Cross-posted from EdTech Gold Rush

It’s been ages since I’ve posted a new blog entry and I feel pretty guilty about that. The machinations of the California school district budget woes have a way of holding everyone in thrall. It’s a crazy system that hands out mass lay-off and re-assignment notices in March and then blithely re-hires staff months later with the promise of going through the entire process again next year. Just one of many reasons why so many teachers leave the profession after a few years!

So here in the lazy days of summer one has more leisure time to read blogs, explore emerging Web 2.0 tools and other techie delights. Here are a few that have popped up lately.

In the Zone
California Department of Education and the California K-12 High Speed Network have stepped up to the challenge of providing safe Web 2.0 tools for educators and students with the creation of edZone. EdZone offers a suite of free tools including blogs and file sharing for video, podcasts, images and documents. Social networking, wikis, messaging, Moodle and videoconference scheduling are a few of the new tools that will appear in September. This evolving community even has a helpful blog to answer questions and offer solutions.

Edzone addresses the concerns for appropriate content and access by limiting participation to California K12 educators and their students. Teachers can register for free accounts, which are verified by a K12 school or district email address. This trusted community is tasked with maintaining a safe environment by flagging inappropriate content, which is removed and reviewed. Other security features include the ability to create groups, invite members and decide what content can be viewed. Viewing options include only you, an edZone group, the K12HSN trusted community or the public. These safeguards make a good case for unblocking this site if one needs to convince administrators and technology people.

A Gaggle of Google Tools
Check out the ever-expanding list of Google tools! Thanks to Google Certified Teacher Colette Cassinelli for posting a link to an article titled “57 Useful Google Tools You’ve Never Heard Of. Some of the tools have been around for a while, but there are several that are new and offer great possibilities. The real standout on the list is Google Sites. It seems to be the next generation after Google Page Creator, which has almost vanished from sight.

Google Sites
It’s a web page, it’s a wiki, it’s anything you want it to be! As a quick web presence and collaboration platform, Google Sites rocks! A really nice feature of this free tool is that there are three levels of permissions. One can be the owner and give “collaboration rights” to chosen people and viewer rights to the rest of the world or the whole thing can be private. Some wikis have the all or nothing approach to permissions unless you purchase a paid subscription.

Summer is the time for playful experimentation with new Web 2.0 tools. Let me know what Web 2.0 tech goodies you have been testing for use next school year.

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Tags: GoogleSites, Web2.0, blog, edZone, teacher-tools, wiki

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