I once had the opportunity to go personally to a talk by Tammy Worcester and chose instead to go to a different session. Tammy is a popular presenter at and the author of over a dozen books on Educational Technology. Her website, Tammy’s Technology Tips for Teachers is a great destination for teachers who are looking for a Web 2.0 trick to spice up their classroom. At the time, I had not heard of her and chose to go to a different session that I imagined would be more worthwhile. A colleague went to Tammy’s session and came back so excited about the different web tools that were demonstrated. I remember being so frustrated at missing something that was so good.
Tammy showed many nonconventional ways to post to a blog. I didn’t know I could post from an email. You write the post and email it to an address that is known only to you and it posts automatically. Many schools block Blogger and WordPress and suddenly you have a way to post even though the blog is not accessible.
She also spent a lot of time showing how you can embed any web 2.0 tool that had the option to give you HTML code. If you have a YouTube video or Google document, it is very easy to embed them in the blog. Just copy the HTML code and when you post to the blog you click on the tab to add HTML and whatever you created on that website is automatically stored on the blog. For example I am putting in the HTML code of a YouTube video that I created:
For the same price I can embed a Google doc in my blog. The neat thing about embeding a document form Google is that when you edit the document on Google Drive, the newly edited version will appear on you blog. Imagine if you would embed a Google spreadsheet that is linked to a Google form. You can ask a question on the form and email it to the students and then have the results show up on an organized spreadsheet. Here is a sample form I created. Feel free to put in a fake name. After you submit the form, look below and see the spreadsheet that automatically recorded your answer. (You might need to refresh your page.)
Fill out the form.
And here is the spreadsheet.
Imagine that you have the students do this at night for homework.
Tammy stressed that you can put any embeddable page into your blog and then they will automatically update as those websites get updated. You can have a dynamic changing blog that does not rely on you to publish new information.
What would you embed into your blog. Please comment below with your ideas.
In the Education Technology course I am taking there has been a lot of focus of late on using the myriad of different web productivity tool available online. There are many useful tools that save a lot of time and effort. Tools that are a low cost way to help us accomplish in our teaching and in our everyday lives. On an almost daily basis we use these tools without even thinking about the service they are providing to us. It has been fun to try out different tools as they are introduced in the course. The truth is that I enjoyed trying out Web 2.0 tools even before I started the course.
As I went through this week’s chapter, I felt a nagging feeling of being bothered. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Perhaps it was that every quote was from before 2010…. but a lot of the statements were still accurate. Spending some time thinking about it, I realized that I haven’t been trying out as many Web 2.0 tools on my computer because there is usually an app for it on my phone. Lately I have spent less time on my la[top and more on my iPhone. Most of my email is sent from my phone. I tweet from my phone. I bank from my phone. I can blog from my phone. I video edit from my phone. I take and edit pictures from my phone. I shop from my phone. Just about any new Web 2.0 tools in on my phone via the App Store.
When the course textbook was written way back in 2010, the iPad was yet to be introduced. There were only 140,000 apps in the App Store – not the million apps that there are now. People didn’t use mobile devices to access the internet the same way. Just look in the news. Computer sales are down. Tablet sales are up. The iPhone and iPad are game changers. Yes, we still use the web tools, but now they are called apps.
If I had to pick my productivity tool…I would say it is my phone. I don’t need to surf to a website anymore. I just click on the app and it is right there. I can do everything that I need to do on it. My computer doesn’t go on in class that often anymore. My phone is my camera. My phone is my voice recorder. My phone is my iPod. If my personal classroom setup was a little more advanced, I would be using Apple TV to project my iPhone screen onto my Smartboard. All of Web 2.0 is on my phone. I find that I don’t take out my laptop unless I need to type for a larger amount of time and do not want to use my thumb to do it.
My phone is replacing a lot of the things that I used to do on the computer. It is not exactly Web 2.0 and it is certainly not free. However it is the portal to all things Web 2.0. It is an all in one productivity tool giving me easy access to the tools that I use on a frequent basis.
Looking back on my textbook that was written just a couple of years ago gives me an appreciation for how fast technology is advancing. It is so easy to forget. Of course we remember the good old days before cell phones. But do we really recognize the progression we have made. Do we see how much it has made our lives easier. Sometimes we need to take a second to appreciate what we have. We need to find the time to stop and think about the evolution of technology and to find a way to help ourselves remember where we were and how far we are going. But if you can’t find the time….there is probably an app for that also.