Web 2.0 Tools for the High School Classroom

Created using Wordle

Book created by Ms. M.

Web 2.0 tools for use in a high school mathematics or science classroom.

  • PhET Interactive Simulations

  • XMind

  • Audacity

  • GeoGebra

  • TedEd

  • Ptable


The first Web 2.0 tool is PhET interactive web simulations which can be found here. PhET provides open source educational simulations (license CC BY) in science and mathematics. The simulations are interactive and according to the PhET website, have been designed to help students make real world connections to the content material. All simulations have been written using either Java, Flash or HTML5 and can be accessed online or downloaded for ofline access.

In terms of educational use, the simulations have been designed to target specific educational goals. For example, the projectile motion simulation, addresses a outcome in the Physics 20 program of studies. These simulations could be used to introduce students to a topic, help reinforce understanding or to encourage engagement with scientific content. These tools could be used to help students discover connections as well. For example, the projectile motion simulation could be used to help students connect initial velocity to distance traveled at a specific angle. PhET also provides teacher resources which can help determine the appropriate tool for an objective.

This tool could be used to help remove barriers for visual learners providing a visual example of how the content is applied. The simulations also make use of multiple representations of the data (graphs, values, simulated motion) which could help students with different learning styles. This targets the UDL principle multiple means of representation.

Since the simulations are all open educational resources (OER), there is no cost to use the simulations. There also is no age restriction.


The second web 2.0 tool I chose to explore was XMind which can be found here.

XMind is a mind mapping tool which allows you to make mind maps or other charts to organize information or brainstorm ideas. Users can also share the mind maps on the XMind share section of the website. 

This tool has great educational potential. Mind maps could be used as end of the chapter review materials to help students connect concepts both in mathematics and science. Mind maps could also be used to brainstorm ideas for essays or projects. 

This tool can remove barriers for numerous students. It could help students with organizational difficulties bring content material together in a concise and organized manner. XMind could also be used to by a teacher to create a mind map for students who have difficulty processing text. A XMind would help them target key areas when trying to learn or study without having to dig through or decode a lot of text. A XMind mind map may not help students who need context in order to remember information and creating a XMind mind map may be difficult for students who are not adept at using a computer.

XMind can be used to target the UDL principles multiple means of representation and multiple means of action and expression. You could have your students create an XMind to demonstrate their learning as part of an assignment instead of explaining by text.

XMind, the basic version, is an open educational resource and the code is licensed under the GNU lesser general public license which allows distribution and copying without alterations. There are also paid subscriptions if you would like more features ranging from 79-129 USD per year and there are educational discounts. The code for the paid versions cannot be distributed or copied. You have to be 18 or 13 and older with parental consent to use this software.

Created using XMind

From Audacity

The third Web 2.0 tool I chose to explore was Audacity which can be found here. Audacity is a free audio recorder and editor. Audacity allows you to record audio, computer playback, edit the recordings, change the speed of the recordings and pitch of the recorded sound. Audacity also allows you to remove background noise from a recording.

Audacity is free and the code is readily accessible and licensed under the GNU general public license. The site is licensed under a creative commons Attribution license (CC BY)  

Audacity could be used in education to help students create innovative projects. They could record and mix audio for a presentation. Audacity could also be used to record lecture material, with the permission of the teacher, for future study use.

Audacity could be used by students with slower processing speeds as you to slow down the speed of the recording. This could help students process what was said. Audacity could also be used by any language learner (especially ELL students). Audacity could be used to slow down the speed of a lecture. The slower speed could increase ELL students understanding. Audacity would not help students who are deaf but could be used by students who are hard of hearing. They could increase the volume to help them hear what was said.

GeoGebra is the next Web 2.0 tool I chose to explore. GeoGebra is an online algebra, geometry, spreadsheet and graphing tool. GeoGebra provides dynamic and interactive tools which can make mathematics tangible to the students.

In an educational context, GeoGebra could be used to help students interact with mathematical content which would otherwise only exist on paper. GeoGebra also helps represents mathematical concepts in a different medium than would be typically seen in a classroom setting targeting multiple means of representation. GeoGebra can also be used to create mathematics lessons which can be created applying the UDL principle of multiple means of engagement. Finally, GeoGebra could be used in mathematics assignments to create graphs or logos instead of a traditional mathematics assignment addressing the UDL principle of multiple means of action and engagement. An example is the image for this page.

GeoGebra can help remove barriers for students who come from poorer areas. As the software is free, and recently developed an exam version, GeoGebra could remove the need for expensive calculators. GeoGebra can also help visual learners.

You need to be 13 years old to use GeoGebra.


TedEd is another Web 2.0 tool. TedEd consists of educational videos. Teachers as well as students, through TedEd Clubs can create their own educational videos. TedEd seeks to spark interest in students all over the world.

In an educational context, I could use TedEd in my science of math classroom and create an interactive lesson. The created lesson could then seek to apply the UDL principle of multiple means of engagement. Here is a lesson I could use to introduce the concept to light or electromagnetic radiation.  TedEd videos could also be shown in class as a initial activity to spark interest, as an alternative representation of information or as a closing activity to solidify understanding. This would target both multiple means of engagement and multiple means of representation. Here is a video I could use to get students excited about what they can do with math.

TedEd videos could remove barriers for students who have difficulty decoding text. One nice thing about TedEd videos, is they provide a video transcript. Students could follow along with the transcript to help with reading comprehension. TedEd videos also target visual learners. One downside may be students who have difficulty paying attention for extended periods of time may not benefit from these videos.

There is no age restriction to watch the videos. However, if students would like to sign up they must be at least 13 yrs old.

By 2012rc (Own work Notes and font fixed:The Photographer) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The final tool I chose to explore was Ptable. PTable is an interactive periodic table which links to Wikipedia to provide information on different elements . Information on the different elements can be displayed in videos, photos or podcast. PTable allow the user to sort element based on properties, state and orbitals .

PTable could be used in Science or Chemistry classrooms to help students visually see the different groups on the periodic table. Students could learn about relationships between orbitals, properties of elements, and using the compound feature find which elements will form compounds . Alternatively, a teacher could use the table and annotate a video to teach students. 

As this tool is extremely interactive and visual, it could help students learn about relationships without having to decode text. This could help ELL students or visual learners. Data can also be displayed in multiple languages which would help ELL students connect English content to their native language. As there are numerous representations of data, this tool targets the UDL principle of multiple means of representation. As well, students could use this tool to be engaged with the material and thus targets the UDL principle of multiple means of engagement.

There are no age requirements to use this website. As an educator, you can print material to distribute to students without modification but cannot electronically redistribute. Annotation of the video for an educational context is allowed as well, more details are here