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4 Web 2.0 tools that keep students engaged

Jamie McWilliams, a graduate candidate at Nicholls State University, shares four Web 2.0 programs to enhance the classroom

student-web-programsThe world we live in is evolving at an astounding rate. Smartphones, digital tablets, and computers give us instant access to an unimaginable amount of information.

We are able to communicate and share information with people around the world we wouldn’t have met otherwise. Now this technology is being integrated into our school systems in ways that allow for active engagement across the curriculum. One way to effectively integrate technology with your students is through Web 2.0 tools, internet pages and programs that are interactive unlike the static pages of the past.

Here are some of my favorite Web 2.0 programs you can use with your students to spice up your classroom.

1.  Weebly
This program allows you to create your own websites or blogs easily without having to spend any money. There are many different themes to choose from to get you started. No need to worry anymore about complicated codes. All you have to do is drag elements such as text, images, maps, documents, surveys, or forums onto your desired page before typing or uploading images.

The forum element can be utilized by parents to ask questions without flooding the teacher’s inbox or the teacher can post announcements and reminders about the week’s events. This can be a great way to keep your students and parents engaged, informed, and active outside of the classroom.

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2.  KidBlog
Kidblog was made for the classroom. If you do not want to create a whole website, this program will allow you to create a secure classroom blog for both your students and their parents. Using a special group code sent home with your student, parents are able to create their own accounts and view the posts. The teacher also has the power to approve or deny post comments before they are made public.

3.  Class Dojo
Need a way to improve student behavior? This program can help you. Available on any device, teachers can create classes and reward points to his or her students based on their behavior such as turning in homework, helping a friend, or participating in a class discussion. Then, the teacher can view reports based on the data to share with parents or administration. Outside the classroom, each student can create his or her own avatar and parents can view his or her child’s achievements.

4.  Glogster
Glogster allows teachers and students to create interactive posters that can house text, photos, videos, music, and hyperlinks. It is a great way for student to demonstrate what they have learned in any subject with ease and share with the world. With GlogsterEDU, teachers have access to an entire library of glogs for use in the classroom now called Glogpedia.

Web 2.0 tools are new and exciting for anyone. Incorporating them into the classroom will help bring the curriculum to life for the students who are utilizing them. Having fun while learning will keep each student engaged and focused on the material. It’s time to bring the 21st century into the classroom.

Jamie McWilliams is a graduate candidate at Nicholls State University currently pursuing a second Masters Degree in Educational Technology after receiving her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction.

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