The Ning Interview

Early last week I was asked by Yoz Grahame (a lead developer of Ning.com) to answer a few questions about how I was using web 2.0 tools (and specifically Ning) in my classroom to be used in a post for the Ning Blog. I was quite surprised and a little flattered that people are actually noticing what is going on in my own little digital bubble.

When he sent me the questions, however, I was impressed with the depth that they were calling for. So, I took on them as a challenge and answered them as completely and with as much cogitation as possible. The two questions that struck me the most (and produced a clear sense of focus for the year’s worth of teaching with technology) were about new tools that I want to use this year and new tools that I wish would be created this year. Because I found these two questions to be most illuminating for my own practice, I would like to challenge the greater Edusphere to answer them and share out all of the tools that they want to use and wish were available.

  • Are there new tools that you’re looking forward to using with students?

I’m looking forward to setting up wikis with my kids. I am also looking at geocaching as a way of exploring more authentic nature writing. More specifically I am excited about using the following websites to encourage content creation and a love of reading and writing:
1. Writely – For collaboration on writing dramas or stories.
2. Glypho – For collaboration on storytelling.
3. Quickmuse – To make poetry writing more transparent.
4. Trackslife – To track writing progress.
5. Standpoint – To create belief statements about reading, writing, and life.
6. Vaestro – To create an audio forum to talk about blog posts.
There are some others, but these are the ones I am looking forward to most.

  • How about tools that don’t exist yet, but should? Do you have any particular designs or wishes there?

1. I really would like rss to be more versatile. I would like to see any webpage that I want within an RSS reader and only see what has been changed since the last time I looked.
2. I would like my students to be able to create content in a fully functional word processor/video-editor/image-editor/webpage-editor and be able to post to any service that they wanted without having to log-in to their individual pages.
3. I would like blogs and wikis to become more like one another. (Blogs should be more editable, wikis should allow for more community.)
4. I want a way of controlling what all of my students see on their computer screens without having to buy remote desktop software. (In other words, I would like to have a live (and hopefully free) screencasting tool.)
5. I want podcasting software that uses voice recognition to create transcripts of each podcast to be read while you read.
6. I want a tool to discuss literature side-by-side with a digital copy of the book.
7. I want to be able to tag, put a sticky note on, or comment on/rate anything (pictures, videos, websites, blog posts) and have anyone with a browser be able to see these things without having to download anything or sign up with any service.

Yoz e-mailed me back about some of the items on my wishlist. He gave me a few resources (VNC, Coner.ning, and Castingwords), but none were really what I was looking for. If anyone who reads this knows about anything that would fill one of my wishes, please leave me a comment. More than that, however, I would love to see what you wish for in the coming year of creating classroom 2.0.

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