Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Group: eLearning in Schools

Announcing a new edna Group: eLearning in Schools

This group is designed to offer a virtual meeting room for teachers who are planning to introduce, in the middle of introducing or actively involved in online learning in schools across the country. It is intended for primary, middle and high schools as well as VET teachers. Through this virtual meeting room, to be known as the elearning in Schools Group, a Community of Practice is born and it is hoped together we act as catalysts in the development of eLearning in our schools, promote good standards, and provide a venue where group members are able to share their experiences, difficulties as well as suggestions,

In order to subscribe to this Group, you must be subscribed to edna. If you are already subscribed, log on to edna and login. Once logged in, Go to Groups at the top right of the page and click on the tab. Do one of the following to locate the group:

  1. Scroll down the list of Group Categories and select School Education. Click on
    Page 5 and scroll down to around the middle of the list to elearning in School
    and click to launch the group’s home page.
  2. Type in: elearning in Schools in the Search Groups field at the top right corner of the EdNA Groups home Page and click Go.

If you are not yet subscribed to edna, visit the edna home page, or click here and click Register and follow the prompts. The new Group is a public group, but you will need to be registered in order to participate in forums.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Social Networking for Teachers

Taking advantage of current social media technology, Teachers Network—with funding from the Ford Foundation—has introduced a new online forum for collaboration on issues affecting educators. The web site aims to bring together educators and policy makers to share ideas, suggestions, and best practices for improving teacher effectiveness and retention. Though primarily aimed at the U.S., the site includes findings from a recent survey conducted by Teachers Network, called “What Keeps Effective Teachers in the Classroom,” suggesting that effective teaching is largely the result of continued professional development, support for teacher collaboration, and opportunities for leadership.

Elluminate Inc. has expanded its role as a provider of online learning platforms and meeting spaces by launching a new social learning network for educators, called Learncentral. A free and open resource for professionals in the global education community, LearnCentral provides social networking and collaboration tools for members to find and connect with others, share content and best practices, create and maintain a portfolio of learning content, meet in real-time virtual rooms, and hold and attend virtual events. Upon joining LearnCentral, each member receives a free Elluminate vRoom, a virtual meeting room for up to three participants or locations. The network is moderated by Elluminate’s social learning consultant, Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0 and director of the Consortium for School Networking’s K12 Open Technologies Initiative. Incidentally Elluminate are the behind the Elluminati group which resides on Learncentral.

Project lets users explore the cosmos from a PC

Microsoft and NASA have teamed up to create what they say is the largest seamless, spherical map ever made of the night sky and a high-resolution map of Mars that users can explore on their computers in 3D. It is hoped that the project will entice a new generation of students toward science and technology.

The mission is to inspire today’s students and spark interest in the
STEM fields, and it appears to be working: In studying photos of Mars taken by a NASA spacecraft, a group of seventh graders in California earlier this year discovered a previously unknown cave, as well as lava tubes that NASA scientists hadn’t noticed.
“What we’re trying to do at NASA is make our data more accessible,” said Chris Kemp, chief technology officer for NASA, in an interview with eSchool News, “and we’re doing that by connecting students in the classroom and at home to a user-friendly platform.”

Called Terapixel, the night sky project is now available for viewing with Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope, a free, web-based program that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from ground and space-based telescopes to enable seamless, guided explorations of the universe. It enables seamless panning and zooming across the night sky, blending images, data, and stories from multiple sources over the internet into an immersive experience.

The night sky project, as well as the Mars 3D project, began 50 years ago as photos were taken of the night sky by ground-based survey telescopes. Over five decades, thousands of images were taken by NASA and stored with the Digitized Sky Survey. The challenge then became: How can scientists take these various images and make them into a single, unified image for exploring via computer?

The WorldWide Telescope’s Night Sky view is also available using Bing’s street view feature, allowing users to look up at the night sky from a particular area on the map. Inside Bing Maps, users first need to click on “Map Apps” and select WorldWide Telescope to enable the program.
The app is not just for identifying constellations and planets, as the menu allows users to load all data from sky surveys, the Hubble Telescope, and other astronomy data sources.

And while we are on the subject, have a look at Space Exploration - The Shuttle. If you're after some presentations for primary age staudents have a look at Space, Stars, Galaxy and Solar System.