Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tools for Your Trade (or just for fun)

Want to know about some fun Web 2.0 tools? Should I back up and tell you what Web 2.0 tools are? Well, they're basically the Internet on steroids. (Just kidding.)  Web 2.0 tools are what took the Internet and moved it from a passive medium to the next level; one in which you are an active participant. In fact, I'll bet you didn't know that right this minute, you are using a Web 2.0 tool. Yup! It's called a BLOG! (See, you're all up on Web 2.0 tools and didn't even know it.) Basically, Web 2.0 tools allow people to interact with webpages and each other, and there are tons of tools out there that I know most of you could use.

And no, this isn't a review or an infomercial; I just love using this stuff and think you might like at least some of it, too.  Here are some Web 2.0 tools I thought you'd be curious to learn about:

***For busy families....check out the Cozi calendar. I've been loving Cozi for a couple of years now; it's great. It's an on-line calendar that allows your whole family access from anywhere.  You can also create a grocery list there and have it text-ed to your phone, should you forget your list. They have a sort of scrapbooking feature, too, but I don't use that, so I can't tell you anything about it, but I'm sure the Cozi folks would :) [I learned about this site at BzzAgent.]

***Managing a sports team this spring or summer?  Take a look at Team Cowboy. I haven't used this one, but it really does look like a great place to keep track of your team's schedule, uniforms, parent contacts, payments, etc.

***Odds are you have a Google account, but have you ever used the Google Reader feature? It's awesome; you just load up your favorite blogs (hint-hint) or websites, and the reader will collect them as they are updated, saving them for when you have time to read them. That way, you're sure not to miss anything.  [Unless, like me, you have like a bajillion blogs in your reader, in which case you might be afraid to open it.] If you have too many blogs in your reader to count, you can sort them into folders in your reader.  I have four folders for mine: Absolutely Just Can't Miss, Good Friends, 2nd String, and "Time-out." (And no, I won't tell you which one you're in.)

***Want to know what people are saying about you? Type your name into Google Alerts, and you'll get an email every time your name shows up on the Internet. You can also use it to hear about new articles about a favorite topic or for other weird purposes, such as watching (or dare I say hoping?) for a particular obituary to appear. I'm just sayin'....

***Have you ever used Google Docs? It's basically a free, external hard drive (place to store your files) on-line, and if you have a Google account, you're like two clicks away from using Google Docs.  I'm using it right now for our Boy Scout troop; I whipped up a little blog and put the forms we use in the sidebar for the convenience of parents. Any time a parent needs a form, they just click on the link and voila!  I'm also using Google Docs at school for the same purpose.

And if that's not cool enough, and you're a teacher, you can use Google Docs to create an on-line quiz. Kids take the quiz via a link, and the results are instantly dumped into a spreadsheet for easy grading.  I wouldn't recommend using it to make a long test (the spreadsheet font will have to be tiny to fit it all on a page), but this feature has been really fun to use. If you'd like to hear more about this, give me a holler.

***Kendall really likes using for schoolwork. It's a site that helps you organize your thoughts in the form of a "graphic organizer," or picture of your thoughts. Check out the sample I made for you to see what I'm talking about (you can move it around with your mouse, I think (at least I can!) The possibilities are endless, but at the very least, a kid could plan an essay (or figure out which boy to date!) I learned how to use this site tonight in less than five minutes.

I'm sure this is plenty for you to digest! In fact, many of you are probably choking!! Take small bites, People!!

If you would like use any of these tools and would like a little support, feel free to email me. I'll be glad to help! :)

P.S. I got many of these links from the Online Education Database's Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps to Improve a Student or Professor's Productivity.

P.P.S To read my first-ever post on Web 2.0 tools, click here.


  1. Very cool Mrs. 4444s. I just signed up to see who is talking about me every day!

  2. Very,very cool. I can't believe all this neat stuff is Free! What a deal!

  3. I have a Time Out folder, too - Love it! I'm going to have to check out the one or two tools that I don't use. Thanks!

    Kristin - The Goat

  4. I'm definitely checking out!

  5. thanks for all the grea information

  6. Dang, here I thought I was completely technologically illiterate and I've been usin Web 2.0! I feel better already, you rock Mrs. 4444's. Thanks :o)

    You have the best weekend filled with blessings from above!!!

  7. Yay! Fun new stuff to go play with! Wahoo!

  8. Just found your blog and what a great post to read! I am a special ed prof at Seattle University and will share these with my grad students. I will give you FULL credit!! I will be presenting at the Wisconsin Transition Conference in February at the Dells. I have some great friends in special ed in Wisconsin! What grade do you teach? I look foward to reading your blog! Thank you for sharing these!

  9. Thanks for the tips. I hadn't heard of any of these. Especially Google Alert. Now I will know every time you are talking about me.

  10. What alot of great information! Thank you!


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