What are web tools?
Web tools are online websites that allow you to create your own online content. They are especially helpful for teaching as it means that we can set students work to do using a media that they feel comfortable with.
For teachers we can consider web tools in three areas:
Classroom presentation - for example YouTube can be used with a data projector and the students can watch the videos together.
Classroom collaboration - tools students can use together in a computer lab etc. The students can work on projects etc. with the teacher monitoring and helping out.
Homework tools - tools students can use at home, individually either as homework or self-study.
Benefits of using web tools
1. The students are using a media that is comfortable with their everyday normality.
2. The students are navigating the sites in English.
3. It provides variety and flexibility in the lesson / homework.
4. It allows students to use the language as a tool rather than an academic subject.
Considerations for using web tools.
1. Make sure they are safe. All the web tools we demonstrate in this session have a private function so only people who are invited can view or share the content. We also decided to use the Edu version of glogster; this means that students won't see the content other people have made.
2. Do the tools have a pedagogical advantage? Are they more than just a gimmick? Consider how they get students to think. Do they encourage higher order thinking skills?
3. Be consistent. Don't come in with a new web tool every week. Try to use the same one a few times. The students then get used to them and it is more about the English they use not learning the tool.
4. Make sure that all your students have access to the internet and have internet enabled devices.
5. Is the tool relatively easy to use? Is it intuitive? Remember students might find things easier to use than you do.
6. Is the interface nice and user friendly.
7. Keep yourself safe - don't share any personal data. Set up an email address or blog for the class.
8. Keep your students safe - monitor what your students are doing for internal bullying.
Here are some of the web tools we used and some of the alternatives.
Blog - a blog is a great way to share the work your students have done. Students can post links to the blog or contribute by writing comments. We are using Blogger but you could consider other sites such as blog.com or Tumblr.
Voice Recorder - voice recorders mean that we can do speaking as homework or we can listen to every student. We are using Vocaroo but there are other recorders that do more such as Soundcloud or voicethread, or apps such as Audioboo and Songify.
Poster making - Projects and posters have been part of English language teaching for years. Now students can make posters online. We are using glogster but check out Linoit.
Vocabulary - There are a range of web tools that help us to record vocabulary. We are using Quizlet a flashcard maker, but there are also mindmap makers like mind2map bubbl.us or word clouds like Wordle.
Youtube – Videos are always good to add vareity to the lesson. Youtube is the biggest video site but by no means the only one.