John Spencer
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School / Work Affiliation
Borman Middle School
About Me
I am a social studies teacher who is passionate about technology integration and technology literacy. Yet, I don't see it as a fix-all for the world's problems. Nor do I see any media as a tool that one can simply manipulate (It's always a double-edged sword). Being in a low-income, urban district, I work toward bridging the Digital Divide. My students do global Skype projects, create multimedia projects, publish an online magazine and utilize online resources daily.

John Spencer's Blog

student-created course management systems

Posted on October 18, 2007 at 6:34am 0 Comments

This is my first year using a computer lab in my social studies class. We are totally tech-integrated, using old iMacs with xubuntu. Everything we use is either open source or freeware, with the one exception being the two "teacher" computers that we use for creating videos, documentaries, editing podcasts, etc.

When I first began, I loaded moodle and I was impressed by the multiple features. From one site, students can blog, create wikis, access a course calendar, read assignments…


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At 7:22pm on January 27, 2009, Jack said…
Hi John. I was wondering if you and your students would be interested in participating in a nationwide SAT Vocab Video Contest @ MIT university. If not, perhaps you have some educator contacts you could direct me to. You can view contest details at Please let me know. Thanks!
At 1:10pm on December 26, 2008, marcotuts said…

I'm sending out messages to everyone I know right now, and this classroom20 network is no exception. (I've also sent this out on other Ning networks you may be a part of.) My name is Marco Morales; I am a 20 year old college student from Olin College of Engineering. I am a part of a group of 6 Olin College students (we're in Needham,MA, and engineering students) who has taken a year off to work on an education related project. I found you when I searched for middle schools on classroom20, and since our project is specific to middle schools, I thought you might be interested! Our project is called AlightLearning, and this is our "short" project description:

Under the assumption that within ten years, the landscape of modern education will have fully integrated what we now define as new classroom media: video, online collaboration, open source curriculum and other web tools, we hope to pioneer a web software tool that acts as a platform for this new media, bringing the power of the web and its tools to students, teachers and parents in a secure, comfortable and innovative environment. Our goal is to have our free software at a pilot middle school by April 15th, 2008, continuing to develop and coordinate with our users to create a product that other schools want to pilot and use at their schools, while allowing individual teachers to implement this tool in their own classroom.

Our project, titled Alight Learning, is currently trying to win an idea competition on You can find us at We would love your support in the form of a vote within the next couple days, but more importantly we'd love your feedback and comments. Our description on Ideablob is short, and even the one above hardly gets many of the issues we would like to take a stab at solving, but at least it's a start.

Feel free to email me back, check out, anything you like!


Marco Morales


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