Using web 2.0 tools in teaching english

Thứ năm - 31/07/2014 04:42
What is Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 is term that was introduced in 2004 and refers to the second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online (O'Reilly & Dougherty, 2005). Basically, Web 2.0 refers to the replacement of static Web 1.0 with a more dynamic and organized one that provides users with various online applications. Another improved functionality of Web 2.0 includes large scale communication with an emphasis on web-based communities of users, and more open sharing of information.
In a simple way, Web 2.0 is real time read/write web that provides live connection between users. If used for educational purposes, it enhances creativity, communication and collaboration of users. We all use Facebook, Youtube, Google or blogs and other familiar web 2.0 tools that let us interact with community. There is no doubt that by enabling users to generate content, interact, and share information across borders, Web 2.0 can be a good choice in teaching and research (Ullrich, 2008).
Many English teachers have already explored the potential of social networking, media-sharing and other Web 2.0 tools in teaching although they are not designed specially for teaching and learning (Motteram & Sharma, 2009). Web 2.0 tools are even more popular among our students as they have been using Web 2.0 for a long time. They write blogs, upload photos and videos, build personal profiles and interact with each other everyday on social networks like Facebook, Twitter. This makes it easier for teachers to use Web 2.0 in teaching because our students are already familiar with Web 2.0 and and they are already motivated to use them. Here are some reasons why we should use Web 2.0 in our language classes:
  • Web 2.0 increases creativity. Students can write, film and publish a video or an audio. Youtube and Google video are used by our students everyday.
  • Web 2.0 is collaborative. We can easily cre-ate social networks and communities of interests. Free tools like Wikipedia and Ning are some examples.
  • Web 2.0 promotes learner-centered model. It allows users to become the producers of the knowledge. It enables us to share our work with other easily.
  • Web 2.0 provides many opportunities for language practice. Learners can learn language in a more informal way. They can naturally get involved in the writing process by posting blog entries or creating their own e-portfolios.
  • Web 2.0 engages students. When teachers use these tools in class, it doesn't seem like a required assignment for learners. It also helps to motivate shy learners to participate more in lessons and improve their willingness to cre-ate and share ideas with other learners.
  • Web 2.0 cre-ates freedom and independence in learning. Internet is available 24/7 and this encourages learners to share information to a greater extent and learning is not only limited to class boundaries. The lessons can become much more mobile and engaging.
It is obvious that Web 2.0 provides numerous options and opportunities and it helps develop student creative and critical thinking. However, it doesn’t mean that Web 2.0 is perfect and ideal. It has some disadvantages, too. One of the limits may be learners become addicted and spend too much time on virtual communication, videos and films online. To take full advantages of web 2.0 it also takes quite much time for both teachers and learners to prepare. The good news is that Web 2.0 seems to have more benefits than disadvantages. Teachers will be the ones who encourage and motivate students to become better learners by using Web 2.0 tools in their learning.
Below are some useful Web 2.0 tools for teachers to consider:
Voxopop (
Voxopop is a web based audio tool that enables users to record their speaking for others to listen and respond to. It allows teachers and students to build up threaded audio discussions online similar to those on a text based bulletin board. To use Voxopop users will need to register using a valid email address.
Listen and Write (
Listen and Write is a dictation exercise creation tool. It has a large number of dictation exercises already cre-ated in a number of languages, but teachers or students can also cre-ate their own. The dictation tool offers a number of options to support and develop students ability to listen. To use Listen and Write users don’tt need to register, but registered teachers have more advantages such as the ability to track your students progress and to cre-ate your own activities. You can simply go to the site and navigate to find a useful activity for your students.
Forvo (
Forvo is a multilingual user generated pronunciation dictionary. You can search and find the pronunciation of words f-rom a vast range of languages. You can also add words yourself and record the pronunciation or add words that you need the pronunciation for and wait for someone to record the word for you. Most of the pronunciations have additional information about the nationality, ethnicity, geographical origin of the speaker. If words have many pronunciation examples it is possible for users to compare different accents. You should register to get the best f-rom the site. This also enables you to add words and pronunciation examples.
ESL Video (
ESLVideo is a site that enables you to cre-ate web based interactive quizzes based around online videos. You can cre-ate a variety of multiple choice type questions, add transcripts or translations, add notes, etc. Once you have completed your quiz you can either send students a link to it on the ESL Video site or you can embed the quiz into your own website or blog. To use ESLVideo you can simply use ESLVideo by going to the site and finding quizzes that you like for your students, but you will need to Sign up if you want to be able to cre-ate your own.
Wallwisher ( or
Wallwisher is like a virtual sticky notice-board, though unlike real notice-boards you can post stickies with text images, links to websites and even videos. The notice-board is really simple to use and you can set access rights so that anyone can view and or post to it or only restricted people. To use Wallwisher you can build you own wall by clicking on Build a Wall.
Motteram, G., & Sharma, P. (2009). Blending Learning in a Web 2.0 World. International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society, 7 (2).
O'Reilly, T., & Dougherty, D. (2005). What is web 2.0? Retrieved 22 April, 2014, f-rom
Ullrich, C., Borau, K., Luo, H., Tan, X., Shen, L., & Shen, R. (2008). Why web 2.0 is good for learning and for research: principles and prototypes. Paper presented at the 17th international conference on World Wide Web.

Tác giả bài viết: Nguyen Quang Vinh, English Department, Hanoi University

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