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Monday, December 27, 2010

SchoolE Awards Update for Week 12/18 - 12/24

Look out for the parents! They ruled the nominations this week with 46.7% of this week's votes. Keep it up parents!

Congrats to New Milford Schools! They have been sending in the votes with more than half the nominations for the week. University Academy in Kansas City is leading the small districts. The medium districts are being led by Township HSD 214 from Illinois, and finally Brownsville USD in Texas is the leader for the large districts. You can see if your district had made it in the Top 40 by going to the Schoole Website and checking out the Top 40 map.

Keep nominating your districts, school may be on break but the competition isn't!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays from All of Us at AllofE

We put together a little dance for you all. Enjoy!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Universities Don't 'Get' Social Media....Yet

Well, that got your attention, didn't it? There is so much buzz surrounding the university social media mashup concept, but there is a huge disparity in how universities are actually using social media and promoting those accounts. With all the buzz about social media, many schools make 'Social Media Library' pages or directories, but then do nothing more with them. It's almost as if it's a 'necessary evil.' Glancing at a university site, it often isn’t obvious what, if any, types of social media they use. We know many have some social media, but how much? And are they using it the best way possible?

What is obvious is that more and more universities are opening up to the world of social media. There are a vast array of social media sites that can be used. For example, a university athletics department can simultaneously tweet scores of an athletic game on Twitter, post video of the game on YouTube, and post pictures of the game Flickr. The possibilities of what can be covered, and how it can be used, are endless.

What a university SMASHUP (social media mashup) can do is take this one step further and bring all these forms of social media together. One example is on the DePaul SMASHUP site -- you can check upcoming game times, get updates of basketball scores on Twitter, and view YouTube videos from those games all on one page!

Searching many universities websites to find social media pages is tricky and can become quite frustrating sometimes (especially ones that don't even have a search bar!). But after finding a school has sufficient social media to proceed with, it is very exciting to tell them about SMASHUP. It’s even more exciting when a university already has a social media link page but doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. Imagine what that page would look like within the SMASHUP concept instead!

Finding qualified schools for the SMASHUP project may not be so easy, but once found, I'm not having any problem finding ones that are interested! So far, many schools have shown a ton of interest and I can't wait to see how many more would be willing to join in on this amazing opportunity!

And so the search continues. What universities do you think have great social media? Do any of them have what it takes to become a social media "master" by using SMASHUP?

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Performance Based Assessments

Some of the districts we talk to ask us about performance-based assessments, if we have clients that use them, and how successful it has been. It seems that performance based assessments have been around for a long time but districts have a difficult time implementing and grading them. We do, in fact, have some clients that are successful with this type of assessment. The key to this success is in assessment management process.

So let’s answer some questions:

What are performance-based assessments?

Performance-based assessments are an alternative to traditional multiple choice assessments. They are “designed to encompass a better overall representation of student progress including the effectiveness of teacher lesson plans, worksheets and study skills. The idea with performance-based testing is to gather a demonstration of the scope of knowledge a student has on a subject rather than simply testing the accuracy of their response on a selection of questions.” -

Why implement performance-based assessments?

Some believe that the traditional methods of testing do not accurately measure student knowledge so these methods are not the best indicator of student performance. Performance-based assessments can, therefore, be used to supplement the testing process and encompass a wider range of performance criteria measurement.

What makes this difficult to implement?

The difficult part of managing performance-based assessments is in the time it takes to grade the assessments for large classrooms as well as how to grade the assessments in the most objective manner possible.

That leaves us with how do teachers successfully manage performance-based assessments in the classroom? -- They implement a rubric grading model. Now this can be a manual or an automated process. For our clients, we use an automated process where teachers can build and reuse rubrics that connect to their curriculum and assessments. Other districts use a paper-based process where teachers manually create the rubrics. The automated process obviously saves more time but both help the teacher to objectively grade their assessments.

Here are some additional resources related to rubrics and performance-based assessments:

Performance Based Assessment | teAchnology
Why Rubrics? | teAchnology

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