Should I share the wonderful Scholastic site, kerpoof.com? This is where kids can create cards, stories, pictures, and movies. When they become members (for free) and acquire a log in and password, their work can be saved, added to, and shared with others.
Should I share the incredible program, Scratch, created by the Kindergarten group at MIT? This free, multi-platform programming application is bringing kids together from all over the world. I attended the first Scratch conference at MIT last summer and wrote about it here: Connections, August edition.
Maybe I should tell them about pbwiki, a free web presence where teachers and classes can either privately or publicly converse, collaborate, customize, and share their ideas, artwork, questions, and thoughts. Pbwiki even works for kids who don’t have email addresses; there is a feature whereby a teacher can enter first names and then usernames and passwords are generated, thereby making this a tool for even elementary age students.
I should show them how my students then use Voki to create a talking avatar of themselves. This could feasibly take an entire class period if you don’t give limits! It’s way too much fun.
Should I mention how I use epals with the students? This is a free service that enables your students to correspond with other members of epals from anywhere in the world. It is safe; the teachers on both ends of the mail have to approve the content.
I use google docs for collaboration, pbwiki to share my lessons, WordPress for my blogs, gmail for my email, Pageflakes for my starting page, Twitter for professional development, flickr for my photos, Quick Topic to hold ongoing conversations with family and friends.
And one fun tool for teachers and students: Wordle is a great place to be brainstorm and be creative!