Web 2.0 Applications

The internet was a place where people can read and see data, this was known as web 1.0. However, in recent years the internet has become a place where people can interact with each other and communicate ideas back and forth. This is known as web 2.0. Web 2.0 is great for teachers because there are so many beneficial applications that promote learning.

One web 2.0 application is ePals. ePals is a program designed to connect classrooms around the world in order to teach diversity and to give a fun experience. Not only does this website allow teachers to connect their classrooms to various other classrooms around the world, it also provides lesson plans to go along with it. The world is full of so many different cultures and it is important for students to learn and experience these cultures. By teaching diversity, it also teaches students respect for other cultures and differences. In addition to diversity, this site also encourages students to practice communication skills by communicating with their ePals. This website is a great tool, but it is important to know your teaching goal before you begin online, because there are so many options. ePals also provides lesson plans that support what they are learning from other cultures. For example, there is a lesson on flags. This lesson explains how flags convey meaning by using symbols and colors. Then the students are tasked to create a flag that represents them. Not only do students get to learn from this program but teachers as well. Teachers are able to collaborate with other teachers around the world and share ideas. This program is designed for all ages and is a great way to teach diversity while having fun.

Another web 2.0 application is TikaTok, which is a tool that allows students to create story books. This program helps teach digital literacy and encourages creativity and imagination. One great plus about this program is that it allows students to create digital and hard copy story books that include writing, pictures and even drawings that can be shared with their parents.While this program is really helpful and great, it has one down fall. TikaTok is not free. However, it is not very expensive. For the basic subscription, it is $19 a year and it allows access to all the templates, helps with classroom management, and allows as many students to use. TikaTok also gives lesson plans to incorporate this into the classroom. One example, is to have students create a story book and then share it with their peers. They all review each others and leaves comments. This encourages communication and helps enhance peer relations. This program was designed for K-6th and it is a great way to teach literacy and creative thinking.

Popplet is a great web 2.0 application that helps map ideas. Mapping ideas helps students organize thoughts for potential research projects or essays. It can also be used to simply map out thoughts. It encourages use of cognitive thinking and development and literacy skills. Popplet does cost money and it asks teachers to contact for a quote. This program could be used for any age group, however, I would recommend using it for grades 3 through 8.

Copyright Basics

After reading the article, Copyright 101 by Carol Simpson, I now have a better understanding of the legality of copyright. As a future educator it is extremely important to understand copyright laws and how not to get in trouble for them. Often teachers ignore copyright laws in order to provide materials for their students, which has become a big issue for both the teachers and the school systems. However, many teachers feel forced to take shortcuts through these laws because they are not given the proper resources in order to give their students the best education. This problem has become very serious in the most recent decade, especially with the rapid growth in technology. It is making it easier to copy materials and use, without people even realizing that they are breaking the law. It is important to learn the copyright laws before becoming a teacher, so that you do not make a mistake when making lesson plans.

Copyright laws are not something to mess with. Copyright infringement can have fines up to $150,000, which is basically three years of a teachers salary. To prevent copyright infringement, one needs to learn what copyright even means. Copyright laws are laws that protect authors from having their published work stolen. This means anything that is published falls under the copyright laws, even materials on the internet. The term published, in this case, is anything that has been written on paper, recorded, painted and so on. An exception to copyright are facts. Facts cannot be copyrighted, however the words used to express that fact can. It is also important to remember that even if the copyright symbol is not shown, the material is still protected by copyright. If the author dies, this does not mean their work is up for grabs; copyright laws protect the authors work up to 70 years after their passing.

When people hear the term copyright, usually negative thoughts arise. However, copyright  laws are in existence in order to protect authors works and were designed to be seen as positive. Due to the fact that copyright can restrict teachers use and ability to teach, there has been some strict exemptions put in place, called fair use. Fair use allows teachers to use some materials for educational purpose only. Even though teachers are allowed this exemption, it still has really strict guidelines. Teachers can use the fair use analysis to distinguish whether or not they are within the fair use guidelines. The fair use analysis are a series of questions that help determine if the use of the material is strictly being used for educational purposes.

The first question is: Are the materials being used only in a non-profit educational institution and not for commercial use?

The second question is: What is the nature of the work being copied?

The third question is: How much of the material is being copied?

The fourth question is: Are you depriving the author of profit or harming the material in anyway?

Copyright laws are complicated and ugly, however it is extremely important that teachers understand the basics of copyright and the fair use analysis.