Education is the land of acronyms and educational technology is no different. The NETS (National Education Technology Standards) are the ISTE’s (International Society for Technology in Education) standards for teaching and learning in the digital age. The NETS for students (NETS-S) were created to identify important digital skills that 21st Century learners need for success. Web 2.0 tools that can help students digitally collaborate, communicate and publish their work. Teachers use these tools in the classroom to help students meet the technology objectives and prepare them for our largely digital world.
Web 2.0 Tools for Collaboration – My two favorite collaboration tools on the web are Google Docs and Edmodo. Google Docs is a great way for students and teachers to collaborate without having to be in the same place or work on documents at the same time. Google Docs will help students meet the NETS-S by working with students in and outside their classroom. It is a great collaboration tool between students as well as teachers. Google Docs can also be used at the elementary, middle and secondary levels. Edmodo gives students the capability to create a social learning network. Students also gain experience in online learning. Edmodo has many positive aspects for all students. Students need a join code to enter the community and parents can also gain access to monitor their child’s activity. Teachers can create an online dialogue with students as well as assign and collect work. Teachers can also use this site to teach students about online safety and etiquette.
Web 2.0 Tools for Communication – Edmodo is also a great communication tool for students and teachers. I also have had success with Today’s Meet and Diigo. Today’s Meet is a chat room commonly used during presentations for participants to ask questions and make comments. Teachers can use this to encourage discussion about classroom content and group projects. Diigo is a great social bookmarking site where students can find and evaluate the use of different websites and research sources.
Web 2.0 Tools for Publishing – My favorite online publishing tools are Prezi, Animoto and Voicethread. Prezi focuses on the presentation of text, audio and video with creative transitions. Animoto is a great site for video creation and publishing while Voicethread gives students the ability to create multimedia slideshows including audio. All three sites give students the ability to create and communicate original ideas using digital resources.
There are a multitude of resources for students to collaborate with peers, communicate information and publish their creations on the internet. The teacher has an important role of introducing students to the tools that will help them interact with curriculum content in a meaningful way. Many sites will accomplish the same goal and have similar features. Expose your students to different kinds of resources without overwhelming them and let them choose which sites they like best.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2007). NETS for Students 2007 profiles. Retrieved on