I am so overwhelmed with the amount of technology out there that I do not know where to start...blogs, wikis, video, making movies, etc. I want to know what you would vote as the most effective use of technology, whether it be an actual piece of equipment, online, or anything classroom 2.0 that you have used in the classroom. I have the type of personality in which I want to try EVERYTHING, but time is a huge factor, so the purpose of this discussion is to help me narrow my focus down to something more manageable. So I am asking you the experts, what you have found to be the best of the best. By the way I would like to try to limit this to the elementary level but I am open to any suggestions.

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Great question. I think you're going to find that a lot of educators using Web 2.0 will tell you to start with blogging--particularly because of how much good advice and information there is on the topic, including books by David Warlick and Will Richardson. Of course, I'm partial to social networking... :)

Actually, you might get more responses if you are specific about the age of students or classroom situation you are in.
Thank you for the advice. Oh yes, I teach 5th grade, but my students come to school with a variety of technology knowledge, from none to pretty capable.
Hi Jennifer, I teach in a prep to 12 school in Australia. We started a class blog with our grade 3 and 4s and this worked well. Web2.0 and its usage can be so overwhelming, and it is best to concentrate on one application, get to know it, how you are going to use it and then move onto another. Another great tool with the younger ones is www.voicethread.com They can choose an individual image ID (eg animal, clipart), or create an image ID using MS Paint. You set a topic or theme, load appropriate photos onto voicethread pages and students then talk to them. To get an idea of what can be done (but using teachers) goto http://voicethread.com/#u7053.b79099.i404678 Look forward to seeing how this discussion pans out.
Thank you, I have heard of voice thread but never have used it.
Hi!
I am a math teacher , an e explorer .In my opinion , using technology is need based. Firstly, one must classify the problems which are upcoming in a normal routine teaching and then devise a strategy which is available. Sometimes one web tool works in one situation and fails in another. So, start carefully. I have a blog for teaching math through activities. I agree with Anne Voice threads can be a good tool to start. Yes, if you want to engage students in collaboration and discussions the wiki is there for you. With a blog you may use other facilities like slide shows, videos, podcast etc. I am using them in a combined manner depending on the need.
I hope it will help.
Thank you, it sounds like blogging, using voicethread and wikis are the predominant answers here. For 5th grade do you think a blog or wiki is better?
yYu will get different answers to this question but if you are prepared to have a go at both do so, but they both fill different purposes. If it was me, I would start with a personal blog - as a journal, discussing what you hope to achieve with your class, daily events, tools you try etc. A simple wiki can be set up with resources for your classroom and units of work you want them to follow and use. This way you will learn the capabilities and potential of each, as eventually you will use both anyway, due to their powerful learning abilities. I tried everything at once, and found it very difficult to master all, so would start as simple as possible as it can be very time consuming.
Use the tools that help YOU learn first.

While the tendency is to find something you can apply in your classroom with the least amount of effort and thought, the reality is you need to teach yourself before you can use the tools in your practice.

So, kill two birds with one stone and learn to learn about the tools you want to use by using the tools to teach yourself first. Plan on what you might do in your classroom next fall. Take the time now to figure out a few of the gems.

First, has to be RSS aggregation. You need the feed. You need a way to narrow the rivers of information and to concentrate those important streams into a single, easily navigable path.

Step 1. find a feed reader
Step 2. find some feeds (start with this one - add Will Richardson and Clarence Fisher and a couple more )
Step 3. get comfy checking your feed -- taking the pulse of your world every day.
Step 4. add a few more feeds. perhaps some technology or current events feeds.

After about three weeks of reading, you'll be ready to write. You've got a blog here you can use, or you can use and number of good, free alternatives ... wordpress.com, edublogs.org ... spend a couple weeks using the blog to learn about what you've learned by writing about it in your blog.

By Mid May you'll be ready to look at wiki's ... maybe sooner if something interesting comes down the feed and you can find the time to investigate it.

By June you'll be ready to look at the Google tools ... you may choose google reader as your feed reader, so you may have a leg up there already.

By July, you'll be at the point where you'll probably be using the tools to learn something new every day. Take a metacognitive view of that and see how you're using them to learn. Apply that to your practice and keep writing.

By this time next year, you'll be boggled by how much you don't know, but at least you'll begin to have an idea about what the real scope of the situation is. :)

Enjoy!
Great advice!! I need to check out the feeds. Thanks!
I think this is excellent advice. I'd also add that I can't recommend a tool to you until you tell me what it is that you want to learn or be able to do. Putting tech into the class just to do it doesn't usually end well for the students and teachers involved.
I really like this advice, but would also add that one other way to do the reading can be within a collaborative learning environment like Classroom 2.0. :) Part of what has concerned me about the "purist" view of using a reader and then blogging is that not everyone is going to want to go through that work--or needs to, in my opinion.

That being said, nlowell's first piece of advice is super-significant: find a way to participate in the read/write web that makes a difference for you, then you'll figure out how to bring that benefit to your students.

Cheers.
I can't argue this, Steve, but given that Jenn's already here, I'm suggesting some next steps.

And I would argue that until you get out of the wading pool and into the ocean, you're working at a disadvantage when trying to deal with issues of navigation.

To say nothing of selection, credibility, utility, etc.

CR2.0 is a good place to *start* and a terrible place to *stop*

JMO. YMMV.

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