Jess and I are researching and putting into motion laying the eplanks for a web2.0 based school or 21st century classrooms.
At recent workshops we were rather shocked to find some teachers did not even have email addresses and lacked extreme confidence with basic computer skills, let alone know anything about web2.0.
It would be interesting to find out what started other staff on their journeys with web2.0 to see whether this might help others get kick started. So,

1. What prompted or triggered your advent into web2.0?
3. Which web2.0 tool did you try first?
2. What has helped keep you on this journey?
Looking forward to your replies.

Tags: 21stcenturylearning, gettingstarted, reflections, startpages, web2.0

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My desire to use Web2.0 technology began in necessity and has driven a complete change in my teaching philosophy. I teach at an alternative high school with 98% of our student body in Title 1 programming. Sleeping became the single biggest class issue. I could teach if they were awake. I wanted to grab student interest and improve learning outcomes. My first experience was in a PhotoStory workshop. I took the collaborative film (made at the workshop) and played it for my students. I narrated a short film about pizza resturants in our town, my students slowly begin to wake up and ask questions. There was an aha moment for sure. Food and visuals play a major role in student life. I have added a number of interactive websites to my lesson plans and introduce ELA reading comprehension and writing strategies with food and online games. After two 9 week semesters, student participation has significantly improved. I hope to add a class podcast and blog this fall semester. Additionally, the school purchased electronic readers for class use. I am still experimenting these devices and would welcome any tips or lesson websites.
Thanks for sharing this great story with us. It is wonderful to hear of success with students especially those who may be rather challenging in the classroom.
My progression seemed to develop from new gadgets to new apps... I still love new emerging technology but find that my PLN is very important to me. I started with listservs, but hated how my inbox got unmanageable. Now I am a 'google girl' (in a google world?). I have all my feeds going to reader, have my calendar syncd to my blackberry and work on documents with others on google docs. The more you dive into web 2.0 the more you feel supported in your journey- so really it is my PLN who keeps me going. Am I addicted? No, I'm just more connected then ever, in a little more obsessive manner...:)
I didn't become fully aware of web 2.0 technologies as educational tools until student teaching. I was attempting to teach a month unit on taxonomy by integrating it with digital storytelling and I happened to come across a blog link on the network bulletin posted by the tech specialist.

That one blog led me to follow other educators and try out Twitter, which helped me develop a PLN. That PLN led me to other social networks, like this Ning site. The continuous flow and sharing of new resources and information keeps learning exciting. Using and exploring different web 2.0 technologies feels like a holiday everyday; there's always something to look forward to.
I started using web 2.0 for more than one reason:
- one of my children just did not enjoy school at all
- I was getting bored with what I was doing in class
- students were bored too and did not believe in what I tried to teach; it seemed a world apart but not part of their life
- the classroom was all mine but not theirs.

I first tried a smartboard and my students and I took to it right away. I found it versatile easy to use and captivating what's more teaching could go on in class between students and not through me all the time. That was a great help and made learning easier for the students; it was what they as a group had done and therefore what they learnt had more meaning to them. So that was the beginning of a new life as a teacher. it is proving far more interesting! Web tools allow me to present things in more appealing and authentic ways and I found them really easy to master. Most students are very good at it too and are satisfied at having something to do they can
- enjoy
- be good at
- finish
- see and show its completed version

I found forums like classroom20 were a great help but Twitter is probably today what helps me more updating our work in class finding new ways to motivate and captivate my student's interest and to promote interactive learning.
Like Vanessa and Terisa, I teach at a different type of school with smaller classes. It is a day treatment center for students with emotional impairments. Although I like Web 2.0, confidentiality issues around special ed as well as management concerns about proper use of tools and appropriate communication have made me wary of using the tools. Additionally, acceptable use policies around students using sites that require logons also slow me down.

But, I love using Web 2.0 tools for me as professional development and I find they have been absolutely invaluable. I've also managed to incorporate a few Web 2.0 projects into class.

1. I took an online class through my ISD on Web 2.0. I was curious to learn what it was and it was timed with a maternity leave. Perfect. There wasn't much else to do while recovering from surgery at home but sit at a table with my laptop.

2. My online class had us doing blogs, wikis, delicious, and a bunch of other stuff, but the first thing I did on my own was probably either Animoto, Voicethread, or Classroom 2.0.

3. The usefulness and fun of using Web 2.0 is what keeps me using it. It is self perpetuating. The more I learn from PLNs, the more I use them. The engaged my students are in Web 2.0 projects, aka, having fun with them, the more I want to use them.

Ann, thanks for asking this question. I'm really enjoying reading the answers.



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