Monday, February 04, 2008

Facebook for the rest of us!

I know sites like Facebook and MySpace cause technology directors and teachers great concern. "Students spend too much time on them." "Students give away too much personal information." "Students use these tools to obscure who they really are, and engage in fantasies."

Well, whatever the case or cause, students spend a lot of time on them. Why? I would recommend you find out for yourself. Consider connecting yourself to a Social Network that has meaning to you. I have a MySpace and Facebook account. I also have an account on an alumni social network through my college. I spend very little time on them. However, several months ago I joined a new social network on Ning specifically for Independent School Technology People. Whoa! I am hooked.

I have met people with similar interests that I would have never come across. I create and join groups to learn about different things. I have learned new stuff about technology integration, professional development, and new technologies.

The group is getting pretty big and it's difficult to meet the needs of local concern so I decided to start a Ning network specifically for St. Louis Area Tech people to discuss local concerns such as local vendors, infrastructure and local opportunities.

Ning is a nice way to create a reasonably safe and appropriately focused site that meets the 21st century needs of your students and, quite frankly, creates a fun and interactive way to communicate! Give it a shot!

Updated Research

Well I am grossly overdue in posting this but I have included links to research gathered over the last two years on our Linux Laptop project. The survey results can be found on the Links section of this blog. The survey instrument we created reflects the data gathered in the Baseline research as well as that gathered in the process to create the White Paper. The items on the assessment have been written to reflect the goals of our Technology Plan. This is because the Laptop program should further almost everything we want to do in out technology plan. However, because this is the only survey we do annually to see how we are doing with our plan, there are a few questions which have little to do with laptops.