Why use Web 2.0 tools in science and math classes? The primary reason is they facilitate access to input and interaction with content through reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
These tools offer enormous advantages for science and math teachers, in terms of helping their students learn using Web 2.0 tools. For example:
- Most of these tools can be edited from any computer connected to the Internet. Teachers can add, edit and delete information even during class time.
- Students learn how to use these tools for academic purposes and, at the same time, can transfer their use to their personal lives and future professional careers.
- RSS feeds allow students to access all the desired research information on one page.
- Students learn to be autonomous in their learning process.
Online Tools: Supporting Student Learning with Interactive Tools
The following 10 Web 2.0 tools should be part of any science and math classroom (in no specific order).
Twitter – helps students learn to create clear and concise communication with other students and experts, because of the 140 character limitation. Classroom activities integrating twitter cause students to think outside the box as then extend their understanding of concepts beyond the basics.
Google Earth – the possibilities are unlimited regarding the integration of science and math with this free software program by Google. Google Earth projects provide real-time perspective of everything affecting the earth’s environment. Using this program, students have access to data which was only available to scientists a few short years ago.
Google Reader – students can use this RSS Aggregator to collect, annotate, and share research during collaborative projects. Teachers who use student blogs can keep track of student posts in one place. Teacher can also share items, provide links for research projects, provide science or math journal prompts, or WebQuests.
SlideShare – this Web 2.0 tool offers the ability to overcome common problems both teachers and students have when giving presentations in class. SlideShare also provides the ability to eliminate the often used phrase – “fear of using technology in the classroom.” After spending time preparing a dynamic presentation providing another level for overcoming technical difficulties are worth the effort.
VoiceThread – using Voice Thread creates an interactive classroom which can be used in almost any science and math grade level. Teachers can use this Web 2.0 tool for digital storytelling of concepts by students, causing critical thinking, student project presentations, and even a tool for assessment.
Digital Media – follows the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words!” when it comes to science and math. The use of digital media is ideal for helping students construct background knowledge for developing a better understanding of science and math concepts.
WallWisher – this online application allows the author (teacher or student) to add information as postit stickies, it also allows others to add comments or information to the wall – subject to the author’s approval. Students can then embed WallWisher walls they create into a Group Project Wiki, Google Doc presentation, or Blog.
Jing – is an alluringly addictive little piece of freeware that allows you to make screencasts (as well as screenshots) of whatever is appearing on your computer screen. Creating a screencast using Jing will bring a new dynamic process to your science or math class. Students are more engaged in the learning process and they have access to information presented in class 24 hours a day.
Podcasts – are an alternative to digital media such as videos, voice, or images. Student-created podcasts provide a good digital medium for student expression of science or math concepts, projects, and related themes. Podcasts reinforce concepts studied in class for both auditory and visual learners.
Animoto for Education – is ideal for allowing students to convert a collection of images from a project into a video. Animoto is a web-based application which creates YouTube style videos with the click of a button. Students simply upload images, add music, and they generate a unique video.