Just wanted to know how other teachers use technology to enhance the their teaching of reading and writing. My students enjoy collaborating on papers using googledocs. What other tools are out there? I'm fairly new to all of this and would like to use more.
We've done tons of stuff to enhance reading and writing. We have a student blog that has had 53,000 unique visits in three years (that's a heck of a lot of writing), we've done 5 wikis, book discussions using Moodle and Blackboard, and websites. You can see all we've done in the last few years here. Let me know if you need more specifics.
I haven't done much with it yet, a relative new-comer to web 2.0 tools etc., but the site wordle.net, which generates word clouds intrigues me. I've skimmed some general suggestions of how it might be used in the classroom, so I know that there are some insights out there from those who've tried it. The site basically pulls out from some text (such as the etext of a novel that you copy and paste) the words highest in frequency and arranges them on the page. Could make for a good pre-reading and post-reading activity, asking students to freewrite on the issues, conflicts, traits, whatever, could be important in the story.
I've also tried some collaborative writing but etherpad was still in invitation-only beta. Anxious to try that one.
Just finished my first attempt with students using timelines (among other choices). The results are still out on the quality (plus some projects may not have been "published" yet), but I plan on having students critique the experience and record the pros/cons on the site that they used...and what they wished they had known prior...so that future students can benefit.
Welcome to Classroom 2.0!! I think it would be interesting to link students to interesting blog articles and have them write opinion essays on them. You might ask the students to respond in paragraphs directly to the blog and track their efforts there. Talk to the other teachers of your students and find blog articles that promote cross-curricular ideas.
Another idea might be to present some writing to the students in Google Docs and have them edit the same text individually. The final results might prove interesting to compare. Or what if you give the students 20 sentences of information and ask them to edit it down to a 10 sentence paragraph?