Although all of these tools are free, fun, and easily adapted for educational purposes, their true power lies in the ways that they can be combined to further educational, emotional, personal, and social aims.
Audacity – Phenomenal, free software you can download and use just like a tape-recorder. Great for projects that require interviewing or sound files. Students can also use it to edit, layer, or remove background noise from their own audio tracks. Even better, they can save the files as MP3 files and export them to their iPods!
Blogger - Students can use a variety of pre-made templates to create their own blogs for free. These blogs support the uploading of media-based content and can be used as learning logs.
Bloglines - After creating a free account, students can use this service to keep track of the webpages to which they have "subscribed" (for free) using RSS technology Teachers can "subscribe" to their students' blogs and easily keep track of who has posted new content.
BubblePLY - Allows you to add speech and thought bubbles to any online video.
Bubbleshare - Allows you to edit audio and images online for free.
Clipmarks - Allows you to "clip" images, text, and other pieces of websites into your own personal "archive" and to tag and vote on the items that others have clipped.
ClustrMaps - Lets you add a cluster map that shows the geographical locations of all the visitors to your site.
Comeeko - Free, well-designed software that lets you create comic strips and save them for others to view.
De.licio.us - This free social bookmarking site allows you to create an annotated list of online bookmarks to your favorite websites and to share them with friends. Great for groups who are trying to keep track of what they have each discovered in researching their topics.
Dumpr - This free online suite of tools allows you to edit your Flickr photos in order to turn them into coloring book images (VERY COOL), make them look old, turn them into globes, or add reflections. You can then save them to your Flickr account. (Still in beta)
Flickr - Allows you to create libraries of images that you can share with others and is a particularly good place to "store" a shared collection of photos for a group.
Giveaway of the Day - Fully functional, commercial software and tools that can be downloaded for free (one item each day with restricted licenses). Read the "About" section for more information. RSS feed and e-mail subscription notifications available.
Gliffy - An online application that allows you to create diagrams and share them with others.
Go2Web2.0 Directory - A handy directory of Web 2.0 services
Google Alerts – Lets you have Google notify you via an e-mail message when anything is posted on the web on the topic of your choice.
Google Books – Lets you search the full text of lots of different books.
Google Docs - Free, online spreadsheet and word processor like Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word that lets multiple users on different computers edit a document simultaneously and save it online. Great for collaborative authoring among various group members. Combine this with Skype for voice features too!
Google Notebook – Lets you copy snippets from online articles, or create your own running notebook on the topics of your choice online. The notebooks can be kept private or shared, making them a great place for students to take notes, keep track of sources, and know where their peers have already looked.
Google Scholar – Returns only scholarly articles and books, tells you how many people have cited them, and links you to related articles.
GoToQuiz.com - Allows you to create free quizzes, polls, and surveys that you can use on your blog, MySpace, etc.
Jumpcut - Allows you to edit digital video for free online. Great for students who don't have access to anything but the internet at home!
Keep Toolkit - A free, online project planning template that allows students to input images, text, and video into different "boxes" to create a shareable "project portfolio."
Pandora - Type in your favorite artists and Pandora will create "stations" of streaming music that is similar to the work of the artists you have selected, based on research from the Music Genome Project. You can create up to 100 stations for free (registration required)!
Picnik - Absolutely fabulous, free, easy-to-use, extremely functional, online image editing software. Lets you rotate, crop, color, or edit photos and will soon offer special effects. Interfaces very well with Flicker. (Still in beta)
Pikipimp - A free, online site that lets you upload pictures, add all sorts of accessories and speech bubbles to them, then save them. The site will generate a URL where the pictures can be viewed, as well as code for your webpage.
Quintura - A very cool search engine that returns the results visually. Mouse over one of the tag words to see additional layers of results.
Sabifoo - Combines the convenience of instant messaging with the power of RSS to create a variety of possibilities
Singshot - American Idol meets You Tube in a Web 2.0 sort of way . . . record and upload songs just like you might do with photos to Flickr. People can vote on them, etc.
Snap - Gives you visual previews of the websites that appear in your search results.
Skype – Free software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world (up to 4 people at once) through your computer for free with a cheap headset mic (like the telemarketers wear) as long as the other person also has the software. Great for group conversations about projects. You can also call landlines or cell phones, but there is a charge for that.
Swicki - Free software that allows you to create a search engine on your site that will evolve the results over time to better serve users based on their click patterns.
The Amazing You Tube Tools Collection - A collection of tools to help those interested in using/publishing materials to You Tube.
Tubes - Allows users to drag and drop content (audio files, bookmarks, documents, e-mail contact lists, spreadsheets, videos) into a "tube" that can then be accessed by all those who have been invited to share it. Invitees can also upload content to the tube, making project collaboration easier. The latest versions of content in the tube synch up when the user is online. Click on the Download link to see a 30-second demo.
Webnote Wiki - Allows users to collaboratively take color-coded notes in a space they create and organize them graphically. People can subscribe to your RSS feed.
Websites as Graphs - Lets you visualize the content of a website (in terms of images, tables, text, etc.) graphically. Useful for evaluating websites in terms of content and design issues.
Wikispaces - Allows you to set up collaborative work spaces where multiple people can collaborate. Allows uploading of documents, files, images, and multimedia in addition to basic text, and includes discussion boards for every page, editing histories, revert options, RSS subscriptions, and the ability to review recent changes.
Yugma - Free Web 2.0 videoconferencing software. (Read more about Tim Lauer's experiences with it here.)