Through these tools, students are able to collaborate and create products with students in other schools, parents and other family members, people in the community, and experts from around the world. The student's voices are now able to be heard loud and clear. Why should a great essay about reducing the risk of unintentional injuries in children 14 and under only be heard by the teacher and classmates? The essay now has the potential to educate others across the world to keep children safe. Students are more engaged while using these tools because there is a REAL audience for their work. Another aspect of "social networking" is that not only are people are able read the products, but they are able to communicate back with the authors of those products.

Safety is always a VERY important issue to address when using the Internet. We will explore and learn from others which services provide the most secure social networking tools for children.

Communication tools are not only allowing student's voices to be heard, but also the professional educator. No longer are we confined in our learning to only those workshops that our district or school chooses to participate in. The walls that once limited us are no longer there. Because of this, we as educators around the world are able to collectively work to learn how to use these tools successfully and safely. So, we are not alone in our quest. I have learned more about how to make blogs safe by ready educators who have already worked through some of the problems and are more than happy to share the solutions. Visit the blog for links to educators that I regularly read.

Communication Tools

blogs - weblog or online journal
wikis - collaborative writing tool
advanced wiki work - Now that you know what a wiki is learn how to really make it sing!
podcasting - amature radio on the Internet that can be downloaded to MP3 players
rss - really simple syndication
flickr - photos
aggregators - newsgator, bloglines - gathering new posts from websites and brining them to one location for easy reading
skype - free phone calls over the Internet to anyone else who has skype
jotlive - collaborative note taking
one note - Microsoft's answer to collaborative note taking
vcasting - similar to a blog, but with video - bookmarking tool
ikeepbookmarks - bookmarking tool
scrapblog - online scrapbook with blog features