Monday Message: August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene (NASA, International Space Station, 08/22/11)

Hurricane Irene (NASA, International Space Station, 08/22/11)

Here are a few items to get you started this week…

Senate Bill 54
There have been developments in the SB54 issue. Check the following links to get the latest:

e-Learning for Educators
e-Learning for Educators Online Professional Development Fall Registration Now Open: See the great online PD courses available through e-Learning for Educators for the 2011 Fall semester. Courses are short (7-8 weeks long), facilitated by practicing educators, and carry optional graduate credit. Courses are affordable at $150 per course per participant.

Check out the courses and register at: http://www.elearningmo.org/register/ Call e-Learning at 573-884-4233 with questions or for more information. Registration closes September 21 and courses begin October 5.

Missouri Future of Learning Forum
MOREnet Offers NEW Opportunity for Missouri High School Students: Prototype @ the Missouri Future of Learning Forum is an intensive hands-on design camp immersing passionate and creative students in a collaborative environment to re-imagine the future of learning. Students will learn how design and design-thinking can unlock real world challenges. Students will work with acclaimed designers and educators crafting new models of the classroom and of learning.

The forum will bring together high school students from across Missouri; large and small, rural and urban. As design participants, students will be fully-immersed in a creative setting, presented with a challenge, spend two days collaborating as a team and talking with innovative designers and educationalists from around the country as they design their prototype solution If you know a creative, innovative, student looking to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime event that will enable him/her to meet other students, establi  sh relationships with business leaders, open doors for the future of innovation in Missouri education, then encourage him/her to apply for the Missouri Future of Learning Forum.

The Prototype Design Camp staff and Event Committee (which includes MOREnet staff and member representatives) will select up to 40 sophomore, junior and senior high school students to participate. The online application, design challenge and faculty recommendation(s) will be used to  determine candidate selection. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 12, 2011 so don’t delay, have your students begin working on their applications soon! MOREnet will notify accepted applicants by Sept. 16, 2011. Student out-of-pocket cost to attend is $25 plus travel to Tan-Tar-A, meals outside the forum and incidental expenses. One school chaperone will be required for every two student participants. The chaperone’s cost will only be travel to Tan-Tar-A, meals outside the forum and incidental expenses.

For more in  formation see: http://www.more.net/futurelearning/ Online application available at: http://www.cvent.com/events/2011-missouri-future-of-learning-forum/event-summary-9ade49f383ec4252b4cee04d7a02c9f0.aspx

eMINTS Community
Share the Good News: Do you have something special to report about your school or classroom? An honor or award that has been presented? Share the good news with your eMINTS colleagues across the US and world by sending details about the good news to emints-info@emints.org or join us on Facebook.

HD_Links: Missouri Senate Bill 54

The big news right now in Missouri is over Senate Bill 54. The bill intends to limit student-teacher contact through social media. However, in this day and age, many teachers use social media to keep in touch and build relationships with their students. The ambiguity of the bill has worried many educators over losing effective communication channels.

Education technologists all over the country are watching the developments in Missouri closely to see what the overflow effect will be in their states.

I find the best way to ease anxiety over such issues is to learn as much as possible about them as possible. To help you decipher the new law, here a few links that you may find hel

pful.

How does SB54 affect your teaching practices this fall? What is your district doing in preparation for writing policy that aligns with SB54? What are some ways in which you plan to work around SB54 that still keep you in compliance? Are you using Facebook Groups?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Tuesday’s Tool: Facebook Groups

With Missouri Senate Bill 54 causing a lot of worry all across our state, it’s important for teachers to know the options out there that still allow us to connect with students via social media. Facebook friending has been under the gun as the communication this allows seems to be at odds with the new law. Luckily, there is a way around this conundrum that still utilizes Facebook: Facebook Groups.

A public group on Facebook provides an open forum where students and teachers can easily interact using their current Facebook profiles. There is the wall where discussions and posts can occur. Links, videos, and pictures can also be posted. There is even a poll function where a teacher can check for understanding or gather student preferences.

Along the right-hand side of the group page, one can find several other tools that can make a group rather interactive. There is a chat function that makes it possible for the entire group to chat synchronously with other group members. Documents for group collaboration can be created. Events can be created for deadlines or special occasions.  The events also contain their own wall for posts and sharing resources.

The advantage of the groups is the transparency it allows. A group can be made public, providing access to parents and administrators, making it compliant with SB54. If privacy is a concern, the group can be made private, but a teacher would need to invite parents and administrators in order to remain compliant. Another option could be to require students to use pseudonyms, which many tech-savvy teens do anyway.

An important thing to remember about Facebook use in general is that users must be 13 to have a Facebook profile. So, if you teach any students under 13, they can’t participate on Facebook. An alternative way to use Facebook with younger students is to create a parent group for the purpose of improving parent-teacher contact.

How have you used Facebook Groups with your students and/or parents? What are your concerns with using Facebook Groups in regards to SB54? What are other ways you can see Facebook Groups would be useful in your classroom?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.