I have been doing a lot of reviewing of educational web tools over the last couple of years. It has been such a rewarding experience to be able to keep with this growing influx of web 2.0 tools. Every new day comes with its new batch of tools and I don't think the journey of discovery will ever stop.
One of the repeated questions I often get from my readers is about the kind of web services I use in my teaching. I am not really sure how to answer this question because it depends on the kind of lesson or activity you are teaching. I choose the tools that can best work for my lesson objectives.
However, generally speaking, there is a set of some excellent web tools that every teacher should try with their students and below are the top 10 I personally use and recommend others to use. I limited the list to only ten tools but there is of course a myriad of other web services to use and we refer you to Educational Web Tools section to learn more about them.
1- Blogger / Wordpress / Edublogs
These three are my favorite blogging platforms. I particularly use Blogger more than the others but all of them can be used with students. They all provide user friendly experience and have several distinctive features that you can use for free. You can , for instance, set up a blog for your classroom and make it a learning environment where students can get to share educational materials with each other and get engaged in constructive and interactive discussions.
2- Google Site / Weebly
This is another great platform to try with your students. You can basically use it to create your classroom website for free . All it takes is having a Google account and you can set up your website in a couple of minutes.
If you want to take your teaching a step further and make it more collaborative and learner centered then head over to Wikispaces and create a wiki page for your class. The good thing about wikis is the cooperative features they provide, students will be able to collaborate in knowledge building and meaning making.
4- YouTube Editor / Go Animate
These two are my favorite video tools. YouTube Editor allows you to create and upload videos, edit them, add text, speech bubbles, and links. Next time you want to create a video to share with your students then think about this option, I am pretty sure you will love it. Go Animate is also a great video tool for teaches to use when creating clips to share with their class the only thing about it is that the good and most important features are reserved for pro users.
5- Google Docs / Google Drive
Google Drive, Google Docs before, is a must have web service for educators. It allows you to create presentations, documents, spreadsheets, and forms right from the web . It also has several useful features that range from synchronous document editing between several users to instant chat and commenting. I am pretty sure most of you are familiar with Google Drive but if you are not yet using it with your students then it is about time to tap into its potential.
This is my best web tool when it comes to storing and backing up my files , PDFs, pictures and videos. You can access your saved documents wherever you are and everything you add is automatically backed up and synchronized across the system. It has a decent free account with 2 GB or you can go pro and get 100 GB with $9.99 a month.
Diigo is one of my favorite bookmarking tools online. I have installed its Chrome extension in my browser and with one click I get my links and webpages bookmarked. I also use its annotating features particularly when taking screenshots .If you want to create a page where you can bookmark educational resources to share with your students then give Diigo a try.
I use Evernote as an organizational tool. I specifically use it to write notes, capture pictures and web pages, and create task lists. Again just like Dropbox, everything you capture is stored and backed-up in the system and you can access your materials from any device with internet connection.
9- Issuu / Docstoc / Slideshare
All of these web tools are great platforms where you can publish your students work, upload slideshows, PDFs, and eBooks, download educational materials and many more.
This is one of my favorite presentation making tools. I love the features it has and how easy you can capture your ideas and communicate them with others.