The most helpful part of Classroom 2.0 Live in San Francisco this past weekend was the lightning rounds and the product demos. The ones who did have an hour, including myself, probably would have been better off staying within fifteen minutes. Here are some products in the order of my personal preference:
1. Diigo (www.diigo.com) is perhaps the most useful site I’ve seen lately, of course elegant in its simplicity. It promotes a better version of social bookmarking with features that enable clipping, quoting, and annotating among much else.
2. Voicethread (www.voicethread.com) allows you to put up work (in the form of media and images) and discuss them in a way very similar to real life discussion and analysis. A really great way to get time to discuss each students work from both the teacher and peers.
3. Ustream (www.ustream.tv) enables live, interactive broadcasting from multiple broadcasters. You could, with a chat room, have a virtual review session with multiple instructors broadcasting and students participating from home.
4. Wikispaces (www.wikispaces.com/ ) in case you hadn’t heard of it is a very simple wiki host. Suggested activities include creating lecture summaries and test review sheets. Mandatory perfect grammar on all wikis is a good way to increase
5. Empressr (http://www.empressr.com/ ) is a sweet browser-based multi-media presentation editor. It’s really slick.
6. Vyew (http://vyew.com/) supposedly empowers teams to collaborate on documents and projects, like some sort of massively multiplayer visual editing system. To me it seemed too messy to be practical, but I was told that this is the last frontier in educational technology.
Edmodo(http://www.edmodo.com), Edu20(www.edu20.com ), and my own product Courses on Facebook (http://apps.facebook.com/courses) are offering totally free versions of Course Management Systems to complement existing tools.
Steve Hargadon, of Classroom 2.0 fame, the evangelist for Ning in educational settings, did a great job putting the event together and had just the right attitude and strength of character to make the event a more than swell experience. He’s modifying the CR2.0 Live concept a little and plans on making a replicable professional development model that can be scaled in the internet sense of the word.