Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diving into Web 2.0

Photo by  jonas_therkildsen,

It's no surprise that the technology around us is changing, and the World Wide Web is no exception. We've come a long ways from the days of static, text-based web pages with zero interactivity for users, also called Web 1.0.

We're in the Web 2.0 age, which consists of the most effective, interactive, and engaging web experiences. That's not to say that Web 1.0 is gone and Web 2.0 has taken over; both have been around since the beginning of the Web, according to HowStuffWorks. There are elements of Web 1.0 in our day to day lives (there isn't a super way to spice up reading a scholarly article, for instance. You just have to read the text...but maybe someone should change that ;), and there have been elements of Web 2.0 since web pages were created.

People now understand how to use Web 2.0 most effectively to engage their online visitors and create an interactive experience that will keep them coming back. There are Web 2.0 tools on almost anything, and you can find collections of many of the best ones (like this one from Edudemic), or use a simple search engine to find one that meets your needs.

While I tend to consider myself decently knowledgeable about the Web 2.0 tools that are out there, I came across two that sparked my interest: LiveBinders and Storify. I wanted to learn a little more about them, and I decided to share them with you!

Let's start with LiveBinders. It's "your 3-ring binder for the web." And let's be honest, as a future teacher, I'm an organizational freak, as I'm sure many of you are as well. I love to make sure all my things are in the proper place, but online stuff gets hard. My personal computer is filled with orderly files, but what if I could do that with web content? With LiveBinders, I can! Take a look at this video to get a quick overview of LiveBinders:

Pretty cool concept, huh? Here's more of a fun video that shows what LiveBinders does to replace your old organizational system, and even features some testimonials from students and educators about their experiences.

If you're looking for a tutorial on how to use LiveBinders, check out this website. It has a video tutorial and a cheat sheet so you can easily set up your own LiveBinder! Also, take a look at this great example of a LiveBinder. It's all about Free Technology Tools for Teachers (how relevant!), and it has a TON of resources linked under each category. Play around with it and see how a LiveBinder works, and take a look at some of the great resources!

The other Web 2.0 tool I played with was Storify. Storify, according to their website, is simple, social storytelling. It's a pretty cool concept; you take elements of the web (Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr posts, Flickr/Instagram photos, YouTube videos, and countless other social media forms) and drag and drop them into your 'story', a blog of sorts. Once you drag and drop these elements into your story, you can rearrange them and add text to create an all-encompassing story of whatever event or concept you're trying to explain. From there, you can share it with people on your social media sites or directly link it to the people that you've quoted in your story, and it remains a live document where people can click, watch, and interact with the content you've collected. It's a little hard to explain, so watch this video to see Storify in action and get a feel for how to use it:

If you're interested in a more in-depth tutorial about Storify, watch this video, too!

I think that Storify could be a great tool to use in the classroom, and you don't have to just use it for news stories! Take a look at this article to see 4 ways you could use Storify in the classroom, and check out these examples of what you could do with Storify to highlight a news story, national holiday, or an event.

Pretty cool, right? I think LiveBinders and Storify could be awesome tools to use, not only for personal development, but also for students to practice skills like organization, writing, and research. Other than the ways listed above, what are some ways that you could see yourself using these resources in your classroom? How could students use LiveBinders to create a personal resource? What could students create using Storify? A book report? A science tutorial for other learners? Comment with your ideas!

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