I have been trying out various 2.0 and other computer tech tools in my 3rd and 4th grade classes for several years and will be using a class blog and wikispace this coming year. I had previously done these types of interactive applications on a local computer basis using just word processing software. Now that we have "reliable" internet access on site, we are ready to move up to the web-based versions. I've also used Photostory for digital storytelling/reports. Now I'd like to try Voicethread too.

This is the first year I'll officially be serving 1/2 time as a site technology integration mentor. No one else is doing this in my district so I'm hoping to get a few ideas from the many of you who much more experience. Many colleagues would like to begin using web based tools with elementary students and want to know where to start. I started with non web-based applications out of necessity, but I don't think is necessary now for others.

I have two main questions and would greatly appreciate your feedback.

1) For those who are ready to start, where do you think they should begin? Wiki? Blog? Digital storytelling? Other???

2) Do you have favorite 2.0 applications that are fairly easy for a beginner with basic computer skills to use?

Thanks!!!

Tags: blogging, elementary, getting_started, pd, wikis

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Well, as you might guess, I really like Ning.com as a platform, and you could even have them come into Classroom 2.0, as it has been designed for exactly what you are hoping to do. I like it because there are a lot of the Web 2.0 elements here, and you can quickly become engaged in some meaningful dialog--which is why I think Web 2.0 is so important anyway. :)
Thanks. I'm definitely going to suggest Ning and have placed a badge on my Pageflakes page as well!
hi Adina, I have all my students start out by using Bloglines BOTH as a blog tool (it's a very very very simple blog tool), AND as an RSS aggregator. this is a good way to get started, very simple - they are up and running in just a few minutes.

then later on as an option I introduce them to other blogging tools and other RSS readers, but for those who are a little nervous or just want to do the minimum, Bloglines takes care of both things at once!

here are the instructions I currently have up for my students - this is one of the very first things they do when classes start up each semester, and I've had a lot of success with it for two years now. they set up their blog and start publishing right away - it's very empowering, and they really like being able to include pictures.

Bloglines Blogging

a couple weeks later, I have them start adding feeds (although I subscribe immediately to all their blogs; it's a great tool for me, because the Bloglines aggregator INSTANTLY updates to include Bloglines posts, whereas other feeds update only every half hour or so).

best of luck with your new mentoring position! I'm looking forward to hearing about what tools you have the most success with; I've had huge success with students and Bloglines... as for faculty, no real success - but getting university faculty to try out new kinds of Internet-based tools may be a lost cause! :-)
This could work well for staff use. I'm wondering whether it is simple enough for elementary kids as well. I'll have to check into it. Thanks Laura.
I would start by introducing staff and students to del.icio.us. I think it woldn't be so difficult for them to understand this tool, since they already know that their Browsers use Bookmarks and Favorites . I will introduce them to tagging. They can even Use del.icio.us for blogging. Staff and kids will feel the need to know what others are bookmarking or commenting. Then I will introduce "my network" and sharing bookmarks. They will learn about networking and RSS feeds. Finally your staff and students will like to subscribe to blogs they bookmarked. It is the then the time to teach them about Feed Readers, such as Feedraider, Pageflakes, Netvibes or Bloglines. When students and staff feel the need to review the bookmarks and posts they are bookmarking and the posts they are reading, I am sure they will like to start blogging themselves.
You can also try to use the tools they are already using. My kids use MSN Spaces all the time for saving an sharing photos and videos. I think that Windows Live has more features. There should be no resistance to use these tools because they probably already have a MSN account (Messenger, Hotmail)
Thanks for the ideas. I hadn't thought about teaching the older (4th or 5th grade) students about RSS feeds.

I should probably have mentioned in my original forum opening that these are approx 95% second-language students and approx 98% come from low-income families. I found out after working with an after-school group that few have access to computers outside of school and most of that small group uses them for games only. A few also know about MySpace because they have heard about it from older siblings or cousins.
Adina, I originally thought I needed feeds to inspire blog posts (didn't really end up needing them) and searched high and low. Here is a blog post discussing the feeds I use with 4-6th. May help you if you decide to use age appropriate feeds.
hi Eduardo, this del.icio.us for blogging idea is really cool - I had been trying to think of some kind of activity to alert my students to del.icio.us to give them a taste of how it works - this "about me" del.icio.us strategy sounds great! :-)
I have used del.icio.us for myself and other staff members, but had not considered using it for students. How did that work out?
I'm with Eduardo on this. I was looking for a thread like this because I've been asked to come up with a similar implementation. I've come to the conclusion that social bookmarking, specifically del.icio.us, will be perceived as the least threatening by those (both staff and students) who are concerned about disclosing too much on line. With most pages including buttons to bookmark them with del.icio.us and the availability of pugins for most browsers, it is an easy way of building a body of content.
Have come across your comment from 2007 re starting blogging and tried to follow your link for the instruction you have for your students but was unable to bring it up. Is there any other way that I can access it?

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