Top Ten 2.0 Tools – 2010

I am finishing my 14th year as an English-Language Arts teacher of students.  I have grown more as an educator in this one academic year than in the lasGet Shortlinkt five years combined.  I should really be more specific;  I was on paternity leave for six weeks in November and December, so the new growth really didn’t begin until the New Year began.

Through the assistance, encouragement, and on-going support of my colleague, Jessica (@jbrogley for Twitter followers), I have expanded my professional horizons to the vast frontier of technology.  I can’t say enough about her confidence building personality, her willingness to help, and her wide range of Web 2.0 knowledge.

It began with Twitter.  I began following news agencies, professional athletes, and a few friends.  It wasn’t long before I discovered the educators on Twitter willing to share and learn together.  I have already outlined this in a previous post, Professional Development Beyond the Teacher’s Lounge.  I have since dabbled in Facebook and SecondLife.  I took to Facebook a little better than SecondLife, nonetheless I am still learning how to effectively use these two tools.

Writing is a passion of mine and I was searching for an efficient way of sharing my writing with more people.  Through Jess’s help, I began blogging right here on WordPress.  By the way, you are reading blog post #52 from this amateur blogger 🙂

Jessica sent me a link, maybe even through Twitter, to a Wiki that listed a plethora of Web 2.0 tools to for students (I consider myself a student too) to use, CoolToolsforSchools.  It would be an understatement to admit that I was overwhelmed by this list of tools, especially given I had never heard of 98% of them before.  I almost entirely dismissed the idea.  Wow…what a mistake that would have been.  I remember asking Jess how to provide these tools and assistance in using them to the students attending my classes.  Her response was very simple, ‘Give them the list and let them choose.’  Thus, the journey through the complex map of Web 2.0 began.

As of today, my students and I have either used or have been exposed to in some way, shape, or form to over 35 different Web 2.0 tools. I just created that list this morning and I was amazed at the number of different tools I used or the students used in class in the last 18 weeks.  I have decided to list my Top Ten 2.0 Tools.  The criteria for making this top 10 included how user friendly the tool is and how well it presented itself to the class.  Next to most of these tools and there descriptions is an example of how students in my classes applied them for projects and presentations.  Please check out those links…students shining like the sun!

These Web 2.0 tools are in no particular order:

1. VuVox

Presentation tool…easy to use. Check out a student example using VuVox for a story collage for The House on Mango Street.

2. Prezi

Presentation tool…makes PowerPoint look elementary…takes a little practice.

Check out this Prezi created by students for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.


Another presentation tool with capacity to add cool effects. Check out this slide show of a scrapbook created by students for To Kill a Mockingbird.

4. VoiceThread

When using own images along with their own voices, students can make a completely personalized presentation. Check out this cool VoiceThread created by students for The House on Mango Street.

5. MuseumBox

A little tricky at first, but provides great opportunity for complex presentations. I haven’t figured out yet how to share these publicly…sorry :=(

6. Empressr

Not quite as dynamic as Prezi, but much better option than PowerPoint. Students used Empressr to present themes for The House on Mango Street.

7. WordPress

What you are reading…excellent, easy to use EVERYTHING!

8. Ning

Ning is a great social network to use with students. However, in June, Ning will no longer be free for the public.  Ning has collaborated with a sponsor to offer the most basic version free       for educators.

9. OneTrueMedia

Cool presentation tool with loads of options. Students used this tool to create story collage of The House on Mango Street.

10. PhotoPeach

A fun way to create slide shows. PhotoPeach has built in instrumental music features as well.  A slide show of our grit taste testing for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Here are the rest of the tools, the tools that didn’t make the top 10 list, that were used in my classroom in the past 18 weeks:

Animoto, 280Slides, Scrapblog, Glogster, Wix,, SpringNote, WallWisher, WikiSpaces, WetPaint, DabbleBoard, SmileBox, FlipBook, YouTube, TeacherTube, Bomomo, GoAnimate, Gliffy,, Mind42, Delicious, ShapeCollage, FamilyEcho, Wordle,, and PhotoVisi

The journey through this new frontier has been amazing.  The students and I learned together through some challenging projects.  I look forward to the opportunity to start sharing and learning with new students again in the Fall.  If you haven’t tested these waters yet, I strongly recommend that you give it a try.  If you have dabbled in the vast expanse of technology and are willing to share tools that you have used that are not found on this page, please leave a comment to share your experience.  In collaboration we  all learn.  I look forward to hearing your ideas.


About jpsteltz

Proud husband and father of four; Literacy Specialist; Reading Teacher; Literacy Coach; HS ELA Teacher; Published Author
This entry was posted in #edchat, #edtech, Education, Education Administration, Educational Leadership, students, Teaching, technology, twitter and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Top Ten 2.0 Tools – 2010

  1. Katie says:

    Wow! I love the post, what I think is the best part of this is that you were willing to just let the kids go and discover. They love seeing and exploring different opportunities and how it can change the type of learning being done in the classroom.

    Keep talking and tweeting about this, more teachers should be exposed to how it can change their teaching experience.


    • jsteltz says:

      I have to admit that I had to let go of the control a little bit while allowing students to explore ALL of the options web 2.0 tools have to offer. As time went on, students filtered out ones that worked for them and didn’t work. What was really cool is when students were inquiring with other students to see which tools were user friendly and ‘fitting’ for the project at hand. I am certainly not even close to an expert in any of these, but I have become familiar enough to help students. Furthermore, if students were struggling with one of the tools, I provided them with a LONG list of other options…everyone found something that worked.

      It’s been an awesome experience!


  2. John,

    It’s funny that you mention me as being a resource for you. This spring I’ve found you and CC to be an incredible source of fuel for me. If it weren’t for you two bouncing ideas and sharing in the fun, I probably would be in serious auto-pilot mode.

    I’ve been so impressed with your interest in jumping into everything web 2.0. Actually, you jumped in head first!

    You listed a mess of Web 2.0 tools that I haven’t played with yet. Now I’ll be returning to your list this June to learn from you. I know you’re extremely busy, but thank you for taking the time to blog about your experience and share your knowledge with everyone else.



    • jsteltz says:

      As I wrote in the post…YOU are the inspiration AND the support. I couldn’t have done any of this without you. Cool thing is, when you are in another building next year we will still be connected through these avenues. Thanks for your patience with me!!


  3. drewillis says:

    John, your post is quite inspiring. I have a tendency to want to try everything at once, so I like the way you let the kids pick which tools to use.

    I am a grades 6-12 librarian. Does your school librarian work with you on using Web 2.0 tools?


    • jsteltz says:

      We do get support from our librarian. It’s sort of funny that you ask this…our librarian just mentioned to me yesterday that she is planning on getting up to speed w/ twitter and planning on checking out the web 2.0 tools we have been using in class this year so she can be of better assistance to the students. My students were in the library before school on Wednesday asking for help with Glogster and she was learning right along with them. I told our librarian that’s exactly how I became familiar with these tools.

      I have to reiterate…the best advice I got from my wonderful colleague was to just let the kids choose and figure it out…THEY DID!!! Awesome!


      • drewillis says:

        Every semester I offer 12 classes to the teachers introducing various Web 2.0 tools. I am only able to introduce them and I need to learn more in depth myself. Like I said I spread myself too thin.

        On another note, this morning when I checked Our Signal, this post came up. If you’re not familiar with the site, this is what is on their about page.

        “ looks at currently popular items on the social news sites of your choosing and mashes them all together. The idea is to allow users (you especially) to get a rapid overview of the latest breaking headlines that match specific interests.”


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  11. Sandy Heiden says:

    I hope you don’t mind if I add your list (and link) to the Seymour webpage, under the list of Resources for Teachers… I appreciate your comments on each one as well. Thanks for taking the dive into the 2.0 web…I am certain your students appreciate having so many choices to utilize in your classes.


  12. mjgormans says:


    I agree that we are all students, and all teachers! Thanks for a wonderful post filled with some great information! Congrats on the 14 years, I have a feeling they will get better every year! Keep up the blogging and I look forward to learning from you! – Mike Gorman


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  17. Mike Vuolo says:

    John, you are an inspiration. Reading your blogs makes me miss living and working in NE Wisconsin, but I am thrilled to again have the chance to borrow and learn from you.

    It has been an interesting year for me, professionally. I tend to fall into what is comfortable, what I know, and what I have done…You make me want to be a better teacher.

    Thank you.


  18. Lisa Neubert says:

    Catherine introduced me to this and WOW it is great for me just finishing up my first year teaching! You have a lot of good tricks of the trade. I am dabbling with having my students create class wikis, but I feel like I am boxing them in too much with just having wikis. I love the idea of letting them explore the web 2.0 tools. How much time do you spend in class letting them explore? I also am thinking about starting a class website with assignments, notes, and the basics. Is there anything else that, in your opinion, would be helpful to students/parents? Again your blog is amazing and very helpful!


  19. Peter says:

    Would like to know the subject and grade level(s) with which you used these tools. You mention Twitter but I don’t immedaitely see a Twitter handle on this page.


  20. Heather says:

    Thank you sooo much for this blog. I just started using Museum Box and I am hooked. Love it!


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