Users of Blackboard Collaborate
Samuel Enoka Kalama Intermediate School is located on the slopes of Haleakala on the island of Maui, in the state of Hawaii. The opportunity to use a Blackboard Collaborate room for a year would impact our learning community in so many ways. Here is a sampling of what we would do:
-Connect and collaborate with learners from around the world. For starters, we would like to connect with Pacific island neighbors, including classrooms, teachers, scholars and institutions, an area for which there are few current resources. Hopefully our learners can have real-time discussions about pressing issues such as global warming and sustainable initiatives, one of their social studies benchmarks. We would also try to take this discussion to other arenas, such as the State Department and United Nations, as the students learn about how to impact global issues.
-Connect and collaborate with teachers throughout the islands and abroad. Being an island state with a central school system, we constantly face limited f2f time due to funding restraints. A Blackboard Collaborate room could be used to continue discussions such as the one started by the week-long 2011Teaching American History Grant Summer Institute at which teachers, scholars, and guests from around the state and country met to learn and develop lesson plans on American history. One of the guests was Carlotta Walls LaNier, (Little Rock Nine, Central High School). Having the online meeting space would allow us to bring her and the Central High School community together as our students work on their 8th grade U.S. history (Constitution) benchmarks.
-At the same time, teachers from the institute can continue to learn and collaborate using web2.0 tools to develop learning opportunities for their classrooms, one of the goals of the TAHG institute.
-Our core team would immediately use the office to connect with parents. We serve a rural district, and our students come from long distances (Ke’anae and Ulupalakua) requiring some of them to catch the school bus at 5:30am each morning. Some parents travel even further to work each day; some parents have had to move to O’ahu (off-island) for work under the current economic conditions on Maui. This online meeting place would enable parents to participate in discussions about their children’s learning. One critical issue we are hoping to address early this year includes digital citizenship (cyberbulling, copyright, etc.). The University of Hawaii Manoa (on O’ahu) and the state Attorney General’s office, law enforcement and the state Department of Education have teamed up to develop presentations to the public that could be delivered using Elluminate. In the past, when the school sponsored f2f presentations, only a handful of parents attended. Through a Blackboard Collaborate room, our entire community can interact with these entities,many of whom would be otherwise unavailable to neighbor island participants.
-Besides school-wide initiatives, the office would be used to communicate with parents for team and content area issues as well. We would use it as an avenue for students to share their work with family, friends, and the larger community.
-Learners would use the office to augment research opportunities by connecting classrooms with research facilities such as the Bishop Museum or Smithsonian, libraries throughout the country, including specialized libraries such as the presidential libraries, the Hawaii State Archives (on Oahu).
We are ready to begin using Blackboard Collaborate immediately. Two members of our core team have used Elluminate extensively over the last three years, as part of our studies with the University of Hawaii Manoa Educational Technology program. We have been moderators (I had an office as a TA), have presented several times at conferences (Learning times/TCC ), and weekly participants in coursework. We have also used the Room for 3 extensively for smaller group meetings.
Our learners use web2.0 tools including Google mail, Google Apps for Education, Voicethreads in Education, EasyBib, podcasts, jings, and more. We are well aware of the many advantages of Blackboard Collaborate, including recorded lessons for review and absent participants and opportunities to differentiate learning. My colleague Davilla Riddle is a science teacher and is already working with a number of initiatives that would extend this list.
The possibilities are endless, so we are very excited about the opportunity to have access to a Blackboard Collaborate office. Thank you for your consideration!