Friday, July 20, 2007

Thanks to Rachel, NZ, for this heads up about the 10 year anniversary of blogging. It was a surprise blogging has been around that long. I've been blogging since I believe the school year of 2003, and in earnest since 2005 when I went on sabbatical and wanted to stay in touch with my students. Now I have many blogs, one for staff, one for, my facebook, my, and the list goes on.

So, Happy Blogiversary! If you aren't posting (writing) to your own blog yet, try reading a few.

Here is the Wall Street Journal article explaining the 10 year history.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Parent Information about Technology in WOCSD #18

Parent Technology Information for WOCSD #18

The WOCSD District Technology Committee has spent the year reviewing how technology is used in the classroom and throughout the district. A number of changes and recommendations have come from this review. The committee wanted to update the community on the progress the district has made with regard to technology both in the classroom and throughout the district. If you have any questions please contact

Internet Safety DVD at library: In January a very informative program on internet safety, presented by Brad Russ,  that went into specifics about My space, IM, cyberbullying, and preserving your online identity.  The program was recorded and is available on DVD at the Wells Public Library and each school. Be sure to check it out and take a look at it. Thanks to Reg Bennett for recording this event. Thanks to Nancy Cotty and Cheryl Mills for organizing this event. You can continue the conversations here at  or . The podcast of the evening is a this address or you can use this address

Technology expectations for teachers and administrators:
Beginning in the fall all teachers and administrators within the district will be using basic technology skills and will be expected to incorporate these skills in the classroom on a regular basis. A list of skill requirements was developed by the committee and approved by the administration. All teachers have completed an online survey. The survey will shape the professional development and other continuing education opportunities which will be offered.  Support will be offered through Adult Education classes, online classes, outside workshops and conferences and local workshops.

Moodle to be used for communication:
Another exciting change is the addition of a moodle that will be used by teachers throughout the district. A what? A online software that was designed to manage class or course content. Teachers and administrators can use the Moodle  as a place to share information, provide quizzes for students, provide surveys and places for students to share projects. The district will support teachers in their learning of the Moodle opportunities. This will be a multi year project as there are many different ways to use the Moodle. Teachers will use this system to communicate with each other, students and parents. In the long run it will enable much flexibility in communicating with parents and students since both groups will be able to access homework assignments, papers, and potentially grades among other things. There will be more information on how parents can use this new technology to their advantage in the fall. This new system will replace the current

     On-line announcements: A major change at Wells Elementary School began this spring. In an effort to save paper the school began a paperless announcement system.  Also in response to the results of a National Technology Use survey, parents requested announcements go directly to their email, rather than parents checking out a webpage for announcements. Instead of sending home notices to every student on Fridays the school began sending an email announcement with notices attached in pdf format. In the fall this paperless system will continue. At the junior high and senior high schools the goal is to have all announcements posted on the web sites on a daily basis. This will enable parents to easily keep track of upcoming events and other vital school information. The committee feels strongly that this is a very important part of good communication between schools and parents. The School Committee commented during a recent meeting commented that many people in the community are pleased with the ease of email contact with staff.

Free software: In an effort to leverage our tax dollars where is matters most, the district technology committee recommended the district look at open source software.   This software is what is called open source software, a free, downloadable version of a product that is under development, and fully operational. This program is very similar to Microsoft Office, but students will be able to save their work in a format that can be opened on any types of computer operating system and within Microsoft Office. In other words, your child will not have to worry if he saves it on a school mac, but has a pc at home. Additionally, if you do not have Microsoft Office, or a certain piece of it, you can download the open source program for free without fear of introducing a virus onto your computer. Businesses all over the world are switching to this program. You can find additional information about this software at  HYPERLINK ""(for pc's) or _NeoOffice__ (for mac's). All schools will be using open source software for students including Firefox, a browser by, Neooffice at, OpenOffice at and the Moodle at

Virtual High School: After reviewing computer and technology courses offered at high schools throughout York and Cumberland Counties we discovered that WHS is one of just two school districts that does not offer these courses as electives. We currently are in discussions with Kennebunk High School to become part of the state's virtual high school. This allows member schools to access on-line courses taught by teachers within the member community. Course listings can be quite extensive and not just limited to technology. We hope to have something in the works next year. Also please see your guidance counselor for details on specific Virtual Classes offered to students on an individual basis, throughout the State of Maine.  All High School juniors will have free access to PrepMe an online program for practicing strategies for taking the SAT. You will receive individual login and password information from your guidance counselor.

Laptops: Laptops will continue to be used at WJHS as part of the STATE MLTI, Maine Learning and Technology Initiative.  However, beginning next year, at WHS,  laptops for freshmen and sophomores will not be sent home on a daily basis. Students will be encouraged to purchase a USB flash Drive memory stick to transport information between home and school. Memory sticks with a 256mb memory and engraved with a Wells Warrior logo will be available for purchase in the office beginning in the fall through the Wells Boosters. Memory sticks also may be purchased elsewhere. The 256 mb will be   plenty for school purposes.

Tech staffing: There will be a changes in technology staffing in the district for next year. At WJHS Mr. Lindauer will split his time between a half time science position and half time technology integrator. Cheryl Oakes will add an additional day at WHS as technology integrator/collaborative content coach for technology, for a total of 2 days a week. Mr. Sprankle will continue as full time technology integrator at WES. Each school building will continue to have a full time computer technician to support our use of technology.

This summary was created by Marty Cryer and Cheryl Oakes and posted July 2007. Thanks Marty! The full technology plan update will be found at the district site or here at wocsdtechtalk.

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