Web 2.0 Tools Sensitization

Eighth grade students at Raul Yzaguirre School for Success [Houston, Texas] were tasked to understand, and use various Web 2.0 tools.

Round 1 - TWITTER/#ryssclassd1 - "Gangs":

Go to TWEETS to read students' comments about "Gangs" via Twitter. The process was spontaneous and exciting as the students posted [via a hash tag] their comments, and viewed them as a collective assignment for discussion via projection. [Twitter]

Round 2 - TAGXEDO - "My Word Cloud":

Go to MWC to view/read student-generated word clouds that stem from word search and association. Tagxedo was utilized as an effective vocabulary building tool via word association as students visualized the process as "word art" [shaping/coloring]. Coordinated color schemes and choice of fonts gave the students an introduction to typography and color relationships. [Note: composition clouds can be created with the words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.] [Tagxedo]

Round 3 - FACEBOOK - "Studying History Via Facebook":

Go to REPORTS to view/read students' findings about famous people in History. They researched an eclectic group of personalities via Facebook pages. They were tasked to use this social networking tool to read/study their assigned personalities, and then produce Word documents based on their findings. Not only did they immerse themselves in the study of History via their respective Facebook pages, but also became more aware of the various individuals and their activities in terms of enhanced Cultural literacy. [Facebook]

Web 2.0 is a loosely defined intersection of web application features that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators (prosumers) of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to websites where users (consumers) are limited to the passive viewing of content that was created for them. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, hosted services, web applications, mashups and folksonomies.

Web 2.0 technologies provide teachers with new ways to engage students in a meaningful way. Children raised on new media technologies are less patient with filling out worksheets and listening to lectures because students already participate on a global level. The lack of participation in a traditional classroom stems more from the fact that students receive better feedback online. Traditional classrooms have students do assignments and when they are completed, they are just that, finished. However, Web 2.0 shows students that education is a constantly evolving entity. Whether it is participating in a class discussion, or participating in a forum discussion, the technologies available to students in a Web 2.0 classroom does increase the amount they participate.

Web 2.0 calls for major shifts in the way education is provided for students. Students, in a Web 2.0 classroom, are expected to collaborate with their peers. By making the shift to a Web 2.0 classroom, teachers are creating a more open atmosphere where students are expected to stay engaged and participate in the discussions and learning that is taking place around them.

The research shows that students are already using these technological tools, but they still are expected to go to a school where using these tools is frowned upon or even punished. If educators are able to harness the power of the Web 2.0 technologies students are using, it could be expected that the amount of participation and classroom discussion would increase. It may be that how participation and discussion is produced is very different from the traditional classroom, but nevertheless it does increase. [Wikipedia.org]