How are some of you using Web 2.0 tools to enhance/enrich your instruction? I thought that we would all share some success stories then we will sort them into categories and use these same stories to encourage others to take the risk in their classrooms to benefit their students.

In many situations, teachers do not have the support of administration nor the technology hardware to use Web 2.0 tools effectively. Schools need technology integrators to assist teacher and students. Let's all put our best foot forward and lead our children towards successful, productive futures. While using Web 2.0 tools, we must make sure to incorporate the learning of 21st Century Learning Skills. To learn more about 21st Century Learning Skills, go to David Warlick's "2 Cents Worth" blog at

I look forward to seeing some of your success stories. Remember, it takes small steps to get on the road to successful technology integration. I remember when I was so proud that my students entered their own data relative to each student's personal invention. That wasn't easy at the time, but it was my first big step in using technology and I did it on a single iMac computer.

What were some of your past and recent successes? Happy Blogging!

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Comment by Laura Gibbs on June 30, 2007 at 7:54am
hi Shawn, great topic - there are two success tips I would like to share since they are both very EASY things, and might be of use to others!

1) Blogs instead of discussion board. I teach fully online courses so the way we interact as a class online is super-important. Using the discussion board in the CMS (Desire2Learn) was a total failure: the students could not "see" each other, and they had no sense of personal connection to their own writing, much less to each other as fellow students. It was awful. They loved the web publishing we did and "meeting" each other by watching each other's websites evolve... but the discussion board did not work that way at all. It was impersonal - and they regularly complained in the course evaluations about the "busy work" (that's what the discussion board activities were). So, I switched to BLOGS - using Bloglines, which is a combination blog publishing system (very simple) AND RSS reader. This totally changed their attitude towards the weekly writing assignments - they read each other's individual blogs and can "see" each other's ongoing interests, recurrent themes, and individual personalities reflected in how the blog evolves over the semester. Plus they feel a great sense of ownership about the personal blog, something they never felt about the discussion board. And here's the web2.0 part - by monitoring the RSS with Bloglines myself, I get INSTANT NOTIFICATION, constant, throughout the day, of what they are publishing. That way if they are having a technical problem (broken link, broken image), I can intervene instantly and help them fix the problem. I don't comment on all that they write by any means (it's their discussion - not mine at all, I participate very little), but by being able to help them fix technical problems immediately, they gain a huge amount of confidence in their web publishing ability. What made this possible was the seamless integration between the RSS reader functions and the blog publishing in Bloglines. I LOVE BLOGLINES.

2) Course announcements via blog/RSS. Another change I I made two years ago was that I started doing all my course announcements as a blog - which meant I could let the students choose how they preferred to read the daily announcements:
-- I use Feedburner to turn the RSS feed into an email they can choose if they like email (so many students don't like email anymore, but especially older students are often still dependent on it);
-- I use to convert the feed to a javascript which displays at the course website automatically AND inside the CMS (Desire2Learn)
-- the RSS feed for the blog is available for students who get addicted to news feeds (they all use Bloglines in class, after all - see above), so they can subscribe to the announcements as a feed.
Now that students have three different channels to choose from in getting the daily course announcements, they are so much better informed than in past semesters! And for a fully online class, having daily access to the teacher (I try to make the announcements information but also fun) is a good way to make them feel connected with the class, no matter what days of the week they actually do class assignments.

I love RSS and javascript - being able to take the exact same content and distribute it through multiple channels still feels like magic to me... and it has greatly improved the quality of my online courses!

All my course materials are available online to see how it all fits together:

Comment by Steve Hargadon on June 30, 2007 at 8:55am
This post/thread is a great idea. I wonder if it would make sense to create a separate thread for each technology/tool? I could then put a link on the right side of the network for each "Success Story" category...


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