Head in the clouds? – Keep it there.

Did you often find yourself daydreaming as a child?  I often find myself daydreaming most of the time now, so I justify that by being in touch with my ‘inner child’.

The most common memory a lot of us have is lying on the ground on a nice warm sunny day, looking at the clouds and making pictures of the the shapes they represented.  My children Miss M, Princess T and the Little Man love doing this on long car drives and can find a dragon, shark or bunny rabbit in just about any cloud formation.  I even remember a teacher of mine getting us to do this as part of a Year 9 art class, although after 1/2 of a double period doing this, we started to think she just wanted us out of the room and away from the paint and clay.  But I digress……

You see looking at the clouds gave us the wild imagination to think of creating anything out of what we saw. We now have a modern day equivalent of this under the guise of web 2.0 websites.  The term ‘cloud computing’ is a phrase borne out of the ability for us to create almost anything on a a variety of websites and have it ‘hosted’ in the clouds (on the web) and not necessarily on any one personal computer.

For students and teachers in particular, this gives a variety of freedoms to create, communicate and share like never before.  Teachers often say to me ‘but we don’t have software to do any of this..’ Well, the beauty of using web based technologies is that not having the right software is no longer an issue. What is does do though, is open up a variety of different ways to create because of the vast array of different tools available.

Check out this great wiki put together by Lenva Shearing of Buckland Beach Intermediate School in Auckland to see a list of some of the web based tools that are available and applicable for schools cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com For a full list of web 2.0 sites check out www.go2web20.net (be prepared to waste some time once you get into this site – don’t say I didn’t warn you)

Bear in mind that if you start using these tools you and your students will need somewhere in the cloud to share them, so a wiki or blog is a perfect place and given that students according to VELS at the end of Level 4 should have their work published in protected online spaces, it’s a perfect way to get your  into the imagination and creativity that the web 2.0 cloud presents.

Now, where was I.  Oh yeah, there goes a dragon, a man riding a horse, a palm tree, a bunny rabbit…………