ZohoCreator, Ning and DabbleDB (in private beta) are just three examples of web based tools that allow anyone to create data rich web applications. All three allow a user to utilize a web browser to create database like applications. I can see many implementations for these types of tools in the classroom. For example using one of them to create an online form for capturing data that students collect as part of an outdoor education project. By utilizing a web form to capture the data, students can utilize anything from a laptop to a cell phone to enter and share their data.
I recently used ZohoCreator to make a very simple web form for capturing information from my teachers. In this example I was looking to grab some demographic information from my teachers about their students. In the past I might of had them fill out a paper form, respond to an email or a weblog post, or even go to the extent of setting up an Excel spreadsheet and email it to them, then talking them through opening the attachment, entering the data, and then talking them through uploading the sheet back to me.
While I have used tools such as FileMaker Pro and such to do this kind of thing. I found the whole process much easier using ZohoCreator. ZohoCreator has a very simple interface for creating the form. Once completed I just send the staff members an email from within ZohoCreator and they then respond by following an embedded link and then filling out the form. Once I have captured the information, I can then export it from ZohoCreator for analysis and such in something like Excel.
As is pointed out on a recent post at TechCrunch, these web browser based tools are getting much more sophisticated and the bar for entry is getting much lower.