web 2.0

Understanding Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0


What Are Web 2.0 Tools?


Popular Social Networking Sites Useful to Educators

  • Facebook - connect to peers, former classmates, and interest groups; see updates from users; share resources and images
  • Twitter - 140 characters at a time, instant messages and "micro-blogging" to share your thoughts, article links, and questions with others.  Use your Twitter feed to automatically update your other sites via an RSS feed (what you post in Twitter shows up in your other sites).
  • Ning - Create and join social networks based on interests.  Many educational groups already in existance are available for you to join.
  • Social Networks in Education (wiki site) - provides listings of groups by discipline

Multimedia and Web 2.0

Being a responsible course designer means making courses interesting and engaging.  Utilizing multimedia and Web 2.0 tools will help hold the attention of students while serving the different learning styles of students.



Free Web Technologies


What price is better than free? Here are we technologies that you and your students might explore.

  • www.blogger.com - Create and manage your own blog.
  • www.youtube.com - Upload and view videos online. Recently purchased by GOOGLE (Oct. 06), and utilizes a very simple interface for new users.
  • www.google.com/intl/en/options/ - Google provides FREE online document and spreadsheet applications; these are great for group projects in which all users can edit the same source material (and there are saved revisions, in case a poorly made edit deletes important content).
  • www.skype.com - free voice over IP and voice-conferencing software. Modest expense if you wish to dial to land-lines.
  • www.openoffice.org - free business productivity suite that is a virtual clone of Microsoft Office (even allows you to read/save in Microsoft file formats).
  • www.mozilla.org - free, open source Internet browser FIREFOX allows "extensions" that greatly enhance the abilities of the browser. Extensions include programming and testing, calculators and utilities, page editing, RSS feeds, etc. Too many categories to mention here. Also check out SeaMonkey - which is a new browser, email client, and web page editor suite.
  • www.flickr.com - Allows you to upload and edit photos plus link to them from other pages (like your blog). 

Even More Free Software and Tools

The following information provides you with no-cost tools that you can use in your courses.  The lists are organized subjectively with most familiar tools near the tops of lists. 

NOTE for D2L Teachers

Many of the online tools featured below can be embedded in a D2L News or Content page using the HTML Inline Frames (<iframe src="http://...tool.html" width="100%" height="500"></iframe>).


Suites of Online Tools

  • Google > More > Even More: large array of free tools for document creation, communication, image creation and editing, and multimedia.  Tools include GMail (email), Docs (online wordprocessing and presentations), Blogger (online journals), Picassa (photo editing and sharing), Talk (instant messaging), Translate (one language to another), Calendar, Groups (collaboration and group work), Earth (3-D views of the planet), Scholar (special search results for academic papers), and Google Desktop (productivity tools).
  • Zoho: free online tools that allow you to author and share documents anywhere.  Tools include word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, web conferencing, notes, databases, planners, project management, wiki, chat, mail, polls, and challenge evaluation.

Web Browsing

  • Firefox: allows you to install add-ons which customize the features and abilities of the web browser (web development tools, photo and music tools, social and communication tools, interface customizations).  D2L Compatible
  • Mozilla SeaMonkey Suite: web browsing, email client, web page editing, contact management, and an IRC engine bundled into one application.
  • Opera: fast web browser designed with special features including voice (operate the browser by talking to it and have it read documents to you), notes (add notes to web sites for your later reference), and site-based security (block popups for certain sites and allow for others).
  • Del.icio.us: Social bookmarking site; set and share your bookmarks and access them from anywhere.

Document Authoring

  • OpenOffice.Org: free office suite that is Microsoft Office 2003 compatible.  Includes Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Math (math equation and formula editor), Draw (graphics drawing tool including ability to create Flash .swf files), and Base (database tools with compatibility to SQL, MySQL, and Microsoft Access).
  • Google Docs: free, online based tools for writing (Word), spreadsheets (Excel), and presentation (PowerPoint).  Invite others to view and co-edit your documents (great for group projects).  Export to Microsoft Compatible formats (.doc, .csv) and web (.html) formats.  Requires you to create a Google user account.
  • Zoho: free online tools that allow you to author and share documents anywhere.  Tools include word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, web conferencing, notes, databases, planners, project management, wiki, chat, mail, polls, and challenge evaluation.

WYSIWYG Web Authoring

WYSIWYG is an abbreviation for "what you see is what you get," or otherwise known as a "visual" editor.

  • Google Groups Page Editor:  create and publish web pages online.
  • Mozilla SeaMonkey Composer:  Free, all-in-one internet application suite, including browser, email client, IRC chat, and HTML Editing.
  • Trellian WebPage:  Freeware application, including color highlighting of HTML code, WYSIWYG, and support for PhotoShop Plugins.
  • Amaya Web Authoring: Free, web browsing environment developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
  • KompoZer:  Free, open-source, complete web authoring system with WYSIWYG, FTP site manager, CSS editor, and visible object marks.


  • Skype: online phone conferencing (with up to 10 phones at a time conferenced), and also web-cam conferencing between users.  Computer-to-computer use is free; contacts to "land-line" phone numbers requires fees.
  • AIM (America Online Instant Messaging): Instant messaging (IM) software with voice and video capability (up to 20 users at once), email (2GB storage), and photo sharing capabilities.
  • Microsoft Messenger: Instant messaging (IM), sharing of folders and files, voice and video chat, and text message to phones.
  • Yahoo! Messenger: Instant messaging (IM) software that allows swapping of files and photos, voice calls, and webcam video.
  • Meebo: online instant messaging (IM) that works with most popular IM clients (America Online AIM, Yahoo IM, Google Talk, MNS).
  • SpringDo: Create audio and video "email" messages.  User receives an email with a link to your message.  Record audio up to 10 minutes in length; record video up to 3 minutes in length.  100MB of total storage space available.
  • Vyew: Online web conferencing; free and for-pay services available.  Good for conferencing with students and project groups.

Image Editing

  • GetPaint.Net:  Paint.Net - freeware program for editing photographs, including advanced features like layers, filters, curves, etc.  When used with screenshots, the canvas will automatically expand to the size of the current clipboard image.  Thumbnails of images under edit appear in the top set of menus.
  • GiMP (Graphic Image Processor):  Free, open-source tool for photo editing with features similar to PhotoShop (layers, filters, curves, etc.)
  • InkScape: Free, open-source multi-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux) graphics editor for drawings (similar to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw).
  • FontForge: Free, open-source outline-based font editor (TrueType, PostScript)
  • Google SketchUp: Free 3-D drawing tool for architecture and virtual landscapes
  • Picnik: Free online based photo editor

Media Editing: Video and Audio

  • JingProject: downloaded tool that allows screen capture, video recording (webcam), and sharing of content online.  Useful for web-based video content.
  • Audacity: free, open-source, multi-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux) sound recording and editing software.  Multi-track ability (record and mix multiple sources for music production).  Also install the LAME library for MP3 output.
  • CamStudio: free, open-source program for Windows that allows video screen recording and annotating, and allows output as AVI or Flash SWF files.
  • ToonDo: Site to easily create cartoons for your classes

Media Hosting (Store Your Content Online)

  • Flickr: 100MB of free online space to upload and share your photos, edit your photos, and then create photo products (calendars, books, stamps/stickers, etc.).  Requires a Yahoo user account.
  • TeacherTube: Upload and share educational videos.  Free hosting for videos up to 15 minutes in length and 100MB or smaller.
  • YouTube: Upload and share your videos.  Videos can be up to 10 minute long or 100 MB in size (whichever is smaller).  Create video playlists and subscriptions.  Requires a Google user account.
  • Google Video: Upload and share your videos.  Videos can be up to 100MB in size (larger if using a special software application) and can be in AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, RealPlayer, or Windows Media formats.  Requires a Google user account.
  • PhotoBucket: 1 GB of space for images and video clips, plus video and photo editing tools.  Pro account (paid) allows 5GB of space.
  • DailyMotion: allows unlimited numbers of uploaded videos (videos can be up to 150MB or up to 20 minutes). 
  • ODEO: audio podcast and MP3 hosting service. 
  • GarageBand: Free MP3 hosting for up to 200MB of content.
  • Blip.Tv: Free site to upload and manage your own videos (100MB file size limit).
  • SlideShare: Upload and share your presentation (PowerPoint, etc.) files.
  • iMeem: online community for artists, musicians, and fans can share blogs, photos, music, and video.  No current limits on number of files shared.
  • PodBean: Podcast hosting.  Free and paid accounts. 
  • MyPodcast: Free podcast hosting, unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth.  Advertising connects to your podcast, and you can earn some money based on traffic and popularity.
  • PodcastAlley: Information on how to create podcasts, edit podcasts, use podcasting software, and get podcast hosting.

Blogs and Wiki Hosting

  • Google Blogger / Blogspot: Free online blogs, including group authorship and RSS feeds.  Requires a Google user account.
  • EduBlogs: free education blogs for teachers and students
  • WikiSpaces: free and paid sites for Wikis.
  • 21Publish: set and manage your private multi-user blogs (each user up to 2MB of content)

Social Networking

  • eFolio Minnesota: multimedia electronic portfolios available to all Minnesota residents
  • MySpace: Social networking for a broad, youthful audience - with music, television, movie, and survey content.
  • FaceBook: Social networking geared toward a college audience.
Syndicate content