Web 2.0

Discovery Education compiled a list of Web 2.0 tools, and categorized them by their what they may help accomplish in education.  Going through the list of tools available, some commonalities seem to appear.  The largest thing that stands out is that all of the tools presented allow for collaboration and sharing of ideas.  This broadens the scope of what is available to students, and more importantly, how and when they access materials.

The grouping of the tools on the site is actually beneficial.  When selecting what tool to use, the end goal needs to be considered.  What is the product? Is it a presentation or a podcast?  This will result in the use of different tools.  Keep in mind that the biggest commonality is the expansion of the potential audience, and in my experience this has lead to a change in the quality of work created by students.

When selecting a tool for use in the classroom, I would consider a few things.  The first criteria would be the students themselves – is student information protected, what are the privacy policies in place.  Also, how can the students create accounts.  Do they need a new account (another username and password) or can they use their school Google credentials?  The second consideration would be ease of use.  Is the program user friendly enough so that the students can spend more time on the creative process than they do on learning the tool?  The same thought process applies to the teacher aspect.  Thirdly, what is the audience?  Do my students have the ability to experience a larger reach for a potential audience?  Hopefully, the tool that is selected will allow students to begin engaging the learning process in a manner that expands the potential, as well as the confining walls, of a traditional classroom.


Tag Cloud with Wordle.net” by Luc Legacy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Social Bookmarking

Bookmarking is something that I have done on many occasions.  I have seen many colleagues do so as well.  However, the lists can become quite cumbersome, and at times, I don’t even remember why I bookmarked a site in the first place.  Social bookmarking could redefine how sites are bookmarked.  Educase (2005), defines social bookmarking as “the practice of saving bookmarks to a public web site and ‘tagging’ them with keywords”.  It’s the last part of the definition that is appealing about social bookmarking.

In my arena of education, I am always searching for new information on ideas to help my colleagues become better at their craft.  Not only can I bookmark the sites that I find, I can tag them with keywords so I remember what they are about, for example, close reading.  Also, since they are public, the sites that I bookmark can be shared with my colleagues so they can read the information.  The concept of sharing bookmarks in this manner fits right into the idea of professional learning networks, or PLNs.  Maloy, Verock, Edwards & Woolf (2016), define a PLN as “an anywhere, anytime source of ideas and information that supports and expands your work” (p. 19).  In addition to the PLN, teachers can begin to change practices with students.

Writing was a big initiative in my district as a teacher.  Teachers might have students curate their own lists of resources used, and share it within a group created for the class.  Using a predefined tag, and the group, teachers could easily verify their students sources.  Teachers could be the curator as well.  Thinking back on an assignment in my science class, students needed to read articles throughout the year.  These lists could be curated by the teacher on those different topics.  Students could then pick from what they wanted to read from the list.  It also allows the “teachable moments” to remain accessible, and more importantly, easy to find when needed again.  Keeping with the research idea, students could extend their learning by searching for other ideas and topics that they may come across in their reading and research.

It wouldn’t take much to begin using social bookmarking.  Once the site you wish to use is identified, and an account created, it becomes easy to start.  Keep in mind ease of the bookmarking, many sites like Diigo offer a web extension to make your curation easy.  Getting more teachers to use it will take some work.  Coming from the classroom myself, I am aware of the many tasks that consume the day.  Leading by example will help stimulate some teachers into using the idea, however, for others it may take modeling of an assignment to see the value, and ease, in using social bookmarking.

One thing to keep in mind when searching the social bookmarking sites for ideas – there is no oversight to how people curate and tag their lists and resources.  Educase (2005) states, “This could lead to inconsistent or otherwise poor use of tags”.  This could be very beneficial, as it may extend your topic into new areas.  It could also bog down a search.  Either way, you don’t really know where it can take you, so just prepare for the ride!


Educase Learning Initiative.  (2005, May).  7 Things you should know about social bookmarking.  Retrieved from: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7001.pdf

Malroy, R, Verock-O’Loughlin, R, Edwards, S., Woolf, B. (2016). Transforming learning with new technologies (3rd ed). Boston, MA: Pearson. Kindle Edition.

Image by webtreats (2009) under the CC BY 2.0 license

Netiquette – How do I fair?

Netiquette – what are the rules for “acting” online?  Ronald Berk (2011) compiled a list of twelve things to keep in mind for practicing proper etiquette online.  Using his list, I put myself to the test to see how I was fairing with my netiquette skills.  So many of the things presented felt like common sense.  I was quite pleased with what I discovered.

I write emails almost everyday in my career.  Often, these emails are going to parents, and sometimes businesses that deal with the schools.  Parent’s can sometimes be happy, or be upset at something that occurred.  I try to pick my words carefully, keeping in mind that once I click send it can be used for me, or against me.  Along these communication lines, Berk offers a couple things.  First, maintain professionalism, something which I strive for because I believe that I am a professional.  Second, proofread.  I know that at times things get by me, however, I at least do it – sometimes many times.  If needed, I have asked other colleagues to proofread my work.  Also, responses should be within a day, according to Berk (2011).  This may cut down on the time you have to proofread, however, it is well worth it to complete.  Also, the time may prevent you from sending an “angry” email or communication.

As I said above, many of the twelve things that Berk mentioned in his article felt like common sense to me.  While I did not cover all of his comments in this post, the drive to be a professional kept surfacing in my mind.  I want to be viewed as such, so I will act as such, both in my physical workspace and my virtual workspace.  I have areas where I can get better, such as responding to emails within that day, but for the most part I am very satisfied with my online etiquette.

Where then, can I improve?  I viewed all twelve of the things that Berk mentioned as important beginnings to digital citizenship.  We don’t accept name calling as appropriate behavior in the building, so we won’t accept it online either.  However, we need to become better at relaying this information to students (and yes, even our colleagues).  My position allows me to work with teachers and students with technology integration.  This is a perfect forum to relay the ideals of digital citizenship to both groups.  Most importantly, I will lead by example.


Berk, R. A. (2011). Top 12 be-attitudes of netiquette for academicians. Journal of Faculty Development, 25(3), 45-48.