This weekend I came across the Social Media Classroom, a free online service packaging Web 2.0 and social media tools for students and teachers.
The Social Media Classroom is an open source Drupal-based web service including online forums, blogs, wikis, chat, social bookmarking, RSS, microblogging, video, and more. For a video preview of SMC, check out this post on ReadWriteWeb.
According to founder, Howard Rheingold, SMC includes curriculum and training materials to help students learn "the rhetoric of social media."
Rheingold advises: "Today, alphabetic literacy and visual literacy are not enough... The co-evolution of technology, media and collective action hasn't stopped, it's gone into hyper-drive."
With initial funding from HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) and the MacArthur Foundation, SMC offers its web service to anyone, including businesses and non-profits.
While SMC will enable students to blog about class, share photos from a field trip and "tweet" questions in real-time, its potential is much greater.
For example, one SMC sponsor commented, "Imagine a mixed reality game in which high school students from Los Angeles and Cairo learn about real-time impacts of air pollution in their neighborhoods."
Super cool! Will SMC prove Disney right? Is it really that small a world after all?