3 Years Out…Highlights

OK, Here’s me reflecting on the improvements we have made in the last 3 years…

  • Completely re-engineered our district website to make it a first class educational hub for learning.
  • Launched iLearn/Moodle for online classrooms. These courses meet the new Michigan graduation requirement that students be exposed to an online learning activity. We have several hundred courses and over 6,000 users.
  • Created a comprehensive web publishing network based on Adobe Contribute for schools to maintain and expand their websites providing information for parents and community. The publishing network is all controlled centrally and easily manageable by one person. This was not the case prior to this with over 30 schools all moving in different directions for creating websites.
  • Made classroom website creation as simple as entering a username and password. With iBlog, a teacher merely enters their district ID and a classroom website is instantly created for them and viewable to parents. iBlog is a wonderful website creation tool that allows teachers to update their website from any computer and anytime. We have around 500 teacher blogs.
  • 24/7 Access to streaming video! We stream our public access cable channel on the web live. We also podcast and record all Board Meetings and have an archive going back to June 2005. Utilizing a QuickTime Streaming video server, any school can create a “live” feed to the web.
  • D-tube is now the video sharing website of choice for Dearborn teachers and students. With D-Tube, students/teachers can upload videos share classroom projects etc. Teachers can upload videos and then embed these videos into their iblog websites for parents/students. D-Tube has about 90 videos and over 46,000 video views. Some videos have over 4000 views.
  • Provided podcasting access for any teacher with a iblog website. Podcasting for all !!! With our podcast system, the feeds can be added to iTunes for easy viewing and tracking.
  • Hours upon hours of training and trouble shooting for staff. To keep the system running, training and support are critical. Whether it is 1-on-1 or large group training, providing help is critical for getting people to adopt the new technology.

Here is kinda the game plan…

Phase I
Establish the main publishing and online tools (iLearn, iBlog, D-Tube). These three tools provide tools for learning, publishing, and multimedia/video. This is the foundation for our online learning platform. We are constantly adding new features, but this is the core group of web applications we are using. Staff do not need to use all three and most don’t. They each have strengths and weaknesses. It is important that we keep expanding the use and awareness of the core applications. This is done via the training sessions.

Phase II
Expand functionality: Communication, Collaboration, and Personal Learning Space.

With Phase II we want to enhance certain aspects of the core applications. Communication will involve adding on a “Live” web conference system (WCS). The WCS will allow teachers to record and archive lessons, concepts, etc. in a video and media format that will allow students to retrieve this information as they are studying 24/7. The WCS will also allow students/staff to instantly connect and meet with video and audio via a webcam and computer with eachother real-time, real-fast! So, the WCS will allow the teacher to record the instructional delivery of key concepts in the course and archive them for student viewing. It will also allow for real-time online meetings. The meetings would be beneficial for students who may be studying for a test at home and want to meet to discuss test items.

Collaboration will be covered by the release of a district-wide WIKI. Staff and Students can login using district ID’s and work collaboratively on WIKI pages for reports, projects, etc.

Personal Learning Space will in effect be ePortfolios where students can create profiles, store their works and educational bookmarks, blog, connect with friends, form study groups, and much more. It will become their personal learning environment where they can store their educational materials.
Phase II is just beginning… It will be exciting next year in September.

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