July 2008 – On second anniversary with NEA, the Gateway to 21st Century Skills ready for Web 2.0! Technical improvements speed performance. June 2008 shows a whopping 60% increase in visits to the Gateway over June 2007. New resources bring Gateway total to over 50,000!
Imagine that you are returning to school this fall but, your class size would be twice that of two years ago. Your students want more opportunity to collaborate with one another, they want tools and resources that they can use in their daily tasks of keeping up with assignments, they want to be able to share their conversations via online applications like YouTube, Facebook, Flikr, Google Calendar, MySpace and some site that you don’t even know about yet. And, they want to be able to do that the first day of this fall’s classes.
Our traffic has doubled since being sponsored by NEA! We have surpassed our month on month traffic in June by 60%. The numbers and trends are building at a tremendous rate.
We have been busy this summer setting the stage for the next big surge coming this fall!
We are upgrading technology, cataloging new resources that now number over 50,000, improving software applications, updating news and information, creating new tutorials and demonstrations, writing, editing, running tests, tweaking settings and generally making sure our systems are ready to meet the needs of 21st century educators.
The screenshots below show an example of what the improvement and changes can mean to you in performing you daily tasks using the advantages of a just one simple Web 2.0 tool with the Gateway.
The first screenshot shows a simple calendar entry on one of Google’s free collaboration tools, Google Calendar. At first glace, this looks like a simple reminder on a computer calendar. Reminders are great and all but, the real value of using the Gateway learning resource information is shown in the next screenshot.
In the screenshot below, the calendar reminder is opened to reveal a richly detailed description of that lesson. It contains all the information one would need to be ready for that event. It tells us the title, the URL or location of the lesson, what supplies or other resources will be needed, a brief description to remind us of the lesson and the academic standards, Michigan physics standard as an example, that the lesson addresses.
In fact, this reminder might also serve in our portfolio with the addition of very little, if any, more information. It looks like a lot of effort went into the creations of this calendar/portfolio entry. It actually took me less than a minute and a half to do the whole entry, including the text of the standard from the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) http://www.jesandco.org/ASN/Viewer .
I used Google Calendar, a free tool and populated it by copying and pasting with information about the lesson from my free Gateway to 21st Century Skills membership. It describes and locates a great, free learning resource that I found on the Gateway in less than a minute.
Now, notice on the right in the screenshot, one can invite guests to our calendar. That bring us to one aspect of Web 2.0, collaboration. It would only take a click and one would be able to start inviting those whom you wish to view your calendar online. Students? Other teacher? Administrators? Parents? You decide.
Collaboration about our lessons and lesson plans has never been easier and it is all free!
It is possible because of the great new tools for collaboration and information sharing that are part of Web 2.0 and made possible by Web 2.0 features we are building into the Gateway for your use.
Do you have a great idea for using the Gateway in your daily task that you would like to share? We would like to hear about it. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will be collecting your ideas and will feature them in upcoming updates that are distributed to each of the NEA state affiliates monthly.
NEA has partnered with the GEM Exchange, Gateway to Educational Materials, and JES & Co to support Gateway to 21st Century Skills, a website that combines state-of the art search technologies and a complete database of state academic standards for core subjects. The Gateway is your link to the resources you need to make learning meaningful and fun for your students.
New information about 21st century learning resources is being added every week to the Gateway. Don’t miss out on these great new additions. Here are just a few more recent examples of new items that you can find on the Gateway for you and your students:
That's The Story!
This is a fun lesson where the students use thinksheets and digital cameras. The students take an "interesting" picture using the digital camera. After they have printed them they are given at random another student's picture. They write a story about the picture they are given.
Vibrations We Can See, Feel and Hear
This four-part lesson allows students to explore the question of how sounds are made. Using wooden rulers, tongue depressors and tuning forks, students will explore and experience sound. Students will use what they have learned to create instruments. Throughout the unit students will use technology to record their thoughts and observations.
The Parts of a Computer
In this lesson students will identify the basic parts of a computer and the functions of each component. Students will create a model of a computer.
Students will be introduced to the sport of Pickle-Ball through a slideshow presentation by the teacher (attached). Students will then conduct research on the Internet and design a simple newsletter on the sport of Pickle-Ball. Topics to be covered are: rules, equipment, court dimensions, and history. Students will then work on the specific sport skills of the serve, forehand return, backhand return, the lob, the volley, smash and special shots. Individual skills will be introduced at the beginning of each class period. Students will then participate in single and doubles matches to give them practice opportunities. At the conclusion of the unit students will be given a hands-on skills post-test and complete a written test to evaluate their performance.
Career Exploration for the Middle School Student
This is a technology-based career guidance project during which students select a career to research on the Internet. Students will create slideshow presentations of information on selected careers and present the slideshows to the class.
How Do Citizens Make Government Work?
This five-session unit will provide hands-on opportunities for students to explore local, state and national governments. In the process, students will use technology and print media to learn about the leaders of each level of government and explore citizenship as a way to make a difference in their communities and nation.
Understanding Cause and Effect
This fourth grade lesson in Classroom Currents teaches students how to identify and analyze cause and effect by ordering plot events in a story; creating two additional slides in a PowerPoint presentation, adding an introduction and conclusion to an incomplete story; inserting text and graphics and formatting slide background in PowerPoint; and composing a memo that explains their use of cause and effect.
Quickly learn to search the huge collection of free learning resource. (Click this link to view our video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYqho-SN-m4) Our brief, seven minute, instructional video is now available on the home page of the Gateway. It’s never been easier to boost your professional skills, add more fun and individualized instruction to your repertoire of competencies. Join our cadre of 21st century educators today.
Make your search for resources from the Gateway or great benefit from your NEA membership easier and faster. Simply visit: http://www.thegateway.org and download the National Education Association Toolbar from the link in the middle of the page. The toolbar is ready for you! It easy and it’s FREE!
Did You Know?
Thursday and Wednesday, in that order, were the busiest days for the Gateway in the month of June. In fact, the Gateway is such a valuable and powerful tool that over 43% of the visitors added the Gateway to their browser Favorites or Bookmarks! In the last month, over 64% of traffic came from people who have already bookmarked the Gateway to 21st Century Skills. A whopping 30% of visitors came to the Gateway from sites that link directly to the Gateway such as you would find on the NEA learning resource page and the Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC).
Gateway to 21st Century Skills Statistics for June 2008
Lots and lots of educators are finding and utilizing the Gateway as in each month since we became sponsored by the NEA, we have experienced double digit increases over the previous year’s figures. The Gateway Community keeps getting bigger and we keep breaking records! June 2008 set another huge new record for traffic to the Gateway with 52,574 visits, a 60% increase over last June. In the month of June 2008, adjusted measures of traffic showed visitors viewed 151,560 pages and created 1,386,997 hits.
The Gateway to 21st Century Skills receives thousands of visits a month from dedicated educators all over the world. The community is developing into a diverse and interesting group with tremendous talent to share! Come and join us as we pioneer the way to the vision of a 21st century education. Become a member and network with other educators. Use the information from the Gateway learning resources in other Web 2.0 friendly applications, your portfolio, store it on your calendar for easy planning or share it with your student, parents and administrator. The Gateway is here to help you easily meet your needs and make your teaching day easier!
Spread the word, invite a friend and help your fellow educators to participate in this special community that NEA has provided for its members.
If your NEA state affiliate website doesn’t link to the Gateway to 21st Century Skills as a resource on your state website, they are surely missing the 21st Century boat. Tell them you need resources and a link to the Gateway! In terms of a teaching tool, it is one of the greatest benefits that NEA has ever made available to its members.
Are Your Members Using the Gateway?
Welcome North Dakota! North Dakota, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Wyoming, Wyoming Student Education Association, Hawaii, Maryland, Colorado, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, South Dakota and Tennessee and have all created versions of the Gateway that displays the state affiliate logos.
And now, not only will your affiliate members be greeted with a view of your logo but anyone who declares that they hail from your branded state will also see that affiliate’s logo. This will underscore your local commitment to provide the members of the profession with the tools and resources they need to succeed in driving improvements to student achievement.
We want to hear from you. What would you like to see added to the Gateway? What improvements would you like to see? Send your suggestions, thoughts and observations on how we can make the Gateway to 21st Century Skills a more valuable tool for you, your students and your fellow teachers. Contact Bruce Walker at email@example.com.
Who’s Joining the Gateway?
From students and pre-service teachers to experienced educators in all parts of educational enterprise, everyone finds value in the Gateway collection of learning resources. What a tremendously diverse and interesting group of people find their way to the Gateway! The community is growing in size and harnessing the awesome power that comes from a huge set of life skills. To show you what we at the Gateway have noticed we did some research on the diversity of members in the biographies written by new members applying for Gateway membership.
Here are some excerpts from the biographies of recent Gateway applications for membership. Members show their support for the Gateway by joining and it is Free! Membership allows you to make notes and comment about the resources you find on the Gateway. You can share those observations with your peers or make comments that are only for your use. It’s like your own personal Gateway to over 50,000 quality learning resources.
S.A.G. - California
I am a journalist that worked for many years for a Spanish newspaper in Los Angeles, Ca. Though now I am an English professor and about to start giving social studies and human relation classes in a place near Cuernavaca, Mexico
D.B. - Virginia
I am a student at Western Governors University. I will be student teaching in the fall of 2008 and plan to graduate in December 2008. Currently I work for Albemarle County Public Schools in the Office of Technology providing computer support for several schools.
A.W. - Virginia
I am a 7th grade math teacher and have been teaching since 1994. I received a BS in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology as well as a minor in Mathematics from Longwood College in Farmville, VA. I am certified in PK-8. I love being in the classroom and interacting with students.
M.L. - Arizona
I am a new educator. I am focused on working with Special Education and at Risk Students. My content areas are in Business, Career, Math, and Social Studies. My goal is to help students realize their potential to achieve success after high school, regardless of their circumstances. To make them proficient “Life Self Marketer” (LSM); Meaning, what ever the career path, one must constantly and positively market his or herself to those around them that can help secure an successful career. Regardless of the field of interest!
S.F. – Mississippi
Hello, I am a librarian and a certified public school teacher. My certifications include in Library Media grades K-12, Elementary Ed grades 4-8, Biology, General Science, Social Studies, and Business Ed grades 7-12. My education consists of a BA in Liberal Arts from Western Illinois University, a Master in the Art of Teaching from William Carey College, and an MS/LIS from Drexel University (pending). Currently, I work part-time for The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County as a library assistant. My full-time job is with Leakesville Elementary School where I am the school librarian. I also volunteer as a reference librarian for the Internet Public Library.
I currently work at Allan Hancock College as a distance learning specialist. I'm in enrolled in a masters program in education for Educational Technology. I hope to teach courses online at the community college level.
K.H. - North Carolina
I teach 4th grade at a rural school in Ruffin, North Carolina. I love to read and travel with my husband in my spare time.
L.L. - Texas
I will be a first year teacher beginning in the fall of 2008. I will be teaching Business Education classes at our district's disciplinary alternative campus.