Sunday, May 22, 2011

Interesting Finds This Week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Maine 207 Summer Learning Academies

Last summer we successfully launched our Maine Summer Institutes with just a few courses in cooperative learning and problem-based learning.These programs were very successful which has motivated us to expand our course offerings and repackage our summer program under the title,  "Maine 207 Summer Professional Learning Academies." 

Throughout the summer, beginning with the week of June 13th, we are offering a variety of different workshops on these topics: Differentiated Instruction,  Cooperative Learning (Johnson and Johnson model), Problem-Based Learning (IMSA model), Data Driven Decision Making, Literacy and the Common Core Standards through the lens of one's discipline, Google Apps in the Collaborative Classroom, Google Certified Apps for Education Trainer Preparation Program, and Co-Teaching for Success.

As was true last summer, we are making these courses available to all teachers, no matter what district they are from. Out of district teachers will be required to pay a tuition fee which will cover their instruction, lunch depending on the scheduled time of the class, and books/materials.  The only exception is our Problem-Based Learning Course which will be funded with the assistance of NSERVE and therefore will be free to teachers. Most of these courses are approved courses (1 to 2 hour graduate credit hours) through Aurora University and the tuition is reasonable at $100/credit hour.  Currently, the only courses that are closed are both of our Differentiated Instruction courses, though a waitlist has been established.  Problem Based Learning is filling, but still has seats available, though I expect it to be the next one to close.

If you know of teachers who might be interested, or you'd like to organize a team from your district, please visit our site at:   https://sites.google.com/a/maine207.org/play/
Logistical details, course syllabi and descriptions are located there.

Maine Twp District 207 is located conveniently near O'Hare airport just off of Interstates 294 and 90.  Many hotels, restaurants, and yes--even a casino to open in July, are located within our district or nearby. The workshops will be located either at Maine South/District Office, Maine East, or Maine West. South and East are in Park Ridge, IL.  West is in Des Plaines.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Interesting Finds This Week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Social Media and Student Devices: Developing Guidelines

I am presenting tomorrow at TechForum Chicago on Social Media and Student Devices: Developing Guidelines


We recently approved a new Acceptable Use Policy, which looks similar to the one from a few years ago. I believe this is a strong legal document, which we follow up with an email to students and staff that gives short highlights of what they should consider when following the AUP. You can read an example from the past and another in the coming weeks when I send out the updated version.

We also strengthened our website policy to include guidelines and requirements when using social media. In my opinion the most important lines in all of these documents is referring to disciplining "actions that cause a disruption in the educational process". These are the types of actions, when appropriately documented are held up in court.

We are in the process of getting a mobile phone policy approved, which we are piloting now, and I will post that policy after Board of Education approval.

I think the key to all of these documents is a strong legal document, followed by yearly communications of the expectations in clear language, and a practice of following the policies and documenting any variance from the policy - especially those that cause a disruption in learning.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Interesting Finds This Week (weekly)

  • We know you don't want to miss any of the latest news about Google Apps, so we've consolidated key Google Apps blogs and Twitter feeds here. Make sure to check them regularly. Or, better yet, subscribe to these feeds to receive updates right to your door via email or RSS feed! To subscribe to a blog feed, just click its title just below the tab, and then choose your subscription under Subscribe Now.

    tags: google schools update

  • tags: google schools

  • a free piece of software called Duplicate Music File Finder. This one works outside iTunes, so there’s a need to clean up the resulting dead links afterwards. Hold your breath, start the app, point it at your music files, and let it check them out.



    Just before we go further, a reminder. I’m trying to help, but the risk is yours. You need to have backed up all your music before you start.

    Click the Check All button if you are happy that the duplicates have been selected, and then click on Delete Checked Files to actually remove them. Click Yes to confirm.

    The application behaved for me exactly as expected, and all the duplicate files were moved to the Recycle Bin.

    The last step in the process is to tell iTunes to take a look at itself, and remove any items in the library which no longer exist. Unfortunately there is no simple way in the iTunes interface to do this, so we need to cheat, just a little.

    Apple has provided a script to do just this particular trick, and to make use of it you just need to do these things in order:

    Close iTunes if you have it open
    Go to the web page, right-click on it, and save the page as a file, making sure you change the extension to .js. So for instance, in Firefox, right-click on the page, choose Save page As”¦ and change the file name from RemoveDeadTracks.txt to RemoveDeadTracks.js.
    Open Windows Explorer and browse to the file you just saved
    Double-click on the file.

    tags: iTunes duplicates howto TOOLS

  • epartment of Education’s Director of Education Technology, Karen Cator.

    Cator parsed the rules of the Childrens Internet Protection Act, and provided guidance for teachers on how to proceed when it comes to interpreting the rules. To that end, here are six surprising rules that educators, administrators, parents and students might not know about website filtering in schools.

    Accessing YouTube is not violating CIPA rules. “Absolutely it’s not circumventing the rules,” Cator says. “The rule is to block inappropriate sites. All sorts of YouTube videos are helpful in explaining complex concepts or telling a story, or for hearing an expert or an authentic voice — they present learning opportunities that are really helpful.”
    Websites don’t have to be blocked for teachers. “Some of the comments I saw online had to do with teachers wondering why they can’t access these sites,” she says. “They absolutely can. There’s nothing that says that sites have to be blocked for adults.”
    Broad filters are not helpful. “What we have had is what I consider brute force technologies that shut down wide swaths of the Internet, like all of YouTube, for example. Or they may shut down anything that has anything to do with social media, or anything that is a game,” she said. “These broad filters aren’t actually very helpful, because we need much more nuanced filtering.”
    Schools will not lose E-rate funding by unblocking appropriate sites. Cator said she’s never heard of a school losing E-rate funding due to allowing appropriate sites blocked by filters. See the excerpt below from the National Education Technology Plan, approved by officials who dictate E-rate rules.
    Kids need to be taught how to be responsible digital citizens. “[We need to] address the topic at school or home in the form of education,” Cator says. “How do we educate this generation of young people to be safe online, to be secure online, to protect their personal information, to understand privacy, and how that all plays out when they’re in an online space?”
    Teachers shoul

    tags: filtering CIPA blocking education DOE filter Internet erate

  • Ever wonder how the hours American teachers work and the salary they earn compares to teachers in other industrialized nations? Well, the picture's not pretty. In this infographic courtesy of the Future Journalism Project, American educators work the most hours of all industrialized nations, but are the fifth lowest paid after 15 years on the job. Only Luxembourg, Hungary, Iceland, and Norway pay their teachers less.

    And how do we compare to the country that's number one in the world in education according to international tests, Finland? Teachers there work the fifth fewest hours and are the ninth lowest paid. Sure, no one goes into education for the money, but at a certain point doesn't it seem wrong that teachers pretty much everywhere else on this chart work less but get paid more?

    tags: visualization teachers Salary

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.