Posted by: Floyd Braid | August 26, 2009

Safer 2.0 Tools for Schools?

2 or not 2.0?

2 or not 2.0?

Is it really safer? This week I had the opportunity to work with a group of teachers involved in a 1-2-1 laptop initiative in Clayton County Georgia. Right in the shadow of the worlds busiest airport. There are so many things that are cool about this project. The TEACHERS (great group of highly motivated fun professionals), The Principal (has a great “bring it on attitude”), Partners, Many Outside Partners (QualComm, SayWire, Tutor.com, 1-2-1 Institute, Smart, Alliance for Digital Equality) I’m sure I’ve left someone out. Whats so cool about this is that so many of the players are working toward the same goal. It boils down to “how do we create a wireless environment both in and outside of school that will promote a greater level of engagement in the learning by students and teachers” This is being done with laptops but any wireless device would work. SOOOO, what happens when students have that kind of access and you want them working with and learning through the use of many of the new Web 2.0 apps that many school districts block?  Enter- Saywire.com this is a kind of Blackboard/WebCT lite with a greater focus on the social side of collaboration and sharing. It includes tools for teacher & student wikis, blogs, discussion board, chats, enotes(email) and a few other Web 2.0ian type applications. At first I was a bit skeptical but as I have spent more time using the tool with teachers I have found it to be quick to learn and easy to get started on. The safer part of the tool is that students belong to specific networks with fellow students, it is NOT anonymous and the teacher has the ability to review all material before it is posted and initiate contacts between students. I have used Moodle, Blackboard, Ning, Edmodo and a few other LMS or LMS Lite type tools but this one seems to have the right mix of student friendly tools without much of the back end work that many tools require. I’m still working my way through this tool but I think they have hit on something here. If you have used it let me know what you experience has been. Stay tuned, I’ll be following up on this one for sure.


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