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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools

by Lenva Shearing
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 24, 2011 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site is a wiki that is designed as a Web 2.0 Tools database with direct links to provide quick access for students and teachers. There are currently 18 different categories that hold several hundred different Web 2.0 tools. Categories include: presentation, research, creativity, writing, video, collaboration, image, music, slideshow, quiz and poll, drawing, organizing, widgets, converters, auido, storage, mapping, and graphing.
Learning Goals: The intent of this wiki is to systematically organize by category many of the available Web 2.0 tools for students and educators for quick reference, immediate use, and new explorations.
Target Student Population: Upper elementary through university students and adults; PreK-university educators; Instructors and trainers
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None. If you know nothing about Web 2.0 tools, you can begin exploring here. If you do know about Web 2.0 tools, then you have a huge collection all organized in one place for you.
Type of Material: Wiki with direct links to Web 2.0 Tools
Recommended Uses: This site can be used as springboard for introducing Web 2.0 tools. Selected tools can be used either teacher or student as needed. We recommend that instructors check out how the Web 2.0 tools works before directing students to it. Tasks for uses might include survey or quiz construction, writing, mapping, digital drawing, image editing, slideshow development, graphing, and more.
Technical Requirements: Internet connection is required.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The systematic organization of the site, as well as the pre-review of the actual Web 2.0 tool by the author of the site prior to posting are key strengths of this site. Web 2.0 is about users and content and this compiled collection of Web 2.0 tools for educators offers a plethora of opportunities for collaboration among teachers, among students, and among teachers and students. There is an annotation for each tool as well to help in your decision-making.
Concerns: Some of the links are not active. This is often an issue with a collection such as this.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: There is a high degree of potential for teaching and learning with 18 categories and hundreds of Web 2.0 tools available for selection. With any task, having the right tool makes it easier and more meaningful. So having these tools all in one organized place to be used at the discretion of the instructor is useful. Since these tools are all based online they can be readily integrated into the curriculum and the pedagogy of the instructor. The choices encourage creative problem solving and support learning and teaching in a variety of ways. Learning assignments for using one or more of the Web 2.0 tools can be written easily. The tools offered on this website are high quality and easy to use.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The wiki site is organized and intuitive in its design. It offers a side bar menu and an A-Z index for finding a category of tools or a specific site for a specific tool that are available from all pages. The home page also displays clear large buttons with 18 different categories of tools. Once in a specific category, there are clear labels grouping the tools even further. Each of the tools is annotated to help the user make an informed decision. Navigation is easy. When we emailed the author with suggestions for a couple of Web 2.0 sites that might be included we received a prompt, courteous, and thoughtful response with good follow up. The site is well-maintained.
Concerns: One needs a considerable amount of time to explore this site thoroughly.

Other Issues and Comments: This website demonstrates a monumental effort to put forth these valuable resources for teachers and students.
Comments from Author: A note from the author: I do try to check the links on a regular basis, but the nature of the internet dictates that these will not always be up to date. I also regularly update the site, adding new sites and deleting old ones. I actually do join every site that I include and use it to check its usability and educational worth, so you can imagine this is very much a labour of love.