As we get closer to school, I have been thinking more about our new Buddypress/WordPress MU (Multi User) site and how it can really take our students further in their own learning. Essentially, this site will be a place where students can interact with each other, staff, and parents. This is a totally new venture for us so I wrote a post entitled “The Why” that would help clarify why we are doing it in the first place. Here were the initial reasons:
- Social Relevance
- Digital Citizenship and Identity
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Leadership for All
- Opportunity for Creativity
(For more on each one of these categories, please read this post)
Collaborating with Shannon McClintock Miller from Van Meter school in Iowa, we have started to talk about how we can collaborate together on this project so that we can learn from each other, while also being a conduit between students from two different countries that can share their learning. There is a lot of work to be done in this area, but through our conversations, here are some of the ideas that we discussed.
As I am visioning having one central site that hosts all of our blogs, school information, and school community (kind of like facebook with blogs), we still want to make this as minimalist a site as possible so that it is easy to gain and access the information that is needed. I also believe that it is important that we ensure that we are moving our school sites from 1.0 to 2.0 so that parents have a voice, as discussed in my Evolution of a Blog post and video.
Listed are some of the things that will be on this site:
- School Information
- Blogs for school
- Blogs for staff
- Blogfolios for students
- Connect with outside students (collaboration between Van Meter and Forest Green School to ensure a safe environment where parents feel comfortable)
Here are some of the advantages of doing this:
- Parents will be able to find all blogs and school information on one site. I think it is important that they are not going back and forth between a school website and a school blog.
- RSS Feed capabilities that let parents know when information is updated as opposed to a stagnant site where they have to keep checking. The information comes to them as opposed to them coming to the site.
- This is an opportunity for giving parents a voice on what is going on in the school. Although comments are moderated, this is another avenue for communication for parents. It is important that when you are building these sites that you try to get parent feedback on what they would like to see on it as well. The connection is greatly valued at our school.
- This is a long term project. This is not expected to be done in one year but something that the students and staff will continue for years to come. The blogfolios that students will have will be theirs from year to year and since we are using the same software, we should be able to build capacity amongst the entire school community.
It is important that we also look at how we look at our Acceptable Use Policy for the school. As described by Sylvia Martinez, it is important that we share more than just our rules, but we share our vision in our technology integration plan.
Obviously I have been thinking a lot about this but there is still a lot of planning and collaboration to be done with staff and our school community on what best fits for our school. I have also been collecting articles that will help us move forward with our technology plan for the next school year by collecting these links:
I would love your thoughts on anything ranging from blogfolios for students, acceptable use agreements, school websites, or anything that I have discussed in this post. Also, if you have any questions, I would love to hear them as well since that will help us prepare for our school vision in this field.
This is a plan with gigantic potential and expectations, but through the collaboration of many, we are looking forward to see where this goes.