Commonly Used Web 2.0 Tools
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Most Commonly Used Web 2.0 Tools in Community 2.0
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Tool Main FunctionCharacteristicsUseful PropertiesIssues to consider
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BLOG
(Blogger, Wordpress)

Best for publishing written pieces (such as journal entries, pre-writing, research logs, or essays) with images, videos, and links. Emphasizes written work and latest post of author(s) with ability for readers to add commentary.

Users can customize look and layout.

Posts can be organized via labels/tags.

Connection to other websites via blogroll and link list.

Outside elements can be added via HTML-Javascript boxes or stand-alone pages.

Can be accessed via cellphone.
Individual workspace (though blogs can also be multi-authored).

Comments, blogrolls and followers connect the space to others.
Individual workspace--teachers have less control of what students post.

The message windows sometimes do not accept text cut from MSWord. In that case, switch to the HTML option and paste the text there.

We suggest having students disable the captcha for comments and, at least while in an interaction with students from another class, to set the blog so that "anyone" can comment.

Consider teaching students to use tags to organize their content.
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THEMED SOCIAL NETWORK
(Ning, Spruz, Grou.ps)

Best for creating the sense of a closed community such as the ones on Blackboard, with the advantage that it can be opened at any time to admit newcomers and guests as members. Viewing may be public or by invitation; participation requires membership

Owners decide who will be the site's members and determine the level of participation of members; the default is that members can add any element to the workspace

Member access to individual pages can be controlled by the owners in Spruz and Grou.ps

Varied types of pages: the Main page keeps track of activity on the site, the Personal Page collects each member's activity (useful for grading), the uses of the Forums, Photos, Videos, Members, Groups, Events, Chat, Blogs pages is self-evident; Spruz and Grou.ps also have a Documents/Files page for uploading/downloading documents. Grou.ps also has a Wiki page.


Internal e-mail system; Ning and Grou.ps can also be connected to Facebook
Shared workspace

Varied types of workspace

Administrative control of the workspaces

Quick one-to-many communication
Ning is not free anymore; request an educator's Ning Mini sponsored by Pearson at http://go.ning.com/pearsonsponsorship/

The message windows sometimes do not accept text cut from MSWord. In that case, switch to the HTML option and paste the text there.

When creating blogs in the network, consider asking students to use tags to organize their blog entries for easier evaluation.
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SOCIAL NETWORK
(Facebook Groups)
Similar to the Themed Networks above, but with less variety of workspaces.

Unlike Facebook Profile pages, Groups do not require the owner to "Friend" the group members.

Groups may be Open (anyone in FB can see it), Closed (only the description can be viewed), or Secret (only members can see it). Groups owners can change these settings at will.

Workspaces include: Wall for posting comments, Links, Photos, Videos, and Questions (with optional polling); a Document creator that allows cutting and pasting from MSWord and saves the different versions of the document as it is edited; an Events creator; a Chat with Group function.

Can be accessed via cellphone.
Familiar platform, as many students are already in Facebook.

Shared workspace.

Administrative control.

Quick one-to-many communication.



Even an Open group cannot be ever made fully public; one has to be logged into Facebook to view it.

Students attempting to "Friend" teachers.

Update style of pages may make it difficult to find and organize student work.

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WIKI
(Google Sites, PBWiki, Wetpaint)
Best for collaborating on larger projects.

Doubles well as a course management tool (no place for grades, though)
Multiple pages with comments; pages can be collected into folders and organized via tags/labels.

Owners decide who will be the wiki's members and determine the capabilities of members; the default is that members can add any element to the workspace.

Member access to individual pages can be controlled by the owners.
Shared workspace.

All work and changes are recorded; changes can be reverted to earlier versions.
You may want to use a separate platform for discussions.
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