Name: Dr. Tom Stiff, Susan Stiff, Diane Hammond, Dr. Steve MacLean (Responses below by Diane Hammond)
Website: nexus.ontarioblogs.com (Diane); Polar Science, www.polarscience.ca, ISS07, iss07.yesican-science.ca, Ontario blogs, www.ontarioblogs.com
Educational Institution: YES I Can! Science Project, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Teaching Environment: K-12 teachers and students worldwide
Web 2.0 Focus: Blogging
Description: YES I Can! Science connects scientists, engineers and researchers working in the field with K-12 classrooms around the world through our project blogs.
In our Polar Science projects, (www.polarscience.ca), in 2005 and 2006, students from grades 3-12 followed researchers in Antarctica studying the aerobic capacity of Weddell seals. The scientists posted blog articles about daily life on the ice in Antarctica and their experiences finding the seals and taking muscle tissue samples. The scientists working in the lab in Toronto used the blogs to give students a first-hand look at lab protocols and research. Students used their blogs to ask questions, answer the challenge questions posed by the scientists, and share the observations and results of their own experiments. Students were also able to write about their interests and share their own areas of expertise with other participants. For example, students in Edmonton, Alberta were able to use their blogs to explain to students in Italy how they survive winter temperatures of minus 20 - 40 degrees Celsius.
Our current project, ISS07, iss07.yesican-science.ca, links grades 4-12 students with American astronaut Clayton Anderson who is Flight Engineer on the International Space Station from June to October, 2007. We are also supported on the ground by Canadian astronaut Dr. Steve MacLean, physicists from McMaster University and staff from Space Center Houston. Students are using their blogs to ask questions about living and working conditions in orbit, construction of the the International Space Station and scientific experiments being conducted in space. In September we will be asking classes to grow seeds in simple growth chambers they build themselves that will simulate the free-fall environment of the ISS. Students will use their blogs to describe the process they use to build their growth chambers and the observations they make of their germinating seeds. They will be able to compare their results with those obtained onboard the ISS. Through the questions, answers, observations, collaborative activities and reflections aggregating in the individual and team blogs, ISS07 participants are creating a legacy resource for future students unparalleled by existing textbooks.
Teaching and Learning: When the YES I Can! Science team first built our collaborative online learning environment, we offered project participants a variety of communication tools - email, discussion forums and blogs. Scientists, teachers and students alike gravitated to the blogs, so much so that that we now use them as our primary communication tool. There are a number of reasons for this. Blogs are easy to use and access. They allow for communication on a continuum from very structured to completely open. Participants can respond to a posted question, comment on another user's post, ask their own questions of our experts, solicit advice or feedback from others, start new conversations and reflect on what they're learning. We have found that some students have become so engaged in their learning that they continue to blog even after the project has officially ended.

Your preferred applications ( e.g., for blogging, Blogger or EduBlogs might be the answer)
For the YES I Can! Science projects we have developed our own blog application. For my personal blog and other blog projects I coordinate I use a modified, personally hosted Wordpress client.

Your mentor(s) (who helped you get started, or who you look to for examples)
I started thinking about blogs as classroom applications after seeing the video Will Richardson made about his blogging experiences at Hunterdon Central High ( http://weblogg-ed.com/wp -content/uploads/2006/05 /WebLoggingSmall.mov). Immediately after that I read David Warlick's book, Classroom Blogging. I was hooked!

Your favorite / most exciting other Web 2.0 tool(s) right now
Video conferencing. I've just received a "booker account" for FlashMeeting and can't wait to use it.

Blog links
Project blogs
Polar Science, www.polarscience.ca
ISS07, iss07.yesican-science.ca
Ontario blogs, www.ontarioblogs.com

Personal blog