Task 6: Cool Tools

Listed below are a plethora of different Web 2.0 tools -- by no means representative of all (or even a good bit) that's out there. Finding, experimenting with and evaluating new tools, determining whether they have value for us in creating, organizing, communicating or problem-solving -- without an instructor's explicit guidance -- is an essential 21st Century skill, part of lifelong learning, and certainly the sort of capability we want to foster in our students.


Discovery Exercise
Pick at least two tools from the "toolbox" below, see what it does and see what you can do with it. Depending on the tool you choose and your particular learning style or worldview, you may do more exploring than experimenting or vice-versa.

While you are exploring and experimenting, consider whether the tool may have a practical application for personal, classroom or professional learning or productivity. Also pay attention to any social aspects of the tool -- is it collaborative, sharable, does it allow comments, discussions, ratings? We will talk more about social features in Web 2.0 in upcoming weeks.

Many of these tools are completely free, and all offer at least a free version. Also, most are embeddable in a blog, wiki or webpage. If you can, try embedding your product in this week's blog entry.

Think of this task as focused play. Or think of it as miserable, frustrating work... it's up to you ;)

(HINT: To begin exploring a tool, look for demos, tours, an explore or features link, examples, galleries and/or FAQ pages).

The Toolbox

A web application that allows users to make free phone calls (audio or video) over the Internet using a microphone or headset and an optional webcam. A great tool for professional or classroom videoconferencing, If you want to try it, you can Skype Amy (amyvalk) or Brandon (brandondarrow)
Create and share interactive study materials. Keep track of your progress automatically.
Just like YouTube but with videos for educational purposes. If you MUST use youtube, try using either Safeshare or Quietube to "clean up" your viewing experience.
Library Thing or Shelfari or Your Next Read
Get book recommendations and catalog all of your own books.
Flashcard Friends
A free service for making and sharing electronic flashcards
Create an original comic strip from scratch. Fun, fun, fun!
Create and share your own comic strips using an array of characters, settings and custom speech balloons.
30 Boxes
Calendar application that includes to-do list, phone reminders, sharing and many other features.
Ta-da List
Easy to use to-do list. Add items, sort them, share them, check them off as you complete them.
Personalize your own "glog" with photos, music, graphics, text and more!
Create your own short animation to e-mail or embed. You can even use your own face.
Create and share zooming presentations.

Create a blog post telling about your experience, providing a link to the tools you chose to explore. Include any ideas you have for using the tools to support learning or productivity. Don't forget to title this "Task 6."

Stretch Task
Bring your toolbox to school. Incorporate one of the cool tools that you explored into a lesson.