Anyone having trouble gaining classroom access to blogs, wikis, Ning, other Web 2.0 tools? I'm looking for practical solutions. If you've had to wrestle with this issue, I'm curious to learn how you've addressed it (or found a practical workaround). What helps you get the toolkit unlocked?

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Here's some advice from veteran educators about how to unlock the Web 2.0 toolkit for your students. Thanks to Steve Hargadon, Maria Knee, Kevin Honeycutt, and others for sharing good ideas.
I teach in Australia where there are varying approaches to the use of web2.0 tools. Our internet service provider heavily blocks many sites.However, if we approach our technicians and the request is reasonable, we can have sites unblocked. Facebook and youtube are mandatory blocks from our department of education. Various blogs and wikis are also blocked.
However, I find it most annoying to have to request each ning that I want to work on, to be unblocked, as we work on many different global projects The formatting on the ning was terrible, even when the ning was unblocked, but our techie discovered that the static element had to be unblocked along with it, for it to appear normal.
I think if districts' implemented curriculum (?) to teach online responsibility fewer sites would be blocked. Our large district is actually better than it was, 2 years ago EVERY blog was blocked. They would unblock most. Now the only big things that are blocked are Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. There is talk of teacher access to YouTube. I do think the herd mentality kicks in when a district decided to filter---maybe teachers don't question why or ask good questions. BTW, where have you been. Haven't seen you lately.
Sounds like you are busy. Our fifth graders did The Pringle Project, designed packaging to mail one Pringle across the country--we're video conferencing with the other classroom on Thursday and will open the packages--it'll be fun. Also starting to take a look at Google Earth and our little guys wrote and illustrated books using Titatok. Here's one of them. Great tech stuff going on at our place.

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