C-SPAN sponsors new website for teachers

C-SPAN, the cable television network that covers Capitol Hill events, is sponsoring a new website designed for middle and high school civics and government teachers. The site contains free access to lesson plans, standards-based video content, and primary source materials, which are aimed at helping students understand the federal government.

C-SPAN also has announced its StudentCam contest that invites middle and high school students to compete for $25,000 in prizes by submitting short documentaries that explore a current issue of national concern. Entries are due by Feb. 28, 2006.

Join IPFW's First Virtual Town Hall Series

Beginning this January through May, K12 students and teachers will have a unique opportunity to engage in two-way video discussions about our nation’s future with key elected officials. Andy Downs, administrator of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, will facilitate the series about current topics in civic life and give students a chance to experience their role as citizens.

Target Audience: Government, History, Language Arts or Speech/Communications teachers and students. Eight teachers will be selected to participate, and applicants must agree to join at least three out of the five sessions scheduled. Attendance (virtual) at the Pre-Planning session is also required unless other arrangements are made in advance.
Dates: The 2nd Friday of each month: January 13, February 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12, 2006. Teacher Orientation: January 6, 2:45-3:15 p.m.
Time: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. EST
Equipment Needs: IP videoconferencing unit, monitor, network connection, and audio

To Apply: Contact me at 481-0747 or schaufes@ipfw.edu for an application. Complete the application and fax or mail it to IPFW Division of Continuing Studies by December 13, 2005.

Elected Officials invited to participate include: US Senator Evan Bayh, US Representative Mark Souder, Governor Mitch Daniels, State Representative Jeff Espich and Mayor Graham Richard.

IPFW will provide participants with an orientation packet for each session that includes a biography of the elected official, background information on their topic, and other key information. The teacher orientation session will review protocol for the interactions and expectations of each participating class. This program is made possible by IPFW Division of Continuing Studies, Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics and ACELINK. ACELINK will provide technical support, scheduling and other assistance as needed.

Teacher $1000 Award Announced

The Invent Tomorrow Education Consortium, in partnership with ACELINK, IPFW Division of Continuing Studies, and Comcast Cable promotes, encourages and rewards excellence in the integration of the Allen County Education Network in instruction. Through the “Building a Learning Community Award” program, educators/teams from qualified schools will be supported in their efforts to identify and design a student collaboration project with community and/or city leaders, other classrooms, experts, etc. These projects must utilize videoconferencing to connect students to external resources. The project must align with Indiana Academic standards and focus on an important community issue such as urban renewal, the digital divide, workforce literacy, economic development. Students and educators should use problem-based learning strategies to identify, research, and investigate solutions to their chosen issue.

ACELINK will support and reward selected educators/teams for designing and implementing bold classroom projects that elevate the level of interactive experiences and problem-based learning of their students using two-way interactive videoconferencing.

Funding Focus
All K-12 educators or teams within Bishop Dwenger High School, East Allen County, Fort Wayne Community, Northwest Allen County or Southwest Allen County School districts are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to collaborative projects that identify a specific need, include authentic problem solving and utilize two-way interactive videoconferencing. All projects must be educator-led. Both individual and team proposals will be accepted. There will be no distinction between individual projects and team projects.

Grant Range
There is funding available to provide (8) awards of $1000 each. The award will be divided and presented to the individual applicant/team and school building as follows:
1) Substitute pay will be reimbursed to the building for the teacher/team to attend a Project Planning workshop at IPFW during February 2006.
2) A cash stipend for the remaining amount will be paid to the educator/team after the educator/team attends a Teaching with Technology 2006 Summer Institute at IPFW to complete the project.

In addition, awardees will be provided an option to earn 3.0 graduate credit hours from IPFW for their completed project. An evaluation team made up of school administrators, IPFW faculty and staff, and community leaders using criteria developed by ACELINK will be used to select the awardees.

Application Process
Interested teachers must attend a Project Planning Workshop at IPFW in February 2006. During this workshop, teachers will be provided with the skills and strategies to identify and develop a classroom project. After identifying an appropriate project, applicants can submit a proposal for funding. Proposals are due to IPFW by May 12, 2006.

Contact me at 481-0747 or schaufes@ipfw.edu if you have questions.


ACELINK encourages high school students to take up Innovation Challenge

As part of Mayor Graham Richard's Innovation Initiative, high school students are invited to participate in an iTeams Essay Contest that encourages them to think creatively and come up with new ways to use broadband (high-speed Internet) in our community.

The Allen County Education Network (ACENet) delivers broadband access to schools in Greater Fort Wayne, and other networks are bringing this technology to homes and businesses. We are already seeing the impact of broadband with virtual field trips and digital streaming video in schools, remote diagnosis of patients by doctors, scientific web-based applications, data sharing, and more.

Students are encouraged to day dream-- think of something new, think of something they wish could happen, something that will make life easier, more enjoyable-- something that could help the underserved in our community or the world.

Essay submissions are being accepted through January 13, 2006. To learn more about the Allen County Education web site, click here. For more information about the City's contest and Innovation programs, go to the City of Fort Wayne iTeams web site.


E-Rate News from Funds for Learning

Form 471 Window Opened on December 6, 2005

The SLD announced today that the Form 471 window will open on December 6 and close on February 16. January 18 would be the last date anyone could post a Form 470, however, it is recommended that E-rate applicants do not wait until the last few days to post Form 470's as the SLD will review those applications with more scrutiny to ensure that a fair, open and competitive bidding process took place. Schools need to wait 28 days after they post a Form 470 before they can sign contracts and waiting the last minute may not give you enough time to evaluate bids, negotiate the contract and possibly get Board approval before the Form 471 window closes.

Important reminders and tips about this process can be viewed at http://www.eratemanager.com/mkt/2005-11.pdf

The 2006 Eligible Services List can be found at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-05-197A2.pdf


Participate in Read Across America with video equipment!

What? TWICE annually organizes a special celebration of the national NEA event “Read Across America” by providing the opportunity for schools in the continental United States to connect using two-way interactive video to both read to and be read to by another class. ACELINK will be working with 6th grade teachers from Carroll Middle School to implement this project, and other teachers in Allen County are welcome to join us.

Schools must have equipment verified in November, 2005 and register to participate in December, 2005 for the project. All Allen County schools have access to the videoconferencing equipment and bandwidth needed for this project, but if you have questions, contact me.

Why? The purpose of this celebration is to have students reading to students. What they read is your choice i.e., a Dr. Seuss book (this event is in honor of his birthday), a book about your community, a poem or an original story your class wrote. Just pick something you and your students love!

When? All connections will take place during March 1-3, 2006. When you register, you must choose a time and date to connect. This information will be used to match you with another class. Schedule the connection for an hour. You must commit to participate the full hour.

  • 15 minute audio/video check
  • 30 mintues: each class presents for 15 minutes
  • 15 minutes to exchange information about your school and community and to ask each other questions.

Contact me at 481-0747 if you'd like more information, or go to the Twice website at: http://www.twice.cc/read/index.html.


7th Grade Virtual Field Trip

ACELINK helped connect the 7th grade team at Carroll Middle School to the Center for Puppetry Arts on October 13. The program was on Africa (Mali) and Blake Williams' students made Malian Rod Puppets. They also learned about African culture and geography, as well as climate, customs, puppet making, etc.

The program was highly engaging and very hands-on-- two keys to success in any virtual field trip. Check out the ACELINK website soon for pictures from the event. The Center for Puppetry Arts does a wonderful job of presenting content by two-way video, and their instructor connected well with a large group of kids.

Carroll Middle School participated in this program at no cost, thanks to generous support from Tandberg USA through the Connections program.


Mote Marine Lab Field Trips

The Mote Marine Lab in Florida provides some of the most interactive and exciting virtual field trips that I've ever seen. Their content is listed by grade level, and they provide teacher materials for each session. They offer programs on sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, coral reefs, and many more.

Check out their listing of content at: http://www.seatrek.org/programs.htm

Allen County Education Network teachers can use the new ACELINK mini-grants to underwrite the cost of a program with a provider like Mote Marine. Give me a call at 260-481-0747 if you'd like to discuss the opportunity or just send an email and I'll forward the application to you. We'll even help make sure it all works!


Sites from Keystone Conference

We've been attending the 2005 Keystone Conference, which is devoted to interactive videoconferencing topics. Bishop Dwenger High School is our remote site host, and we've enjoyed being one of the 250 remote sites around the world. In a presentation yesterday, several web sites were listed for teachers to find/search for collaborative opportunities. We couldn't read the slide, but I've located most of the references. I've worked with these sites and agree with the presenter that they are an excellent resource. I'd love to hear any feedback from users who are trying these resources.

Here are the sites:

  1. http://www.iEarn.org - Started in 1988, iEARN is the world's largest non-profit global network that enables teachers and young people to use the Internet and other new technologies to collaborate on projects that both enhance learning and make a difference in the world. Membership fees may be required for this content.
  2. http://www.global-leap.com - The Global Leap website is a resource for teachers around the world, enabling them to get help, advice and support to develop videoconferencing in the curriculum, and to find videoconferencing partners and to book interactive videoconference lessons. Also includes an international classroom exchange listing.
  3. www.gng.org - Founded in 1998, the Global Nomads Group is a non-profit organization dedicated to heightening children's understanding and appreciation for the world and its people. Using interactive technologies such as videoconferencing, GNG brings young people together face-to-face to meet across cultural and national boundaries to discuss their differences & similarities, and the world issues that affect them. Check our their yearly themes.
  4. http://www.indiana.edu/~global/giant.htm - The Global Interactive Academic NeTwork project (GIANT) is dedicated to the creation of a virtual academic community of scholars and students from around the world. This project is part of a multifaceted effort by the Center for the Study of Global Change at Indiana University to aid in the creation of an environment for technological innovation in International Studies.


Searching for Content

Many teachers have asked me how to search for virtual field trip content on the web. Because many people are already researching content and creating databases as resources in this area, I would strongly recommend starting with some of the better listings. Most offer searches by content, grade level, subject, cost, time, IP only, etc. Some even include ratings from previous participants or anecdotal reviews of the provider or content.

Two of my favorite sites for searching are:

  1. http://www.twice.cc/fieldtrips.html
  2. http://www.cilc.org/content.aspx

Both of these search tools are free to use and maintained by well recognized education professionals. I've also cross-posted this information on the ACELINK website at www.acelink.org.


Virtual Scientist Program

The Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach has a Virtual Scientist in the Classroom videoconference topic series for K12 classes.

The programs are free and ACELINK will be previewing the content on September 22 so we can give an evaluation of this resource. As with any of these programs, it is critical to test the IP connections BEFORE the conference. You'll need to plan at least one week in advance for these tests, and it may take some network staff involvement the first few times. Stay tuned for the review, or check out their content on the sites below.

Want your students to understand science, develop critical thinking skills, and realize the true meaning of science exploration? Then why not communicate with the scientist? Have your students learn from research scientists, science faculty, physicians, graduate and medical students who devote themselves to scientific and medical exploration and advancement. This year they will offer access to the research laboratory to see where it all happens, debate the ethics of genetic screening, reach for the stars with astronomers from their observatory, get an up-close view of a diseased human heart, talk to thinking robots, brainstorm with Albert Einstein and much more.

Cost: FREE

Connection: IP via Vanderbilt bridge

Registrations at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cso/vcsched.php OR

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cso/vidcon.php for more general information.

Additions will be made regularly so stay current and join our email list at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cso/emaillist.php.


Tandberg Tech Support

I've learned a very important lesson this week during two-way video testing. There are two VERY DIFFERENT ways to get technical support on Tandberg CODEC equipment. The difference comes from the provider of your service contract for the equipment. If your Tandberg equipment was purchased through Verizon, then you can call Tandberg support at 866-826-3237 for 24x7 assistance. When you call, you will need your unit's serial number, which can be found on a sticker on the bottom of the unit.

If your equipment was purchased through Visitec (Markey's, Video Images, etc.) then you must call Visitec technical support at 630-762-0300, ext. 102. Todd Curry is the main support person you'll talk to. Don't forget to have your Tandberg serial number when you call for help.

We are also very fortunate to have John Humphrey, Region 8, certified in Tandberg equipment. He attended the technical certification course this summer, and is very willing to help with questions/problems. He can be reached at Region 8, and the number is 260-439-8800.


Food for Thought Fridays

IPFW is embarking on a new venture this fall called Food for Thought Fridays. Each Friday, beginning in early October, area students and teachers will have a FREE opportunity to interact with an IPFW professor or faculty in a two-way videoconference at their school. Sessions will take place from approximately 11:30 to 12:30, and a schedule of presenters and topics will be posted in advance. Interested students and teachers must pre-register and participation is limited to 4 locations per presentation. Contact me at schaufes@ipfw.edu for more information. You can also watch the ACELINK website for the schedule.


A Good Read for IVC Pros

I've been reading a great book called, Engaging the Online Learner, by Rita-Marie Conrad and J. Ana Donaldson, published by Jossey-Bass, 2004. The book is based on a framework for engaging online learners which the authors call "the Phases of Engagement". The book also provides specific ideas for tested activities that help improve the online learning experience.

I got really excited when the authors began Chapter 1 by showing the links between the constructivist and problem-based learning philosophies within a collaborative context. This combination naturally creates a student-focused, engaged learning environment, which is ideal for teaching with emerging technology. The authors stress that engaged learning requires "engineering" by the instructor or teacher, and they proceed to share practical techniques.

Key chapter titles and topics in the book include "Adapting Classroom-Based Activities," "Choosing an Effective Communication Tool," and "Measuring Online Engaged Learning." The second part of the book is packed with actual activities that teachers/instructors can use to engage learners in the two-way interactive or other online environments.

PS-- IVC is a common acronym for "interactive videoconferencing"


Free Virtual Field Trips

Through our partnership with TANDBERG, Allen County educators have access to FREE virtual field trip content. ACELINK offers a limited number of free virtual field trips to partner schools using Tandberg two-way video equipment. You can now take your students inside the Smithsonian or interact with the National Baseball Hall of Fame...and be back in time for lunch!

To register for this program, teachers need to send their name, school, email and phone number to me at schaufes@ipfw.edu. You'll be notified by email as soon as new programs are announced, and requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. You'll also need to work with your district/building technical support staff to request the use of equipment in your district.


IPFW Offers Guest Lecture Series to Schools

Using the Allen County Education Network to provide network capacity, IPFW faculty will take a leading role in the delivery of rigorous and engaging content through this emerging technology.

During the fall 2005 semester, various faculty will present 45-minute interactive discussions on their research areas or other relevant topics. The series will be offered on Fridays from 11:30 - 12:30, beginning September 9. Both students and teachers will be able to join a two-way interactive conference with IPFW faculty, and there is no cost for Allen County schools to participate.

ACELINK staff and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning & Teaching (CELT) will be providing technical support for the project. Tandberg two-way video equipment will be used to connect with IPFW from the schools.

Stay tuned for more information and a schedule of presentations. If you'd like to be notified of opportunities as they are planned, send an email to schaufes@ipfw.edu.


Alan November Coming to Fort Wayne

ACELINK is partnering with IPFW's Division of Continuing Studies to bring Alan November to Fort Wayne on October 10, 2005. His keynote address helps to kick off a year-long recognition of the Division of Continuing Studies' 30 years as partners in community and corporate education. Alan will be sharing how educators, business and city leaders, and students can partner together to "Create New Cultures for 21st Century Learning".

Alan November is recognized internationally as a leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor. He has been a director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant, and university lecturer. As practitioner, designer, and author, Alan has guided schools, government organizations and industry leaders as they plan to improve quality with technology.

Alan is well known for applying his humor and wit to inspire us to think about applying technology to improve learning. His areas of expertise include information and communication technology, planning across the curriculum, staff development, long-range planning, building learning communities and leadership development. He has delivered keynote presentations and workshops in all fifty states, in every province in Canada, and throughout the UK, Europe and Asia.

Alan was named one of the nation’s fifteen most influential thinkers of the decade by Classroom Computer Learning Magazine. In 2001, he was named one of eight educators to provide leadership into the future by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. His writing includes dozens of articles and the best-selling book, Empowering Students with Technology. Alan was co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology and is most proud of being selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators.

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Neff 101. Contact IPFW's Division of Continuing Studies at 260-481-6239 for registration information and other details.


ACELINK hosts Megaconference Jr. Event

On Thursday, May 19, ACELINK and IPFW hosted a FREE event to check out cutting-edge uses of the new Fort Wayne area broadband network and videoconferencing technologies. Elementary and secondary students and teachers from over 100 schools in 11 different countries were teaching and learning at the Annual Student Megaconference. We connected to Megaconference Jr. as virtual observers, and over 30 local educators, administrators, faculty and students participated in the event.

We saw presentations like a student drum line demonstration, native American Indian dancing and costumes, a tour of Barcelona, Spain, and more. We also discussed opportunities for videoconferencing in Allen County and participating in this event next year. The Megaconference Jr. presentations were typically 12-15 minutes long, with some live question and answer opportunities. For a schedule of presentations and global participants at the event, go to the conference website at: Megaconference Jr.


Foellinger Grant funds coordinator position

The Foellinger Foundation awarded the Education Consortium a generous grant for two-year project support for construction of a broadband internet connection network to build a county-wide learning community that promotes the knowledge growth, understanding and recognition of diverse strengths that can provide a basis for a dynamic civil community.

Using these grant funds, the Education Consortium, along with IPFW's Division of Continuing Studies, hired Sandy Schaufelberger on March 21, 2005 to coordinate the content, collaboration and uses of the network among the partners and other resources.

History of ACELINK

2001 - Invent Tomorrow Education Consortium determines need for high-speed education network in Allen County, Indiana

2002 - State of Indiana answers RFP for connectivity

2004 - Invent Tomorrow Education Consortium applies for and receives Foellinger Foundation grant to implement ACELINK

2004 - Invent Tomorrow Education Consortium signs contract with State of Indiana and network installed by Comcast

2005 - 2 DS3s installed in Fort Wayne, Indiana for high-speed network then connected to partner school districts by Comcast fiber network

2005 - Consortium partners with Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne to hire ACELINK Project Coordinator

2005 - Consortium selects Verizon Fort Wayne as a vendor for Tandberg Videoconferencing equipment

2005 - State of Indiana reassigns ACENet contract to Education Consortium, assigning responsibility to Region 8 ESC

2005 - IPFW and Indiana Data Center become the Network Help Desk for the Allen County Education Network