While at the “Redesigning Instruction for the Future” conference in Boise, I had the privilege of facilitating a session for building an online community, which is based largely on our “User Group Starter Kit”. When we got to the point in the discussion about the roles needed to sustain a community, one participant had a particularly interesting comment. He said, in a nutshell, that for him, community means being able to go into his neighbor’s garage and borrowing a ladder when he needs it. Given that I’m a sucker for a good metaphor, this really stuck with me, and prompted me to ask: “What’s the difference between a bunch of people living on the same street and a community?”
- The conference helped to dispel the notion that higher education faculty don’t care about pedagogy and course design.
- It wasn’t a conference centered around users of Blackboard Academic SuiteTM – there were schools using Blackboard, WebCT, open source software, and some attendees – gasp – weren’t using a course management system at all to deliver well designed online courses.
Earlier this month when Chris Vento, former CIO of WebCT now SVP of Blackboard Product Development came to the Blackboard headquarters here in DC for the first time and he walked into the offices no one stopped him. He said that felt really weird. But he said it got even weirder when someone took his picture and gave him a badge, he got a network login, he was given an office with his name on the chalkboard hanging next to his office door and was given a tour of the building. He said it felt like he was in some strange science fiction movie.
Best Classroom Instruction Blog for Teachers: Assorted Stuff
by Tim Stahmer, an Instructional Technology Specialist for Fairfax County, Virginia Public Schools.
Best Classroom Instruction Blog for Students: Applied Science Research
by Frank LaBanca, a Science Teacher at Newton High School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
Best Education Theory Blog: Moving at the Speed of Creativity
by Wesley Fryer, Director of Instructional Support Services at Texas Tech University, College of Education.
Best K-12 Administration Blog: EduWonk
by Andrew Rotherham the Co-founder and Co-director of Education Sector a nonprofit, independent research and analysis organization.
Best Instructional Blog for Teachers: MacKenty.org
by Bill MacKenty, Computer Science Teacher at Edgartown Elementary School on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts
Bryan Alexander, Director for Research at the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Arts, recently published a terrific article titled, "Web 2.0: A New Way of Innovation for Teaching and Learning" in the most recent issue of Educause Review. There’s no disagreeing with Alexander; it’s pretty clear that the last couple of years have seen the rise of new, socially-oriented technologies that have changed how people interact over the web, and that it has great potential for teaching and learning. And, of course, Blackboard recently announced our forthcoming Web 2.0 initiative, Blackboard Beyond. The opportunity represented by these technologies collectively referred to as Web 2.0 revolves around putting more of the authority (in the most literal sense of the word, as in "the ability to author") in the hands of users, but doing so in a way that helps automate making some of the social and conceptual connections.