Thanks for the info, I am the tech facilitator at a Middle School so keep me posted as I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate technology. However, my district is very strict on following CIPA compliance, meaning anything that will be posted on the web, has to be filtered, so no student can swear or bully online. We use Gaggle.net for blogging/emailing for students.
Wow, this sounds very exciting. I am a technology coach for a pre-k-third grade building in a very progressive large district. The director is very concerned with "safety" issues and doesn't want to venture out of the security of the district's own network. Trying to convince him to let the teachers have blogs has been a chore. I will pass this on to my facilitator and share with my other collegues.
Congratulations for taking on such a huge task and doing it early. I am curious as to how you selected middle school content and if it is on a universal level (all state standards). Since, I teach elementary school in Virginia I would definitely like to pilot your project on the elementary level.
I wish you all the best on your project. I think it is a winner!
What a massive and exciting undertaking! As an educator, having a single platform from which to access the many tools of 21st century teaching and learning would be great, especially one that is secure for students to use. I am a teacher-librarian for a K-8 school in Los Angeles and I have studied the research and methodologies involved in 21st century education. I work to teach students information literacy as well as support teachers by providing print/digital resources for their curricula; I find I I am an unofficial tech problem solver at my site as well. Tech at my school is in the infancy stages re infrastructure and professional development so I do not see us being your pilot school... DARN IT! However, I am VERY interested in your project and DO hope you'll keep in touch re its progress.
If I may offer my two cents to support your endeavors, it would be about:
* The struggles I have at my school for student security. Keeping kids safe is essential and yet it often seems that an inherent fear attaches itself to educators and administrators launching themselves into the 21st cent. learning environment. It suffocates many of my and my colleagues efforts. Blocked websites, no student emails, not letting kids out into the flat world b/c it lets the "big bad world" in. This is a tough one. I am sure you and your colleagues will have spent considerable time on this one.
* The other offering I would have for you is that many of the "digital immigrant" teachers have a very hard time advancing in their professional development. Learning tech tools as well as shifting away from outmoded teaching paradigms happen at a painfully slow pace. These teachers, however sincerely interested they may be, require loads of extra time to learn, practice, and have their hands held through the process. But the rewards are great when they have a break through and learn how easy the tools really are. And more importantly, how student motivation and achievement is truly revolutionized!
I am SO excited for you. Best of luck and please keep me in your contact list. I would love to be of any assistance.
Your Alight Learning idea sounds intriguing. I recommend you take a look at Wiziq's virtual classroom and authorstream's power point presentation platform. Both are web based platforms, have a bunch of features and free basic service.
My welcome from Germany!
I focus on Web 2.0 apps in the classroom - additionally on CR 2.0 I´ve created one of the biggest groups called DigiSkills with now 464 members. Would love if you decide to join too.
Feel free to check some of my sites:)