Tapped In Newsletter: March 1999

********** ...ON THE TAPIS **********
Issue # 17 March, 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.

* IMPORTANT: Server Move 3/19/99 *

We're moving to our NEW SERVER this Friday. Starting Thursday night 6 pm pacific, PLEASE don't make notes, or new objects, or changes to old objects, as they won't get saved before the move.

We hope that the move will not inconvenience anyone. We hope everything will be back to normal and working fine by Friday afternoon.

Quote of the Month:

"I have faith in young people because I know the strongest emotions which prevail are those of love and caring and belief and tolerance." - Barbara Jordan, February 14, 1994

[1] Member Perspective: "One of the most exciting Aha's of my career"
[2] Just the FAQ, ma'am
[3] 3,000th Member TAPs IN!
[4] EDC Leadership and New Technologies (LNT)
[5] Etiquette/Tips for new members
[6] TAPPED IN QuickNotes
[7] Ongoing ASO discussions
[8] About ...ON THE TAPIS

[1] Member Perspective: by Linda Ullah
Read all our member perspectives.

Linda Ullah (LindaU) is a GATE Teacher at Edenvale Elementary and a Technology Learning Coordinator for the Blossom Valley Learning Consortium and the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project in Oak Grove School District. She has been involved in training her colleagues in how to use TAPPED IN since she got membership in January of 1998, and is developing ways of using it with her and other teachers' students.

Linda's Perspective

TAPPED IN's potential as a collaborative educational space excites me. It has allowed me to hold important meetings in a timely fashion to discuss issues on an almost anytime, anywhere basis, and sometimes even in my pajamas! I use it to collaborate with teachers as far away as Sao Paulo, Brazil, or as near as elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. I use it to collaboratively plan curriculum for students, to organize workshop presentations, to plan Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project workshops and classes, and to keep in touch with summer workshop participants.

I have met wonderful colleagues in this professional community who have invigorating, and motivating perspectives, and ideas to share. I find it especially validating to meet other innovative educators from all over the U.S. and other countries who are doing incredible projects with their students. I value their warm friendship and professional dedication. These are people whose ideas I would never be able to have shared without TAPPED IN.

The greatest potential of TAPPED IN is something I discovered quite by accident last fall: My students have been working on a water pollution project with Idalina High School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We began the project over a year ago using email as our medium of exchange. But then I began to use TAPPED IN this past summer to plan with the teachers at Idalina, and we presented our project during TAPPED IN's Open House in September. Following that we tried some whole class discussions with the teachers in charge of the keyboards and the students chatting through the teachers.

When, in December of 1998, a delegation from the U.S. Department of Education and Brazilian Ministry of Education visited my school, the Brazilian teachers and I decided to let our students chat without our intervention. This was so successful that we did it again that same month as a culminating event for our joint project. Because Hulda Nystrom and Judi Fusco helped facilitate these discussions, and because I was able to plan ahead of time with the teachers at Idalina, I felt free to allow groups of my students to discuss issues related to our project while I helped other students work on their multimedia projects. I wish we had let our students have this freedom of chat earlier in this project. They had fun, but were serious, too. This became one of the most exciting Aha's of my teaching career! Transcripts of these chats can be found at http://www.garlic.com/~lullah/brazilus/water.html.

[2] Just the FAQ, Ma'am
We've added a new feature to the TAPPED IN Web site: A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Every week we get several similar questions from our users, and the FAQ section summarizes the most common ones. The majority of the questions we get are technical in nature (e.g., problems logging in, firewall issues) but we also answer common non-technical questions, like: How do I join? How can I use TAPPED IN?

So if you have a question you think others may have had in the past, check out our FAQ. If you have a question that isn't answered here, or you need more help, just email us and we may add your question to our list!

[3] 3,000th Member TAPs IN!
February and March have been busy months, including reaching the 3,000 mark in our membership! John Chmelir, from Durango, Colorado, became our 3,000th member on 3/4/99. He's credentialed as a Secondary Social Studies teacher and currently runs the alternative education program at Mancos High School, in Mancos, CO. During the summer he is a professional river guide; in the winter he teaches, guides dog sled tours, and volunteers on a ski patrol. John heard about TAPPED IN through an online graduate course he's participating in through SCILnet.

The Southwest Colorado Interactive Learning Network (SCILnet) is a partnership of twelve Southwest Colorado high schools, eleven public libraries, Pueblo Community College, the Southwest Regional Library Service System and the regional Boards of Cooperative Services. Its mission is to create distance learning opportunities and global contacts for students and residents of this isolated rural environment. Find out more about SCILnet at http://scilnet.fortlewis.edu ... and say Hello to JohnCh when you see him in TAPPED IN!

[4] EDC Leadership and New Technologies (LNT)
TAPPED IN welcomes participants of the EDC LNT online workshop on Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVES), which began on March 1. They have been exploring TAPPED IN and online professional development in general. Topics under discussion and reflection include: What is a MUVE?, Reactions to TAPPED IN, Online Professional Development. Currently conference participants are learning how to use TAPPED IN objects and making interactive animals for a "Best Pet" contest. They have also been reading research by Amy Bruckman and Alan Epstein's work on bringing students into MOOs. You can see some of the things they have learned in the LNT room (South 501). We hope they continue using our community and share it with their colleagues!

[5] TAPPED IN Etiquette/Tips for new members
With the influx of hundreds of new members over the past months, we have been asked many times, “What is appropriate TAPPED IN behavior?” The answer is: professional behavior. TAPPED IN is a place for professional development, and behavior that is appropriate at a conference or at work is appropriate in TAPPED IN. Logging into TAPPED IN has been compared to attending a professional development workshop or conference. Everyone knows that sometimes workshops and conferences have moments of silliness, but that's not their purpose.

Public Spaces
Here are some tips for appropriate TAPPED IN behavior in public spaces - on the first and second floors.

Reception is our MOST public space, as most people "land" there when they log in. HelpDesk folks frequently are found there waiting to help new people. It's also a great place for meeting new people since it's frequently quite a lively place. When a new person (either a member or a guest) logs in, the HelpDesk person will typically greet the person, and if they appear to be new, will tell them how to talk. When new folks log in, members in Reception should welcome them into the conversation, or be quiet so as to not scare them off (lots of text scrolling by on the screen can be overwhelming your first visit).

The After School Online (ASO) Room is a public space in which almost all After School Online sessions take place. ASOs are a way to get to know other members of the community. The ASO room is also a convenient place step into to take a conversation out of Reception if an ASO is not in session.

The first and second floor and the woods "outside" are public areas in which folks may wander in and out of. If you walk into what looks like a meeting, etiquette calls for you to quietly ask if you are disturbing or to just walk on out. It's also a good idea to check to make sure a meeting is not occurring before entering meeting rooms on the second floor.

Private Offices
Any member in TAPPED IN may get their own private office to insure a quiet meeting place for colleagues. When you are in your private office, it is up to you to set up your own norms about what is appropriate behavior. If you would like help learning to hold an effective meeting online, or would like to know more about TAPPED IN partnerships (how to get a room on the second floor) email us and let us know. We're glad to help.

Other Tips
To find out who is online type WHO (no quotes). If you see someone online who is in their private office, Page them (type: PAGE MemberName message) and ask first if you may join. It's polite and gives them warning.

If you have any questions about TAPPED IN don't hesitate to ask. Almost anyone online will be happy to help if they know the answer. We're a community!

[6] TAPPED IN QuickNotes
In February, TAPPED IN Director Mark Schlager was invited to speak at a National Science Foundation workshop on Teacher Education. His talk on Technology in Teacher Professional Development and Support made mention of several TAPPED IN Members including DonaP, GailR (POLARIS), GayleP (TEAMS), SandyT (SCILnet), MarkAJ, and LindaGP. Mark was also one of two outside experts invited to speak at the Wisconsin Governor's workshop on Integrating Technology into the Classroom. Mark has many frequent flier miles and major jet lag!

March 1-3 Judi Fusco, TAPPED IN Community Development Director, attended the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) Conference in San Antonio, Texas and presented a paper about TAPPED IN distance education experiences called "A Community-based Approach for Online Teacher Education."

March 5-6, TAPPED IN Associate Educator Hulda Nystrom attended the Autodesk Foundation's 7th annual conference on Project Based Learning and School to Career in San Francisco. She is helping Autodesk incorporate TAPPED IN into the work of the PBL Network and Bay Area School to Career Action Network. Watch for discussion times in the Events calendar!

On March 13, Judi Fusco and Patti Schank (TAPPED IN's Technology director) presented a workshop at the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) Conference at San Jose State University for middle and high school age girls. The conference encourages girls to explore math and science related careers. The EYH visitors explored the Student Activity Center, made virtual pets and experienced an online meeting. Most of the girls wrote that they thought TAPPED IN was “really cool” on their feed back to us.

[7] Regular ASO discussions
* The American School Counselors Association (ASCA)
* WebQuests (TimSm and Judi)
* The K-8 Science Education Discussion Group (ErikW and JackieM)
* The Autodesk Foundation is developing ongoing affinity groups on Project Based Learning and School to Career. Contact DanaE for more information.

[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.