As a teacher, you know the importance of a good vocabulary and using the right technical terms for the right things. So it’s important that you keep your own vocabulary up to date when it comes all the different new pieces of classroom technology. You need to know your Java from your jpegs and your blogs from your browsers.
So what terms do you need to be familiar with for the classroom technology of today? Knowing what they are (and that they exist) is an important first step – understanding what they are can also help you work out how you can use each type of technology in your classroom to best effect.
Classroom Technology Glossary:
Web 2.0: No, this is not a new version of the internet or Windows Explorer/Firefox/Google that you will have to download. Instead, this refers to the way the internet tends to work these days. Before, the internet was a place that you went to look up and read information – kind of like a library or an encyclopedia. Now, the web is a place where you can read and write bits and pieces. One classic example that has its place as classroom technology is the use of forums, where members can write and post their opinions on a given topic.
Blog The word sounds horrible, but it is short for “web log”. This is a sort of publicly available online diary where somebody can post short articles (opinion pieces, information, events, etc.) on a regular basis (daily, weekly, fortnightly). One way that this can be turned into classroom technology is for a teacher to have his/her own blog that students can read, and the teacher can post advice, study tips, homework reminders, etc.
Social networking: Social networking sites are where users can connect and converse -privately or publicly – to others. People can chat via the keyboard, post links to sites they recommend, find people with common interests and so forth. Delicious, Twitter, Facebook and Bebo are some example of the most “basic” social networking sites. Chat rooms are other examples. More sophisticated ones (which tend not to be used as classroom technology) are those of the Second Life type, where users create an “avatar” who lives a virtual life in the Second Life world: shopping, making friends, and the like.
Wiki: “Wiki” is derived from the Hawaiian for “quick” and tends to refer to a website that anybody can edit. Wikipedia is the best known one, and while it may not the be best place for your students to do research in, it does have some strong requirements and standards relating to distinguishing opinion from fact, unbiased writing and supporting references.