We're reaching out to folks in education one at a time. I saw your recent discussion about blogs and wikis in the classroom, and so I thought this might interest you.
We've developed a tool for organizing conversations inside federal agencies and we've just now started opening it up to the educational world. The tool is called DeepDebate and the purpose of the tool is to make online conversations easy, fun, and efficient through the use of conversation mapping.
The strength of the software is that it challenges students to think before they write. It also can handle many simultaneous participants in ways that wikis cannot. It's not meant to replace wikis, but it is meant to be a pre-consensus tool that a group of people use to list all their ideas on each side of an issue.
Here's what teachers had to say in a recent pilot project in Pennsylvania. Students also particularly like the partial anonymity the tool provides (teachers still know who is writing what).
We're looking to offer our services for free to individual teachers so that we can raise the profile of our software. If you feel this could be useful to you please drop me a note at lucas[at]deepdebate.org and we'd be happy to support any innovative ideas you have!
In December I had never seen a Wiki. My students and I jumped in with both feet and haven't looked back. The students are very excited to have a real audience. Please take a look at what they've created so far. RPG Maker XP Help. We would appreciate any feedback you have. Currently the wiki is protected, so you'll have to either email me your feedback or give it through Classroom 2.0.
Scott, I believe the connection between blogs and the 90/90/90 research comes in providing students and teachers a convenient platform for non-fiction writing and collaboration. It seems especially suited for the collaborative writing reviews that the studies recommend teachers engage in.
My name is Alyshia Olsen; I am a 20 year old college student from Olin College of Engineering. I am a part of a group of 6 Olin College students (we're in Needham, MA, and engineering students) who has taken a year off to work on an education related project. Since you are in the 'e-learning and online teaching' group, I thought you might be interested! Our project is called AlightLearning, and this is our "short" project description:
Under the assumption that within ten years, the landscape of modern education will have fully integrated what we now define as new classroom media: video, online collaboration, open source curriculum and other web tools, we hope to pioneer a web software tool that acts as a platform for this new media, bringing the power of the web and its tools to students, teachers and parents in a secure, comfortable and innovative environment. Our goal is to have our free software at a pilot middle school by April 15th, 2009, continuing to develop and coordinate with our users to create a product that other schools want to pilot and use at their schools, while allowing individual teachers to implement this tool in their own classroom.
Our project, titled Alight Learning, is currently trying to win a competition for startup funding on ideablob.com. You can find us at http://ideablob.com/3975 . We would love your support in the form of a vote within the next couple days, but more importantly we'd love your feedback and comments. Our description on Ideablob is short, and even the one above hardly gets at many of the issues we would like to take a stab at solving, but at least it's a start.
Feel free to email me back, check out alightlearning.com, anything you like!
With your research interest in web 2.0 I recommend you take look at wiziq's virtual classroom and authorstream's power point presentation platform. Both are web based and have a bunch features and a free basic service. Your students might find these technologies make their online collaboration more engaging.