After reviewing all of the Web 2.0 tools discussed in the chapter by Hsu et al., I was convinced that all of the tools described could be associated within each category listed in table 1. It is amazing to see specifically how these tools can help to facilitate higher-level thinking within our students. These tools enable students to metacognitively approach their learning. They need to be able to reason and critically define the importance and accuracy of resources they reference through these Web 2.0 tools. For me, it was interesting to see the category of tagging listed in these Web 2.0 tools. I never really thought of tagging as being something of importance in learning. After reading this chapter, I now realize that tagging allows the learner to define and classify the information/resource they are viewing. For me, tagging comes naturally because I strive off of organization. By tagging websites, I am able to organize the information I found of value in a meaningful way that makes it easier to reference again. In my own experience, I LOVE pinning/tagging items on Pinterest. There are so many ways to classify and sort websites for future use. Since this is a natural thing for me, I never really thought about using that in the classroom with my students. Each tool listed in the table, allows students to derive their own meaning/learning either independently or collaboratively. When students to take ownership of their learning, it becomes more meaningful which in turn allows students to push themselves further. These tools, although more difficult to assess, would be ideal to use in the classroom in order to facilitate these cognitive processes.
These tools all play significant roles in the classroom. Students would become higher level learners as they take ownership of their learning. Students would be able to build their knowledge together when collaborating using wikis or blogs. Although I have not used any personally in my classroom, I can see the value of using blogs or even GoogleDocs, where students could collaborate on a given task. Like I have mentioned before, students at my grade level are not given email accounts with our district. In order for me to utilize these tools, I would need to have them work off one shared account. The value that these tools hold academically, cognitively, socially, and motivationally are definitely worth integrating into lessons. I believe that the tips that were listed for educators in the Horizon Report are important to remember. The one that was forefront for me was the idea that we need to start small and work big. We need to take time to use the tools before we teach the tool to our students. Also, we need to teach our students how to properly use the tool before “cutting them loose” on a given assignment. Although it may be harder to first use and harder for teachers to assess, the value that these tools hold cognitively far outweigh those hardships.
Personally, I know that I am going to try utilizing some of these tools this summer at a camp that I work at. I am a head coordinator for a youth aged group at a camp called Rawlinsville Camp. Although we do not have electronics or internet at camp, I thought that one of the tools mentioned in the Horizon article would be neat to try. I really liked the idea of the Polls Everywhere website. I can see utilizing this mobile tool at camp. We could ask students to respond to a given question (multiple choice or open ended) using a text message. Then, we could gather the results later that day (when we run to our homes to shower and finally have internet access) and we could present them at our evening gathering. This would allow students to contribute to the presentations, activities, etc. at camp in a fun way.