Connecting & collaborating - from Maui to the global community

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!

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Comment by susan byrne-wickey on July 29, 2011 at 5:07pm
When programs like the one Renee Adams is proposing become the standard, Hawaii students will be equipped with the knowledge needed to be college and career ready. Students need to be educated in a way that embraces a worldview. They need to learn to appreciate cultural diversity, and tolerate differences in a global society. As Vice Principal of Samuel E. Kalama Intermediate School, I support the integration of technology across the curriculum. Teachers must provide opportunities for students to learn “how to learn with technology” so that they may be prepared for a future we can only imagine. Nothing is more important to the future than the education we provide today.
Comment by John Costales Jr on July 29, 2011 at 2:51pm
WOW, what a fantastic opportunity for our students to truly be active participants in the 21st century. As Principal of Samuel E. Kalama Intermediate School I welcome opportunities of collaboration between and among our teachers and support projects which utilizes the available technology. While I personally have my limitations, being an immigrant to the new technology, our students who are native to this high tech world and who live in a remote upcountry area on an island in the middle of the pacific will have the same opportunities as someone from in a large city. This takes away all the walls and barriers and my students are fortunate to have teachers who will help them to be participating members of our global community.
Comment by Riddle on July 27, 2011 at 4:06pm
I am the teacher that would work on this project with Renee Adams. Being able to open the walls of our classrooms and reach out to the community would provide an invaluable opportunity for our kids. Please consider our school and help us enhance and enrich the lives of our students and community.
Comment by Rosanna Fukuda on July 27, 2011 at 9:07am

As the State Social Studies Specialist for Hawaii, I know how much this program is needed. . .and would be used. . .by Kalama Intermediate School and, through the school, the rest of the state as well.  This would enable Kalama Intermediate, a small school on the island of Maui, a way to connect to schools on all islands and to participate both in professional development for teachers (nearly always held on the island of Oahu) and to facilitate student-to-student connections. Many students in Hawaii have never even been to another island, so this technology would open the doors for them here at home and within the larger global community.  With APEC coming to Hawaii in 2011, the opportunity to dialogue about important issues such as our regional and global economy with other students and teachers throughout the Asia Pacific region would be greatly enhanced by using technology such as Blackboard Collaborate can provide.  Through the EastWest Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, we can be matched to classrooms throughout the region (and globally as well), but we need the technology for the actual collaboration, something we do not have at this moment.  Blackboard Collaborate would make this possible.  I thank you in advance for considering Samuel Enoka Kalama Intermediate School for one of your rooms.







Comment by Debi Tisdell on July 27, 2011 at 12:34am

Samuel Enoka Kalama Intermediate School has been working diligently to embrace and integrate new technologies into learning experiences for students, staff and the school. Staff and community volunteers came together to wire each building at the school for voice, video, and data long before the tools that we've come to use today were even a possibility. The technology leaders at Kalama are passionate and dedicated to the opportunities that current and evolving technology tools make possible for all learners. It's exciting to imagine how the school would use Blackboard Collaborate to bring together the school community to explore digital citizenship and open up collaboration opportunities with experts that students would not have the opportunity to work with in a traditional setting.

Providing Kalama with Blackboard Collaborate would help the school make 21st century skills a living reality by promoting opportunities for authentic communication and collaboration that know no geographic limitations. Maui is a small island and our students are pretty sheltered from the rest of the world. Using tools such as Blackboard Collaborate will up doors for students and will help them develop an understanding of who they are as global citizens. I really hope you'll consider Kalama for one of your rooms!! They will put it to an innovative use.

Comment by Kili Namauu on July 25, 2011 at 9:04pm

As a parent of children in the Hawaiian immersion program, I can see what a great opportunity the Blackboard Collaboration room would be to the students. Our children have few opportunities to interact with other language speakers. The room would allow them to converse and communicate with other schools and teachers, that are fluent in the Hawaiian language, and allow them to share and practice cultural activities and lessons.


Comment by Kiani Yasak on July 25, 2011 at 7:53pm
As a teacher in the Hawaiian language immersion program at Kalama Intermediate, I support this entry for the Blackboard Collaborate room and look forward to using it with our Hawaiian immersion students and Hawaiian community if we win a room. Mahalo – thank you.

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