provided in the Story Starter section of the site” (Common Sense Media Inc., 2014). This tool is a fantastic way to engage and motivate students through cross curricula learning. Students are exposed to English, Creative Arts, Design and Technology, Human Society and Its Environment, Science and even Mathematics teaching and learning content.
Legal and Privacy Information:
Ease of Use:
This resource is extremely easy to use. There is a step-by-step teachers guide that is made readily available to assist in the initial setup of the account and the input of students’ accounts. Story Jumper has also provided an online video tutorial on how it works and how teachers may utilise it effectively within the classroom addressing a range of curriculum outcomes. “Story Jumper includes all kinds of prompts that will help kids get their imaginations rolling. However, once you’re actually creating the book, there isn’t much technical assistance unless you refer back to the main help page” (Common Sense Media Inc., 2014). Whilst this tool can be used from kindergarten to year 12, the lower grades will need to be equipped with basic technology skills before being able to use this tool independently. A lot of support will need to be given to the younger grades, however it can still be effectively used in the most basic form.
This is a free and valuable resource for teachers. Students and teachers who create books online are able to share these with other users. However, if a student or teacher wishes to publish the book that has been composed, then there is a small cost involved. Story Jumper offers the following options to print classroom’s books (highest to lowest quality): Professional-grade, hardcover book, paperback book, high-resolution, digital download and low-resolution printing with a watermark. Fortunately, Story Jumper offers volume ordering of class books (10% discount for 15+ books). The order and payment system operates like an ordinary online shop. You add your product to the shopping cart, submit payment and shipping details and then finalise the information. Most books can be purchased for just a small price from $1.95.
Implementation of this tool would be most effectively used through literacy sessions. Accelerated Literacy, which is the dominant literacy program within the school, would benefit greatly by the use of this tool. Students are often subjected to transformations and pattern writes during their writer’s workshop experiences. It is through these lessons that students develop an understanding of the author’s intentions, ideas and the purpose of the text and how it has been written. Through pattern writes, students develop their own story based on the sentence structure presented to them. Story Jumper can be utilised to provide a greater purpose or goal that students can strive towards. Often with pattern writes, each is segregated to the other and students often lose motivation or can’t see the bigger picture because they aren’t all united to form a story. By using story jumper to publish students’ stories, they will inevitably have a greater sense and understanding of the writing and editing processes that are necessary for effective, creative writing.
- Cannot be accessed at home without parental consent.
- Cost involved when publishing the books, whilst slight, there is still a cost that may deter Principals from agreeing to allow publishing to proceed.
- Cannot be accessed at home by teachers.
Resource #2: Edmodo
Edmodo is collaborative web technology that allows students to communicate with one another in an environment that is safe and controlled. Comparable to Facebook, students interact with one another, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices (Kharbach, M., 2014). Edmodo also allows teachers to reward students with badges (like stickers) that can be customized to suit the behavior being rewarded e.g. work ethic, neat presentation, great work etc. The progress page is another effective feature that can be viewed by all involved. This allows students in particular to feel motivated to complete tasks set and they can see when their assignment or homework has been marked and is ready for viewing.
Legal and Privacy Information:
Edmodo has no listed age restrictions as each child is invited to join by a teacher. Unlike Facebook, students can’t “find a friend” or send friend requests. Instead they become a part of a group that is established by the teacher. The teacher then distributes access codes to each of the students. The student enters the code into the prompt box to be able to gain access to that group. Once all students have entered the code, the teacher can then lock the group so that the public and others users are unable to access the group and the content posted. If a student shares the code outside the class, the teacher can change it, without affecting students who have already joined the group. Unlike Facebook, Edmodo does not allow private messages between students. Therefore the teacher is able to view all communication between each child, limiting the chance of cyber bullying to eventuate. All posts are identified by the individual students’ names, so no anonymous posts can be made and the teacher has the ability to delete posts. Parents also have the option to sign up for a free account which allows them to view both the teacher and student activity. A free institutional account is also available to the school so that the school can monitor all content shared by their teachers and students.
Ease of Use:
Edmodo is very user friendly. It is probably the most simplest web 2.0 tools available. The FAQs link is readily available with easy to follow step guides to solve any issues the user may be experiencing. Because Edmodo is comparable to Facebook (a familiar and popular social networking site) it would be easy for students to adapt to and use efficiently.
There are no associated costs.
Edmodo could be implemented in various ways. Teachers could consider the following:
- Post homework. Teachers are able to post homework tasks in their group forums. Students can either choose to upload a document file of the completed homework or leave a reply in the comment box.
- Post dates for assessments and revision. Communication is vital for students. This is another avenue to ensure students are kept up to date with important information so that they feel prepared. Parents are also able to access this information, which allows them to prepare and support their child. An alert feature has also been included that allows teachers to select so that an email can be sent to the students email address notifying them of the task. Students can also “turn in” their assignments that only the teacher can see. The assignment can be marked online and the student’s grade can be posted with written feedback.
- Share videos. Teachers and students can post videos based on the topics being explored in the classroom. The comment box allows students to reflect on what they have learnt and express their opinion. It is important to note that the teacher is able to delete videos and comments posted that may not be relevant to the content being taught in the classroom, or that may be inappropriate.
- Post listening tasks. Through another web 2.0 tool “voki”, the teacher can create an avatar, attach a voice file to the avatar and then post their voki to Edmodo. Students could then write in the comment box what they hear and answer questions based on what they have heard.
- Share study materials. Study stack and quizlet are great web 2.0 tools that assist students in memorising information. Glogster is a web 2.0 interactive poster tool that can also assist students when studying. These files can be uploaded and shared on Edmodo.
- Surveys and polls. A feature found on Edmodo is a survey and poll generator. Teachers can utilise this tool in many ways e.g. Mathematics: data lesson, health survey, Premiers Reading Challenge survey, Premiers Sporting Challenge survey etc.
- Web Quests. Teachers can post web quests that already supplies the students with the links to the websites required.
- Joint projects. Edmodo connects teachers from around the world. Teachers could opt to set up a joint project between their schools. In order to do so, they would need to set up another group which they could all access. Students could engage and connect with students they have never met before, sharing resources and ideas and developing an appreciation for one another.
There are many opportunities for Edmodo to be used widely throughout all Key Learning Areas.
If students are using i-Pads, it is difficult for them to upload documents to Edmodo.
Resource #3 Class Dojo
Class Dojo is a very effective and engaging web 2.0 behaviour management tool. It aims to reduce the time spent managing behavior so that teachers can do more teaching (ClassDojo.com, 2014). ClassDojo provides real-time feedback for students on how they’re meeting classroom expectations and includes an easy way for teachers to share this data with parents. Each student and parent are given usernames and passwords to be able to access this information from home. Classdojo can be accessed from their website or their app can be installed on mobile devices, tablets or i-Pads. Students also have the added benefit of selecting and personalizing their own avatar. This is another great way of engaging students as it is personalised. ClassDojo can help individual children as well as an entire class identify areas for improvement in their behavior and set related goals. Teachers set the behaviors, and goals can be based on schoolwide systems or areas identified by you. You can use the mobile app (iOS and android) to give points from anywhere in the room, which frees you up to move around while providing feedback on students’ academic efforts or on behaviors from critical thinking to kindness. The reports feature can be used at the end of a class to show students where their behavioral strengths and weaknesses are. Class Dojo also enables other features such as an attendance record. In the morning, teachers can display the attendance chart, select the option “mark all absent” and as the students enter the room, they click on their name to mark them as present. This attendance can be saved.
Legal and Privacy Information:
Ease of Use:
Class Dojo is extremely easy to use. The site provides a very easy to follow guide. Tutorials are readily available online and the FAQs page provides users with various solutions to problems they may encounter.
There are no associated costs.
Teachers can create different classes and add students to each class. Each student is assigned a “monster” avatar. The avatars can be customised. Teachers then input the behaviors and skills they want students to display, such as being on time, participating, or working hard. Students can earn points by behaving the right way. When teachers click Start Class, the student avatars appear as a list on the screen. Each avatar has a number next to it indicating the number of points that student has. These numbers are green when they’re positive and red when they’re negative. Teachers can award points through the computer or by using the app on your phone or tablet. At the end of class, teachers can display a summary of behavior point totals for a class or by individual student. These reports can be emailed to parents, and parents and students can log in with a personalised, secure code to view their progress from home. What teachers decide to do in relation to the points gained by the students is up to them. A suggestion would be that at the start of the week students get into dojo pairs. These pairs work together to encourage one another to get as many points as possible. At the end of the week, the three pairs with the highest amount of points can receive a prize from a prize box. Another suggestion would be to le the points accumulate over the term and then reward the students with the highest points at the end of the term.
As this web 2.0 tool is associated with behavior management, there is no specific curriculum outcome that can be pin pointed. However, to encourage participation and engagement in all Key Learning Areas, teachers could customise behaviours that target particular outcomes and KLAs e.g. super scientist, clever mathematical thinking, warrior writer etc.
The effectiveness of the tool for learning depends on how it is used. Some teachers may find it inconvenient to continuously switch screens on the smartboard from their current lesson to Class Dojo. Therefore they may consider carrying their mobile phone in their pocket and utilizing the app to keep the points up to date or alternatively create Class Dojo tokens that can be fast and frequent. Teachers could hand out the dojo tokens without any interference to the lesson and when there is a break in the lesson or another appropriate time, students could “cash in” their dojos by updating their points on the Class Dojo site and returning the tokens to the teacher.
Resource #4 Voice Thread
VoiceThread is a web 2.0 tool that allows teachers and students to upload images, videos or documents, record audio, video, or text comments, and then collaborate with others and invite them to leave comments as well. This tool is unique due to its audio feature. VoiceThread has been created so that its users can easily add audio commentary to their images and documents. This web 2.0 tool is an effective way for students to express themselves creatively and to explore and create multimedia presentations. Users don’t need an email address to sign up, they may just elect a username and password and then start creating.
Legal and Privacy Information:
As with all web 2.0, VoiceThread has terms and conditions that a user must agree to before being allocated an account. There are no age restrictions, however, a student must be invited by a teacher to be able to gain access and use its facilities. This is a secure learning environment where students are free from the public eye. Only those who have been given permission may access these accounts. Other VoiceThread users may also see the content posted by others if that user elects to have their content made public.
Ease of Use:
VoiceThread can be used by anyone, even if they possess the most basic ICT competence. However, the more experience and skill the user has, the more creative and useable the tool. There are many tutorials on how to effectively and efficiently use this web 2.0 tool readily available for those who require further assistance.
Unfortunately there is a cost involved if teachers wish to implement VoiceThread. However, the cost depends on the amount of users.
- A single license allowing up to 50 student accounts is $79/month.
- A school licence for 350 users is $450,
- and for 1000 users is $1100.
There are many ways to integrate VoiceThread into the curriculum. For example:
- Analysing and reporting on significant historical places or events. Students could import photographs of such places or events and then use the audio feature to critically analyze and explain their research.
- Art: Students could upload, describe and explain their artwork. This would enable an in depth analysis and critical reflection of their thought processes. Often when we assess art, we are unable to truly understand the student’s intention and ideas behind their masterpiece. However, by utilizing this tool, teachers will now have a thorough understanding.
- Virtual Tour: Students could create a virtual tour of a place they are studying. This is a great way to connect with students from different areas in the country or the world. Students could create a multimedia presentation that explores the world they live in and then share it with the other students from the buddy school.
- Book Report: In literacy sessions or for homework, students could use this tool to give an oral book report. Students could scan illustrations or draw pictures that reflect what they have learnt or the main ideas in the story to add to the presentation as well.
- LOTE: Language Other Than English lessons. Students could utilise this tool as a study aide. They could draw a picture, write the word and then add the audio for pronunciation.
There are many opportunities for VoiceThread to be used widely throughout all Key Learning Areas.
Bandwidth can be a problem if an entire class is working on wireless.
A slideshow cannot be created directly inside VoiceThread with music playing in the background.
If the file is too big, VoiceThread will not upload it. Photo, file, video and audio restrictions need to be checked before composing to save this issue from occurring at the completion of the project.
When recording audio, students will need to be reminded to make sure their voices were picked up by the microphone.
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ACARA [Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority]. (n.d., b). The Australian Curriculum: Information and communication technology (ICT) capability (Organising elements). Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Information-and-Communication-Technology-capability/Organising-elements/Organising-elements
Catholic Education Office Sandhurst. (2009). Cool tools for schools: Graduate induction. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/mackas/cool-web-20-tools-for-schools-getting-going-with-web-20
Classdojo.com,. (2014). ClassDojo. Retrieved from http://www.classdojo.com/about
Common Sense Media Inc., (2014). Story Jumper Website Review. Retrieved from http://www.graphite.org/website/storyjumper
International Society for Technology in Education (2007). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/STANDARDS
Kharbach, M. (2014). A Handy Guide to Everything Teachers Need to Know about Edmodo: Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Educatorstechnology.com. Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/06/a-handy-guide-to-everything-teachers.html
Light, D., and Polin, D.K., Center for Children and Technology. (2010). Integrating Web 2.0 Tools into the Classroom: Changing the Culture of Learning (PDF). New York, NY: Education Department, Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Retrieved from http://cct.edc.org/sites/cct.edc.org/files/publications/Integrating%20Web2.0.PDF
Pegrum, M. (2009). From blogs to bombs: The future of digital technologies in education. Perth: UWA Publishing.