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Showing posts from April, 2010

New Perspectives on Engaging Students and Teachers in the Classroom and Beyond

This session was important for the campuses. As they start to look at standards and content alignment of instruction, Bb9.1 would be an essential component for them. With the curriculum mapping being done in Blackboard, this would allow for more collaboration, but also away for personnel to be free to address other instructional needs. Blackboard sponsored this session presented by Rob Leo, CNYRIC/OCM BOCES Jed Friedrichsen, Pam Willingham, Volusia County Schools Katie Gallagher, M. S., Solutions Engineer, Blackboard K-12 They have 160 school districts participating in their non-profit online learning and professional development for teachers and students. The focus is to learn how to use online learning for instruction, but also for reaching learners who do not go to school. Blackboard 9.1 provides an excellent opportunity to provide professional developmoent and online learning for educators. Channging in Teaching and Learning upgrading t

Adobe Acrobat 9 - Combine Supported Files

Here's an easy way to combine supported files into one PDF file Select your supported files (any file Adobe Acrobat supports) Right-click and select "Combine supported files in Acrobat" In the box that pops up, select your file size (large, default or small) in the lower right corner. Click the "Combine Files" button If necessary, Adobe Acrobat will automatically create PDF files for all supported formats and combine all files in one PDF file. By default, it will also add bookmarks for each file. This way is alot easier than doing it manually.

Critical Thinking and Web Literacy

Presented by Howard Rheingold - technology professor at Stanford, who teaches Internet literacy and strategies for online collaboration. Rob Bayu , Program Panager , Teacher Professional Development, Microsoft Chris O'Neal , Educational Consultant, ISTE Faculty Member Critical thinking and why we should care - Howard Rheingold Ideas and Considerations for the Classroom - Rob Bayuk Critical Curriculum - Sneak Preview - Microsoft & ISTE collaboration Howard Rheingold In the late 1900's we saw Internet research engines like Lycos , Infoseek , and AltaVista . Way before the Google era. You need to be aware of the information that you retrieve. How do you validate the information of what you found? Who wrote this? This is the process of critcal thinking. Critical consumption - an essential literacy skill ( In early 2000, critical consumption was not well thought of. How can you pluck the answers to any question out of the ai

Life in Blackboard Learn - Release 9.1

This webinar looked at the path to the next generation (Project NG) of Blackboard. They are about the quality that matters with Blackboard extending itself to move toward more mobility and assessment. Also, they want to build community interaction to work with their clients to make a smooth transition to the next generation. The future of Blackboard - Project NG. Their already looking at Blackboard X. The new tools added to 9.1 that they are promoting is: Active collaborations: Wikis - they are gradable and tied to the gradebook. Integrating visually engaging content: Flicker, YouTube, etc. Searched within the platform. Manage content at the course level: information can be uploaded by draging and dropping into the course file manager inside your course. Grade Center: You can customize the grade center as to how it is viewed. You can now grade blogs in 9.1. Enable flexible course roles: they have modified it where you can change the role ID and separate out the customization of wha

Blackboard Learn System Administration

In comparing Blackboard 7 to 9 in respect to system administration, not much if anything has changed for the functions that we use most frequently. The most notable difference is the drop down menus, which make the user experience a little less clunky. Two such places where this can be found are in the areas we use the most: Users and Courses. Exploring the Courses and Users areas more thoroughly showed that the functions remained the same except for the addition of the “not blank” search drop down option that can be confusing at first. In Blackboard 7, if you left the search box blank then that would mean to list everything, but in Bb 9 you must specifically choose “not blank.” Also, I found that if you typed the “%” sign in the User’s search box then that is equal to “not blank” though the “%” sign did not work in the Course’s search box. Here is a link to the system administration guide that we can reference as needed: Another area in system admi

What's New for Blackboard Learn

This was a 30 min. presentation (not demo) on K12 features in 9.1, more marketing but they were upfront before they started that other sessions were going to address specific features. It was nice to see the extent of the standards-based learning tools and how that could dramatically change how schools use Blackboard and/or even get more schools to buy into online learning, just to use this tool. These were the 4 things that were covered in the presentation: 1. Commitment to Quality 2. Client Feedback - new release addresses social learning and 21st century skills. 3. Addressing K-12 Challenges - 2 main things schools are asking for: development of 21st century skills and standards-based learning. -Ways they are addressing 21st century skills: active and social learning (e.g. collaborative learning tools), integrated media and engaging content (e.g. mashups), individualized instruction. -Standards-based Learning - standards can be added with a quick "standards alignment&qu

Blackboard and iPad

I was watching this video while doing my research and WOW! Let's just say this looks unreal and so engaging. Okay, maybe the nice graphics and the pretty menu items 'be-dazzle' me, but you gotta watch.


The question of whether safe social networking sites exist, or at least some safe enough for the school to feel comfortable with, is a good one. The question led me to a post saying yes, SNs do belong in schools, and a link to a project where it seems to be done, The Flat Classroom Project. It's named Flat Classroom because it's goal is to link students internationally, breakdown the walls of the classroom so to speak. It's based on Ning and I don't get why you need both but if you signup for an account you have to create the wikispaces account as well. Right now they have a special offer - k-12 teachers can get a free $50/hr account for their Plus plan. I lied about my school and don't know how to unlie so I could not signup yet 8-). You can create blogs, add pictures, text, widgets, and I think you an create forums but didn't see a link for that. Anyone can create an account with a Ning account which opens students to the world - but yo

Social Media

We always talk about social media sites, but how do we use this for learning. I recently participated in a webinar taking an in-dept look at Social Media and how to use it effectly. Take a look at this link to watch the webinar. Social Media Webinar It was interesting and useful.

Owau - Other BB Features

There are three additional features available in Blackboard you may want to explore. Two of them we'll discuss here and the third, Groups, Cassie and I do with you during our meeting. Blackboard Scholar is a social networked URL keeper - much like Delicious. The building block is free and has been activated by our System Administrator. A tab then appears alongside the Homeroom tab. The student chooses whether it's a course Scholar page or a global Scholar page available from any of the student's courses. Here is how it works: Evaluation : It's integrated with Blackboard and a good way to share web search results because students can invite other students to their page. They can create a "stream" which feeds sites that have the designated keywords. I tried a few and the results weren't worth looking at. A robust service like Delicious can offer the same. Safe Assign is a built-in plagiarism checking service in Blackboard. Instead of ch

Wimba Connect 2010

The third annual Wimba Connect 2010 conference was held on March 21-24 at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort in sunny Orlando Florida. This year’s theme focused on the magic of collaboration and offered sessions focused on the many ways the Wimba community is utilizing the variety of Wimba tools in their respective distance learning programs. The conference was also a time to showcase upcoming features to existing Wimba tools and to announce the inductees of the 2010 Wimba Hall of Fame for excellence in collaboration. Wimba C onnect 2010 officially opened on March 22 with an opening keynote from Wimba’s CEO and Chairman of the Board, Carol Vallone. The keynote opened with light hearted humor where the audience was asked to tell your neighbor what Disney character you would like to be. As the ball room filled with answers of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto the CEO replied that she would like to be Cruella De Vil. With laughter and half hearted smiles the keynote

A Guide for Accessing Need, Opportunity and Direction

Aloha, Here's a follow-up to our tactical planning day. Blackboard K-12 has published a white paper for districts/schools considering to move to some kind of online learning. What I liked about this report is that it provides you with a specific framework to use in deciding where your particular school should head based on needs of your students and community. It also provides a rating system, where you can match your responses up to specific recommendations on the type of distance learning your school should pursue. Depending on what that recommendation is (e.g. hybrid courses, blended learning, virtual school, etc.), the report also matches that to possible funding sources for public schools like Title I. There's also a list of resources for the various types of distance learning that I think will be useful to us. Here's the link to download the paper:,,&subhead I'll also send

Bb Exemplary Course Rubric

Aloha all, I shared a bit about my experience as a course reviewer and wanted to elaborate on the experience. The rubric categories for the award submissions are: course design, interaction & collaboration, learner support, assessment and the levels for in each category are: exemplary, accomplished, promising and incomplete. Here's the link to the Exemplary Program site that includes a link to the rubric: Although I felt like the rubric was very detailed, including measures for each level, I still felt like instructional design was not enough of a focus. I felt like you could rate yourself as "accomplished" in certain categories by strictly following the criteria in that level and yet how the content was presented could still seem very lacking in the appeal to various learning styles. I think our own courses are not only a testiment to the cultural content presented and the awesome fa