Lindsay Stoetzel, one of my former students who just finished student teaching, did an amazing honors project on using social networking in an English classroom. Lindsay used Ning (free social networking site) to create a network for her students, who used the site to blog, participate in forums, and share resources such as video and audio. I will probably share at least some of her work here eventually when I get her permission to do so.
Lindsay also used a wiki (at Wikispaces) in conjunction with her social network. One of her students was frustrated with the basic ugliness of the wiki site–it’s hard to really change the appearance of a wiki page. This is generally true of wikis and part of their charm. Lindsay’s student pointed her to Scribd, another cutely-named 2.0 site that allows you to upload documents and embed them in other sites, such as wikis. Her students ended up designing more attractive pages in Word, uploading them to Scribd, and embedding them in at Wikispaces for a much more attractive end product.
I decided to check out Scribd. I used it to upload a couple of documents with the results below. Unlike Google Docs or other online word processors, Scribd is really all about storing, displaying, sharing documents, not creating and editing them. A Scribd document can be embedded in any web page (and there is an easy-to-use code for WordPress blogs).