In his recent post, The Internet as a World of Wonder, Wes Fryer steps back in awe at the "empowering nature of the Internet today" to "connect people and bring them closer together in virtual space." The Read/Write Web is transforming the world we live in, providing educators with a growing number of wonderful collaboration tools, such as those referenced by Lucy Gray. Along with new tools, The ITM bloggers are providing educators with examplar models, sound strategies, and best practices for using collaborative tools.
One model project, The Vermont Midi Project has been using the power of the Internet to connect musicians and music composers with K-12 students producing more than musical talent. Over the past ten years, this project has crafted the art of online collaboration and tested strategies for Reflection and Critique and Mentoring. The project website also shares authentic and concrete examples of the Online Mentoring Process in action, providing a glimpse into best practices for educators preparing to use online tools for sharing.
Along with examples of "What Sharing Looks Like," educators also could benefit from inspirational stories of "What Happens When We Share". Stories about the impact of online collaboration on students such as that of aspiring composer, Matt Podd, can provide tools to help address the "fear of using social software" which can sometimes be a barrier for innovative educators ready to use online collaboration tools. Sharing his music in the VT Midi Project's password protected site provided Matt with the skills and confidence he need to participate in the more global Sibelius Music Community. The power of the Internet to connect provided a student from a small rural town in Vermont the opportunity to have his music compositions played in four different countries and experience to compete with students from more urban cultural centers for limited slots in the college admission process for music composers. As your digital toolkit grows, don't forget to pack it with inspiration and best practices.