Tapped In Newsletter: February 1999

********** ...ON THE TAPIS **********
Issue # 16 February, 1999

...ON THE TAPIS is a monthly letter with updates on TAPPED IN and related events. Check out our website to learn more. Please update us if your email address changes.

Quote of the Month:

Maybe we should think about culture as a conversation among different voices - even if it's a conversation that some of us weren't able to join until recently. Maybe we should think about education ... as "an invitation into the art of this conversation in which we learn to recognize the voices." - Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "Multiculturalism: A Conversation Among Different Voices" 1991

(Special reminder... The K-8 Science Education Discussion Group will meet on Tuesday, February 23, 1999 at 4pm Pacific time. They are continuing a discussion about use of computers and the Internet in science classrooms.)

[1] Member Perspective: TAPPED IN Bridges the Gap
[2] Teaching Steps to Tolerance Summer Institute
[3] New Publication by Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
[4] WestEd's Distributed Learning Resource Network TAPs In
[5] The future of interactive learning environments
[6] MEETME and HELPME--Mailing list information
[7] The Leadership and the New Technologies at EDC
[8] About ...ON THE TAPIS

[1] Member Perspective
Nancy Haas (NancyWH online) is a technology resource teacher in San Juan Capistrano, California and teaches Technology and Career Exploration to 9th graders at Aliso Niguel High School. She joined TAPPED IN Summer of 1998 as a graduate student in Pepperdine University's Online Masters program. See our member perspectives for more information.

Nancy's Perspective

TAPPED IN Bridges the Gap, by Nancy Haas
With the recent reduction and elimination of release days for professional growth in California, the staff development department of Capistrano U.S.D. was faced with the challenge of providing 4500 teachers over an area of 195 square miles with quality professional development. The district decided to schedule workshops around the school year in the areas of technology, curriculum, literacy and standards and provide a financial incentive for teachers to attend. I saw these workshops as an opportunity to demonstrate how TAPPED IN can help teachers develop their own community of practice.

The resource people at TAPPED IN, including Terrie Gray, Hulda Nystrom, and Judi Fusco, assisted me in planning and presenting two sessions for a Saturday workshop. My first objective was for my colleagues to feel comfortable with the environment; my primary goal was to introduce them to the resources available at this site. By keeping the number of participants small, I was able to provide support for those who had never experienced a MOO or MUVE.

At the conclusion of the workshop I asked participants to complete a survey of their level of technology, their impression of the experience, and how they might use this resource at their schools. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, yet only one teacher has since pursued the use of TAPPED IN.

According to Dr. Talley, whom we encountered at the Connect School Conference in Anaheim, providing sustained support and innovation, legitimate resources, feedback, functionality, and expert help are some of the key elements found in an effective staffing agenda. My workshop did not provide all of these components, but I realized that just as I had been mentored in learning to use TAPPED IN, I in turn needed to mentor my colleagues. To this end I've started a newsletter, "The Capo Tech Times", to introduce my colleagues to ideas and pedagogy relating to technology.

I am also working with our district's technology mentor teachers and the Director of Technology Instruction Services to bridge the barriers of time and distance using TAPPED IN to facilitate communication among them. This approach will enable us to access the support, innovation, resources, feedback, functionality, and expert help recommended by Dr. Sue Talley of Pepperdine University to promote an environment of "sustained cognitive and interactive support", of which TAPPED IN is a key component.

[2] Teaching Steps to Tolerance Summer Institute - Apply Now!
Educators today are faced with unique challenges in creating school communities with so many different cultures and religions coming together. Teaching Steps to Tolerance is a professional development activity for fifth- and sixth-grade teachers and library media specialists that explores how to teach tolerance and understanding through literature-based, project-based lessons.

This summer institute is a program of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, funded (including associated travel) by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Four separate one-week workshops will be held during the summer of 1999.

Teams of up to five members, including a library media specialist, may apply. Teams are important so that it's easier to take the collaborative effort begun in the workshop back home. The application deadline is April 9, 1999.

[3] New Publication by Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education (ENC) will highlight TAPPED IN in an upcoming publication: Ideas that Work: Science Professional Development. 50,000 print copies of this publication will be distributed to K 12 educators free of charge and will also be available online at http://www.enc.org.

This current publication will be modeled after the 1998 publication, Ideas That Work: Mathematics Professional Development. The booklet highlighted 15 strategies for effective professional development for math teachers. Each strategy was illustrated with a real-life example, and the publication also includes longer descriptions of existing programs that combine these strategies.

There will be a special After School Online session led by Gail Hoskins tomorrow (Tuesday 2/23/99 at 4 pm PST). Log in tomorrow to learn more about ENC.

[4] Distributed Learning Resource Network TAPs In, by BJ Berquist
For one week in January, WestEd hosted a Distributed Learning Resource Network (DLRN) event. DLRN is the dissemination project for the U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program. The event was moderated by Chris Dede of George Mason University. An international group of over 200 participants, representing a variety of fields - including K-12, graduate, post-graduate, vocational, and professional - and the Tapped In community of staff and members joined together to provide an enriching and stimulating online experience discussing Distributed Learning.

Julie Duffield and the other staff from WestEd provided a listserv for posting pre-discussion questions and answers the week before the event. During the event, the discussions were divided into five topic areas and participants were invited to join whichever topic area(s) addressed their needs.

Participants logged in to TAPPED IN for two synchronous discussion groups. Sue Talley, along with several of her Pepperdine students, met in one meeting room while Chris Dede led a question and answer session in another. For many of the participants, this was a first experience with a MOO. Probably more questions were raised than "answered" but, as Dede and others stated throughout the event, that may be the most beneficial outcome of the whole experience!

Dede explained during the TAPPED IN session that "Face to face classes should sometimes meet across synchronously and asynchronously, because different learners 'come alive' in different interactive media." By allowing learners to "wear the masks of technology", distributed learning and its use of virtual reality transcends the confines of reality. By incorporating the many "faces" of distributed learning, both synchronous and asynchronous, the DLRN event allowed the participants to play on their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses.

Hopefully this event was only a beginning, and the discussion will be continued.

[5] The future of interactive learning environments
April 29 through May 2, 1999 is the annual conference of the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) in San Jose, CA. CILT99 is a gathering of researchers, developers, educators, and policy makers who are collaborating to shape the future of interactive learning environments. This high-energy conference has a novel format that combines plenary sessions featuring exciting guest speakers and panel discussions with more intimate working sessions in particular topic areas, designed to promote networking and collaboration.

Conference highlights include an opening reception at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA; an array of featured speakers including Susan Schilling, Linda Roberts, Alan November, Louis Gomez, Lee Shulman, and many others. There will also be opportunities to present your own work, as well as spend supported time collaborating with new colleagues working to define the future of learning technology today.

Register by March 15, 1999 to receive a discounted registration rate. For more information on CILT99 or the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies, see http://www.cilt.org

[6] MEETME and HELPME (Mailing lists) by Hulda Nystrom
Looking for people to collaborate with on a project? Have technical questions about how to do things in TAPPED IN? Haven't been able to attend Help Desk hours or "newbie" After School Online sessions? Then you may wish to subscribe to one of our mailing lists: MEETME for collaborative projects, tell the community a bit more about yourself, and set up meetings directly with your colleagues; or HELPME to ask other members or staff those technical questions.

[7] The Leadership and the New Technologies Project
The Leadership and the New Technologies (LNT) project supports school and district leaders responsible for planning and implementing the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in their schools. Be sure to check out their online journal LNT Perspectives: The Online Journal of the Leadership and the New Technologies Community with articles from the field, news briefs, and feature articles located at http://www.edc.org/LNT/news.htm. In March, keep your eye out for people visiting TAPPED IN and attending the online workshop entitled Multi-user virtual environments: From Research to Classroom Practice. See http://www.edc.org/LNT/workshop.htm for more information about that workshop and future workshops.

[8] About ...ON THE TAPIS
Postings of all ...ON THE TAPIS issues are available on our website. Contact us if you have any questions about your subscription, password or user name, or if you have any news items that you want to share with the community for ...ON THE TAPIS.