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A mechanism to allow authors to highlight other similar content to a reader, using informal, keyword tags; particularly effective for sharing bookmarks (eg http://del.icio.us/), but also used for blog posts (Technorati – http//www.technorati.com/), and photographs (Flickr – http//www.flickr.com/).

In this context, a web-space allowing users to share their work with a wider audience.

These allow online group creation of content with workflow, CMSs can also provide shared authorship photo albums and blogs.

Topic-based news sites with open item posting and comments.

Websites where text conversations are organised as topics and threads.

Popular live group discussion using text. Audio and video conferencing are effectively an extension.

Multi-user games allow collaboration. eg Nesta Futurelabs’ Racing Academy (http//www.nestafuturelab.org/showcase/racing academy/racing academy.htm) , or World of Warcraft (http//www.worldofwarcraft.com/).

Web sites that can be collaboratively updated using only a web browser. They excel at enabling group development of ideas and information sources. Eg Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org).

These keep track of all the changes to a set of files, allowing several authors to work together on a project. Typically employed in open source software development, but can also provide audit trials for document management systems and wikis.

Almost all of these tools are available as hosted web services or open source software (itself a model of social constructionist principles) and can be readily installed on an intranet or extranet. One particularly effective approach is to collect together some of these tools into a cohesive, unified framework, often called a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learning Platform. VLEs have been used by Further Education (FE) colleges and Higher Education (HE) establishments for quite a while and, now that many schools and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) are also using them, the features will be familiar to students as they enter FE and HE establishments. Moodle (http//moodle.org/), the leading open source VLE, provides modules for assignments, chat, forums, lessons, messaging, surveys, workshops, and wikis, and online assessment

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