One of the best parts of attending professional developments is the chance to learn and share classroom resources. As your eyes are being opened to the mind blowing number of Web 2.0 sites that are currently available, you might wonder how in the world you can use all this “stuff”.  Sure most of you know all about several social tools such as Facebook and Twitter to name a few.  Is there more?  Is there more to Web 2.0 than the coolest new social hangout?  The answer is YES!  Yes, there is more available than you can probably wrap your head around.

I would hate to blow your mind too early in the new semester, so let’s take a quick look at a general overview of Web 2.0 and then pick one of those tools you could start using now.

Web 2.0 is a term used to describe a second generation of the Internet/WWW.  This second generation web is interactive and often referred to as the Read Write Web.  Previously, websites were static; this old web, web 1.0, was also called the Read Web.  I bet you can figure out why!  Web 2.0 changes pretty much everything from web design to business to education to friendship circles.  Below you can see a list of some of the popular site types.

TYPE                                            EXAMPLE

Blogs                                             Blogger
Microblog                                     Twitter
Wikis                                             Wikispaces
Social Networking                        Facebook
Social Bookmarking                     Diigo
Podcasting                                    iTunesU
Photo Sharing                               Flickr
Video Sharing                               YouTube

Let’s take a close look at one of these, wikis.  Wikis are websites which can easily be built collaboratively using a basic Word type interface for users to edit and create.  How could your students use this for your future post-secondary plans?  Why not have them get started creating their own eportfolio?  An eportfolio is an awesome addition to your college applications.

You can use a free wiki such as Wikispaces and begin building today!  By starting before graduation, they have time to include numerous files, pictures, and information.  Did you know many college students create eportfolios to accompany their job resumes?  You could consider this your trial run!  Here are some things you might want to include:

About Me
Community Service
Courses
Clubs/Organizations
Letters of Recommendation
Personal Hobbies
Projects
Resume
Recognitions and Awards
Writing

Don’t get too bogged down thinking you don’t have enough to put in an eportfolio.  Just start with a basic cover page and the “about me” section.  Do have others help edit and give suggestions.  This could help bring in extra cash while applying to college.    Don’t forget to look at other people’s portfolios for examples.  Whether they are paper portfolios or eportfolios from high school or college students, they can give you numerous ideas.

Have fun diving into the world of Web 2.0!  There is a whole other world out there!