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.
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.
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!
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 Showcase – Horizon 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.
7. Speak Up for EdTech Funding – ETAN 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.
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.
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
Matching Fonts, Easy flowing text
3. A Site with Pizazz
Take advantage of new digital media to tell your story and engage your readers
Podcast of school song, school choir and musical events
Videos of school events and live Streaming Video of special events
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
Learn and Adapt from others
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!