District Administration - April 2012 - (Page 66)
• Courtney Williams
A Guide to one seGment of educAtion technoloGy
Social Learning Networks for K12 Education
While Facebook and Google+ are popular social networks for everyday life, dozens of other networks have been created to provide safe and effective social learning environments for K12 education. Social learning networks (SLNs) allow students to learn 21st-century skills. Students can build online portfolios and resumes and collaborate with peers through project-based learning, which will help them in college or the workforce. SLNs created specifically for education feature safety elements and Web 2.0 tools, and they are a platform for collaboration. Beginning in July, all Gaggle subscribers will be protected by its Human Monitoring Service, which blocks inappropriate content and keywords posted by students and alerts teachers. ePals Learning Space allows students to form meaningful relationships with peers around the world and to collaborate through project-based learning. Peers do not need to be friends or have access to a student’s or teacher’s profile to use this app. For educators looking to expand their network, Glam Media offers the ability to create a public or private network to include group chats, videos and custom themes. SLNs vary in features and cost. Some are free, such as Edmodo and Schoology, while others are based on a subscription pricing model. Ones that come with a fee cost about one dollar per student annually and are likely E-Rate eligible. Here are some options to consider for your district. BLacKBoard
CourseSites, free Blackboard, an education technology and solutions company, also offers a free social network site to districts. CourseSites allows educators to add class materials to the Web to accompany up to five traditional classes per site, or teach online courses with the latest technology tools from Blackboard products, including Learn, Collaborate, Mobile and Connect. Teachers can assess student performance and manage grades, share resources with other educators and students, and encourage students to work collaboratively and engage in social learning. A mobile app is also available.
Teachers can customize the classroom experience online and give students the necessary tools to collaborate in the classroom with Edmodo. Students can discuss topics relevant to class, share content and ideas with classmates, and complete assignments on this SLN. Teachers can assign and grade assignments, monitor student discussions, and post files or comments to groups. Other features include “badges, which provide incentives for ” students and recognition of their achievement, a quiz builder to aid in student assessment, iPhone and Android apps, and a user-friendly interface.
Pricing based on number of students Gaggle’s initial business centered on safe email for K12 students, but it has grown to provide a safe online learning experience, collaboration tools, and monitoring systems for schools. Students can turn in and store files electronically and can collaborate and stay connected with peers with student email, a collaborative homework-correcting tool, Social Learning Wall and safe SMS texting. Teachers and administrators can access support through the tech support team, free training videos and webinars. Starting in July, all subscribers will receive Gaggle’s Human Monitoring Service (HMS) as part of their subscription. 66 April 2012 District Administration
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - April 2012
District Administration - April 2012
From the Editor
Special Ed Update
Robust and Safe BYOD
Success Breeds Success
Funding Building Projects in a Tough Economy
Widening Participation to an IB Education
Why All the Chatter about #EdChat?
District Administration - April 2012