Now Blogging on SchoolFusion

It is interesting to me that PowerSchool and SchoolFusion of the world do not put a space between the two words but start the second word with a capital letter. Why is that I wonder?

Anyway, my first year back in the U.S. serving as principal of Bluffton Middle School has been a success in my mind. I have enjoyed the staff, students, and parents very much. All in all a great year filled with new challenges and unique experiences opening a new school.

Please visit our school site and check out our conversations at http://blm.beaufort.k12.sc.us/

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Keep dreaming!

Great picture, great message. May we always dream and bind together to do great things!

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Tech from Students’ Perspective

BLMS students: what have you learned so far in your computer classes? Is it a good thing that you are taking the class? Why or why not? What additional thoughts do you have to share about technology? Looking forward to reading your comments. Dr. Rhoads

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Passwords at Open House

Since creating and posting to the Mustang Principal blog, many wonderful events have culminated with the opening of our new school. We are excited to host our Open House on Monday, August 30 and our SIC/PTO night Tuesday, August 31, 2010. Both events start at 6PM. During Open House parents will receive password information to log in to PowerSchool through the Bluffton Middle School webpage (hosted by SchoolFusion). The SchoolFusion host has had some technical problems, but we hope all will be smoothed out soon. At my previous school, parents and students accessed PowerSchool to check assignments, grades and attendance. We found it to be a very helpful tool and I look forward to getting the system up and running at Bluffton Middle School.

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All Students take Technology Course at BLMS

All BLMS students will participate in a technology each year. The South Carolina Internet Safety Standards and International Society for Technology in Education’s National Educations Technology Standards (ISTE NETS) will serve as a backbone of each course. The goal of having all students take a course in technology every year is that students understand and be able to demonstrate the safe, ethical, and effective use of technology. As technology revolutionizes our world, schools must seek ways to prepare and equip students with the skills to compete in an ever-demanding global economy. We want all students to be technologically literate, to be safe online and become effective and ethical digital citizens. An emphasis on technology being infused into the regular program will be ongoing. However, having a tech course that all students take each year will ensure that students have a chance to become efficient in tech literacy such as web 2.0 applications and be able to produce (not only critically consume) information. In order to realize our goals, we must ensure that students have access to technology.

If we expect our students to be safe, ethical and effective producers and consumers of technology then we, as educators, must ensure that students are being taught the technological skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to be successful in the 21st century. Examples include: how to set up privacy settings in Facebook, how to treat others with respect in an online environment, how to evaluate Webpages and information from a variety of online sources, be able to navigate searches, and use web 2.0 applications such as wikis, blogs, podcasts, and be able to create content and present to authentic audiences. Students need to understand design concepts and gain graphic design skills. Creating an online presence and the use of digital portfolios are being considered. The courses are under development, but we are very excited and believe our tech courses will be a powerful and important part of the BLMS educational program. In addition, all 7th grade students (except students in band or strings) will also take a Media Arts course. Our hope is that students will leave BLMS with rich and deep understandings and abilities in the areas of technology literacy and media citizenship.

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Web 2.0

What does the phrase Web 2.0 mean to you?

The phrase “Web 2.0″ has been around for a while. However, if you have never heard the phrase, or if you have heard it but do not think you really understand it, then I recommend you do a Google search. I also recommend the short (just over 4 and half minutes long) YouTube video embedded in this post. The video is by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University. To me, the implications identified at the end of the video are the topics of conversations that should be taking place in US schools if we want our next generation to be literate global citizens.

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