Hey Alyshia. You sent me something back in 2008 and man oh man, the time got away from me and I didn't get a chance to see the blog, but I looked at the site. Looks very interesting. Interested in hearing what you guys are doing and the goals to make kids engaged in learning, especially with things being what they are in education.
So sorry I didn't see you post and get back to you sooner. Your idea sounds great but the the time frame is a little tight. Unfortunately, nothing happens quickly in education. Hope you were able to find a good candidate.
Thanks for the invite for comment. What I'm going to say is possibly contradicting some opinions but from an Australian school's perspective, the type of project you are working on will not be successful -- even though it should. The new wave of 'filtering' websites within organizations means that any outside 'service' is mostly not available within schools. Moodle is in fact blocked in (all) Queensland government schools; in fact the act of putting school content on an outside service is actually against policy!
The Queensland government has established its own parent/teacher/student communication 'portal' - - http://education.qld.gov.au/learningplace/community/blackboard.html -- even though a lot of what you seek to do is not there yet, it will probably be there eventually - as they are seeking a 'safe' way to communicate between school and parents. They have a bigger more ambitious project as well: http://education.qld.gov.au/oneschool/
I'm not sure if this is true of the rest of the world - and as far as markets go, we are insignificant, so good luck with your project.
From my perspective, what there is yet to be created is an effective teacher communication web2 service yet; and I'm not sure why.
Your idea is ambitious and I really respect your passion. As a tech enthusiast, I am always looking for ways to implement technology in the classroom (I teach 6, 7, and 8 English/History). I find that there are two factors which sometimes get lost in the tech integration discussion and they are interrelated:
1) anticipating ways the technology has the potential to impede, rather than promote student growth;
2) tying technology to learning goals.
Many students where I teach are struggling with social issues, oppositional defiance, dissociation from their own feelings, etc. as a result of growing up in a high poverty, high crime neighborhood. As their teacher, I am mindful that they need to connect to other human beings and personalize their learning. Technology is tricky in this regard. It can be used to mask, to hide, to isolate, to numb, to depersonalize, to dilute, etc. Of course it can be used as the antithesis to all those things as well, but in order to get it right, we have to openly talk about learning goals and outcomes and work backwards before implementing software. Yes, no doubt, we are way behind in offering students the resources they will need in the current climate of tech driven..everything. But, before we use anything in the classroom, we have to ask: What are we trying to achieve? Exposure for its own sake is not enough. We need meaningful immersion. And that is a complicated business that requires case by case adjustment. Just some food for thought.
Thanks for your quick reply. Your project sounds exciting and I'd like to support and provide any feedback if possible. Our school currently uses Moodle so I'm quite interested in your research and project details. Also, I'm a language teacher so I'm curious to see how your technology project could be with second language learners. Good luck!
Thanks, Alyshia, starting to get the picture better now. Very brave of you - its a big task. Not sure I'm ready to say its wise, as education is a good thing and startups are really hard! :-) Still, very cool.
Frameworks: I'm not up on CakePhP. I will say that I've explored some 40 languages along the way (I'm not a professional programmer) and Ruby/Rails is very powerful and flexible for web work. Might give you an edge over the long haul...people are doing some amazing things with it. But going with what is familiar may be critical on your time frame.
No thoughts on open source for you. I am actually wrestling with the question in my own work. Certainly open API's seem to work well for about everyone.
April 15 is a pretty aggressive software devel timeline, so you'll be sticking to the very simple, I'd imagine. 'Course, one really outstanding programmer is worth about 10 good ones, so if you've got that.....!
OK, enough from me. I'll be looking forward to reading more.
Ahh!! John M. Olin transformed much of the policy landscape and changed the national debate on many fronts via his highly targeted foundation givings. And, by design, they have spent all the money. If you ever get the chance, A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America by John Miller is a fascinating read. Changed my understanding of the world.
OK, cool! Let me know when you move forward with the description.
I like your idea of not trying to do everything, but of starting to do a couple things well. This is always good advice, but especially if you are on a one year deadline.
- Open source or no?
- Are you using User Stories? I actually have not been through this yet, but it comes highly recommended from some high profile developers I know.
- What milestones are required for you to get credit?
- What are your assumptions about school or parent computer resources? High bandwidth? Modern browsers? Does this affect what you can do?
- Do you have a budget?
Thanks for sharing here. Very interesting, and highly challenging! Look forward to hearing more!