Two Hours Wasted Trying to Find a Web 2.0 Tool to Use at School

PowerPoint Scrapbook Page

Unable to use Web 2.0 Tools - Used PowerPoint Instead

Most people write about their successes. I am going to tell you about my failure. The failure to find a Web 2.0 tool that would work in my school setting. Web 2.0 tools are online apps that can be used for creating, collaborating, and sharing. I thought my students would love to use them!

It is getting near the end of the school year and I wanted the final class to be FUN! I decided that I would use an online scrapbook to have students create a personalized yearbook that had photos of special moments from the school year. I knew this would be an activity that would engage students.

I began my search for Web 2.0 tools based on recommendations from various education sites and bloggers. The recommendations included Smilebox and MyScrapNook.

I had so much fun using the tools. I loved the colorful templates and I could easily create fun scrapbook pages by dragging and dropping pictures, adding notes, inserting music, and then exporting the scrapbook as a digital flip book. COOL!

Unfortunately, my students cannot do the same thing. There are two main reasons – network restrictions and too much traffic.

Students cannot download files. Many of the online tools had templates or music files that required downloading…making them unusable.

A greater issue was the network traffic. If one person uploads ten pictures it can take a few minutes. If 30 students upload 10 pictures each it can take so long that the students would have nothing to do for a quarter of the class while images are posting to the Internet.

Frustrated, I switched from online Web 2.0 tools to free scrapbook software I could download and install. This also turned out to be a waste of time because most free options, would only allow you to export the final product if you purchased the full version.

I spent hours experimenting with various tools trying to find one suitable. When I glanced at the clock I realized…my class was only 45 minutes long, I had already spent more than 120 minutes trying to find a suitable Web 2.0 tool, and I could not afford to waste any more time.

In the end, I decided students would use PowerPoint. I gathered photos from the school year and placed them into a shared folder where all students have access. Next week, my students are going to create mini scrapbooks. The publication will have a title slide, and three other slides with pictures. Students are to apply their knowledge to customize the slide background, insert shapes, wordart, and clip art to create colorful personalized pages. We will then print the file as a landscaped handout with 4 slides per page, which will be folded, cut, and stapled to form a booklet.

I am really disappointed. I love Web 2.0 tools but I cannot get around the realities of the school network.

Do you have an online scrapbook tool you would recommend? Have you used it with a full class of students?

Please let me know, as I would love to try one next year with my students!

Christa Love

Christa Love, Curriculum Developer & Teacher ~ I am passionate about blending technology into curriculum. Whether it is programming, video production, graphic design, or digital citizenship, I am interested in how apps and tools can be used to enhance learning. Throughout the years I have designed many TechnoKids technology projects. My favorite part of curriculum development is field-testing the ideas to determine the activities that work best in real classrooms. I write about what I have learned that can save teachers time in their own curriculum planning.

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