Thursday, November 10, 2011

Everyone's Got One

Remember when our Texas Education Agency announced Epsilen's Project Share as the unifying bridge to connect teachers across the state together in a collaborative system? This was to connect us not only to learn updates and news about TEKS and new standardized testing procedures, but a real collaborative showcase of best practice in the classroom.

It didn't live up to its promise as concerns about ownership and long-term initiative success for this type of implementation caused many of us to keep away. In its fourth year now, we are just now starting to see the content that was supposed to be available in year one.

But Project Share was initially conceived as the one online tool that was going to unite districts together. It was to be the state's portal for professional development and developing professional learning communities. It was also going to connect us to rich media content to create eCourses for students to access as a replacement to the TxVSN system.

And now we are fractured and will continue to fracture out as many of our vendors are now developing their own PLN portals. TEA supports Project Share. TCEA supports TIME from Learning.com. TIME is the portal where teachers can connect to their digital subscriptions based on the learning objectives matched to corresponding media. Along with the SKY system in Learning's web tools, teachers can create, share and manage content for complete lessons online.

Is this a good place to mention TCEA's goal?: "Our goal is to become the dominant force for technology in education."

Don't forget the  ESC Regional Service Centers are selling eduphoria! Suite which is about to release the Forethought Community and StudentObjects systems. These two additions will allow eduphoria! users to be able to share online courses and manage student learning online. Districts can toggle if they want to share their courses with other districts in Community. They can even manage fees for courses offered to other districts.

Several of the online SIS (student information systems) are now offering spaces for teachers to collaborate online and integrate with student accounts to share calendars. They can communicate with the students, share notes and even create course content inside the actual gradebook systems.

And Google has partnered with Pearson for HigherEd to create a system called OpenClass which is also an LMS system. So now Pearson resources will work inside an LMS that works inside of Google Apps for Education. Course content can be shared among teachers collaboratively as well as incorporate the vast Pearson resources (you pay for) and the Google/YouTube empire. I bet this opens up to K12 soon!

Like I said in the title of this post: "Everyone's Got One" and everyone's choosing sides. TEA supports Project Share. TCEA supports TIME. The Service Centers seem to dig eduphoria!. Districts are using Moodle, Joomla, Druple and whatever else they wish.

And when everyone's got one, we have many and not ONE. We aren't collaborating anymore. We aren't sharing. We are fracturing more. 

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