NECC Talking Points: Social Software

NECC Talking Points: flickr4schools...
Over at eSchoolNew ETI, Tom Hoffman discusses the use of tools such as Flickr by teachers and schools, and suggests that school district IT departments need to start thinking of providing similar services.

Tom goes on to make the point that...

"Schools need to start taking seriously their responsibility to maintain a student's digital content from K through 12."

At Lewis Elementary, we utilize Flickr to document student work and events that are shared on our web site. With my camera phone I capture images several times a week, and then post them via email to Flickr. Mainly it's just a way to easily add images to our web site, but imagine a system similar to Flickr that allowed you to capture student work and then upload it to a portfolio... Think of how a teacher could use tags to organize and categorize student work.

I'd also add social bookmarking tools such as and Furl to the list of tools schools should be taking a look at. A problem I run into is having students find good web resources, then lose them, or worse yet just print out a bunch of web pages. Even had one teacher having her students write down in a folder the web addresses of the pages they found. While Furl and are great tools, I can't have my 4th and 5th grade students sign up for these services.

We have been looking at some Open Source alternatives such as and Scuttle. Have decided to give a try, and this summer we are working to set it up on our intranet. We will also be re-imaging our computers and plan to add a bookmarklet to the tool bar on our browsers. Another advantage of this is exploring with students the social aspect of these tools and seeing how they work with one another to share the resources they find.