"A tool should have a low floor, wide walls and high ceiling" ~ Mitch Resnick and Seymour Papert.We have been bombarded with web apps for the past couple of years. It is overwhelming for even those of us who spend a great deal of our time trying to be aware of what is available.
The first issue is to have a place that collects and organizes these new tools. Simple Spark is a favorite spot for me to check out what is available. Then there is, of course, Go2Web20, which is perhaps a bit glitzy, but helpful nevertheless. And there is also Webappsreview.
The next issue is to actually choose the best tool for what we want to accomplish. The tool needs to be so easy-to-use that even beginners can quickly make use of it, and yet, at the same time, needs to offer the ability to offer higher level options for those who are growing in skills. When the learning-curve gets in the way of what we need to accomplish, I would suggest that we need to reconsider. Clunky and archaic systems that get in the way of efficient learning have no place in education. It shouldn't be a complicated ordeal to accomplish a simple task. Teachers are pragmatic and will use what works well as there is no extra time to spend endlessly troubleshooting.
Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers gives reviews of the latest apps and sites . . . and suggests ways they might be used in the classroom.
My current favorites: #1 Ning, #2 Google Sites
What are your favorite web tools?
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." ~ Albert Einstein