The meeting information has gone to MassCUE to be included in the December Calendar mailing.

Moving to Open Source Software in Schools (MOSS SIG)
Date: Monday, December 14, 2009
Time: 9:00 A.M.
Location: Fowler Middle School, 3 Tiger Drive, Maynard, MA
Check in at the main office as a visitor. There will be signs posted to the room where the meeting will be held.

Directions: http://www.maynardschools.org/directions.html
MapQuest: http://bit.ly/7Wb5q5 (shortened with bitly.com)

This meeting is intended to be a “roadmap” meeting, trying to get a clear picture of the steps that the SIG can take to make itself useful to schools, technology coordinators, and teachers and ultimately improve students’ access to open source tools which will improve their chances to succeed.

In addition, we want to provide access for those who cannot be physically present. We are working on the details this coming week. Look for more information in a later blog post.

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MOSSSIG is a special interest group of MassCUE. Next Wednesday and Thursday are going to be fun. This year’s conference [you can download a copy of the session schedule] is at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots football team play their home games. There are conference rooms that are a part of Patriots Place, which is best known for the new retail shops and CBS Scene.

If you have registered to attend, I hope you will look for me at the registration area or CUE Central. I would love to get the chance to talk to you. Unfortunately, if you have not registered, it is too late. The conference is a big success, full for both days. I cannot recommend attempting to show up for a walk in registration, either.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Superintendents (M.A.S.S.) and that, along with the new location may explain the crowd. Superintendents control who gets to go to conferences in Massachusetts. Perhaps co-sponsoring gave the “go ahead” to sending more this year than ever before.

Open Source has some sessions, too.

Wednesday
Google Docs/Netbooks/Moodle
Sugar
Using Moodle to Build PLCs
Free Tech Tools in the Math Classroom (Scratch)
Moodle in the Elementary Classroom
Software that Costs Little and Gives a Lot!
Thursday
Thinking Creatively with Scratch
Outside the Box with Moodle!
Open Source Opportunities
MITs Imagination Toolbox
Moodle, STEM, 21st Century Skills and Local Leadership

Of course there are many other sessions to attend, too. Good luck making your choices.

Jono Bacon is the Ubuntu Community Manager. Ubuntu’s popularity as a Linux distribution is, at least partly, a result of the success it has had building a community of users, not just a community of developers. When asked, I do tell people I am a happy user of Kubuntu. I spend some time at the meetings of the Massachusetts Local Community (LoCo) Team which is a very helpful bunch of friendly people doing what they can to spread the word about Ubuntu and Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) in general.

MassCUE has always stressed the benefits of sharing, “teachers helping teachers” has been a guiding principle for years. The MassCUE community of educators has been successful in promoting technology in Massachusetts schools and has been around since 1982, a good while.

Jono Bacon is writing a book, The Art of Community,  which will be published this summer by O’Reilly. Early indications are that it will be a good book for anybody trying to develop a community group, no matter whether the group has any interest in FOSS. The book should be helpful to anybody trying to get a bunch of people organized around any cause, a church group, a fundraising team, whatever.

Even better, Bacon and O’Reilly are agreed that the book will also be released on the internet with a Creative Commons license. You can even keep tabs on the book’s progress by going to the Web site for the book: http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/

I am looking forward to reading this one.

FOSS for Teachers presentation tomorrow. It is the second in the “road show” series of presentations for MOSSSIG which is a special interest group of the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators, Inc.

Southeastern Massachusetts SIG (SEMSIG)
March 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM
H.A. Yelle Elementary School, 64 W. Main Street, Norton, MA

Host: Lynn Wiegel, contact if you plan to attend [lwiegel AT NOSPAM norton.k12.ma.us] (translate the address, humans!)

Directions:
From North:
Take 95 South to 495 South. Take exit 12 onto Rt. 140 Norton. Follow 140 to the lights at Rt. 123. Take a right onto Rt. 123. The H.A. Yelle Elementary School is on the left. Park in the circle in front of the building and enter via the front door.

From South:
Take 95 Norton to 495 South. Take exit 12 onto Rt. 140 Norton. Follow 140 to the lights at Rt. 123. Take a right onto Rt. 123. The H.A. Yelle Elementary School is on the left. Park in the circle in front of the building and enter via the front door.

Hope I’ll see you there!
–Algot

Technology Terminology in Education

In the UK, teaching about computers and using computer technologies in the curriculum is called the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) curriculum. One definition for ICT said it is a, “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information.”

Massachusetts has an educational specialty called the “Instructional Technology Specialist” and the term Instructional Technology seems to be similar to the ICT in Education idea. Did you know that both MassCUE and the METAA organization of technology directors are mentioned in the Wikipedia article for the Instructional Technology definition? I was impressed.

Educational Technology seems to be a bigger scope term which includes Instructional Technology, again according to another Wikpedia article.

What terminology does your school or district use to describe the use of technology tools to enhance or improve classroom activities. Ask your technology director for a copy of the current technology plan. The tech plan is also supposed to be published annually by your district, and many of them have made the plan available on the district’s Web site. I was able to find several links to the plans by entering “Massachusetts technology plan” into Google with my browser. (I use Firefox, how about you?)

For that matter, do you care what the terminology is? Would you just prefer to get on with using your computer to do electronic slide shows that replace the older overhead projector?

How often do you take your students to the school’s computer lab to enhance their understanding of your subject?

Do you have student computers in your classroom, and are they busy every period; every day; every week; once in a while; NEVER?

What a wonderful, energetic, enthusiastic crowd attended the MassCUE conference this year. At times it was really hectic at the CUE Central booth where MOSSSIG shared the booth with the Door Prize Drawings. Thanks to the many volunteers who took part in planning, organizing and executing the conference this year. Many people had glowing comments to make about it.

Bumper Sticker for Open Source Software

Bumper Sticker for Open Source Software

MOSSSIG gave away bumper stickers, Ubuntu 8.10 CDs, and attracted a crowd. 25 people took the time to leave their names and email contact information. I have sent out a confirmation email to each of them, and look forward to keeping in touch, especially to answer individual questions you left on the sign-up sheet. NOTE! If your email didn’t get to you, leave a comment here, or send me an email algot.runeman@verizon.net to correct my transcription of your information.

If you didn’t get a bumper sticker, I have extras. Send me an email.

Remember, if you leave a comment, it makes the blog much richer for others who visit. If you share what you know, you are taking an active role in the open source movement, and if you leave a question to be answered, it will make the blog a better place, too. Always remember the teaching adage, “If you don’t ask a question, you won’t get an answer.”

I look forward to keeping in touch with you in the coming days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries (we all expect to live forever, don’t we?)

Special thanks to Martin Owens of the Massachusetts Ubuntu Team for providing the Ubuntu CDs and other support materials.

–Algot

MOSSSIG is part of the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE). To be exact, it is a special interest group (SIG). MOSSSIG is about moving your mind, getting you to think about open source software, open education and open culture.

The annual conference of MassCUE is a great opportunity to meet and share your enthusiasm for technology in education. MassCUE is in its 26th year of providing information, opportunities for professional growth, and above all sharing.

If you get the opportunity to be at the conference, I hope you will stop to say hello. Algot Runeman will be splitting time between the CUE Central booth and the joyful task of promoting open source and MOSSSIG.

On line registration is over this close to the event, BUT you can register as a walk-in at the conference. Hope I’ll see you there.

–Algot