G'day. I'm new to the site but have enjoyed reading and learning.
I have a question; is there a hosted site (which I prefer as it allows you to do things without involving the IT people!) that allows a group of students to collaborate writing - say - a newspaper. I'm in Australia and we often use the like of MS Publisher to get kids to utilize technology. What would be useful is an application that would allow you to assign a page to a student in your class, and it would be their responsibility to research and write that page. Topics we have in Grade 8 Geography includes Endangered Animals, Natural hazards, etc.

Tags: Collaborative, Documents, Publisher

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Michael, try wikispaces. They have good support and free ad-free wikis. The interface is quick and easy for kids to pick up and they will add your student accounts for you, a nice perk when starting out. A lot of people use wikispaces for their classrooms and their are other alternatives out there too. Here is a previous thread on the wiki topic. Here are the search results for "wikispaces" on this site. Also be sure to go to the classroom 2.0 wiki (link is at the top nav bar) where you can see quite a few options beyond just wikis.
Good luck.
I am currently exploring the possibilities of using Blogger in the classroom. It is dead simple to set up and is capable of creating secure, gated blogs. If you are going with any online service though, be sure to take all precautions to protect your students' privacy. There is a reason why IT guys and school boards get so uptight about remotely hosted sites. I will be chronicle our experiences on my blog (check my profile) if you would like to follow along and learn with us. We'd love to have an outside observer to share experiences with. Good luck.
I would concur about using wikis. The are a great collaborative device and so easy to use. The idea of tearing down the walls that limit us in a 40 minute period is truly exciting.
Is the ReadWriteThink Printing Press too young for your kids?
I thank you all for your guidance. I particularly like the Printing Press site (wish I'd know about it two weeks ago). This was what I was thinking of - it only has two limitations that I can see: you can't all collaborate on the one newspaper (minor), you can't insert your pictures prior to printing and you can't save your work from one session to another. The last two are more serious but manageable.

With regard to wikis, I do use them for my own projects (my teaching site recently started for a laptop class at our school is mroneill.stikipad.com). My only concern is that they are all "public" with the resultant problems or private with email verification. I'm loathe to encourage the use of emails by the kids (they can't access email at school anyway!) I really like the system of Niceweb where you give a password to the students to use to access a prepared site. Now a wiki for schools that had that...

Thanks again.
I have world's safest and closed email for kids up to 6th grade. I use http://think.com, owned by Oracle. It is so closed it's a hassle to use but fills the bill for the kids needing email accounts and they love it. Of course I spell it all out to parents and have signed permission slips on file.
Update: http://think.com no longer has student email.
Mark,

Thanks for the link to your site. I had a look and signed up -- I'll try it with one of my courses. Re the student registration in a wiki, I think that students still need to sign up -- but inside the site following on from their entry using the password -- I think hotchalk does that (I have yet to try it); certainly niceweb.

Re videos, I presume that you know of clickview: http://www.clickview.com.au. We have it at our school - very popular with staff and students.

IMHO, with teaching sites I think that it is important to have something for the student to do -- that why I like the concept behind ReadWriteThink Printing Press (except for the limitations I mentioned) - online task, online activity -- www.lamsinternational.com has some nice activities - but it is not externally hosted.

Good luck with your project. Sorry about the verbosity.
Mark, you've set yourself a challenge!
There is as you know a lot of great stuff out there but just not in one place... I use stikipad, pbwiki, snapgrades.net, www.flashcardexchange.com, rubistar.4teachers.org and quizstar.4teachers.org; I'm going to try persuadestar.4teachers.org soon. From this site, I've been introduced to hotchalk and ReadWriteThink. I've yet to try either yet. I've also stumbled across www.jacuba.com -- which I'll also like to try with kids. www.bubbl.us looks great, as does kidsvid.altec.org for videos and www.creatingmusic.com for music! www.spresent.com would be useful as well -- as would artpad.art.com/artpad/painter ... and puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com has the word search/crossword makers etc.

All of this together would be great! I can see why you have too little time!! And when is a lot too much??
Again I rant on. Sorry.
Michael
David,
The only problem with google is that all the mail applications are barred on our network -- to stop people wasting time sending emails. And unless we get parental permission, we would be unable to get the kids to set up accounts. Certainly a good idea in theory though. Michael
I would love to use Google docs with my students, if only my educational institution didn't block it! That's why we all seem to be casting around for the next nifty tool that will work behind fire walls.
Hi Michael, greetings from Germany!
Check out a free service from Finland: http://www2.edu.fi/magazinefactory/
and look at one of my eTwinning project activities
http://www2.edu.fi/magazinefactory/magazines/e_digiskills/
Hans

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