I'm sending out messages to everyone I know right now, and this virtual Ning network is no exception. My name is Andy Pethan. I am a 21 year old student from Olin College of Engineering (near Boston). I am a part of a group of six Olin students who are taking a year off to pursue interests in education, entrepreneurship, design and technology, which brought us to the logical project of a business that designs collaborative software for schools! Our company is called AlightLearning, and this is our "short" project description:
"We are working under the assumption that within ten years, the landscape of modern education will have fully integrated what we now define as new classroom media and tools: video, online collaboration, open source curriculum, and internet-based software. 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. More importantly, and unlike many of our competitors, our software will empower teachers to better integrate higher level thinking skills, teamwork, personalized learning, goal setting, reflection, effective feedback and evaluation, and the ability to work with groups across classes and schools to more effectively let students follow their interests and let teachers share their knowledge. Our goal is to have our free software at a pilot middle school by April 15th, 2009."
Our team is currently trying to win an idea competition on Ideablob.com ending 11:59PM central time today. You can find us at http://ideablob.com/3975. Note that winning this contest will raise $10,000, a large and useful sum of money for a web-based company running on “sweat equity” and minimal costs. We would love your support in the form of a vote, 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.
Feel free to email me back, post on my profile, or check out alightlearning.com if you're interested in learning more or getting involved when we begin piloting the software!
I recommend you take a look at Wiziq's virtual classroom and authorstream's power point presentation platform. Both are web based platforms, have a bunch of features and free basic service. Wiziq, in particular, may upgrade what you can do synchronously online with your Brazilian students.