Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sharing with Teachers New Technology Tools for Collaboration

The 3-day conference titled "Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century" organized by The Association of International Schools of India (TAISI), just concluded in Bangalore today. This was the second conference organized by this newly instituted body, the 1st conference was held in September 2006 in Hyderabad.

I was once again invited to speak in a break-out session, and conducted a workshop on "New Technology Tools for Collaboration", and shared with the audience some of the fascinating web 2.0 tools that the new "read/write" web offers teachers, students and learning environments today.

The session started with a brief discussion on what collaboration in the classroom entails and means, and how a "tool" may help. I started with the popular group tools of the "old web" (listservs/discussion boards, yahoo and google groups), (that still have a place today, I guess), and then fast forwarded to talk about wikis, blogs, social bookmarking and googledocs and spreadsheets. The focus on what students and groups hope to achieve in a collaborative project, and how each of the tools discussed helped the process, resonated with teachers. Information on specific tools such as blogger, edublogs, David Warlick's Classblogmeister, wikispaces, and googledocs & spreadsheets was shared, and also exemplary blogs (that discuss web2.0 in the classroom) such as Will Richardson's weblogg-ed, and projects such as the Flat Classroom Project. That all the tools are free and easy-to-use also caused much relief and excitement.

I touched briefly on communities of practice/learning that could be formed and fostered among educators using blogging and tagging features in an appropriately designed platform, and showcased as a case in point.

I now look forward to sharing with an international audience in Boston in July 07 at the November Learning conference on Building Learning Communities.