Hi everyone- I am an elementary teacher trying to assimilate/ learn about blogs, wikis, message boards, podcasts, etc etc, and I find myself overwhelmed with the amount of information! Each of these general areas has a tree of programs and skills associated with it.

While looking around, clicking and experimenting have been very interesting, it has also produced information (and link!) overload for my brain. Can anyone suggest a logical learning sequence to acquire these skills? Something like, start here, with this program or technology, get that down, then move on to this step? For example, would it be helpful to understand wikis before moving onto blogs, understand blogs before moving onto social networks, and so on? Are there specific skills that would be especially helpful with this learning? I suspect these areas are still too big, and I need to get more specific, but that's the best I can see it for now.

It's like learning the alphabet, at least some of it, before learning to read. Or learning individual letter sounds before reading words. I don't have to have a thorough knowledge of the "alphabet" before I can start, but some foundation would be awfully helpful!

As a general baseline: I can word process, search the internet, use email, general basic computer skills that most people, I think, possess. Kind of your average elementary teacher with an interest in using web 2.0 technology (I am throwing that term around, not sure of its full meaning) in the classroom.

Even a good, very current book would be helpful. Thanks

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I have plenty to share here, however, Will Richardson's book on Blogs, Wikis, and essentially all that you are talking about, will give you a bit of the history, the tools, and some great applications and resources. I think this is a must read and certainly a book that helped me to get the global perspective and how all of this can/should be used with our students. Good luck!
Here is a wiki I created to help with some staff development I did for my district http://professortosa.wikispaces.com/January+Professional+Development

Also, these two blog entries might provide some insight into all of this
http://professortosa.edublogs.org/2007/12/02/digital-natives-digita...
http://professortosa.edublogs.org/2007/11/03/blogging-and-the-teacher/

From the post below, it looks like Gary and I are on the same track!
Will Richardson's book, "Wiki's, Blogs and Podcasts" is a great place to start. I'm not sure why, but he put the most important thing in Chapter 4. He says, and I agree, that you should start with a RSS reader. I use Bloglines, it is easy to set up, and follows me from computer to computer. From there you should learn how to use a Wiki. We have set up a wiki to help you learn Web 2.0 at http://southwestms.wikispaces.com/ There are links on the main page to other helpful learning sites also. Click on the RSS link on the left to get help with RSS. Hope this helps!
Will's book is great. I'd start with checking out some blogs--Will Richardson's blog http://weblogg-ed.com is a great place to start. Explore the links on his pages. Once you find a few blogs you think you might want to follow, get an RSS reader and subscribe to their blogs. An online reader like bloglines works great. I prefer pageflakes now, but that is much more than an RSS reader.

Once you get the idea with blogging and using RSS, I'd get a simple WordPress blog. You can get a free one at edublogs.com or wordpress.com. This is a real easy way to beginning producing content on the web yourself. If you can word process and use a browser, you have most of the skills you need already.

I'd also look for a discussion forum (message board) in a topic that interests you--in education or any other topic. Set up an account, and lurk for awhile. Once you see the structure and culture of the board, ask a question or reply to something. It really is not all that different from what you are doing here--they just tend to be more structured.

Wikis are very much a text driven medium. You will generally have to learn wiki markup for formatting the page. Find a wiki and click an edit tab to see how the markup language drives it all. Explore the structures and linking in and among the pages. There are free sites in which you can set up a wiki.

Podcasting will probably involve learning some new skills and working with new software and hardware. Start by grabbing an audio editor and a mircrophone. Audacity is a very good free and open source sound editor that works on any platform.
Agree with all that is said but thought I'd throw in a little tidbit. After you know the difference between blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, etc. decide what you want your kids to do and start small. For example, if you'd like an authentic audience for your writers develop a blog site and let a few of them try it out. Add new kids as the interest spreads. Starting with a few interested souls will keep the hassle down. Be sure to get parent permission before trying any of this stuff. In the last 15 months my students have tried a lot of the Web 2.0 tools, look here for a list..
just getting started with classroom 2.0 is a huge start! That's what I did and then moved to blogging - edublogs is a great, easy-to-use platform. I'd also recommend Will Richardson's book. Feel free to search my del.icio.us account by going to http://del.icio.us/kolson29 - I've been doing a lot of looking at 2.0 professional development!
Thank you all for your generous advice. It will take me a day or two to absorb it! I'll post back after I get another "chunk" of understanding under my belt.
I would like to endorse Nancy's remarks in that you should start small, taking slow steps to absorb each type one at a time. I tried all of them at once last year and was lost 'in cyber space' for quite a while until after a huge learning curve I now can see the difference between and potential of each. If I had my time over, I would start with social bookmarking with delicious and commence blogging. For students, I usually commence by getting them to place comments on other student blogs. This gives them an insight into the nature of blogging before they set their own up. As I became more confident with this web 2.0 software, I would commence setting up a wiki.
Great advice, Anne. I just started using delicious for my own bookmarking. What else do you use the site for?
Here is a link to a class that really helped me... http://edc921.blogspot.com/ When I "discovered" it, they were using Will's book as a text...
Ruth, what a wonderful, generous site! It will be great to have a class to follow along with as I read Richardson's book.

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