Microsoft has announced a teacher network that sounds an awful lot like Classroom 2.0... :)

"Microsoft Corp.'s Innovative Teachers Network (ITN), a new online forum that promotes the exchange of ideas and methods on how best to incorporate technology into the classroom effectively...";_hbguid=1fc9f28d-...

Sounds like they've been testing it with a limited audience for some time. Is anyone using it? How does it compare with what we've been doing here? Can Classroom 2.0 be nimble and agile enough to serve needs that the efforts of Microsoft and other large companies are beginning to produce?

Imitation is certainly the sincerest form of flattery:
Within the network, educators can create their own communities, start discussions, and collaborate with other educators who have similar interests. And because of that, it is very much user-driven, Cullinane said. Users can initiate threads and conversations...

"At the end of the day, people want friends," Cullinane said. "No matter what your job is, it's great to know there are other people out there with the same challenges, concerns, and opportunities."

So, can CR 2.0 survive such a competitor? What can we do that will continue to make this a unique place for educators?

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That a pretty interesting find, Steve. Seems like the first time I've ever seen Microsoft copy anything. :)

Will Classroom 2.0 weather the storm? Yes, I think so - as long as Ning can handle such competition. CR 2.0 is a tremendous resource and really the only other place on the Internet that effortlessly joins so many educators. Nevertheless, Ning does have its issues, at times - and limitations - all of which are admittedly far from unique to Ning.

Your last question is key. What can we do to make this a unique place for educators?

Personally, I think that improved integration with the CR 2.0 wiki is the answer. Teachers need an easy place to go to learn about the tools and resources they are interested in. Now because teachers are the ones that have created the wiki - managed it, molded it, helped it evolve through the months - they will do a better job in presenting such information than Microsoft will ever be able to do.

Simply put, educators know more about how to educate than anybody else. Or at least we should.
Interesting article. While Microsoft's efforts might win over a lot of fans, I'm still skeptical. Microsoft, to at least some extent, has to promote itself and its products. Classroom 2.0 has no such agenda. Here, if I have a problem, people will suggest solutions from a wide range of companies, and even propose open source solutions. Will there be that kind of freedom on a Microsoft network? Can they reasonably allow you to suggest collaborating on a free wiki when they're trying to sell Sharepoint which does a number of the same things? I'm skeptical.
Continue to develop a sense of community through supporting each other, asking good questions, sharing resources, contributing with heart and consistent involvement. That's what we can do. Invest ourselves in this great project you started, Steve. It's the "flavor" of CR2.0 that is unique and special. There's a real feeling of all-joining-together here!
Are you suggesting the maybe Microsoft will acquire Classroom 2.0? If you sell, say, 15% for $100 million... Hmm... I like it.
But---will we get royalities for each post and comment? Or will we have to go on strike?
It's so funny, but I have discussed this at length with some folks. Years ago I read Alfie Kohn's "Punished by Rewards," and it has really stuck with me that the moment you introduce financial incentive into something that is being done as a labor of love, you will likely ruin it. :) That's largely why I think CR 2.0 works so well, it's an aspect I'd be loathe to change, and it's why I have a struggle when anyone brings up any commercialization of the network.
I don't think you need to struggle. I think I can say for the vast majority of us, if not all of us, that we like what we've got here and we don't want it sold out from under us.
I'm afraid we don't have the reach of Facebook... :) It's hard for me to imagine selling CR 2.0, or doing anything that might compromise our ability right now to evolve in ways that might not happen if there was the need to meet a bottom line or someone else's expectations. In all honesty I've had a couple of discussions with folks who approached me with interest in CR 2.0 from the business perspective, and I walked away just thinking about how unique this environment is and how worried I would be to have it change in any way.
I have attempted to sign up but it pops up with a page can't be found error. Anyone else have this issue?
Hi Steve,

I had a look back in October because I wanted somewhere for my participants in my workshop on Peer Coaching to collaborate and share understandings and ideas. I opted to set up a group here on Classroom 2.0 instead, because of its ease in use and navigation. Also because of all the other interesting things happening here.
I would not be too worried. But... it will be fun to watch them try?

Sue P.
Well, my wife and I have been scouring Craigslist for a washer and dryer this week (our expensive, highly-rated front-loading washer turned out to be a mold factory). It seems to me that CR 2.0 has the chance to be something like a Craigslist--a service which the new technologies of the web have made possible to run at almost no cost, and which can make a real difference for people.

I think I am not alone in worrying about what may come with regard to a lot of what is free on the web right now. The net neutrality advocates passionately are concerned about profit-driven companies seeking financial advantage for what are now universal services--could the same happen with Web 2.0? What would happen if Google's shareholders demanded higher profits in an economic downturn? Part of me acknowledges the concern, but another part of me wants to believe that Web 2.0 is so revolutionary that, like democracy, freedoms will be fought for. Craigslist and Wikipedia and the whole Free and Open Source software movement to me represent a new world of communication, collaboration, and community that may change our perceptions of traditional economics.



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