There are many great Web 2.0 tools. As you’re thinking about a new project, you may wonder which of all these tools should you use. This grid should help you sort out how the tools are different and what the pros and cons are of each.

In a nutshell
Common educational uses
Important points


An online journal, primarily authored by one person, published in installments over time in reverse chronological order

Primarily public
Teacher blog communicating notes, etc. to students

Teacher blog communicating to parents and the community
Easy way to communicate on-going information

Good for reflective writing

Provides an authentic audience for writing

Requires dedication and time to write on an on-going basis (Blogs that aren’t very “active” won’t be read.)

Not good for material that you want to organize in a way other than chronologically

Need to monitor student comments (School-sponsored, student-administered blogs are problematic.)

Blogs should have a theme that spurs writing at least weekly.

While readers can comment on blog posts, this is not the main focus of a blog. If your activity is meant to be highly interactive, another tool may be a better choice.
A group of web pages that is easy for anyone to edit

Primarily public
Anything you want to publish as a web page

Class notes

Online study guides

Group student projects

Book reviews or discussions

Learning communities

Easy to edit and publish web content

Can embed things like movies, slideshows, etc.

Edits can be restricted to space members (requires log ins)
Simultaneous editing of the exact same content is problematic

Possibility of vandalism, etc. (can revert changes, but may be time consuming)

Wikis are great for collaborative projects that you want many people to contribute to. (You can track who made which changes, but if that is of primary importance, other tools may provide more flexibility.)
Doc sharing (Google docs, etc.)
A way to create and share Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents online

Primarily private
Student writing assignments (individual or collaborative)

Student journals

Data collection

Lab journals
Documents can be accessed from anywhere.

Documents are private but can be shared.

Good for student writing that teachers can comment on or grade online.
Doesn’t have all the advanced features of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint

Documents that are shared can be edited by everyone. (This is not generally a good way to distribute templates to students.)

These documents are generally not publicly viewable, but can be shared with selected others.

Forums/ discussion boards (in Moodle or Google Groups)
An asynchronous online discussion

Primarily public
Class discussions

Homework help

Organized by topic

Highly interactive

People can participate when they want
Need to monitor student comments
Good for highly interactive discussions of class topics (better for this than blogs).
Chat rooms
A synchronous online discussion

Primarily public
Live discussion outside of class time

Review sessions

Discussion of a live event such as a debate, news conference, etc.
Very engaging and highly interactive

Somewhat limited application

For students, requires online access at home and ability to “meet” at a specific time
Everyone has to be online at the same time.

Safety/monitoring is difficult because broadcast is “live”
Good for “special event” type discussions
A course management system that includes aspects of many of the above, including teacher posts, resources, forums, chats, wikis, surveys, etc.

Can be public or private (but focus is not on public use)
Online courses

Online resource “home base” for f2f course
Incorporates many different tools and resources types

Very flexible

Provides a “home base”
Individual tool features may be somewhat limited (However, you can
If you are using a variety of tools in conjunction with one course, Moodle may be a good “home base.” From Moodle, you can link to other resources.
Audio, video, or other multimedia “shows” published with an RSS feed so that people can subscribe

Primarily public
Multimedia newsletters

Internet radio shows

Student-produced multimedia presentations on a variety of topics
Highly engaging

Good for in-depth projects
Time-consuming to produce
Podcasts should include a series of episodes (not just a couple shows).