A Brief History of ISA's Web 2.0 Journey So Far

After watching and discussing the Did You Know? 2.0 video together at our faculty retreat in August 2008, we have been exploring various ways to help students and teachers integrate web 2.0 tools into their teaching and learning.

Here's what's happened so far . . .

August 2008

We met with the EdTech department to request access to Web2.0 tools that would support/enhance our existing curriculum (election simulation, Make a Difference, travel experiences, MUN, internship, etc.) and allow us to participate in some new projects as well (Challenge 20/20, Letters to the Next President, collaboration with schools in Asia, etc.).

The tools we requested included:

The description and rationale for each our requests is included on this document.

We also shared with EdTech some example AUPs from other school districts and a video of Teachers and Principals Talk about Google Docs.

October 2008

Kathy, Pamela, and Honor attended a joint meeting of EdTech and CSC where we advocated for access to Web 2.0 tools.

We discussed our need for one or more platforms that would enable students to collaborate with their peers, including students in other countries, and communicate their learning with real-world audiences.

We explained that we were exploring free web-based tools as well as "walled-garden" services such as UniServity. Either option would require their support.

For example, web-based tools are tied to users' email accounts, but ePals are not currently configured to allow emails to or from outside parties. On the other hand, UniServity would require financial and technical support from CSC.

The folks at the meeting assured us they would continue considering our requests and do their best to support us.

November 2008

We were given permission to use some of the tools, but not others (see response from EdTech below).

As a result, the ICT department started using pbwiki and Honor created a Ning for the Internship Program.

The seniors considered the pros and cons of blogging/social networking in education and developed their own AUP for using the Internship Ning.

Steve and Honor also guided them in exploring the Economist.com debate over whether or not social networking would bring positive changes to education.

Possible Portfolio Platforms

Meanwhile, we began exploring different options for electronic portfolios . . .
We looked at Mahara, an open-source ePortfolio system which can be tied into the Moodle learning management system.
It would need to be installed on a server running BSD, Linux, or Sun/Solaris, and the need for technical support caused us to move away from this option.

We also met with the representative from UniServity. He put together a document comparing Moodle and UniServity (attached below), and shared this video about their product, but at this point the cost seems prohibitive.

We thought maybe a free web-based blog, wiki, or social networking platform would be the simplest solution, but we wanted to make sure we covered all our bases.

So we explored a number of sites designed specifically for education, including:
Edu 2.0

For various reasons, the members of the ICT department decided against these other options in favor of basic blogs and/or wikis.

Now What?