The ScienceHood has received a bit of a facelift for STAO 2011 (#STAO). The learning platform of @faulkneronline’s courses looks a bit different these days as we prepare to present a model classroom at STAO (Science Teachers Association of Ontario). This presenation has been modified from our ECOO (Educational Computing Organization of Ontario) presentation and its afflliiate ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) where we had teachers and administrators become our ‘Students’ and perform the centre work!!
The title of the environment, “ScienceHood”, is a merger of “Science” and “Neighbourhood” = “ScienceHood”. The name indicates that learning is a collaborative and a community event – everyone is part of the process together: students, staff, parents, and community. The forum we use is a self-hosted WordPress platform with a Buddypress install. Buddypress is, as they call it, social networking in a box. It takes a standard WordPress blog platform and transforms it into a very dynamic social community which is very similar to Facebook and other social networking sites. Because it is attached to our WordPress install, however, Buddypress is safe and secure – administered and managed by the teacher and co-managed by the studnets. Within this environment, the teacher (in this case Jen Faulkner @faulkneronline) can communicate with her students, their parents, and the community while the students comment amongst each other and reflect upon their own learning. As it is web-based, activities and lessons can be rich and dynamic, full of web links, embedded audio, video, and imagery. It is much easier to manage a differentiated learning environment through a portal such as this.