Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hellloooooo. I've been a bad blogger.

Actually, I have been a very good worker. We have just been so very busy at my work that I've let my blogging slip. I just want to punch the virtual clock here to note a couple of developments:

First, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's announcement of a partnership with Pearson Learning (aka Florida Virtual School when it comes to digital content) to produce 24 courses in math and literacy serving all grades K-12 (http://tinyurl.com/gatespearson). What's more, 4 of them will be made available for free to schools.


Says a Foundation rep:


Each course will serve as a 150-day curriculum and will harness technological advances such as social networking, animation, and gaming to better engage and motivate students, Judy B. Codding, the managing director of the Pearson Foundation, told reporters...Secondary-level courses in math and elementary-school-level courses in English/language arts are to be available for the 2013-14 school year, and the entire suite of courses and accompanying tools are slated for the 2014-15 school year, Ms. Codding said. The four free courses—two in math and two in English/language arts—will be posted online as soon as they are finished, she said.
Lots of questions ensue: Which courses? What does "free to schools" mean? Does that mean that students can use, for example, FL Global School's teachers and take the course within their LMS (Learning Management System) for free? Woot!

I doubt it though. More likely, content will be "free" to schools for use in their own LMS, assuming they have one and  the wherewithal to load digital content into it and manage its delivery using teachers, assuming teachers have been trained (and perhaps certified) to teach online--which, let's face it, isn't the same thing as bricks-and-mortar teaching. Pardner, I can tell you right now that just having the content is, yes, a good thing, but supporting it and delivering it entails much more than popping a web link out to teachers or kids.

Anyway, just a little glimmer of what every day in my own professional life looks like now. It's been a wild ride and it's getting nothing but wilder as we continue to craft online learning options for a public school system that has never really had them to offer. Again, woot.

I'll be trucking down with my son to Memphis this weekend for the Beale Street Music Festival, formerly the Beale Street Blues Festival. Last year it was rained out by the May Floods, but this year's weather looks better, having just suffered huge hits from the giant weather pattern that killed nearly 200 Alabamans and dozens of Tennesseans. If I can celebrate the music festival online at all I will, and at the very least you can look for pics here and in Facebook!

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