When Classroom 2.0 started, there was a big question about whether social networking would even be an appropriate tool for an educational network. I believe that was quickly answered, and for many of us, CR 2.0 became a place of some amazing and engaging dialog.

The original purpose of the site was to provide an easy, user-friendly entry-point into using Web 2.0 for those who didn't have much (or any) experience with the collaborative web. I still think the site does that, but now that it's grown to almost 3400 members, I get the feeling that some of the sense of being a "community" that originally developed is harder to experience. And maybe that's OK, as lots of you have taken Ning and built your own communities that are more specific to your particular needs.

But I'd also like to tap into some of the "old guard" and find out if there are things you think I could be doing to improve/grow/facilitate what takes place here. When you take the time to participate, you make a huge difference and are appreciated.

(I also have to say that I really think it's time for some kind of a Classroom 2.0 get-together, virtual or physical. I'll be announcing EduBloggerCon 2008 soon, to take place in association with NECC, and this year we're also going to have EduBlogerCon West in March as part of the CUE.org show in Palm Springs. I'm hoping a lot of our CR 2.0 friends will come. But I keep wondering if there is enough critical mass to do a Web 2.0 in Education conference by itself... It wouldn't have to be huge, but I think it would be an amazing event.)

So, old and new guard, where do we go from here?

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The ideas about the format and content are awesome! I especially like the web 2.0 tool overview, tutorial, and FAQ followed by discussion in the second half.

I'll gladly moderate a session too.

Could maybe using www.formsite.com help anticipate attendance, determine interests, or gather other information for planning?

Conrad - If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Edwin
Edwin,

Were you referring to helping with the Second Life meetup? If so, great! I'd love some help. What's your SL name?
I agree one hundred percent with you. Make time for yourself even if it is 15 minutes. I do that everyday to keep sanity since I don't have a day off this semester. But things will change next semester. I will have a day off, and more time for ME! This is one of the things I have learned as a new teacher: take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.
James,

Couldn't more agree....it is contagious. If we all remember our great teachers, probably the reason they were great was their "passion", being engrossed in the moment, the thing itself.

I'm too busy doing what I love to have "no time"......I think that is the secret hidden in the age old adage, "if you want something done, give it to a busy person." They love doing, looking over the hill, the ever surprising "present" of the present.

DD
http://eflclassroom.ning.com
So, I've been thinking a lot about this, and there are three ideas I'd like to try. All three depend on viewing CR 2.0 as a platform for encouraging creativity and collaboration by the members of the network, and being "expansive" and not "controlling," if that makes sense--modeling collaboration by giving an opportunity for anyone to stretch themselves.

1. I'd like to set up a system for producing "talk-casts" or presentations that anyone can produce and schedule, and that anyone can attend. They could be run live, or just recorded. CR 2.0 would hopefully allow for a centralized scheduling and publicizing place for these events. I've been looking at TalkShoe and wondering if that would work well for us. Elluminate might also work, but would require getting some sponsorship from them. Sessions could be any any topic that someone feels they have an expertise on. The hardest part right now is figuring out how to let people schedule the events and let others know. Use the wiki, and then once a week post on the front page here?

2. This next one might knock some socks off... I'd like to do the same kind of thing, and publish a Classroom 2.0 book. Use the wiki at http://www.classroom20wiki.com and anyone who wants to can write a chapter on an aspect of Web 2.0 or technology in the classroom. Every chapter has to be edited by two other CR 2.0 members, and we have a small cadre of volunteers that will do final editing and oversee and coordinate putting the material into PDF book form and also offering on Lulu. Funds from any book sales could go to holding an annual conference, or could even be divided by the authors. Again, the focus here being on allowing anyone who wants to to be a contributor who feels they have something to share. The tricky part here is being respectful of the work that Terry Freedman has done and is doing with his "Coming of Age" project while still making this happen.

3. I'd like to start using the subdomain features of Classroom 2.0 to allow other Ning networks to benefit from the exposure of CR 2.0. For example, David D.'s great http://eflclassroom.ning.com/ could become (if he wanted!) http://efl.classroom20.com. Then motivated individuals could create associated Ning networks for all of the subject areas, in the process helping Classroom 2.0 become more than just a starting place for discussions of Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies--it could become much larger professional development tool.

So, I'm very interested in help and feedback on these ideas. I'd like to start with 1 & 3 right away.
Steve, I have been trying to get to putting up a ning platform for interactive history, to replace the lopsided blogging at TellingTheStory. The C20 subdomain might be a good possibility.

Also, I love the book idea. I wonder if you (or the group) might sketch out a theme? Or should it just be open?
We'd have to figure out a good way to determine appropriate uses of the subdomain, but I think it could be really powerful.

I think the book theme should be the use of Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in the classroom. But, say you wanted to write a chapter on "interactive history." You'd create a page on the wiki for it and just write it. When you felt it was ready for inclusion in the "book," you'd find two other members of CR 2.0 who would agree to be the editors, and when they had "approved" it it would go to the coordinator and be added to the virtual book. That is, added to the downloadable PDF book, and added to the Lulu-published book. The book would be updated every month or so, but all of the content would also be available on the wiki, organized in the categories there.

I hope this idea gains traction--I think it would be very cool.
Steve,
How long would you want the chapter to be? Could more than one person add to a chapter? It might be helpful for people if you/we titled the chapters - that would help give writers some focus. I would be willing to try my hand at writing something, but it feels very open ended to me. I don't know where I would start.

Would each chapter be about a different tool - the way the Classroom 2.0 wiki is now?
Would there be a more theoretical focus with chapter titles like - Why do this stuff? How does it benefit kids? How does it benefit teachers? How does it benefit society? What are the challenges to making this work? How do we overcome those challenges? What are the incentives for doing this? What happens if we don't?

Who will decide?

Just brainstorming. This sounds very exciting to me.
-Liz
I think the idea would be to write a chapter on anything that you feel you particularly know about the use of Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in the classroom. It would be a great and growing compendium. We could sort the chapters into larger sections, say by subject area (history, math, etc.) and also by technology. The whole idea would be to give the members of CR 2.0 the chance to contribute--to provide a vehicle for engagement that reflects the new ability to develop and communicate expertise in an area.

You, for instance, could write a chapter (of any length you wanted) on using podcasting as a tool for elementary education. :) I know you like fame... wouldn't you enjoy being a published author?
I'm trying to teach school while reading these posts so I might have missed something but just a thought---how much of this is reinventing the wheel? --I've seen dozens of Web 2.0 wikis and ISTE has a new book out--I actually think an online book (maybe even a journal) that included how to get started and links to kids projects using the stuff and pictures of kids using the stuff---something colorful, well designed. I think wikis are ugly.

Look at the technology used in Toondoo's ToonBooks----- http://www.toondoo.com/ViewBook.toon?bookid=22588

Keebooks also have that page flipping technology---http://keebook.com/enu/ I just think that teachers would like something bright and appealing to look at---I don't read massive amounts of text on wikis or blogs. Just an idea from a perpetual brainstormer. N
Very cool links!

I'm not set on the format, but I do really want to find a way to take the incredible talents of the network and produce something that might get greater dissemination, and become a model for collaborative publishing by a community. As much as the end result could be a great introduction to Web 2.0 in the classroom, more than that I think it becomes a great opportunity for CR 2.0 members who want to to stretch themselves and be part of an exciting endeavor.
Steve,

I was going to put our domain into the more generic eflclassroom.com in January. But I'll mull over your idea. I do agree in general that the more cooperation and linkage , the better. This is how a network should work. Not just itself but others.....There should not be a competitive nature in the sense that -- "my network against yours, don't post on that other network etc!!!! " [This is my 4th article in the Manifesto I'm writing :)] So many of our members have written me, overjoyed at finding Classroom 2.0 and that's how it should work.

I like the book idea too but how would you "narrow it" ? It is such a vast topic and that would be so important to do. There would have to be a lot of discussion about what would belong in the book or it would turn into a great but relatively useless thing for those new to Web 2.0. But great idea. I'm looking into starting an open source TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) online course. Constantly updated. Anyone could take the tests, get feedback etc..... Only pay if they want the "official" diploma. I think this is a great use of Web 2.0 - in prof. development for qualifications and we should start thinking of the possibilities there.

I think for the podcast - why don't you create a seperate discussion board? Just one area for podcasting and discussing each segment / topic. That way you don't have to have the conversation or podcasts hosted externally.....might be an idea. Ning offers the possibility of multiple discussion forums....

Cheers,

David
http://eflclassroom.ning.com

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