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Homework:Jazz it up with Technology by Ozge Karaoglu

“Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog”

Developing web 2.0 technologies reflect the latest and the current trend in education. It encourages one of the most important skills of the 21st century "collaboration", increases motivation, imagination and the community in a classroom. It helps to develop different skills of children. Many of the web based tools are excellent environments and valuable sources for teaching and learning and many of the tools can be a great digital source for homework.

Here are my web 2.0 suggestions to traditional homework:

Wallwisher is an online page where you can post messages. You click and write your text and you don't need to register to use the site. You can also add images, video and music to your message. Children can use it for note-taking, to create invitations, make announcements, brainstorm on different topics, report books, collect ideas, showcase what they have done and share resources.

Vokiis a tool to create speaking avatars with your own voice. You choose your avatar, you customize it by changing the hair, clothing, accessories and the colour of the hair, eyes and skin. When you finish, you give it a voice by recording your voice by phone or using a microphone. You can also upload an audio file or you use text-to-speech feature to convert your text into speech choosing the gender and the accent. When you finish, you can get a link or the embed code to publish it on your blog or your website. Children can listen to a story and answer the questions, they can listen to a song and complete the missing words or we can use voki for dictation assignments. Children can record their voices answering a question or retelling a story.

EduGlogster is a tool to create online visual posters that are called glogs. You can add text, images, music and video to your interactive glog. Children can create collaborative interactive posters on any topic, they can write book reports, create advertisement, write and add pictures about a research, prepare a book cover, create a newsletter, introduce a famous person.

Voicethreadis a site to create collaborative and multimedia slides that you can navigate and leave comments for. Each slide can hold images, videos or documents such as PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word documents that can be commented by the people you choose to share your Voicethread. You can write a text, record your voice using a microphone or telephone, film yourself using your web cam or upload an audio file to comment. You can draw as you record your comment. Viewers can see your doodling on the slide as they watch your comment. You can moderate comments before you publish them. Children can talk about a picture, brainstorm on different ideas, discuss a topic or a video they have watched, retell a story, talk about what they did last week/summer holiday, give feedback to their friends, make sentences using the new learnt vocabulary . You can also use this tool for drilling and practicing the language they have learnt at class.

Vocaroo is a tool to record your voice and share it with others. When you finish your recording, you get a link to share the recording with others. It's also embeddable. Children can practice their pronunciation skills, record their voices while answering a questions, retelling a story, singing a song or they can listen to the recording and answer the questions, write an ending to the story, complete the blanks in the story.

Voxopopis a tool to create online discussion talk groups. You can consider this tool as a forum that uses voice instead of text. Children can record their voices to discuss a particular topic, they can be asked to tell a continued story by recording their voices. This tool can be used as a listening activity. Children can listen and answer the questions related to the listening, end the story in a different way, this tool is also can be used for dictation activities.

Zimmertwinsis a simple site to make great and fun animated stories. You can start making your animation from scratch or you can create your own using one of the story starters. You choose the characters, settings, transitions, actions and emotions by using drag-and-drop feature. After, you only write the text in bubbles. You don’t need any drawing skills to make animations with Zimmertwins. Children can finish Zimmertwins starters by writing or creating a video, children can create their own Zimmertwins stories on different topics using target structures. They can retell a story, make interviews, write dialogues.

Hot Potatoesis a quiz generator that you can use to create different types of tests for all grades. There are six different interactive web-based test types that you can create. You can choose to have a multiple-choice, short answer, jumbled sentence, crossword, matching/ordering or gap fill exercises. You can add your own pictures or choose from the clip arts; also you can add mp3 files to your tests. It’s an open source and can be downloaded to any computer.

MixBookis a tool to make customizable photo books, cards and calenders online. You can use different templates, your own pictures, stickers, different layouts and fonts to create your mixbook. You can ask children to create a photo book of their families, vacations, friends, celebrations, favourite websites, history of their country. You can ask them to create their own stories with their own pictures, retell a story, write a poem using pictures. You can also create mixbook with pictures and ask the kids to write the story for it.

Shidonni is a site where students can draw their favorite animal with a world to live in it and see the animal spring to life. Kids take care of their animals by feeding, petting or sending them to sleep. The animal eats the food that kids have drawn for it. They can choose if they want their pet to walk or fly, and they can name it. Kids can draw a background and change it whenever they want. They can play games with their virtual animals or send them to their friends to play with their animals. Children can create their own pets and introduce it to their friends, talk about its one day also keep a diary for their pets.

It's great to see and experience how technology can facilitate learning and children enjoy while they are doing their homework. Using these tools is sure to increase the creativity and the imagination of the teacher and a great way to catch on with your kids.

Cross posted on my blog.