Web 2.0 Tools and Uses
The Internet is exploding with new tools teachers can use to engage students. The tools have multiple uses, often, so that they have applications for the classroom, but for other uses too. As mentioned in an earlier post, signing up for Diigo and joining a group will enable users to benefit from the social aspect of bookmarking–sharing sites with like-minded users.
Another site that helps users learn vocabulary is Lexipedia, “where words have meaning.” The site is located at http://www.lexipedia.com/ . The opening page begins with the word welcome and defines it using a word web wheel. See the picture above.Users can also translate words into English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, so the site serves to provide definitions, synonyms, and translations. By typing a word into the box, users will see a new word wheel appear. By pointing to each word in the wheel with the cursor, users see a definition of that word. The site is interactive enough to engage users.
Lingro bills itself as “the coolest dictionary known to hombre!” Found at http://lingro.com/, Lingro turns any Web page into a clickable dictionary. Simply go to Lingro and enter a Web address. Choose from eleven languages. The chosen Web page then becomes an interactive dictionary. Users can also hear most words pronounced. Those learning another language can use the site to translate words. By creating a free account, users can keep a word list, so teachers could use the site to help students improve vocabulary and pronunciation skills. Students can create their own word games from the lists of words they make. Lingro will make flashcards from the students’ word lists; the games become another way the site is interactive and engaging.
Like Instagrok, Sweet Search provides an alternative to Google as a way to search for material on the Internet. On the home page, we learn that Sweet Search “teaches Web research skills to educators and students.” The site is much more, however. it provides biographies of important people, is a search engine, and offers new material every day. The site searches only 35,000 Web sites that research experts, librarians, and teachers have examined and evaluated. Watch a YouTube video about Sweet Search at this location: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb8JHLSNx5k . Read a blog about Sweet Search and why it is effective for student use at this location: http://blog.findingdulcinea.com/2010/02/why-sweetsearch-is-the-best-search-engine-for-students.html . Sweet Search offers a search engine for elementary students at SweetSearch4Me. To find credible sources, Sweet Search offers an excellent place to begin. Certainly using Sweet Search does not absolve the teacher from teaching students how to evaluate sources, but it does provide an excellent way to reinforce evaluating sources.