In Depth – A closer look at how one EFHS teacher is using Moodle

Introduction

Moodle is an incredible online learning tool.  In Dearborn Public Schools we have a very specialized installation of Moodle which we call iLearn.  Our Moodle install has the added features of web conferencing, real-time collaborative document editing, student portfolios, and several other features that are not part of the standard Moodle installation.  With iLearn teachers can create very interactive elearning opportunities for their classes.  Let’s take a look at a high school biology course setup by Mr. Robert Harrison of Edsel Ford High School.

Read moreIn Depth – A closer look at how one EFHS teacher is using Moodle

Email

Email is its very own phenomena. It was designed to share very short pieces of text. It has since grown exponentially in terms of what is shared and how. Email brings lots of frustration as well. Different people have different expectations. We can’t fix all of what is fundamentally broken with email, but here are a couple of reminders about email access through Dearborn Public :

  • must be used for official business
  • must not be used to send out personal information
  • please be thoughtful about email. Once one starts receiving too much, very little attention is paid to it.

As a point of reference, I recently received the email below from an employee. I’m sure that this is not the only person frustrated by the amount of email that we now deal with.

 I was wondering if you could tell me who the last word in the school district is regarding how the Email system is used?  I don’t know what … is going on this year, but I’m walking into work every day and spending like a half hour sifting through emails about sports tickets for sale, little Sophia jewelry parties thrown by teachers, and just a bunch of “thank god its almost Friday”  type banter.  … its getting so bad, I am missing out on the few important emails nestled between all the bull crap blanket deleting all the garbage.

We work to filter the SPAM that comes from outside the district (yes, I’m aware that some does make it through, but it is pretty impressive of how much we catch), but we have no way of filtering the “SPAM” that is generated by our own users.

Here are some additional thoughts about email:

  • Some research has been done which indicates that workers spend 28% of their work day dealing with email.
  • Respect your recipients’ time
  • Keep it short
  • Be wise about CC’ing

Email is a great tool. However, not everybody views email the same way. We can easily spend way too much time on email and not enough time getting other work done. Remember, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Great iBlog Websites

Hello Staff,

Here is some inspiration and a quick look at what other teachers/schools are doing using iBlog.

If you want to create a classroom website using iBlog, please login and create one today!
http://blog.dearbornschools.org

Feel free to contact me if you have questions on getting started.

Regards,
Chris Kenniburg
Webmaster, Dearborn Public Schools

Copyright

Several times a week, we get requests (or it comes to our attention) about doing things that may violate copyright. It is important to remember that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that we CAN do something. Let me explain.

It is very easy to purchase a music track (song) through iTunes. Once that song has been downloaded, it is very easy to “share” (copy that file to someone else’s computer) song. However, that is blatantly illegal.

Teachers frequently feel that they are free to use anything that they want because they are covered by “fair use”. Fair use does cover the usage of some content, but it is not a catch all that protects everyone from everything. Fair use can be defined through the U.S. Copyright office (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html):

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Here is part of the license from iTunes:

(i) You shall be authorized to use iTunes Products only for personal, noncommercial use.

Personal use doesn’t cover using it in classroom.

Again, this can be a complicated process. Technology frequently moves faster than the law. However, it is important that we model appropriate behavior for our students. In part, this means that we must stay in within the confines of the law.

iBlog Mobile

Introducing the iBlog Mobile App

Connect your mobile device to your iBlog website using the super sweet new app which allows you to take photos/video and publish it directly to your iBlog website.   How cool will you be with parents when they see you are totally connected and totally communicating with them! This means that you can literally post to your iBlog in seconds. This is faster and easier than any other options available.

With a couple of taps you can harness the power of iBlog and be on your way to connecting with parents and students.

Follow this tutorial to setup the wordpress mobile app-

 

http://dearbornschools.org/pd/web-tools/iblog/iblog-app-iphone-ipad-android

(Click on button on the right side that is grey and called – iBlog-Wordpress Mobile Install ). 

*Special Thanks to Mr. Chris Kenniburg for installing and developing the instructions. 

Calendars to import

Last year, the Technology Department made available an import of district events. Due to the popularity of that process, we are once again making those files available. This means that instead of having lots of people type in the same events over and over, we’ve typed the events in and made it so that you can simply import all of the events.

We will have 3 different files: District Events, Elementary Events and Secondary Events.
The District Events include all of the usual district-wide events such as Open Houses.
The Elementary Events is Elementary Forum.
The Secondary Events includes secondary administration meetings, Middle School Principal and High School Principal meetings.

This will work a little bit differently, based upon the calendar client that you are using.

*NOTE: We need to make a few corrections. This will be posted soon.

Office 2010.

If you are using Office 2010, you can import the file(s) below by:
*Note that in 2010, you can control whether you add the file as another calendar or add it to your main calendar.  
  1. Click on the file. You should get a prompt to save the file. Save the file(s) that you want to your desktop.
  2. Open Outlook 2010.
  3. Click on the Calendar tab.
  4. Select File Tab
  5. Select Open from the list on the side
  6. Select Import from the options
  7. Select “Import an iCal”
  8. Click “Next”
  9. Navigate to the file on your desktop. (Click on Desktop on the left pane)
  10. Select “District.ics”
  11. Click “OK”
  12. You’ll have 2 choices: Open as New or Import.
    – Open as new creates an additional calendar
    – Import will add to your main calendar

Office 2003.

If you are using Office 2003:

  1. Save the file(s) that you want to your desktop.
  2. Open Outlook 2003.
  3. Select File | Import from another program…
  4. Select  Comma Separated Values (Windows)…
  5. Navigate to the file on your desktop.
  6. Follow the prompts.

 

Thought for the day

Today’s thought comes from Scott Mcleod.

How many decisions did you make yesterday that reinforced the status quo?

 

Were those decisions thoughtful?

Did those decisions lead you to a destination that you want?

What decisions will you make today?

Where will those decisions lead you?

Technology updating

Technology changes at a rapid pace. We try to find the appropriate balance between staying cutting edge and providing a rock solid dependable user experience. To that end, we are constantly testing, adjusting and modifying the software and settings that we have in place. We are no longer in an era of “set it and forget it” (apologies to Ron Perlman). We can set things, but since everything else changes so rapidly, our settings wouldn’t act the same way.

Add in to this that we have users who have different needs and skill sets. Some of our users stay up to date. They want the “latest and greatest” as soon as it comes out. Some users are still working on being comfortable with basic web technologies.

We support a wide variety of users and will continue to do so. However, we will be moving forward to provide the greatest experience that we can. Technology skills are no longer an option or something for the “techie” crowd. Rather, technology skills are a basic requirement for all. Just like good writing skills, good speaking skills and the ability to listen.

We will not leave people behind. We will encourage people to take advantage of the tools and training that is available.

Look for more training available here and on our PD site. If you have suggestions, please let us know. If you’d like to see some specific training, just drop an email to the HelpDesk.

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