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.