Friday, January 29, 2010

Link of the Week # 9 - Atomic Learning

image source:

I haven't been terribly inspired by the recent resources I've encountered on the interwebs, so my link of the week posts have fallen silent.  But today I am happy to share Atomic Learning with the caveat that the content is not free. My access came courtesy of my enrollment in the online education program through Western Governor's University.

In a nutshell Atomic Learning provides online professional development covering technology skills training and assessments, education technology integration tutorials, student technology training and assessments, and assistive technology training and assessments.

The site uses high quality video tutorials broken into training sections to cover everything from productivity tools like Microsoft Office to online social networking sites like Ning and Facebook.  Atomic Learning claims to have over 40,000 videos covering 120 software applications.  I've viewed a few so far and was very impressed with the thoroughness of the tutorials and organization of the clips which would allow more advanced users to target specific training support.

I also notice that the content is tied to both National technology standards from ISTE and state content standards.  The lesson planning tools seemed extensive.

Many districts and schools are struggling to implement professional development resources for educational technology that scale well and support a wide variety of skill levels and experience.  These courses are designed to be self directed and self paced, but also gives the administrator the ability to assign and assess specific tasks.  Our district does something like this for our blood borne pathogens training.

Of course cost is always a concern and I cannot say what they are charging districts for site licenses, but I am very excited that I can access this content through my University.  There is some free content available to help demonstrate their product and it is definitely worth a look.  

If your school or district has used Atomic Learning or if you are using a different resource to provide online professional development please comment.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Link of the Week #8 - Unmasking the Digital Truth (Blocking websites)

I'm back from a digital hiatus and ready to start the new year with my Link of the Week series.  This week I'm featuring a wiki dedicated to debunking common excuses used to justify the over blocking of websites in schools.  

Unmasking the Digital Truth provides information and resources regarding legislation and policies often cited as the reasons behind web filtering decisions.  It also discusses alternatives to blocking staff and student access to certain websites.  

Because links in my blog posts are often blocked at school for my readers, I feel it is important to look at the policies behind those blocking decisions and look for reasonable alternatives that encourage access to the best available tools the web has to offer.