Learning whilst Immersed in Web 2.0 Part 2

This post follows on from Learning whilst Immersed in Web 2.0 Part 1 where I discuss the origins of WEB 2.0 and why the World Wide Web changed in the way it did around 2004. I also listed 10 WEB 2.0 tools that have helped me in my teaching and some that have been suggested to me on Twitter. This second post will highlight a further 10 tools that have made an impact on pupils learning for many teachers I know. If you find these tools useful why not subscribe to my new series of posts on Ideas for Learning and Creativity?

WEB 2.0 Tools for the classroom

11. Xtranormal

There are many comic and video editors available on the web, but not many that combine the two so well. Once registered you can either create videos online or download ‘State’, their offline video editor (PC only). Xtranormal provides the user with a vast array of different characters, backgrounds, music, effects and pre-made animations that you use to create your movie.

What is especially good about this tool is that you can control the camera as well as character movements and reactions by using the pre-recorded items in the editor. The editor is divided into three main sections which together make up the final movie:

  • Direct the Action – camera movements, animations, expressions, reactions
  • Write the Script – decide on a single or two characters and then type what you’d like them to say
  • Design the Scene – change set, music and background noise

If you want to create a quick movie and you’re not to fussed about camera angles (you can even get the characters to look into the camera – I love that bit) then you only have to select the ‘Magicam’ which sets up auto camera angles for you.

Once the final movie has been rendered you can send it to colleagues, share it on the most common Social Networks and embed it on your school blog or website – it also embeds well on most Learning Platforms. There is also the option of downloading it as a movie file so you can edit it using your favorite video editor.

Here’s an example:


12. Awesome Highlighter

This is a superb tool, particularly for older students, as it can be used to teach them how to underline and read more effectively. It also has the added bonus that everything that has been highlighted is also copied so they later can print off their notes or email them. There is also a firefox bookmarklet so you can highlight on the go and if you register you can also save pages including annotaed videos. Quick and effective.

13. Browzmi:

This tool gives the user the possibility if co-browsing or social browsing sites as well as sending each other instant messages. Google Wave is more powerful of course, but this one is quick and easy to use and only does one thing. This is a very effective for group work and for research, well worth a look.

14. Go Animate!

There are many good WEB 2.0 tools that provide possibilities for students and teachers to create comic books of various kinds, some of which I have already mentioned in other posts for example ToonDoo, Pixton, Memoov and Pikikids. GoAnimate is slightly different as it provides the user with the possibility of creating talking characters as well as full animations. This tools is as featured-packed as Xtranormal but uses more comix-styled graphics. Here’s a simple example of an animation (3 minutes to set up):


15. ShowDocument

If you are looking for an easier to use tool to Elliminate then ShowDocument is a good choice. Although it’s not as powerful as Elluminate, for example lacking many of the administrative features, ShareDocument is  quick to set up and fun to use. Here’s a brief list of what you can share and collaborate at the same time using the Quick Start menu:

  • Watch Youtube videos
  • Files from your machine
  • Google Maps and Docs
  • Whiteboard

16. Scribblar

Scribblar shares many of the features of ShowDocument. Unlike the latter students can use audio chat and not only text-based chat (like in ShowDocument) and Scribblar’s Pro account ($99/month) enables you to integrate the entire functionality of Scribblar into your existing website – pretty powerful. Although Scribblar is very good, ShareDocument has a few extra functionalities that makes it just that little better.

17. MovYlo

This surprisingly powerful resource provides you with the tool to create mobile websites. All you need to focus on is to add the content – MovYlo will take care of the rest. There are several features that you can use to produce your mobile site including:

  • RSS feeds from e.g. your blog, Youtube, Flickr
  • Create newsletters
  • Adding mini blog and pages
  • Polls and contests
  • Videos
  • Images

See this example of a mobile site that was set up in less than 10 minutes. For about £3.50/month you get 5000MB of space and your pages will not be covered in ads, which is the only set back of the free option.

18. Mobile Study.org

If you’re looking for an easy tool to help you create quizzies for mobile phones then look no further.

MobileStudy.org is suprisingly effective and with its ‘Add Explanation’ feature you can produce good activities that will support students in their learning by providing them with feedback for each question. The website has evolves since it first started and you can now install each mobile quiz in different ways:

  • Install the quiz on a mobile phone via SMS
  • Install the quiz on a mobile phone using QR Code
  • Download directly to your phone or PDA

There is also installation guidance available on the website. Here’s are a couple of examples:

KS2 French Quiz (PC version) (mobile version)

GCSE Quiz + Explanations (PC version) (mobile version)

19. QR Generator

If you are looking to use mobile phones in the classroom, in school or even for outdoor learning then QR codes could help. QR stands for ‘Quick Response’ as the inventor Denso-Wave intended to have the code decoded at high speed. For more information about QR its history and usage please visit Mobile Barcodes.

QR Generator

QR Generator

This tool is very simple and very powerful so you don’t need to know any coding as the website will generate that for you. You need a mobile phone that has a camera + software that can decode QR codes (most barcode apps do a pretty good job). Here is a list of recommended softwares. I use QR App on the iPhone which works very well and it’s free.

The QR Generator allows you to create a number of different QR images:

  • website url
  • vCard
  • 100 character text message
  • Phone number
  • SMS
  • Email address

As a result you can create a suite of interactive tasks for students to do, particularly if you combine the different tools. For example:

  • Setting up a Thinking Skills Mystery using a combo of website urls and cryptic messages which finally ends with students having email their answers to the teachers.
  • Hook QRs: teachers stick up images outside the door of the classroom which students can access before the lesson starts
  • Revision: create a series of images and add them to the departmental ‘Revision Board’.
  • QR Challenge: split class into a number of teams and get each one to create questions that the other teams have to answer
  • QR Debate: same as above but get teams from different sets/classes to have a running debate on a key topic over a half-term. Add QR images outside each others’ classrooms.
  • PowerPoint aide: students scan the image and can link to a website, article or task instead of having to remember the Url.

Here are couple of examples of code generated by the website just use a QR decoder which is compatible with your camera, take a snapshot and see what happens:

QR website

QR website

QR Message

QR Message


For more ideas about using QR in the classroom and for more articles on QR please visit the brilliant blog Don’t Waste Your Timeby David Hopkins and also watch this example of using QR code in the classroom (worksheets linked to YouTube):

20. FaceBook

This application is blocked on schools’ network and most teachers don’t wish to share their FaceBook profile with students. Judy Hart explained at the NAACE conference 2010 that there is an alternative so you don’t need to add students as ‘Friends’ to your page, just create a Fan Page. This is different to a standard FaceBook page because authors of the fan page can’t add fans as friends. This is a great way of  providing additional opportunities to engage students as autonomous learners by adding resources to your Fan page.

Scroll down to the end of any page and click ‘Advertising’, then ‘Create Page’ and off you go. There are several applications that are useful to add to your Teacher Fan Page e.g SlideShare and Poll to name a couple.

Here’s an example of a Fan Page – at the time of writing I had no Fans…

Mr. Ahrenfelt

Hopefully these two posts have provided you with 20+ tools that can be used in the classroom to help the delivery of lessons, content-generation as well as a series of engaging tools for your pupils.

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