As an educator in the 21st century the students desire an education that is both meaningful and engaging. The big question is how can educators ensure that this happens? The answer may be to incorporate the use of technology or more specifically with the use of Web 2.0 tools. Web 2.0 has various strengths and benefits for promoting successful learning yet educators are not always aware of the various resources and tools available to them. This study will go in-depth to discover how Web 2.0 tools can be used for education, even in the early childhood years.
What is Web 2.0?
In order to begin discussing the use of Web 2.0 tools in education one must first learn what Web 2.0 is and why it can be very beneficial to education. According to Michael Simkins and Randy Schultz (2010), Web 2.0 refers to a variety of easy-to-use online resources that make everyday work and communication on the World Wide Web more practical for almost anyone. Some examples of Web 2.0 tools include blogs, wikis, networking sites, collaborative tagging sites as well as file sharing sites. Currently there are hundreds of thousands of Web 2.0 tools available on the Internet. Michele Knobel and DanaWilber (2009) point out that “Outside school, many students are accomplished authors, filmmakers, animators, and recording artists.” The use of Web 2.0 tools can make this possible beginning at an early childhood education level.
The benefits of Web 2.0 tools are being researched and validated more frequently as Web 2.0 tools are becoming common place in the schools. Collaboration is being seen as engaging for students as well as an important aspect of successful learning in education. With the use of Web 2.0 tools it takes collaboration to a whole new level where students can create their own content and have it published.
With the hundreds and thousands of Web 2.0 tools there is virtually something for every content area that can be used to shape learning to be more meaningful and engaging? The research shows that Web 2.0 tools can be used for almost any age, grade, subject, and be used with students with disabilities. Knobel et. al’s believe that “Web 2.0 has developed a range of free participatory, collaborative, and distributed resources that educators can use in their classrooms” (2009). Educators who are newer to the technological world need to be made more aware of the resources and then be given the opportunity to learn how to effectively teach with these resources.
Web 2.0 Tools for Specific Content Areas
The first content area that can be befitted from Web 2.0 is Science. Teachers of Science need to find ways to develop concept understanding in a concrete form. Science teachers often rely on graphic organizers to help students learn concepts and they also use graphic organizers as a means of assessment. Kevin Oliver (2010) suggests that Science educators can use Gliffy at http://www.gliffy.com. Gliffy is a beneficial Web 2.0 tool...