Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Power of Project Share

Project Share is providing and excellent platform for a community of educators and students to connect, collaborate, research, and create content. Unlike other course management systems, project share gives educators the ability to network with other public school entities across the state and is creating a systemic approach. Teachers and students in our district have the ability to access content in a mobile environment that includes productivity, web 2.0, and custom tools. Google Apps for Education serve as a great resource for collaborative work groups but fails to offer a true course management system. Moodle lacks the ability for educators to connect and share with other schools on a similar platform. In addition, it is hard for an educator to find extra hours in the day to actually build a moodle content. It is nice to have a free resource to tap into that is a ready made course management system that is similar to what other districts and schools utilize in the state. Want to utilize an existing web 2.0 tool? Project share gives educators the ability to add a custom tool menu to embed other tools and third party websites inside a course.

The power of project share is that it also connects Texas to the global network of Epsilen. Another powerful set of tools available to educators includes a fantastic lesson plan system allows for educators to tap into NYT resources, The University of Texas McDonald Observatory online content repository, and PBS digital library. Project Share resources and collaborative pieces will save our teachers time, district travel expenses, and professional development resources.

System issues with Epsilen do exist and hopefully system engineers will continue to address bandwidth issues. However, project share serves as a the best solution to provide a unified effort in addressing a real need, a systemic approach to 21st century learning.

Would you like to see project share in action? Dublin ISD would love to collaborate and welcomes you to visit our wonderful small community. All students 7-12 grade access all courses using Project Share, and all teachers participate in PLN utilizing the project share platform. To learn more, please join our Connections Grant Group in Project Share.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Creating With Digital Timelines

Digital timelines are a great way for students to illustrate past events and act as a historian to produce and create content. There are many fabulous tools available to educators that can really add to your social studies curriculum content. One great resource teachers can tap into would be your local library and museums. Students can photograph content found in their local community to connect curriculum to their world.

Students in our local elementary are studying physical and human characteristics of the local community to learn geographic concepts, map skills, and the idea of chronological events. Students are researching and working with the local museum to create an illustrated digital timeline on the history of their school. We found 5 significant events: First educators (whose pictures are in our local museum), a state basketball from a state championship game, first yearbook, rodeo band uniforms to reflect cowboy rodeo culture, and information on the actual construction of the current Elementary building built in the 1980's. Students will use their iPods to record information about these items and will produce a digital time line. This idea could be adapted to fit any American event in history such as Early American History, Civil War, WWI,Great Depression, WWII, NASA, etc.

Need a digital time line resource?

Check these out:
Dipity Digital Video Timeline
Data Driven Timeline
Xtimeline allows you to create widgets
Preceden: Great Simple Timeline for making simple graphs