Kevin Jarrett asks these questions via multiple tweets, hoping we’ll provide some perspective. As a veteran educator caught up in the ebb-n-flow of reforms that do little but erode the education establishment, much less transform it, I despair that I have any answers to offer. Yet consideration of the questions is important, if only because Kevin dared to ask them.
His questions include the following:
- “What evidence do you see re: teacher leadership & its impact on school, community, student learning or job satisfaction?”
- “What should a teacher leader know and be able to do?
- “How do we build capacity for teacher leadership?”
- “What makes you a teacher leader?”
Rather than try to steer my own way clear of the current that draws me into the inescapable deep, I’m going to try to respond from my perspective as someone caught in the current. A middle-aged educator with a mortgage, family to feed and form, desperate to find the funding needed to keep my legacy as being more than electrons scattered throughout the edublogosphere, a few words on journals and magazines tossed into corners, immortalized and inconsequential…and, I’m going to have fun. And, that may mean my answers are no more useful to Kevin than a breeze on a cool day.
What makes you a teacher leader?
In my lofty position as administrator, I am entrenched in the culture and vision of the education establishment. Wherever I look, I see darkness and despair at the options available to our Texas children. They are slaving away in a system that not only disenfranchises them from the present reality of interconnected creativity, but also, the future possible to them. If I would identify any qualities for a teacher leader, it would be those intangibles that have little to do with your methodology, your merit, or how quickly you fill out paperwork…what makes a teacher leader is an indefatigable hope, unflappable in the face of endless meetings about mundane events that mean nothing, articulating the truth in ways that are palatable to the principals and paper-pushers whose motto is, “Soldier, ask not…” their thoughts and minds locked to a single purpose–do what they are told.
In the face of the greyness, the sameness of uniformity, the systematic supercilious complexity of captive minds imagining terror, I seek courage in the teacher leader to be different in simple ways.
How do we build capacity for teacher leadership?
We build capacity for teacher leadership, not by building those programs in schools, but in our churches and homes. We encourage thinking and the leadership that is the independent, American mind, unafraid to accept what must be done and then to do it with respect for, but not fear of, the consequences. If a teacher is fortunate enough to find someone, then let it be that one teacher will help another in the trenches, not to help them do what they are told, but to help them find the way to open the door for students who must find their own way.
What should a teacher leader know and be able to do?
A teacher leader should know how to help fellow teachers, be skillful in the use of a wide variety of tools and approaches that passionately engage learners, as well as nurture them in their growth and forward movement. They should know when to subvert the mission given to them, to make it sparkle rather than dull in the face of strict instruction, smile and collaboratively help others to learn within the context of a powerful professional learning network that expands professional learning beyond classroom walls…their approach is passionately reflective, and peaceful without rancor or bitterness.
What evidence do you see re: teacher leadership & its impact on school, community, student learning or job satisfaction?
The only evidence I see is the teacher as a stalwart of the community, relied upon by others. I’ve seen it more in small rural districts than in urban districts that swallow people alive…there’s something to the small pond and the impact one can have. For a teacher to be a leader, their effect has to be made in the community in which they work, their relationships have to encompass more than their teaching….
If 150 relationships is all we can handle, perhaps we need to form smaller communities that are close enough to each other to benefit from shared wisdom but far enough to recognize the value of a teacher who dares to hope, is brave enough to act, wise enough to speak when others would be silent, and to say that which must be said without offense.
There, Kevin, I’ve given you totally useless answers to your questions. Now, what did you expect me to say?
In the meantime, consider the following:
- Most researchers agree that teacher leaders demonstrate expertise in their instruction and share that knowledge with colleagues; are consistently on a professional learning curve; practice reflection; engage in continuous action research; collaborate with peers, parents, and communities; become socially aware and politically involved; mentor new teachers; become more involved in preparing pre-service teachers; and are risk-takers who participate in school decisions. (Source)
- Being a teacher leader means sharing and representing relevant and key ideas of our work as teachers in contexts beyond our individual classrooms so as to improve the education of our students and our ability to provide it for them. (Source)
- Teacher leadership is the process by which teachers, individualy or collectively, influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school communities to improve teaching and learning practices with the aim of increased student learning and achievement. (Source)
- Results indicated that ongoing, high quality professional development experiences played an important role in their [teacher leader] careers. Their ability to collaborate with peers and to become more reflective practitioners was enhanced by powerful professional development. These experiences also expanded their professional networks. . .Besides high levels of expertise, collaboration, reflection, empowerment, and flexibility, teachers needed to develop sophisticated expertise in pedagogical content knowledge and a professional network to support ongoing learning in order to be effective leaders. The encouragement of respected mentors and colleagues, coupled with continuous nourishment of their intellectual interests through rigorous learning opportunities, were the keys to their success. (Source)
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
Ok, allow me a moment to enjoy the navel gazing without staring too intently….
If only it was due to my excellent writing, not this pumpkin image that has captured the eye of quite a few people!
Read the blog entry it goes with…from Halloween, 2008!
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
Source: Sunflowers by Rebecca Broyles;
At TechForum Southwest 2009 on November 6, 2009, I get to facilitate a roundtable discussion about “Getting the Word Out to the Community with Social Networking Tools.” Not having facilitated a roundtable discussion before–face to face, isn’t that ironic?–I’m wondering about the structure of a roundtable.
Some of the roundtable discussions I’ve participated in start off with, “Ok, we’re going to be discussing [enter subject]. Let’s go around the table and get perspectives.” This sounds like a perfectly good way to get started, but then I find the challenge of wanting to participate in the discussion rather than just get caught up in listening to great perspectives others offer. My perspective is we need to aim for the heart of those we interact with, be useful, and encourage everyone to contribute to a mosaic of the organization.
With using Social Networking Tools, I want to share Seth Godin’s perspective within an educational organizational context. That is, if a school district is using social media tools, they have to do more than “Top down messaging encourages an echo chamber (agree with this edict or change the channel)” (read the rest of Seth’s blog entry).
In fact, if you had to characterize how school districts and organizations use tools like Twitter and Facebook, it might come look like this with Seth’s points as the main thrust of each example:
1) “Defense of the status quo encouraged by an audience self-selected to be uniform.” Imagine a school district that ignores everything news organizations and others may have tweeted about it (since the content was “negative”) and instead chose to only tweet the comments that were positive. There is certainly some control going on there.
2) “Top down messaging encourages an echo chamber (agree with this edict or change the channel).” Imagine a school district that sends out tweets that are links to press releases on its web site, feature a video that is only positive. The goal is to manage perception of others “out there” rather than be transparent and truthfully deal with the issues that are of real concern. The problem with the former approach rather than the transparent one is that people are going to talk about your organization, whether you like what they say or not.
3) “Unwillingness to review past mistakes in light of history and use those to do better next time.” Every organization makes mistakes but admitting to them must be in the “No-No” book. In fact, it probably has something to do with legal liability because organizations are afraid to admit they are wrong and then take decisive action on it. Maybe it’s because decisive action has to be taken by one individual–the Superintendent–and that’s just something she/he is too busy to deal with.
Solution to these challenges? If you want to get the word out, don’t try to substitute your message about what’s going on with THEIR perception of what’s happening. Acknowledge their perception, negative or otherwise, focus on action taken, and share the effects of those actions…and empower everyone, unleashing every facet of your academic community (parents, students, teachers in classrooms) to speak up and do that.
Rather than a broken, fractured perspective, you may end up with a mosaic of what your organization is like…much more valuable, very engaging to the “creators!”
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
“Our business is built around the status quo,” points out Seth Godin in this blog post, “and it’s not fair that the market wants something else now.” These words describe so many companies who suffering the effects of disruptive technologies, scrambling to stay alive in the face of “easy to use, not quite perfect or the best but good enough to get the job done for what I need.” One example of a type of business who’s crying “Not fair!” includes course management systems, like Blackboard who gobbled up WebCT and Angel to the complaint of some of its customers. In fact, thanks to Angelic Learning, check out these stories of people fleeing the “black hole,” as that blogger colorfully puts it, below:
- (4 campuses) went to ANGEL from Blackboard starting the Fall 2007 semester. The reasons given were: 1. Cost – Blackboard was too expensive compared to ANGEL. 2. Service – weeks and months would often pass before problem tickets were addressed. 3. Faculty approved ANGEL over Blackboard and competing systems.”
- moved from Blackboard to ANGEL in 2005 due to Blackboard’s outrageous prices and deplorable customer service.”
- “after Blackboard bought WebCT (the college) was not treated well and support went downhill quickly.”
- “left WebCT 4.1 because of the Blackboard purchase. Too many problems with Blackboard support.”
- “We moved from Blackboard to ANGEL in summer 2007 for a few reasons, #1-price, #2-functionality, #3-support!”
- And many more….
In light of this conversation, it was fascinating to read a blog posting about assertions Blackboard makes in regards to Open Source alternatives like Sakai and Moodle. The blog’s author makes some interesting points, not all of which are represented in the notes I thought worth keeping and sharing on my blog. While I encourage you to read the blog entry in its entirety, I thought I might share a few points of my own.
While proprietary companies are silently paddling like heck under the water to stay afloat in a world where their services have suddenly become “free,” you have to admire any company for their attacks on competitors (e.g. Desire2Learn) and denial of the truths that many educators–slow as we are in understanding technology’s application to the work we do–are now accepting, in spite of the “Our Proprietary solution IS an enterprise solution.” These proprietary companies are NOT quietly going to go into the night with a whimper…I have to admire that.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Read the rest of the poem by Dylan Thomas
That poem’s reference to no forked lightning is defined as “ failed to command attention; failed to express a startling or revolutionary concept.” (source)
In light of FOSS tools become available and slowly growing over time, it’s no surprise, right? Proprietary tools no longer command our attention.
But what tools DO command attention, especially in course management systems? Well, though I advocate for the use of any FOSS course management system that meets the needs of an educational organization at lower cost and makes technical support required…well…less technical. That includes solutions I’m familiar with, such as Moodle, or those I’m not, like Sakai,
While support costs can be high, they are NOTHING compared to the recurring license fees of proprietary solution vendors. In times of economic hardship, and even in times of prosperity, it is incumbent upon school district administrators to be sensitive to saving funding so they can invest it in teachers and students. The “education industrial complex,” as I think Chris Lehman (Practical Theory) characterized it as cited in Will Richardson blog entry I read this week, is undeserving of any mercy since they have bled school coffers dry.
Proprietary solution providers, beware…you reap what you sow.
The following note was shared recently referencing a source at the Texas Education Agency (TEA):
There has been some confusion regarding the technology allotment. The 81st Texas Legislature did fund the technology allotment. According to the To The Administrator Addressed letter dated August 10, 2009, the technology allotment is based on rate of $29.43 multiplied by your district’s 2009–10 estimated refined ADA, and accounted for in the special revenue fund 11. (See http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/taa/statefund080709.html).
In past years, the allotment has been paid as early as November and as late as January. For the 2009-2010 school year, the allotment is scheduled to be paid in May.
There has also been some confusion regarding the use of technology allotment funds. According to the Texas Education Code, the technology allotment may be used only to:
(1) provide for the purchase by school districts of electronic textbooks or technological equipment that contributes to student learning; and
(2) pay for training educational personnel directly involved in student learning in the appropriate use of electronic textbooks and for providing for access to technological equipment for instructional use.
The Agency has interpreted this to mean that the allotment may be used to employ staff to train educational personnel directly involved in student learning in the appropriate use of electronic textbooks and for providing access to technological equipment for instructional use.
Instructional Materials and Education Technology
Texas Education Agency
Great responses on Susan Patrick’s part to David Nagel’s interview. I am convinced that we need to abandon the failed technology integration approaches of the last 17 years and switch to online learning. If we were looking for a movement to get behind, it’s clearly not Web 2.0 or Read/Write Web as powerful as that is…it is using these tools within the context of online learning to rethink what we do "for school."
Thanks to Nagel and THE Journal for this interview!
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the TCEA Area 9 Conference in Jacksboro, Texas. It was a fun event for me–I moodled all day; check here for workshop materials–and I had the opportunity to meet folks like Don Sewell (TCEA Area 9 Director).
One of the intriguing conversations I had on Saturday was with members of the TCEA Area 9 Council, which evidently had been around for quite a few years. It is something I’ve admired from afar in Area 20.
The benefits of an Area Council for TCEA Area 9 included the following:
- Scholarships for students
- Officers to serve on Area Council
- Better representation from local districts
- Organization of area events
ARTICLE VIII. AREA COUNCIL
Section 1. Area Council Members
The Area Council shall consist of the Area Director, who shall serve as chairperson, and members recruited from the general membership of that area.
Section 2. Qualifications for Area Council
Any Regular Member, who is a teacher, administrator, or other employee of an educational entity in the state of Texas, shall be eligible to serve on the Area Council. Area Council members must reside or be employed in the TCEA area they serve.
Section 3. Terms of Area Council Members
Membership on the Area Council shall be reviewed annually by the Area Director.
Section 4. Selection of Area Council Members
The Area Director shall recruit and appoint Council members from the general membership of that Area. An equitable geographic balance shall be maintained, insofar as possible. The Council may establish an officer structure comparable to the existing structure of TCEA.
Section 5. Duties of the Area Council
Area Council members shall assist the Area Director in planning, organizing, and implementing Area activities, promoting Area membership, contributing to the TCEA communications network, budgeting and directing the Area funds, working on various committees as assigned, and promoting the use of computers and technology in educational settings.
Section 6. Duties of the Area Director
The Area Director organizes specialized Area activities, promotes Area membership, contributes to the TCEA communications network, budgets and directs the Area funds, works on various committees as assigned, chairs the Area Council, advises Local Chapters, in that Area, and promotes the use of computers and technology in educational settings.
What are your thoughts about establishing a TCEA Area 20 Council? Is that something of interest and worthwhile?
What a phenomenal article by Frank Martinelli (Texas NonProfits) on building an effective Board of Directors! I really enjoyed reading some of the strategies suggested by Frank and there are some obvious connections/suggestions applicable to the work of organizations I’m familiar with, such as TCEA, that I’m hoping to be elected to office for. These points are ones I’m going to keep in mind as I pursue elected office with TCEA, but you know what, these are just excellent suggestions for ANYONE who gets elected to Board or is interested in holding their Board members accountable.
While I cite other key take-aways from the article below via my DiigoNotes, I found four critical take-aways for me that made me leap out of my chair. Those take-aways included the following:
- Your Board of Directors needs to have a plan for ROTATION of Board members. One of the big problems with some organizations–such as TCEA–is the lack of term limits. This means Board members hang around forever and no fresh ideas are introduced, even if the Board members are committed individuals…failure to get new Board members results in a “closed” Board. Valuable, valuable feedback for any organization and its membership!
- The need for a public and easily available, written job description for Board Members. One of the frustrating things about running for TCEA office is that you’re elected to serve on the Board by the membership in your geographic area, however, there is no job description (that I’m aware of) posted for being a Board member where it’s easily accessible to all. While I’m sure there must be a job description somewhere, I hope new Board members aren’t confronted with one immediately prior to “swearing in” and expected to agree to it. I love this quote:
“prospective board members want to know what is expected of them along with an estimate of the required time. Avoid the temptation to downplay the responsibilities of board membership. New board members will eventually find out what the true expectations are and if they are different from what they were told before coming on to the board, you’re in trouble! “
- Follow effective committee structure. In my experience (not being organization specific in this critique, so don’t misunderstand), ad-hoc committees are poorly organized and thrown together at the last minute. It usually falls on the person chosen to chair the committee to draft the members, usually using up “favors” or relying on friendship to pull together. I like the author’s discussion of six elements of successful, effective committees, as well as committee member selection as shared below:
They can be a mix of board and non-board members and should be recruited with the following question in mind: What tasks is the committee responsible for and who among our members and supporters possess the skills and experience needed to complete those tasks? As is the case with other forms of volunteer recruitment, every effort should be made to match the needs and requirements of the committee and the skills, knowledge and interests of prospective committee members.
- Creating a matrix of current Board members skills. Wow, what a great idea to better get to know what people know how to do and can do. Consider these instructions:
There are many other great nuggets of information in Martinelli’s “Building an Effective Board of Directors,” including the self-assessment tool for Board members. Here are my notes and, of course, you’re encouraged to read the full article and check out the tools included at the end of the article.
Are we preparing our children for the future? I’m not sure, but I find inspirational assertions like the following one way of managing the unknown possibilities:
In a networked corporation, there is scant difference between knowledge work and learning. Workers become problem solvers and innovators instead of cogs in the machine. The objective is ingenuity, not conformity. Business success depends on them working together rather than as individuals. Collaboration rules. They work and learn in what has been tagged by CLO Magazine as “learnscapes”.
Corporations can create superior “learnscapes” by injecting practices that foster optimal learning: interaction, ease of access, timely reinforcement, peer coaching, and cognitive apprenticeship and so on. Developing and nurturing “learnscapes” is not just something to keep training departments busy; it’s the top responsibility of this group and the ultimate key performance indicator.
Source: Informal Learning
These are ideas that have been around for awhile, at least, long enough to find their way into the literature. In this article on Knowledge Building Paradigm, the authors highlight how businesses are redefining themselves:
many businesses are now finding that the pace of change demanded by the global economy and facilitated by various technologies is requiring them to rethink how they are organized. Many are restructuring themselves as learning organizations—organizations in which new learning and innovation are the engines that drive the company. These companies have flattened layers of management and tend to work in the manner suggested by Kelly (1994), Johnson (2001), and Gloor (2006): bottom-up, swarm-like organizations with fewer hierarchical barriers between ideas and decisions.
and the impact this has on the people who work in such organizations:
Fisher and Fisher (1998) note, “These teams are difficult to describe to outsiders because their membership shifts from time to time, forming and reforming like rapidly splitting amoebas” (106). In this environment, Bennet (2003) notes the need for tools that support collaborative work to virtualize the knowledge of the team, distributing it onto the artifact and thus making it available to all team members…The educational system will have to produce individuals who can work in such organizations and who understand the processes of innovation and creativity.
But consider how educational organizations structure themselves. Often, they are hierarchical, top-down and focus on a central group of people telling the rest how to behave, what to do, what plan to follow. Often, knowledge workers are languishing in their classrooms…and, I’m not referring to the students.
Are we ready in education to prepare learners who understand the processes of innovation and creativity, or are we preparing them to be people who do what they are told to do, when they are told to do it, and to take delight in the creativity of the knowledge-giver?
In a previous blog entry, I shared the concept of Robert Quinn’s Tyranny of Competence. It goes like this:
An individual contributor is a person whose technical competence is judged in terms of singular rather than interdependent action. The more unique the individual output, the more powerful the person becomes. The overapplication of the technical paradigm by an individual can lead to a negative state called the tyranny of competence.
My focus in my previous entry was to help leaders consider the problems with allowing any one person become a “tyrant” due to being so highly technical that they are the ONLY person on the team with the critical job skills. As a person whose motto is “Share More!,” I can’t keep any piece of information useful to the team to myself…I have to share it, whether in cross-training or a published piece (e.g. blog, article for magazine, etc).
Yet, what if we took that idea and applied it to job seekers. Isn’t it safe to say that a person on your team who is highly technical and competent in his position enjoys a certain level of job security? And, isn’t holding on to that job the most important thing in a tough economy? It seems counter-intuitive to practice “sharing” the one or two things that make you highly valued.
In educational technology, though, it’s critical to share your ideas because the shelf life of the skills that make you technically competent is short-lived. We don’t want to find ourselves sitting pretty on Web 1.0 design now that Web 2.0 design is here…what we need to do is keep pushing ourselves, sharing as we go so that we elevate the level of conversation in our field and continue learning.
The problem with this thinking, though, is that I’m a human being. I can’t ALWAYS be learning, right? I mean, at some point, I hit the wall and it becomes a case of diminishing returns. I’m not always going to be young (hey, it’s my birthday today (10/22) and I’m 41) and able to stay up late learning new things and moving ahead. Eventually, sitting by the side of the road and watching the speedsters go by will be fun. While I’m not at that point, I have to try and reconcile this perspective with constant growth.
Reflection on what is being learned is becoming more important. Even as I slow down to “smell the flowers” more, I also find that I have a tremendous amount to share. Though I may do less, what I do can have a deeper, richer flavor because I bring a wealth of experience. The equivalent in writing is rich details interwoven throughout that adds multiple levels of meaning to a piece of writing.
Maybe, being tyranically competent is a worthwhile goal in a tough economy. . .I’m grateful I have the luxury of choosing to share what I learn with as wide an audience as possible without having to worry about becoming irrelevant as a result of that generosity.
What do you think?
In my Online Instructor Training (OIT) class through the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE), during synchronous discussion, the topic came up of misbehavior in online classes. It was a topic I hadn’t spent a lot of time reflecting on since I work with adult learners. I definitely agree with the author cited at the link above:
A well-organized class and a syllabus that clearly lays out the requirements, procedures, and other aspects of the class are necessary elements. In regard to interaction, the instructor also does much to set the tone for the class, and how well one provides feedback is also a critical factor. Training for instructors should address how to organize and manage an online class so as to reduce the odds of miscommunication, and should also help instructors recognize and manage difficulties when they arise.
If an adult learner “misbehaves,” I know exactly what to do: 1) Re-direct; 2) Direct contact; 3) Remove; and if necessary, 4) Contact his supervisor.
With children, though, the contacts appear to be more subtle. Clear expectations up front are critical no matter what the age of the learner. This is why I was grateful to Jeanie Cole (HCDE) for her suggestion that I visit the Florida Virtual School to view these policies:
- Code of Conduct
- Academic Integrity
- Grading and Final Exam
- Bullying and Harassment
- Eligibility, Residency and Age
- Placement Priority
While each of these has to be adapted, developed for one’s own situation and community, it’s nice to know that we’re not starting from scratch. I encourage Texas districts that have addressed these items to share their policies with the rest of us!
Although I know you’re supposed to design web sites for accessibility, somehow, I hadn’t thought through the issues with accessibility for Moodle. What happens when one of the students–who may be blind–wants to take an online class?
Pretty scary. So, i was grateful to get this article from Diana Benner pointing to an article about testing Moodle for accessibility. Well worth it to read the summary, and then discuss accessibility issues.
A colleague asked me as we tried to work on a computer, “How do I recover my admin password on Windows?” As I stumbled to remember the answer, I googled myself and found a posting I’d written some time ago:
At Daily Cup of Tech, Tim begins with this disclaimer…
I want to start this article off by saying that the information contained in this article may be of a controversial nature. But, I want to just remind everyone that information in and of itself is amoral; that is, it is neither good nor evil. It is only what someone decides to do with this information that can be good or evil. It is my sincerest hope that you will choose to make the world a better place with this information.
Should this information be available? I’m reminded of the UCEA panel presentation by Dr. Scott McLeod…. In the conversation, it was obvious that while transparency is great, shouldn’t we be asking whether this information SHOULD be made available? After all, what is helpful to one group in the United States or the United Kingdom can also be helpful to someone wearing a turban that had a terroristic agenda.
Of course, you don’t have to wear a turban to hold and act on a radical point of view, or attempt to legislate your exclusionary beliefs. So, SHOULD Tim be sharing this information on his web site?
Cain & Abel is a password recovery tool for Microsoft Operating Systems. It allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords using Dictionary, Brute-Force and Cryptanalysis attacks, recording VoIP conversations, decoding scrambled passwords, recovering wireless network keys, revealing password boxes, uncovering cached passwords and analyzing routing protocols. The program does not exploit any software vulnerabilities or bugs that could not be fixed with little effort. It covers some security aspects/weakness present in protocol’s standards, authentication methods and caching mechanisms; its main purpose is the simplified recovery of passwords and credentials from various sources, however it also ships some “non standard” utilities for Microsoft Windows users.
It’s pretty easy per Tim’s tutorial–and, of course, the Cain and Abel software–to recover email, FTP, MySQL, etc. as described below:
If you has set up Cain & Abel as described above, all you need to do is send yourself an e-mail. Once you have sent and received the e-mail, go back to Cain & Abel. Click on the Sniffer tab at the top and then the Passwords tab at the bottom. On the left hand side, you will see a listing of different types of passwords that can be retrieved from the network. Your e-mail is likely POP3 so click on that POP3 option.
It is also interesting to see this comment… It [Cain and Abel] can do a lot more such as recovering Access database passwords and revealing what is under the ******** you see in password fields.
The following is in response to a few questions. Without providing the questions, here’s my response:
As this article on online learning accommodations points out, “new delivery methods for education create new challenges to our assigned role in assuring access for students with disabilities” (DAIS Online Toolkit). Being responsive and supportive of students with special needs is required by law. This is shared in the information cited below:
No person shall, by any reason of his or her disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any services, programs, or activities of an entity covered by the law…Under Section 504, children with disabilities must be educated with their nondisabled peers “to the maximum extent appropriate,” and “removal . . . from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” (Read Source).
This is important because virtual learning opportunities are now one of the benefits to students. But how can virtual learning be an option for students who have special needs or learning disabilities? One possibility is that students with temporary disabilities can have their needs met (consider Brian Crosby’s class interaction with Celeste, a homebound student). One of the key points that is often missed when discussing the needs of special needs students is the social aspect of learning. These social aspects have to be explicitly taught. As a result of communication with students, “positive group formation” and learning can occur (Read source). It is also important to accommodate for student learners with disabilities. To ensure participation for the student learner, it is important to provide an accommodation or supplementary aid/service necessary. Learning disabilities may be defined as a disorder in one or more basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written. This disability may manifest itself as an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations (Source).
The left-thumb blogger is afforded the opportunity to publish to a global audience. This reminds me of autistic Carly, a student who, when given a computer, was able to express herself in ways NEVER imagined autistic students could communicate.
Strategies afforded by new web technologies allow students that have learning disability to side-step their “different ability” and learn via various media (e.g. podcasts, videos), as well as be engaged in creating their own content using a variety of tools (e.g. VoiceThread.com, ShowBeyond.com). For students that second language learners, or English Language Learners, we can see that tools like ShowBeyond.com are helpful; consider this example to build vocabulary in target language. Additionally, other accommodations might include the following as mentioned in the previous source:
- giving a student extra time on an exam
- providing hard copy or online model assignments
- coordinating phone numbers or e-mail addresses for classmates who will share class notes
- providing training in assistive technology
- making class notes available on the Web
- planning clearly-designed Web formats
- planning both auditory and visual learning and testing options
(Click on the link for clearly-designed Web Formats…very helpful!).
To be responsive to a learner’s needs, the facilitator needs to take advantage of the entire toolkit of multimedia tools available, providing multiple learning opportunities that bypass a disability that might be focused on listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling or involve mathematical calculations. By embedding rich choices for content review and creation, this becomes an opportunity for students to learn with each other in a way that is specific, or differentiated, for them–all by design.
Mark your calendars! Starting November 2, 2009 (and ending Nov 13), you’ll be able to vote for one of the 3 candidates for TCEA Area 20. Here’s the announcement from TCEA TechNotes online publication:
On Nov. 2, 2009, voting for area director and executive committee members will begin. All current members of TCEA will be eligible to vote electronically. (A current member is defined as one who has paid the $30.00 dues within the past year or has a lifetime membership in the organization granted by the board of directors.)
Members will receive an email with the link to the voting site. The election will run Nov. 2 at 9:00 a.m. through Nov. 13 at midnight, which provides a short time to vote. So vote early to make sure your voice is heard!
As I shared in a previous blog entry, I am focusing on 5 goals. You could say that these 5 items form my platform for running:
- Increase presence in online learning area.
- Collaborate to develop strategic plans and policies of the Board and be transparent about the success AND failure.
- Encourage change relevant to the organization and the stakeholders.
- Enhance the Interfaces between organization and community.
- Manage financial and physical resources.
I hope you’ll take a moment to read more online. In addition to incumbent Jennifer Faulkner (Alamo Heights ISD), Joel Adkins, CTO for Kerrville ISD, is also running for office. You can read what he has to say online as well. One of the key points Joel makes that is worth our attention as the Membership of TCEA:
…there is a division in the association about the pace of change and implementation of transparency in both TCEA and TEA. It has spurned interesting online discussions, uncomfortable group gatherings, and has developed factions within the larger body of the association. These are symptoms and results of change. It is a the classic battle between tradition and innovation; to which both have relevance on the path to change.
Let’s work together to achieve great change! What’s the difference between change and “great change?” Change that positively transforms, empower our collaborative relationships and communications with one another.
One way to accomplish that is to encourage an Area 20 chairing committee so that the talent running for office doesn’t just keep running off. Remember, it’s not just about winning an election…it’s about making a change in our daily habits and work.
My poorly formatted notes of Best Practices in e-Assessment by Nicole A. Buzzetto-More and Ayodele Julius Alade, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD, USA. Read the complete article online.
o assessment is an ongoing process that involves plan-
ning, discussion, consensus building, reflection, measuring, analyzing, and improving based on
the data and artifacts gathered about a learning objective.
o Assessment encompasses a range of
activities including testing, performances, project ratings, and observations (Orlich, Harder, Callahan & Gibson, 2004)
o The use of information technologies and e-learning strategies can provide an efficient and effective means of assessing teaching and learning effectiveness by supporting traditional, authentic, and alternative assessment protocols (Bennett, 2002)
o technology offers new measures for assessing learning that will yield rich sources of data
and expand the ways in which educators understand both learning mastery, and teaching effec-
The use of information technologies and e-learning to augment the assessment process
may include: pre and post testing, diagnostic analysis, student tracking, rubric use, the support
and delivery of authentic assessment through project based learning, artifact collection, and data
aggregation and analysis
assessment is an integral piece to assuring that an educational insti-
tution achieves its learning goals, as well as a crucial means of providing the essential evidence
necessary for seeking and maintaining accreditation. Hersh (2004) advocated the position that
assessment of student learning should be considered an integral part of the teaching and learning
processes as well as part of the feedback loop that serves to enhance institutional effectiveness
Good assessment serves multiple objectives (Swearington, n.d.) and benefits a number of stake-
holders (Love & Cooper, 2004). According to Dietal, Herman, and Knuth (1991) assessment pro-
vides an accurate measure of student performance to enable teachers, administrators, and other
key decision makers to make effective decisions.
Kellough and Kellough (1999) iden-
tified seven purposes of assessment:
1. Improve student learning;
2. Identify students’ strengths and weaknesses;
3. Review, assess, and improve the effectiveness of different teaching strategies;
4. Review, assess, and improve the effectiveness of curricular programs;
5. Improve teaching effectiveness;
6. Provide useful administrative data that will expedite decision making; and
7. To communicate with stakeholders
Petkov and Petkova (2006) recommend course-embedded assessment as having the advantage of
ease of implementation, low cost, timeliness, and student acceptance and note that the type of
performance appraisal supported by rubrics is particularly effective when assessing problem solv-
ing, communication and team working skills. They explain that rubrics should not be considered
checklists but rather criteria and rating scales for evaluation of a product or performance. Accord-
ing to Aurbach (n.d.), rubrics articulate the standards by which a product, performance, or out-
come demonstration will be evaluated. They help to standardize assessment, provide useful data,
and articulate goals and objectives to learners. Rubrics are also particularly useful in assessing
complex and subjective skills (Dodge & Pickette, 2001)
rubrics in introductory IS courses found that the
use of rubrics helped to make assessment more uniform, better communicate expectations and
performance to students, measure student progress over time, and help to lay the foundation for a
long-terms assessment program that combines projects and portfolios
Measuring students’ knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses prior to instruction is done through
diagnostic testing (Swearington, n.d.). Diagnostic assessment allows educators to remedy defi-
ciencies as well as make curricular adjustments
Portfolios can be used to assess learning-outcome achievement as well as to diagnose curriculum
deficiencies that require improvement
a portfolio should re-
quire students to collect, assemble, and reflect on samples that represent the culmination of their
learning. Cooper (1999) identified six considerations of the portfolio building process: identifica-
tion of skill areas, design of measurable outcomes, identification of learning strategies, identifica-
tion of performance indicators, collection of evidence, and assessment
Wiggins (1990) suggests that work being assessed should be authentic or based on the real world.
Pellegrino, Chudonsky, and Glaser (2001) suggest that formative assessments focus less on
student responses and more on performance. As a result, many institutions are anchoring their
assessment activities into meaningful scenarios so that students are being assessed on their
abilities to apply learning into realistic situations
Value-added assessment demonstrates the progress of student learning throughout a program
(Martell & Calderon, 2005). It requires academics to ask “What do our students know, and how
can we demonstrate that knowledge has been gained?” Value-added assessment commonly in-
volves pre- and post-testing as well as student tracking.
the literature suggests that good as-
sessment programs have variety (Swearington, n.d.). Merrimack College, for example, uses diag-
nostic testing, student portfolios, alumni surveys, course evaluations, rubrics, and employer sur-
veys as part of their assessment model (Popper, 2005)
Curricular alignment occurs when a program organizes their teaching and learning activities to
reflect desired student outcomes (Martell & Calderon, 2005). According to Baratz-Snowden
(1993), curriculum alignment holds a school accountable for demonstrating when and where stu-
dents have the opportunity to learn information and acquire skills. Engaging in curriculum align-
ment encourages programs to link outcomes to instruction as well as reflect upon the sequence in
which competencies are built.
curriculum alignment is particularly
important to K-12 schools faced with high-stakes standardized tests. His study, conducted in the
Massachusetts high school where he serves as principal, showed tangible improvement in stan-
dardized test scores as a result of curriculum alignment
effective data management is
crucial to the assessment loop (Dhir,
2005), where the data collected
needs to be made available to fac-
ulty and administrators in a timely
manner so that fact-based decisions
can be made.
technology is central to learning and, as a result, is going to prove
to be central to the assessment process. Bennett explains that technology will not only facilitate
testing but also support authentic assessment. He refers to e-learning as part of the equipment of
21st Century scholarship and cites the success of online universities and virtual high schools in the
Numerous studies have linked e-learning to critical thinking; for example, a study of 300 recent
MBA graduates conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater found that online learning
encourages high level reflective thinking (Drago, 2004)
e-assessment should en-
courage the rethinking of curriculum, e-learning, and technology and explain that e-assessment is
flexible and supports the assessment of higher order thinking, social skills, and group work
through such means as digital portfolios
Vendlinski and Stevens (2002) illustrate that technology provides new means to assess learning
that will yield rich sources of data. E-assessment may include pre and post testing, diagnostic
analysis, student tracking, rubric use/analysis, the support and delivery of authentic assessment
through project based learning (e.g. WebQuests, simulations, eportfolios), artifact collection, and
data aggregation and analysis.
Rubrics can be translated to a digital format where they may be made available through an intra-
net or over the internet. Used for scoring, these scores provide meaningful assessment informa-
tion. When connected to a database, they provide educators with data that can be aggregated
(Buzzetto-More, 2006). There are a number of websites that assist teachers in the development of
rubrics. Two useful rubric builders can be found at http://rubistar.4teachers.org and
Frequently known as project based learning, it is a form of in-
struction where students are immersed in challenging learning situations that are anchored in real
world simulations (Page, 2006). According to Page, project based learning can support critical
thinking, multilayered decision making, goal setting, problem solving, and collaboration. As a
result, many institutions are anchoring their assessment activities into meaningful scenarios so
that students are being assessed on their abilities to apply learning into realistic situations
Computer simulations are a form of project based learning that require learners to discover and
apply learned skills interactive changing environments that mimic real-world situations (Berge
educators are increasingly finding the value of using rubrics to fully evaluate simulation
participation because the score or end result is not always indicative of the students thought proc-
essing and participation
online discourse fosters critical
thinking and reflection, and Wu and Hiltz (2004) explained that asynchronous communications
improved students’ perception of learning. A study conducted in the United Arab Emirates indi-
cated that students who are reluctant to participate in classroom discussions are more vocal in
electronic discussions and that discussions increase understanding of course content (Bhatti,
Tubaisahat, & El-Quawasmeh, 2005). Successful online discussions can allow students to demon-
strate not just content mastery but the ability to incorporate content into higher level thinking; as a
result, transcripts from electronic discussions have shown themselves to be valuable assessment
artifacts (Buzzetto-More, 2006)
Portfolios are an effective form of alternative assessment that encourages students and
educators to examine skills that may not be otherwise accessed using traditional means such as
higher order thinking, communications, and collaborative abilities (Buzzetto-More, 2006; Wright,
2004). According to the ePortConsortium (2003) the benefits of electronic portfolios in education
are that they help students develop organizational skills; recognize skills, abilities, and shortcom-
ings; showcase talents; assess academic progress; demonstrate how skills have developed over
time; make career decisions; demonstrate that one has met program or certification requirements;
and promote themselves professionally
A portfolio should require students to collect, assemble, and reflect on samples that represent the
culmination of their learning (Chun, 2002) providing students with a diversity of opportunities to
skills and abilities (Martell & Calderon, 2005)
are dynamic and multimedia
driven; accessible by a large audience; contain meta-documentation; easy to store; and may serve
to promote a student academically or professionally
required in the creation of electronic portfolios helps students learn, understand, and implement
the information literacy process.
Information literacy is the ability to collect, evaluate, assemble, reflect upon, and use information
in order to learn and inform problem-solving and decision making (Bruce, 2003). It is a skill cru-
cial to lifelong learning that is dependent on the ability to engage in critical and reflective think
Electronic portfolios are quickly becoming the primary means in academia for
students to demonstrate and reflect on learning in a way that helps students build and apply in-
formation literacy skills (Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005a
Other technologies that are gaining in popularity in e-assessment include pen top computing
(which allows teachers to review, comment, add to, and access handwritten student notes and
work), integrated student response keypads (which allow for real time whole class questioning
and data collection and analysis), pod casting (recording and distributing small audio and video
files to students via their handheld devices), and digital video/audio lecture capturing synched
with tablet pc presentations and activities (providing an archived record of teaching effectiveness
for assessment demonstration).
assessment systems must take into ac-
count issues of interface, accessibility, security, usability, the information to be collected, hard-
ware and software technology, and information storage and processing
electronic portfolios created by students include: lesson plans, WebQuests, student teaching vid-
eos, images, reflective journal entries, papers, transcripts, evaluations completed by cooperating
teachers, observations made by their program advisor, student projects, rubrics, study aides,
PowerPoint Presentations, websites, curriculum maps, goals and objectives, seating charts, behav-
ior expectation sheets, assessment materials, progress reports, and a variety of other artifacts that
demonstrate a students mastery of the principles established by the Interstate New Teacher As-
sessment and Support Consortium which have been adopted by the University. Portfolios are pre-
sented by the students and assessed using a simple rubric by a team of assessors. The portfolio is
accessible to students for a period of seven years following their graduation from the program and
has shown itself to be a useful resource for students applying for employment as it allows them to
communicate a variety of skills and abilities in a dynamic format
The goal is to have a detailed data-management system in place that will
enable faculty across the department, university administrators, and accrediting agencies to re-
view data and artifacts on a continuous basis. The use of a multi-queriable assessment database
allows the department to run an extensive variety of correlations relevant to the overall quality of
teaching and learning, as well as to automate administrative functions. The data-management sys-
tem under consideration will include: placement-test results, grades, advisement information, par-
ticipation in university activities, diagnostic scores, rubric ratings, videos, attendance information,
use of remediation services, samples of student work, and other useful artifacts. For security rea-
sons, varying levels of accessibility will be determined based on the needs of the users, and in
many instances student identifiers will be removed
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
The following are my notes on the Section 504, ADA, and Education Reform Fact Sheet provided by Parents Engaged in Education Reform (PEER), a project of the Federation for Children with Special Needs (www.fcsn.org/peer).
Public schools, school systems, and education reform initiatives must comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance, including Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by state and local governmental entities, including public school districts.
Both statutes require school districts to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities protected by those laws.
no person shall, by any reason of his or her disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any services, programs, or activities of an entity covered by the law.
Section 504 also applies to a student not eligible for special education and related services under Part B, but who has a disability within the meaning of Section 504.
Section 504 and the ADA can help ensure that students with disabilities enjoy the benefits of standards-based education reforms and the quality education they aim for. The theory behind standards-based education reform is that educational quality will rise for all students, by first setting high standards, then shaping curriculum, courses, and instruction to meet the standards, and finally holding schools accountable for student achievement.
- Section 504 and the ADA promote equal access to and participation in programs and services. The regulations implementing these laws require that students with disabilities receive benefits and services comparable to those given their nondisabled peers. These laws make it illegal for schools to discriminate on the basis of disability by—
- denying a student the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a benefit or service;
- providing an opportunity to participate or benefit that is unequal to that provided others;
- providing a benefit or service that is not as effective as that provided to others (does not provide an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement as other students);
- providing lower quality benefits, services or programs than those provided others; or
- providing different or separate benefits or services, unless they are necessary for benefits or services to be as effective as those provided to others.1
The Section 504 regulations specifically require that a recipient of federal funds that operates a public elementary or secondary education program must provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified child with a disability residing in the recipient’s jurisdiction in accordance with the Section 504 requirements regarding least restrictive setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards.
It is illegal under the Section 504 and ADA regulations for school systems to use “criteria and methods of administration” that, intentionally or not, result in discrimination. “Criteria” are written or formal policies, while “methods of administration”3 are the school system’s actual practices and procedures.
- includes those that:
- have the effect of discriminating against students with disabilities, or
- have the effect of defeating or impairing accomplishment of the education program objective (or school reform initiative) with regard to students with disabilities.
school systems must make accommodations and modifications to address the needs of students with disabilities.
Under Section 504, children with disabilities must be educated with their nondisabled peers “to the maximum extent appropriate,” and “removal . . . from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”4 The ADA regulations similarly provide that a public entity, such as a school system, must provide programs and services “in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs”5 of individuals with disabilities.
The requirements of Section 504 apply in determining whether school districts have met their obligation to students with disabilities under Title II of the ADA. Schools have the burden of demonstrating that any removal from regular education is appropriate.
Standards-based education reform aims to attain high quality educational outcomes by identifying desired learning outcomes for students, shaping curricula and instruction accordingly, and holding schools accountable for the results.
If a state or school system adopts standards for general education, then students with disabilities have the right to an education based on these same standards. Failure to apply standards to students with disabilities is a failure to provide “comparable benefits and services.”
Students with disabilities, like all other students, must be provided with courses and instruction that teach the curriculum. Otherwise, they will be denied comparable benefits and services in violation of Section 504 and the ADA.
For some students, the method of teaching some or all of the curriculum may need to be modified, perhaps an accommodation, or as a supplementary aid or service necessary for maximum feasible participation in regular education. For a small number of students who have significant disabilities, it may be necessary to modify, adapt, or expand the curriculum or instruction to provide access to the standards. These decisions must be made on an individual basis, and based upon valid and competent individualized educational evaluations.
School systems must also identify and examine any policies or practices (“criteria or methods of administration”) that may have the effect of limiting students’ access to the courses and instruction necessary to learn the curriculum and meet the standards. Any number of policies and practices might have this effect. Examples include lack of coordination (in terms of both scheduling and content) between pull-out programs such as resource rooms and the mainstream academic curriculum; providing a diluted curriculum in separate programs and classes for students with disabilities; and failing to integrate special education supports and related services into regular education classes.
Assessment is the way standards-based education holds schools accountable for student learning and achievement.
When they are excluded from assessment, schools are not held accountable for the quality of education students with disabilities receive. These students are denied the benefit of this critical aspect of standards-based education reform, in violation of the requirement to provide comparable benefits and services under Section 504 and the ADA.
laws also require schools to provide any accommodations and modifications students need to participate in assessments. Many students will not require any changes in the way that the assessment is given. Others will need accommodations, such as extra time or provision of materials in a different format (e.g., Braille, large print, a reader), in order to participate. A relatively small percentage of students may require an alternate assessment to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a nondiscriminatory manner.
The following are my notes from The Privacy of Student Information: A Resource for Schools document from the National Forum on Education Statistics.
- As an employee of a school or other education institution, you may sometimes access individual student records while performing your official duties. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), you are legally and ethically obliged to safeguard the confidentiality of any information they contain.
- The school district is responsible for ensuring that all parents and eligible students are afforded all the rights provided them by FERPA.
- FERPA is a federal law that protects privacy interests of parents and students in student education records.
- This guide defines terms such as “education records” and “directory information”; and offers guidance for developing appropriate privacy policies and information disclosure procedures related to military recruiting, parental rights and annual notification, videotaping, online information, media releases, surveillance cameras, and confidentiality concerns related specifically to health-related information.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy interests of students. It affords parents the right to access and amend their children’s education records, and gives them some control over the disclosure of the information in these records. FERPA generally prevents an education agency or institution from sharing student records, or personally identifiable information in these records, without the written consent of a parent. A “parent” is defined as a natural or adoptive parent, a legal guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of the parent or guardian. When students reach the age of 18, or attend a postsecondary institution at any age, they are considered “eligible students” and all of the rights afforded by FERPA transfer from the parents to the students. (34 CFR § 99.3)
- FERPA does allow the disclosure of student data without parental consent under certain, specified conditions. For example, schools may reveal information from student records to school officials with a legitimate educational interest in the information.
- employees of a school and education institution…are legally and ethically obliged to safeguard their confidentiality.
- The term “education records” is defined as all records, files, documents and other materials containing information directly related to a student; and are maintained by the education agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution (34 CFR § 99.3). This includes all records regardless of medium, including, but not limited to, handwriting, videotape or audiotape, electronic or computer files, film, print, microfilm, and microfiche.
- For PreK–12 students, health records maintained by an education agency or institution subject to FERPA, including immunization records and school nurse records, generally would be also considered “education records” and subject to FERPA because they are:
directly related to the student;
maintained by an education agency or institution, or a party acting for the agency or institution; and
not excluded from the definition of education records as treatment or sole-possession records, or on some other basis. (See Health Records: FERPA and HIPAA.)
- Personal notes made by teachers or other staff, on the other hand, are not considered education records if they are:
kept in the sole possession of the maker;
not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute, and
used only as a memory aid.
Records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit for law enforcement purposes are also excluded.
- If a school system discloses directory information, it must give “public notice” of this policy and explain what is included in such information. FERPA does not define “public notice,” and the means of notification is left up to the school.
- Directory information…may include the student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.
- While school systems designate varying types of information as directory information, most include a student’s name, family members’ names, home address, and school activities. The height and weight of athletes may also be included.
School systems should give careful consideration to designating data as “directory information” because once this designation is given; school officials may distribute the information to anyone who requests it—in or outside the school.
- School systems that disclose directory information must give “public notice” of this policy and explain what is included in such information; the notice must also indicate that parents may refuse to allow the school to designate any, or all, of their child’s record as directory information. Several ways public notice can be given include: a notice in the registration package sent home to parents, a notice in the local newspaper, a notice in the school handbook distributed each year, or a posting on the school system’s website.
- FERPA requires the public notice to specify how much time parents have to tell the school or school system what, if any directory information they do not wish released.
- FERPA regulations require that local education agencies give annual notification to parents and eligible students of their rights under FERPA (34 CFR § 99.7).
- parents understand that they have the right to:
inspect and review their child’s record;
seek to amend the record if they believe it to be inaccurate;
consent (or not) to disclosures of personally identifiable information; and
file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning the district’s failures to comply with FERPA.
- If the education record includes information about other students, that information must be removed prior to disclosure so that parents do not have access to any other child’s records. (34 CFR § 99.12)
- When parents (or eligible students) request to review their records, the education institution must respond within 45 days, even if these records are kept by an outside party acting for the school. During these 45 days, the education institution cannot destroy any of the requested records.
- FERPA allows disclosure, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
*School officials with a “legitimate educational interest” may access student records under FERPA.
*Schools that submit a records request or in which a student has enrolled are eligible to receive information from that student’s education records.
*Audit/evaluation purposes…the exception refers to federal, state, and local education agencies that must collect data or student information to audit, evaluate, or enforce educational programs.
*Information required to determine student eligibility for financial aid, the amount of aid to award, and the conditions under which aid is to be granted may be disclosed under this category; access to information needed to enforce those terms and conditions is also allowed.
*The purpose of the study conducted for, or on behalf of, a school has to be to: develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; administer student aid programs; or improve instruction. Even if these conditions are met, the school may only disclose information if: the study methodology does not permit the personal identification of parents and students by anyone other than the researchers and their representatives; the information is not used for any purpose other than to complete the study; and the information is destroyed when it is no longer needed for the stated purposes of the study.
*Disclosure of personal information is permitted to an accrediting organization if it is needed to carry out the accreditation.
*Schools must release information requested by a judicial order or legal subpoena. However, the school must make a reasonable effort to notify the parent (or eligible student) in advance of compliance, unless the court or other issuing agency has ordered that the contents of the subpoena not be disclosed, or that the protected education records not be included.
*Disclosure to appropriate officials is valid if the information contained in the education record is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
*If state law permits, schools may release information to state and local juvenile justice authorities after receiving written certification that the information will not be disclosed to any other agency, organization, or third party without the parent’s permission, except as allowed in state law.
- While FERPA does not require schools to transfer education records to third parties, it does permits their transfer to another school if a student seeks or intends to enroll in that school; as part of the education records, disciplinary records would therefore be included in the transfer.
- According to the preamble to the December 2000 final rules, “the educational institution or agency that employs a school nurse is subject to our (HIPAA) regulation if the school nurse or the school engages in a HIPAA transaction.” HIPAA transactions are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) as “the transmission of information between two parties to carry out financial or administrative activities related to health care,” including submitting claims. However, consent must still be secured under FERPA before the records are disclosed.
- Nothing in FERPA prohibits a school from disclosing information in aggregate, or in another form that is not personally identifiable. Personally identifiable information includes:
the student’s name;
the name of the student’s parent or other family member;
the address of the student or student’s family;
a personal identifier, such as the student’s social security number or student number;
a list of personal characteristics that would make the student’s identity easily traceable; or
other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.
- In circumstances that may lead to the identification of an individual, the disclosing education agency or institution must ensure that student-level information is not personally identifiable by removing the student’s name and ID number, as well as any “personal characteristics” and “other information that would make the student’s identity easily traceable.”
- The required consent form should specify:
the records that may be disclosed;
the purpose of the disclosure; and
the identify of the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.
- Upon request, and after notifying parents, schools must release to military recruiters the name, address, and telephone numbers of high school juniors and seniors.
- Today’s information portability makes performing many school-related tasks more convenient; however, it also increases the risk of unauthorized access to protected information. As school administrators, teachers, and support staff find new ways to store and access student records, they must still ensure the information’s confidentiality and privacy.
- For example, if an administrator misplaces a handheld computer, any personally identifiable information it contains becomes potentially available to anyone who finds the device. Teachers carrying grade files home on a flash drive or storing other personally identifiable student information on home computers, create the risk of unauthorized access to protected education records. Likewise, education records transferred through electronic mail could potentially be intercepted by unauthorized individuals. Since such situations occur daily in schools across the country, local education agencies must take precautions to guard against the unintentional release or unauthorized disclosure of education records.
- School systems should have a surveillance camera policy outlining the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers, administrators, and other school staff. As a best practice, the policy should include the following:
a clear statement of appropriate reasons for using surveillance cameras;
the role and responsibilities of individuals with access to the cameras;
who will have access to any footage;
how long will any footage be kept and how will it be destroyed; and
a consent provision.
- As soon as school officials use surveillance camera videos for discipline purposes, however, the tapes become education records and are subject to FERPA requirements.
- When created and kept by the school or education agency, videotapes or photographs directly related to a specific student are considered part of that student’s education records and, therefore, subject to FERPA. For instance, if the tape captured an altercation, it would be included in the involved students’ education record, and the school has to obtain consent before publishing or disclosing its contents to unauthorized individuals. However, authorization would be needed only for the students actually involved in the altercation; other students in the video would be considered “set dressing” (not relevant to the incident) and not covered.
- Posting information is considered “disclosure” and must, therefore, comply with FERPA guidelines. Even without FERPA, school officials should consider safety concerns and exercise caution when displaying information (such as identifiable pictures) about students on the Internet, even if the information is designated as directory information. Including parents in any decisions about how much student information is appropriate might be a good practice, especially for younger students.
I wrote this a few years ago, and adapted it again recently in October, 2009. Since I don’t want to lose it, I’m posting it here!
How To Write a “Talking to Animals” Poem
Author/Facilitator: Miguel Guhlin
Creation Date: 10/14/2009; Last Modified: 10/14/2009
Short Web URL for this Page: http://sn.im/mgpoetrylesson
CONTENT AREA: Writing
GRADE LEVEL RANGE: 2-5
UNIT TOPIC: Writing about a real or imaginary trip
From TEKS Grade 2
- 4A – Use vocabulary to describe ideas, feelings, and experiences
- 14B – Write to discover, develop and refine ideas
- 18A – Generate ideas for writing by using prewriting techniques such as drawing or listing
- 18E – Use technology for writing: word processing, spell checking, printing
2. Internet access
Some background info: The idea for this comes from Kenneth Koch’s Rose, Where Did You Get that Red?
Guiding Principle for students composing:
“Imagine you are talking to a mysterious and beautiful creature and you can speak its secret language, and you can ask it anything you want.”
Read more about this approach.
Day 1 – MiniLesson: Pre-Writing
- Share the following with students:
In class, you’ve been working on a story about taking a trip. Today, we’re going to play with words to make a poem. Poems can tell a story using word pictures. Here are a few pictures of animals to get you thinking. We’re going to make a picture map of different animals. How would it feel to be one of these animals? Imagine you are talking to a mysterious and beautiful creature and you can speak its secret language, and you can ask it anything you want.What would it say?
- Run the slide shows above so they can see some of the animals. As a group, pick one of the images of animals that is shown. This will be the animal that you use for a collaborative writing workshop.
- Make a word map using Wordle.net as children describe the animal and then how the animal feels.
For example, for a picture of a labrador retriever:
Here are some of words that might come to mind: strong medium-sized hunter friendly soft furry enthusiastic healthy family energetic exercise retriever Labrador Labrador Labrador Labrador water dog dog Loving marley and me
Which results in a Wordle like this one (note that Labrador appears 4x above to make it the “central” word):
4. Share the slide show with students and ask them to make a word map to describe a picture they choose. You might want to print out black-n-whites of the animal slides and let them do the word map next to the picture. You could also brainstorm words that describe, as well as feeling words, and list those on a whiteboard/blackboard so that students have a list to choose from when describing their animal of choice.
5. At the end of class, collect the graphic organizers students have made for next time.
Lesson 2: Writing the Poem
- Ask a student to summarize what the class did before.
- Using the word map you created as a class, write a “group poem.” Begin each poem with a question, then spend the rest of the poem telling what your animal said. For example:
Labrador Retriever, why do you like to swim and hunt?
So I can run and play in the grass and water all day long.
I see my friends and sniff their noses
I let my friends brush my fur
I listen to the ants as they play on my paws
Labrador Retriever, how come you frolic so much?
I have a happy heart and every good lick comes from my spirit, free and strong.
You can also add animals.
Of course, you could “wordle” the poem, too! See the example below:
- Make sure that the poem includes one line from each child in the class. Put that poem where all the children can see it as an example.
- Pass out their graphic organizer. Now, you are going to write your own I Wish poem about being an animal. You can’t change animals until after you’ve tried a new one.
- At the end of class, ask children to post their poems on the GoogleDocs (then share it as a web page). Some ground rules include:
–We are going to share our poems with each other.
–If you want to share a comment about something to the author of the poem, it has to be something nice about what they wrote.
Lesson 3: Publishing the Poems
- Use GoogleDocs Presentation to make a slideshow of the poems, having each student add the picture of their animal and the text.
- Model how to login to the GoogleDocs Presentation and type in the group poem.
- Publish the poem and show kids that it is on the Internet. Be sure to tell them that only other classes at the partner campus will be able to see it.
- If lab time is available, have students type their poems into the blog. You will want to log students in–or get them to login–so that they can get started. If not, divide them up into groups of 5. Ask them to vote on the best poem and make a list of why they think it should be published. Publish the 5 poems by typing them in yourself or getting students to type them in.
Lesson 4: Commenting on Other Class’ Poems
- Ask students in pairs to read one other poem written by a class member.
- Each dyad will make 3 points and include them as a comment to the author of the original poem.
1. Ask students in another class to assess the poems. They might use a simple rubric.
Consider nominating someone…
There are more than 360,000 professional educators in Texas. Only eight will receive a TCEA educator award this year. Do you know an educator who goes above and beyond the call of duty? Nominate him or her for TCEA’s annual Educator Awards.
Awards are given for the following:
- Classroom Teacher of the Year
- Library Media Specialist of the Year
- Instructional Technology Specialist of the Year
- Technical Support Person of the Year
- District or Campus Administrator of the Year
- Superintendent of the Year
- Technology Administrator of the Year
- Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Technology in Education
Completed entries must be received on or before Dec. 1, 2009. Information on the nomination process is available here.
This will sound a bit curmudgeony, but so what? I’m not going to be attending ISTE 2010 since, to be blunt, I feel like attending too many conferences puts you on the “conference circuit.” (it’s also out of state during a tough economy).
Once you’re on that train, you’re focused on discussions that capture people’s attention, engage folks, but DON’T MAKE A DARN DIFFERENCE when people get back to their schools and classrooms. Yes, I’m saying, all this talk about leadership and research is too doggone confusing for the majority of K-12 teachers. . .yes, yes, I know YOU are different. I’m talking about trying to make a steak while juggling eggs, washing dishes, taking care of two toddlers at the same time that you just throw up your hands and let the dishes pile up until later, put the eggs down, and focus on cooking and ensuring your toddlers don’t over-run you. There’s only so much multi-tasking possible, isn’t there?!?
It’s the equivalent of presenting a fantastic Web 2.0 tool and then expecting teachers to accomplish the following:
- Learn how to use the tool well enough that it becomes part of their practice. Why should people learn 100+ Web 2.0 tools when they don’t have but a fraction of time to even use 1 tool? Something’s wrong with this.
- Use the tool within the context of their school. Context…it’s an important thing to be aware of, yet we continue to deploy solutions that are designed–and we say they are–to TRANSFORM that context, destroy the culture that many people are happy with. No one, unless they are a deviant, wants to be a change agent. Yes, it’s a sorry fact, but while it’s nice to talk change everywhere else, some just want to go home and relax without the expectation of change…it’s the “I’ll move your cheese, but don’t you dare think you can move MY cheese” phenomenon.
- Even if you have leadership support to accomplish change and turn around a school, school change only lasts as long as the people are there, usually 3-4 years. (where’s that research study when I need to cite it). And, once leaders “turn things around” they do the smart thing and move onto some place else so that they don’t have to live with those consequences…living change can be hard work, too…harder than making change, if you know what I mean.
- Web 2.0 tools involve putting some parents’ kids cheek-to-jowl (virtually) with kids from someplace else. Unless you change the culture of the school, what liability and accountability issues are you going to have to deal with?
I just finished reading Vicki Davis’ proposal and Scott McLeod’s. I’ll be blunt, they’re both chock-full of high-falutin’ ideas. But the truth is, I’m tired of hitching my carriage behind some writer’s idea of what could be in business but is designed for education since they’re the chosen keynoter. While research may say something, the fact is, research has been speaking up for years in school change and reform…and you know what? People aren’t listening.
So, what’s my idea for an ISTE Keynote? Well, I’m not going, but I’d like to put all these book authors turned speakers, megabloggers on ice and get back to the hard tacks. Find me an inner-city, public school teacher in the trenches who’s using technology with her students for the last 7 years, who has found measured ways to introduce technology as part of her core content instruction, and that would be someone to listen to.
That would be someone inspiring, life-altering, etc. Until then, maybe a silent keynote would be best. An hour of silence to appreciate that our very system of schools is all goofed and radical reboot is the first step.
Update 12:07 PM: And, if you must vote for something, try Brian Crosby’s suggestion.
All that aside, I applaud ISTE for putting this opportunity out there for discussion! Brilliant!
Are you still orbiting with great ideas?
It’s not too late to launch another proposal…
The TxDLA CFP has been
extended to October 30th!
The countdown to the TxDLA 2010 Houston Conference has begun and we are on a mission to find the best presenters the universe has to offer. Are you the shining star that we have been wishing for? Do you have something to share that’s simply out of this world? If so, the Texas Distance Learning Association would like to make contact with you. Send us your submission for a 45-minute breakout session, a 105-minute hands-on workshop or an exhibitor showcase. Choose from 11 specialized tracks that provide offerings for administrators, business/industry professionals, corporate trainers, faculty, government agency employees, K-12 educators, military employees, support staff and vocational/technical educators. The sky’s the limit when it comes to exploration, so click the link below to lift off.
While you’re getting ready to launch your own proposal, think of someone else who would make an awesome TxDLA 2010 presenter. Click the link at the bottom of this page to invite additional speakers, trainers and teachers to participate. The person who submits the most successful recommendations will win TWO Houston City Pass books. Each book allows access to several main attractions in Houston, including: Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Zoo, MOFA, and George Ranch Historical Park. The books do not have an expiration date and can be used anytime. Any TxDLA member is eligible to participate in the contest whether they submit a proposal or not.
Mike Gras (White Oak ISD) and Scott Floyd (White Oak ISD) took the time to organize a Moodle Unconference after-hours, at the end of the day on Thursday, October 16, 2009. I believe it was organized as a result of a question Mary Jo Humphries (Roundrock ISD) asked. Regardless of why or whom (please speak up), I was grateful to have the opportunity to share the work my team is engaged in at work, as well as listen to the solutions others are developing.
Consider that for the TxvSN, these stats reflect growing participation:
- Fall, 2009 -406 enrollments
- high School enrollments – 247
- Dual credit enrollments – 159
- Dual credit pilot program
While students are being thrown into online learning, that also requires a corresponding education/professional learning for their teachers, as well as increased access for “regular” teachers.
What’s helpful about these conversations is that there are no presumed experts…we are simply hard-working Moodlers sharing what we’re learning as we’re doing it, or planning implementation.
Special Thanks to Virgil Kirk (Poteet ISD) for agreeing to host the Moodle Video Tutorials and courses that Texas Moodlers are putting together!
While a podcast will soon be available, here is a list of some of the topics I shared about (see complete list online here):
- How to get started
- Courses for download to kickstart your Moodle course development
- The necessity of online facilitator training for staff tasked with developing in-house district courses.
One exciting presentation was shared by the person from HEB ISD…that of International Baccalaureate (sp?) Moodle course development. I’ll have to explore this some more.
A list of Moodles in Texas participating in the Unconference session:
- http://heblearning.hebisd.edu – Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD
- San Antonio ISD
http://intouch.saisd.net/plc – Professional Learning Center
http://intouch.saisd.net/opencampus – K-12 Learners Open Campus
http://intouch.saisd.net/ourspace – A DRAFT Initiative for Mathematics Tutorials
http://intouch.saisd.net/itech – Our Support Area for various initiatives
- http://moodle.uhcl.edu – University of Houston Clear Lake, a provider of TxVSN approved courses
- http://moodle.forneyisd.net/moodle – Forney ISD
- http://moodle.roundrockisd.org – RoundRock ISD
- http://moodle.goliadisd.org/moodle19 – Goliad ISD
- http://woisd.net/moodle – White Oak ISD
Of the MoodleMeet, Mike Gras wrote the following to other technology education coordinators:
I guess this was just another thing that demonstrates the desire of the TECSIG to be responsive to the needs of its members. It was a pleasure to meet you all and to hear of the efforts being made by our members to serve children. How cool it was to be exposed to the high level expertise that is at our fingertips right inside our own organization. It was also a great pleasure to see how many of us were set on our current course by my friend and mentor Ken Task. He is a wonder. I have listed David Williams’ contact information below. He is the fellow I had Skype in. Those of you facing providing service to thousands of students should likely, as discussed, give professional hosting serious consideration.
I made commitments to several of you and likely would have made more if time had allowed (I learned that from Ken as well.) My contact info is below David’s.
Thanks to TECSIG for giving me the opportunity to share and learn.
Scott Floyd also wrote a brief description in response to Mike Gras’ post on the subject:
No doubt, this gathering is the epitome of why we meet as SIGs in TCEA. It is the ultimate un-conference style meeting because it is user driven and completely voluntary. Thank you all for being a part of it and allowing me to join you.
One suggestion I made was that the SOSSIG OS room at TCEA would be a perfect place for us to meet to continue the conversation we began. It seems as though everyone agreed. The SOSSIG officers will provide an agenda before conference that lists the time(s) this meeting will take place. Being that it is a technology setting, we can stream folks in as bandwidth allows. We should not leave any voice out if we can avoid it. The OS room is a playground room to showcase a number of opensource offerings (like Moodle). It does not require SOSSIG membership, but you just might decide to join once you realize the pool of talent it holds. Everyone in the SOSSIG has been very willing to help others move ahead in implementation of opensource tools. Great group.
Also, TCEA is looking to host a Moodle Moot in the future. I believe the Dallas area is the projected location. Once that is settled, I am sure there will be a release announcing it that will circulate this list as well as others. Be sure to go and support the event so that it shows there is a need for this type of event.
You may recall I first suggested a MoodleMoot for 2010 and suggested the idea to TCEA. I’m glad to hear that Lori Gracey–who requested I keep silent about the event until more details are available–has taken the lead in organizing a Texas MoodleMoot 2010. I simply lacked the time with work and professional commitments to organize this event, but I sure can participate in it!
If you’re a Texas Moodler, be sure to join TCEA and get going with this!
Full Disclosure: I am available to share my time and what I’ve learned with new Moodlers. Several districts, ESCs and TCEA have taken me up on my offer, compensating me for my time to share ideas. However, ALL my published articles on Moodle, videos, tutorials are available under Creative Commons Copyright (ShareAlike-NonCommercial-Attribution) for your use. Take advantage of them!
Those are online at http://mguhlin.net/moodle
That said, my participation at yesterday’s MoodleMeet at TEC-SIG was as a school district sharing what works, not as a consultant seeking contracts. I want to be sure to be clear about the separation.
Many thanks to Wikispaces.com for hosting me at no charge!! Adam Frey, keep up the great work.
Check out the Challenger Learning Center e-Missions offered to grades 3-12!
Dear Teachers, Technology Coordinators, & Administrators:
Academic year 2009-2010 is underway (hip, hip, hooray!) and the staff at the Challenger Learning Center has been gearing up for another stellar year. Please check out the current list of e-Missions that we offer for grades 3-12 on our website at www.e-missions.net.
Each mission scenario includes a wide range of lesson plans and materials that have been aligned with state and national standards that are ready for you to deliver in the classroom. On mission day, your students will become engaged in a simulated; they will use their math skills and apply their science knowledge to solve real problems. Many describe the e-Mission as ‘the premier distance learning experience’. Exposing your students to these problem-based simulations will give them the opportunity to excel in the classroom and help them become life-long learners.
To realize all the benefits of these programs, schedule a free Teacher Training mission with us via video conference today! I would love the opportunity to discuss any of our e-Mission programs with you and to help you “get connected” with Mission Control at the Challenger Learning Center.
If you have not yet scheduled your e-Mission(s) for this year, NOW is the time! You can complete the attached reservation form and return it to me; or you can reserve your dates/times with our on-line reservation system on www.e-missions.net.
We value each of you and your commitment to quality education and our staff at the Challenger Learning Center will continue to provide you unconditional support in this process. As always, we look forward to working with you to help bring these exciting distance learning experiences to your students. Please contact me and let us help you make school year 2009-2010 the best it can be!
Challenger Learning Center
316 Washington Ave.
Wheeling, WV 26003
David began with sharing that he always begins his presentation with something he didn’t know yesterday. That was DoodleBuzz.com (updated thanks to comment by Lydia!), which allows you to graphically keep track of news.
“Begin your preso with something you didn’t know yesterday.” We have to rethink what it is to be educated, redefine the 21st Century–>Be a master learner as a teacher. If it’s our job to help children be lifelong learners, then that’s what we need to do.
You can find David’s handouts online at http://davidwarlick.com/handouts. If you blog the preso, make sure to use these tags: native, information, experience, warlick.
Access to insights other educators are sharing.
Backchannel Tool: Knitterchat.com and Mindmeister.com – Prepared preso in this. [Transparency/disclosure]
He shared that Anshut Sammar, 13 year old student…then he asked, What’s different?
What’s different is that this student doesn’t have ceilings. Ceilings were imposed by a non-networked world. Abundant access to information…it’s also difficult to contain If You want learners to excel, free their information…”containerless.”
He shared Assassin’s Creed 2 as an example of what games can do. What are the rules of the games? What are the goals? How do you use the rules to achieve the goals? It all begins with questions. About games, what is it about the experience that makes it an effective learning experience?
Fueled by questions…learn by asking questions. He introduced WeFeelFine.org as a vision of what is possible. David asked, “Imagine growing up in a world that is connected…profound implications on how students learn.” Some other web sites he shared–such as to demonstrate the visualization of Good Mornings (blog.blprnt.com/blog/blprnt/goodmorning)–and Scratch. David discussed gold farming–preparing a character for online virtual world, then selling those virtual assets via eBay. This has been prohibited.
He mentioned Ian Fogarty from New Brunswick, Canada – creating labs manuals that are interactive. He also mentioned Amy McLeod, who asked her students to create movie trailers to motivate next year’s students to read books/plays like Shakespeare’s Othello.
Darren Kuropatwa was also mentioned positively for his work encouraging students to scribe math classes.
One of the memorable quotes David shared was that a student said:
My grammar is not good enough for my ideas…
David made the point that grammar is a tool that had value for communication. Some questions:
- How does the assignment talk back?
- Demands personal investment?
- How is work valuable and to whom?
- How am I assessing valuable mistakes?
- It’s what you know that’s different that brings value to organizations.
- Help kids build things of value.
At the TCEA TEC-SIG event, I had the opportunity to listen to Barbara Smith from the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN). She shared lots of great information in her slideshow presentation and was kind enough to allow me to post that information below.
Listen to Podcast of Barbara’s Presentation on TxVSN
This podcast is pretty “bare-bones” since I didn’t have any of my audio files with me…basically a short intro and then Barbara!
In addition to important timelines and updates regarding pricing, I found these 7 Steps to Virtual Learning below to be helpful for Texas districts:
7 Steps to TxVSN Participation
- Complete txvsn agreement-superintendent signature needed
- Needs assessment – online
- Activate Campuses – Confirm Admin
- Site Coordinators Register/Train
- Pre-assess student readiness – Request Readi Secondary Accounts
- Student data upload to registration
- Finance Approver – just in case
Check out this new contest from TCEA folks:
Get Your Tweet On!
What’s YOUR message? Many times educators may feel they’re alone on an island. If you could place a message in a bottle to share with the world, what would it say? Who would you hope to receive it? Let the bottle become your vehicle to deliver your message.
Come tweet with us! Beginning Nov. 2, 2010 tweet your “message in a bottle” to twitter.com/tcea. Begin your tweet with “My message in a bottle is:”
Message in a bottle should pertain to education (not limited to technology), the classroom, students, administration, funding, assessment, community or technology. Freely express yourself and send us your message in a bottle.
Messages will be narrowed down to the top picks and will be voted on by TCEA members. Winner will be announced at the TCEA 2010 Convention & Exposition in February 2010.
- Contest ends Jan. 8, 2010
- Grand Prize $1,000
- Contest is not limited to TCEA members. Re-tweet us and invite your followers to submit their message.
- You do not need to attend TCEA 2010 to be eligible to win
TCEA board members and staff are not eligible to participate. Voting will take place Jan. 18-22, 2010 at http://www.tcea.org.
The school district i live in recently sent me this message:
North East ISD is committed to maintaining a healthy school environment for our children. The district created a video called “The 3C’s” to inform elementary students about flu prevention. The video covers the 3 C’s of prevention: clean, cover and contain.
The video is posted on the school district’s 2009 Flu Page, which you can access by clicking the link below. We hope that you will share this short video with your family.
Click on this link http://www.neisd.net/ComRel/Flu2009.htm then look for “Stop the Spread of Flu – Remember the 3C’s (a video)” which is fourth on the list.
Thank you and stay healthy.
Check out their video…what has your school district done?
One of my favorite storytellers is David Warlick, and he’ll be coming to Texas for the TCEA Technology Education Coordinators Special Interest Group (TEC-SIG) meeting being held this week! More on his presentation below the flyers….There are other exciting speakers as well!
Micha Villarreal shared the following flyer and I encourage you all to join TCEA, TEC-SIG ($10 membership fee…great!) and attend the meeting ($40) that will be held on Thursday and Friday of this week!! The meeting cost is $40 and you can sign up online or at the door.
Click on the images below to see them full-size.
David shares hints of his upcoming talk online via his blog…here are some of the relevant parts:
Cracking the “Native” Information Experience
The ringing proclamation at ISTE 2010 will be “Integrate Technology.” There is a lot of value in this mantra, but it is the response of a generation of teachers who grew up without computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. It all looks like technology to us.
To our students, it is merely the road ways of their daily and minute-by-minute travels and the tentacles of their nearly constant hyper-connectively. It is the hands and feet that take them where they want to go. Believing that our youngsters carry their mobile phones around with them because it is their technology of choice is a poor reason to desperately carve out ways of using mobile tech in our lessons. They carry their phones because that is where their friends are — and their is nothing new about youngsters wanting to be where their friends are.
What is new is the nature of their interactions and the culture that they have grown out of their hyper-connectivity. Cracking the Native Information Experience will seek to reach beyond the technology, identifying and exploring the unique qualities of our students’ outside the classroom activities. What is the code that makes their video games, social networks, and texting so ingrained in their lives, and how might we crack that code.
The code itself comes from work that I did with a group of teachers in Irving, Texas, a school district that has operated, since 1997, based on students having ubiquitous access (1:1) to networked, digital, and abundant information. In an online collaborative activity we identified and then factored down the elements of their students information activities that seemed to result in active learning, as opposed to the passive learning their predecessors had endured.
See you there!
UPDATE 11/16/2009: You may want to read this summary article on a variety of backup/restore and reimaging options available for different operating systems.
My favorite hard drive partition backup tool in the past has been Partimage. It works pretty well. In this blog entry, I document my successful attempt to use FSArchiver, a free utility on the SystemRescue (Linux) media.
Although I’m an old hand at using Partimage to backup a hard drive, I was a bit stymied by a new hard drive configuration that is much larger than I’m accustomed to. This means, Partimage creates a file that is very large and can take quite awhile to back a partition to…worse, the backup media I have is more along the 120gig variety rather than 500gig needed for a 230gig Partimage file, even compressed (229gig compressed).
As a result, I’m now looking for a solution that backs up ONLY what’s on the hard drive and nothing else. But how do you do that? I investigated the Free Space solution for DD but I haven’t quite seen a good example to try out, and I’m not sure what to do.
Another possible solution is FSArchiver, although it’s still in development. A little about FSArchiver below, which comes installed on a SystemRescue CD (which can be easily copied to a USB flash drive with UNETBOOTIN):
FSArchiver is a system tool that allows you to save the contents of a file-system to a compressed archive file. The file-system can be restored on a partition which has a different size and it can be restored on a different file-system.
Unlike tar/dar, FSArchiver also creates the file-system when it extracts the data to partitions. Everything is checksummed in the archive in order to protect the data. If the archive is corrupt, you just lose the current file, not the whole archive. Fsarchiver is released under the GPL-v2 license. It’s still under heavy development so it must not be used on critical data.
That said, I’m trying this solution out and hoping it will work. Here’s a comparison chart between FSArchiver and Partimage. Some of the features that jump out at me include the following:
- Ability to restore the filesystem to a partition which is smaller than the original
- Ability to restore the filesystem to a partition which is bigger than the original
- Ability to do multi-threaded compression which is faster on recent computer with multiple cores/cpu
- Ability to encrypt the data with a password
Anyone else have experience with this or can recommend an alternate solution that does what FSArchiver does?
Update 10/13/2009: While waiting for feedback, I decided to go ahead and try FSArchiver out on a Dell Latitude 2100 netbook. My hope is that the backup and restore process will work quickly. The process I followed is basically this one:
- Booted from my SystemRescue USB Flash Drive
- Since I’m working on a Dell Latitude 2100 netbook, I used the Altker32 on the System Rescue menu that popped up.
- I formatted a 120gig USB External drive to ext3 file system (as opposed to FAT32) to use as my backup drive with this command (Skip this step if you have a drive already formatted and ready to go):
- In anticipation of “mounting” the external drive, I created a directory at “/mnt/backup” using this command:
- Then, mounted the external drive (/dev/sdd1) as “/mnt/backup” using this command:
mount -t ext3 /dev/sdd1 /mnt/backup
- I changed to that directory with this command:
- Began the backup process using FSArchiver by typing:
fsarchiver savefs /mnt/backup/netbook.fsa /dev/sda2
This created a 5.8 gig file, which is an improvement over what Partimage would have done trying to backup a 230 gig hard drive partition! Here is the report FSArchiver gave me at the end of its process:
Statistics for filesystem 0
* files successfully processed:….regfiles=37329, directories=4308,symlinks=2,hardlinks=3,specials=0
*files with errors:…………………..regfiles=0, directories=0, symlinks=0, hardlinks=0, specials=0
- When the backup process was completed, I restored the backup using the command below:
fsarchiver restfs /mnt/backup/netbook.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda2
Here is the report I received from FSArchiver when it was done:
Statistics for filesystem 0
* files successfully processed:….regfiles=37329, directories=4308, symlinks=2, hardlinks=3, specials=0
*files with errors: regfiles=0, directories=0, symlinks=0,hardlinks=0,specials=0
The restore process took 18 minutes, which is great!
To test whether this process worked, I restarted the netbook to see if the file system was restored successfully. What I didn’t notice is that Windows had not been shut down, but was just sleeping. The restore process didn’t change that.
So, successful test of FSArchiver!!
The next thing to do is figure out how to compress the backup file (that’s not hard) and uncompress it while restoring the partition. I’ll probably have to head to the FSArchiver forums for that one!
Update 10/13/2009; 5:43PM: Forum Response
Here’s what I posted in the forums:
Howdy! If I compress a partition backup with the following command:
fsarchiver savefs -z2 /mnt/backup/netbook.fsa /dev/sda2
what command do I need to restore it so that it uncompresses the compressed archive?
The response came a few hours later:
fsarchiver has built-in compression, and 9 levels are available: -z1 is very quick and provides bad compression, and -z9 is very slow and provides very good compresison. You only have to choose the level when you do the “savefs”. It will automatically uncompress it during the “restfs”. If you have more than one core in your cpu, you can make the compression faster using -j2 (for two compression threads), -j4, …
The answer is that it automatically uncompresses during restfs, or “restore file system.”
One of the things I missed in my first read of the quickstart was being able to split files into various sizes. This is great if your backup drive is FAT32 and can’t handle a 5.8 gig file or if you want to burn individual files to DVD.
So, my second test for FSArchiver is as follows:
- Compress using compression level 3 (gzip -6 equivalent) with -z3 option
- Use second processor (-j2 option)
- Size backup files to 700megs each with the -s 700 option
That FSArchiver backup command I’m trying is as follows:
fsarchiver savefs -z3 -j2 -s 700 /mnt/udrive/netbook2.fsa /dev/sda2
That means that the command to restore the system will be as follows:
fsarchiver restfs -j2 /mnt/udrive/netbook2.fsa id=0, dest=/dev/sda2
Let’s see how it goes….
Ok, here’s my measures for the update:
- Time to Backup Compressed – 30 minutes
- Created 7 files at 733megs each, and one at 678megs
I’m going to restore now my first backup, then if that works, restore my second backup to test them both. Crossing my fingers!
Update 6:46 PM: Ok, it all worked awesomely!!!
What a fascinating concept…ERacism. Have your students apply to participate….
Flat Classroom Projects ™ are very excited to be launching a NEW project for Middle School (Grade 7/8 levels are perfect) called ERACISM. You are invited to APPLY to be part of this pilot project starting VERY SOON. We need schools from around the world to submit teams to make this conversation and debate real!
More details about Eracism can be found on the website at http://www.eracismproject.org/index.html
Please let me know if you have any questions, and please circulate this within your schools and beyond. We need to start this project VERY SOON! This could be run within a language arts/ humanities class (or other!) or as an extra curricular activity with a group such as the student council or MUN team as an extra opportunity to interact globally to enhance understanding.
“Creating the Future”
IT and E-Learning Coordinator
Beijing (BISS) International School
Tel: +8610 6443 3151/2/3
Flat Classroom Projects co-founder
More about eracism:
About Eracism: Invented by Students for Students to Bring About Global Understanding
This project truly bridges the divide in many ways, from the creation of the project (See the original student video) – the global voting of this project as the “winner” and student planning of the presentation topic (occurring August 2009) – students from around the world have been involved in this project from the moment it was conceived in a human brain. This presentation bridges the divide between culture, schools, countries, and even bandwidth by providing low-bandwidth methods for participants. Additionally, it bridges the divide between the conference participants, teachers, and students by providing background information and then immersing the participants in the live culmination of the project and by providing a method for students, teachers, and K12online participants to discuss and shape future iterations of the project. This is truly not only flattening the “classroom” for the students but flattening the conference by using it as a conduit to bring students, teachers, experts, and learners together in a rich, symbiotic relationship.
I have some questions but not the time to ask them right now…I hope I can follow up. In the meantime, I’m sharing this information in response to a request from a colleague, Kim Caise, to get the word out.