Anniversary of Birth of St. John Neumann

On Monday a prayer service in honor of St. John Neumann of Philadelphia was held. This was live streamed over the web.
Watch and learn about this wonderful advocate for Catholic Education. Through his work, generations of students in the Philadelphia area benefited from a rich education based on faith and values.
Watch the video to learn some interesting facts such as:
St. John Neumann

  • Was born in Bohemia
  • Founded the Catholic School System in the US
  • He increased the number of Catholic Schools from 2 to 100
  • He was quick to learn languages – speaking Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian and Gaelic.
  • His affinity for languages helped him to speak to a large immigrant population and to better serve the people.

Read about the event

Essay Contest Winners – The Redemptorist

Learn more here

Catholic Education – Anytime, Anywhere

What will a student do on a typical day when home sick from school?  They might rest, sleep and if feeling up to it, perhaps watch some television or surf the web. One Harrisburg public school student went online and attended a religion class being delivered online by the bishop from his diocese. He then wrote to the bishop to express his profound gratitude and suggested that the classes be widely publicized so that students in all schools could benefit.

It is critically important that anytime anywhere learning is available to students.   Learning anytime any where is here to stay. Education is adapting in many exciting ways and Catholic education is too! Changing times call for innovative strategies. Surely this applies to teaching the faith to our young people as well.

High School Student Involvement in Online Learning

In fact these online classes are being offered to all seniors in Catholic high schools in Harrisburg during Lent. Harrisburg’s Bishop Joseph McFadden is teaching 6 classes online on selected Wednesday mornings. A blend of teaching and interactive discussions, each of the classes is being archived and posted to the web.

Topics delivered to date:

March 16, 2011 – Faith, Life and Prayer as the students enter the next phase of their life.

March 23rd, 2011- Friendship with God and Others

Dates of Classes:

March 16, 23, 31, April 6, 13, 20

The Harrisburg diocese, the Philadelphia Archdiocese and other dioceses across the state of Pennsylvania are now or are becoming part of the Pennsylvania Regional Wide Area Network which connects schools across the state to a high speed network and excellent online resources.

One Philadelphia area school is currently on the network (Pope John Paul, Royersford) and 8 additional schools will join this year.

How will religious education take to online spaces to lead today’s young people? It will reach them wherever they happen to be. We see new examples every day!

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Skype with the Schools

Virtual Academy – Online Professional Development for Administrators and Teachers

Collaboration Essential Key to Technology Use in Schools

Recently, COSN (Consortium of School Networking) held their 2011 conference in New Orleans. Mastering the Moment was the theme of the COSN conference this year.  In choosing this theme, COSN’s focus was on assisting school and technology leadership on implementing the best and newest of technologies into schools. To do so successfully,  leaders need to also recognize the unique challenges brought by the economy and the rapidly changing educational and technological landscape. A rich blend of educational presenters, keynotes, technical presenters and sponsors came together to share, discuss, plan and look to the future.

New Orleans is a place rich with history. It is also well know for music and especially jazz music. It was a perfect setting for discussing emerging technologies, schools, the future and ‘Mastering the Moment’.

Jazz is… An open-ended music designed for open minds.  Anonymous


For any ensemble to play well, all have to work together.  Such is the case with transforming our classrooms today. To transform learning today we need to pay close attention to emerging technologies and the needs of our learners. Paying attention alone won’t make change happen though.  The collaborative,ensemble work of the various players can.   The visionaries, the leaders, the policy makers, the technical support people, the teachers and the students. Each has an important part to play. Working in unison, they can apply the latest of research and tools and make a profound difference in our schools and transform teaching and learning so that is the best it can be for students.Mobile learning, cloud and collaborative, social Web 2.0 computing were the big topics of the conference.  To support schools in applying these emerging technologies many excellent resources were shared. Here is a top sampling:

Top 8 Technology Resources for School Leaders from COSN 2011

1. Mobile Learning Initiative Leadership for Mobile Learning – An initiative dedicated to assisting school leaders in planning for and successfully implementing mobile technologies. Tapping into the best of mobile learning practice and policy, this team will investigate, discuss and share their findings.

2. Collaborate on Mobile Learning Access4learning – Online collaboration to benefit student learning and mobile initiatives will be available to those who join this site. It is an online forum for sharing resources and solutions on mobile learning and ‘bring your own technology’ to school scenarios.

3. Technology Policies One Stop Shop AUP Guide in the Web 2.0 and Mobile Era – Fostering online safety and access to the extraordinary resources found on the web are the focus of this guide. New technologies require new policies and procedures.  There is a solution for that! Here schools can find legal information, state law guides, sample Technology Acceptable Use Policies and related research. This guide helps schools to weigh the latest trends and incorporate their use into policies.

4. Emerging Technologies ShowcaseHorizon Report Hub – Emerging Technologies are detailed each year in the Horizon Report, recently released by the Global HP Initiative. This new site allows school leaders to find examples, supporting research and media to aid in the implementation of each of the emerging trends.  School leaders can learn more about the Horizon Report research process also be visiting the project wiki.

5. Green Technology Resources Green Computing Initiative –  Take care of our earth and save money too by going Green. Purchasing and Disposal, Energy Management and Green Schools certifications are detailed here.

6. Web Collaboration Tools and RulesParticipatory Learning in Schools – Social Learning is here to stay. View materials for exploring the possibilities.

7. Speak Up for EdTech FundingETAN Edtech Action Network – Federal funding is essential for schools.  Like many other budgets this one funding is endangered. Visitors can write to legislators to voice support for Educational Technology here.

8. Figure in Savings Total Cost of Ownership – A set of tools and strategies for calculating costs and improvements. With the correct data, school leaders can make the cost saving, effective decisions for providing school technology.

Jazz is… An open-ended music designed for open minds. Anonymous

Surely, today’s changing educational and technological landscape requires open minds and a  collaborative efforts by those in schools and in our larger community.  Just as quality jazz music requires rhythm and improvisation, today’s widely changing landscape requires a new open ended, open minded way of viewing the world, of viewing education and a strong, collaborative effort of those in our schools.

Cross posted on SchoolCIO

Related Stories  – White House and Federal Funding – EdWeek

Related Posts:

Emerging Technologies to Watch

7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Tech

School Websites With Pizazz

Step by Step - School Websites with Pizazz
Step by Step - School Websites with Pizazz

Gone are the days when people come to your school website to only read text. Gone are the days when people come to your school

website and view outdated information as acceptable. Today’s visitors to your school, district or diocesan website expect much more. They expect to connect, they expect to be engaged and they expect pizazz!

Your Website, Your School Community

It is not surprising that people want updated information. They want to see a school website that is kept fresh and is free of outdated content.There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a website to find information you need and instead finding outdated schedules, menus and more.

Design in important says Cathy Donahue of Partners in Mission. Your Website should say ‘Welcoming’ with an appealing design, easy to read typeface, clear organization and updated captivating photography.

Reward your school website visitors with the information that they cam looking for and content which forges their connection to your school.  Simple steps and a keen focus on your school community can keep your school website sharp.

Today’s web tools make it easy to build in engaging content to your school website. Use your school website to tell people more about your school and build connections to your school community.  When your school community is strong, your students benefit. Bringing abundant benefits to your students is always your ultimate goal.

Many websites say, “look at me.” Your goal ought to be to say, “here’s what you were looking for. Seth Godin

What You Need to Know to Build a Solid Web Strategy

1 Web Usage Trends

Be cognizant of today’s technology trends and know your visitors. Web use is growing exponentially for people of all ages. Internet use via mobile devices and cell phones is rapidly on the rise. Your website strategy should incorporate an ongoing awareness of the demographics of web use today of the larger population and of your website visitors.

Pew Internet Use Data - Four or More

2. Know Your Mission, Share it Well

Your website strategy includes more than tools.  It encompasses the leadership within your organization, vision to bring your school to the next level of communications, and tools to assist in the execution stage.

According to Rob DiMartino, Director of finalsite, a web company that helps schools implement web strategies with CMS, Modules and Portals for schools, today’s visitors to your school site expect:

  • A front porch view of your school
  • Trusted marketing and communications that are personalized to all constituents (prospective students, parents, alumni, staff) and more)
  • Engagement 2.0 – Interaction and collaboration that fosters 21st Century relationships and communications methods

Gathering information is a critical step in keeping your website fresh. Find out what your website visitors and your school community want!

3. Know your School Community, Gather Data, Ask Your Readers

  • Gather the data about visitors and what they are looking for. Create a link on your school website where families can comment about your site and make suggestions.
  • Design an update strategy. This may include adding new features to your website or content management system.
  • Decide who will be responsible for updating the site and providing fresh content.
  • Evaluate, Review and Repeat!

Having members of your school community give input into your site is a great idea.  During a recently conducted survey regarding school websites for a group of schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia many website ideas were put forth. Members of the school communities were polled based on a One Minute School Website Check. Hundreds of replies were submitted which yielded enlightening data and many creative suggestions. News and photos were regular suggestions. In addition, there was a constant thread of requests which indicated that readers want an ongoing infusion of new, engaging digital media. Keeping sites fresh and engaging is a priority to these schools as it is part of providing a quality program for their students, one enriched with a strong sense of school community.

What You Need to Provide on Your School Website

1.  A Site Free of Outdated Content

  • Update calendars, events
  • Add new media and photos of current students, current events

2. A Site with an Attractive Design *

  • Clean, Crisp, Modern Design
  • Interesting Photography
  • Matching Fonts, Easy flowing text
  • Simple Navigation

3. A Site with Pizazz

Take advantage of new digital media to tell your story and engage your readers

  • Virtual Tours
  • Student Stories
  • Parent Testimonials
  • Podcast of school song, school choir and musical events
  • Videos of school events and live Streaming Video of special events
  • Mobile Accessibility
  • Interactive Polls
  • Samples of Student Work
  • Message Boards
  • Online Store selling supplies, tickets to school events, reunions, athletic events and school activities

4. A Site that Enables Connections via Social Media

  • Share content online in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr(photo sharing) Linkedin
  • Connect this to your school website and add widgets so that visitors can share your content
  • Allow members of the school community to submit photos and videos that they collect for consideration for the school site

According to Bob Wendover of the Center for Generational Studies, social media is a powerful means of connecting people to your school and your school’s mission. Getting started with social media is both manageable and worthwhile.  Bob suggests the following steps:

Getting started with social networking

  • Begin!
  • Learn and Adapt from others
  • Persevere
  • Hone your strategy
  • Track and evaluate your results
  • Think small. Start somewhere. Pick one tool to try or one group to connect with.

Visitors to your website expect to connect, they expect to be engaged and they expect pizazz. With some easy steps and an eye on your mission of building strong communities for our students, you will create a vibrant, dynamic site that keeps people coming back for more!

Additional Resources

Four or More -Pew Research – Technology Users

Building School Websites E-how

Building a Classroom Website – E-how

Creating School Information Channels – Langwiches Blog

7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Edtech

Partners in Mission, Cathy Donahue *

This post is cross posted on School CIO, produced by the editors of Tech and Learning