Tapped In Newsletter: April 1999

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********** ...ON THE TAPIS **********
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Issue # 18 April, 1999
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...ON THE TAPIS is a monthly newsletter with updates on TAPPED IN and related events. Check out our website to learn more. Please update us if your email address changes.

Quote of the Month:
"What is dangerous or disturbing to one person or segment of society may be exciting and innovative to others and perhaps just 'the truth' to still others." - Kay Vandergrift

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[1] Member Perspective: Kathleen O'Reilly Bogni
[2] SCILnet TAPs IN
[3] TAPPING IN to The Guide to Math & Science Reform
[4] Join the TAPPED IN HelpDesk!
[5] New Server and more!
[6] TAPPED IN Slogan Contest
[7] "Voyages Through Time": Test pilots wanted!
[8] About ...ON THE TAPIS
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[1] Member Perspective: Kathleen O'Reilly Bogni
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Read all our member perspectives.

Kathleen (aka KathleenKO) is a corporate trainer at Rhythm & Hues, Inc. (http://www.rhythm.com) She represents a different kind of teacher than the majority of TAPPED IN members. Her diverse perspective brings much value to the community, and we are very glad she shares her knowledge and time with us. At Rhythm & Hues, responsible for the special effects in "Babe" and "Babe2", Kathleen trains the newly hired computer graphic artists.

Originally trained as a motion picture camera technician, Kathleen worked on numerous live action feature and commercial productions, and then she was bit by the computer-bug. A career change led to a job at Silicon Studio in LA. She now finds herself in Pepperdine University's online Graduate Program studying Educational Technology. TAPPED IN provided Kathleen with her first virtual reality (VR) experience. She has created a Web site for Pepperdine (http://hale.pepperdine.edu/~kbogni) as a source of articles, resources, and even more perspective on TAPPED IN.
Kathleen's perspective:

I first became acquainted with TAPPED IN because Pepperdine conducts on-line classes in the environment. Teachers and students meet in Pepperdine's area in small groups to discuss topics. It wasn't until I began writing a journal for an assignment concerned with community of practice, that I really discovered another dimension to TAPPED IN (to see her journal, go to http://hale.pepperdine.edu/~kbogni/toc.html and click on the red arrow on the left side of the page). It was then that I began to appreciate what an absolutely amazing place it was!

Like many, exploring on my own, I was first greeted by BJB. What a great day that was! Having someone with her personality there to welcome newbies is an asset and a credit to TAPPED IN. I learned so much and had fun doing it--and I'm a grown up! After completing the journal, I decided to write a Teacher's Guide and a User's Manual to be shared with newbies entering TAPPED IN for their first time.

TAPPED IN has made it possible for me to have access to people, conversations and ideas that I wouldn't have otherwise. I love the resources available, as well as knowing there is a place where I can go and talk with others who are as passionate about teaching and learning as I am.

[2] SCILnet TAPs IN,
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Southwest Colorado Interactive Learning Network (SCILnet) is a project sponsored by Fort Lewis College. Its goal is to bring Internet connectivity and to create distance learning opportunities for students and residents of 12 rural communities. After installation of the telecommunications infrastructure, SCILnet launched its online training program for teachers and library patrons. Teachers were able obtain graduate or state certification credit for taking the course and received on-site support from technology trainers, who are also teachers. The course is modular in nature and allows participants to enter at their skill level. More information about the course is available at http://scilnet.fortlewis.edu

The main focus of the course is learning to use telecommunications, with a module on Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE's) as a key component. Because of its focus on professional development and its outstanding support from the staff, TAPPED IN was chosen as the medium for this module. Nine SW Colorado educators took part in the 4-week workshop and found it an enlightening experience. The module is described at (http://scilnet.fortlewis.edu/edtech/online_ws/default.htm). Some of the uses they brainstormed were:

* Virtual plays in which kids make descriptions and create objects for their personas
* Cooperative/collaborative projects with other schools, e.g. a Model Congress or UN
* Ask-an-Expert sessions on topics of study, careers, colleges, etc.
* Best practices exchanges on common lessons and units
* Ongoing discussion groups like the K-8 Science Education Discussion Group
* Follow-up and breakout sessions for district planning days and other meetings

SCILnet would like to thank the TAPPED IN staff and Jackie Menasco for their support during our workshop. We could not have done it without you!

[3] TAPPING IN to The Guide to Math and Science Reform
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On March 16, 1999, a group of educators learned about The Guide to Math and Science Reform (http://www.learner.org/theguide) through an After-School Online session in TAPPED IN. They embarked on a virtual tour of The Guide, which highlighted the site's new design, featuring easier navigation, bright new photographs, and a sleeker look.

In addition to making a guided tour possible, TAPPED IN allowed participants to query a Guide staff member to quickly find resources that address their particular needs, and even to share them with colleagues unable to attend the session. One teacher was interested in what The Guide can offer in terms of professional development that goes beyond basic "tech stuff" ("we are hitting a wall with more advanced topics"). Another emailed a page from The Guide to the math coordinator at his school while the session was in progress.

The Guide is funded by the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Project. It offers concise information on projects and organizations responding to America's call for better science and mathematics education for all K-12 students. Visitors can read profiles of the latest grant-funded projects that promote systemic reform, peruse timely feature articles that explore reform topics across projects and organizations, and access a conference calendar that highlights regional and national mathematics and science education organization meetings over the next year.

[4] Join the TAPPED IN HelpDesk!
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Ever dropped by TAPPED IN's Reception with a question and received an answer from one of our HelpDesk volunteers? We currently have 10 members who provide answers to common and some not so common questions: BJ Berquist (BJB), Courtney Glazer (CourtneyG), Michael Hutchison (MichaelAH), Jackie Menasco (JackieM), Chuck Merritt (ChuckM), Diann Smothers (DiannS), Amelia Stephens (AmeliaS), David Weksler (DavidW), Erik Wilson (ErikW) and David Worthington (DavidWo).

The TAPPED IN staff would like to thank these volunteers for their invaluable service! We'd also like to extend an invitation to other members to join our HD Crew: As TAPPED IN continues to grow, so does the importance of the HelpDesk. If you are interested in volunteering and would like some HD training, contact us.

[5] New Server and more!
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On March 19, we moved TAPPED IN to its new home: a top-of-the-line Sun Microsystems Enterprise E3500 server (2 CPUs, 1 *gigabyte* of RAM, and 36 gigabytes of disk space) awarded to us through Sun's Academic Equipment Grant program (Thank you Sun)!

What does this mean for TAPPED IN members? Many of you have noticed the beginnings of our new Web Interface. We couldn't move into a new house with our old furniture (Thank you SRI for footing the bill)! More changes will be coming in the next few weeks as we complete our redecorating. Tell us what you think! We'll be finding and fixing bugs for a few weeks so please bear with us and let us know if you find one.

The main reason we moved, however, was to provide our fast-growing membership (now over 3300 members) with better and faster service. We can now support roughly double the number of simultaneous users. We also installed a Universal Power Supply system to provide emergency power for several hours in the event of a power outage (suicidal squirrels beware!).

So what's next? We are currently exploring new "next generation" multi-user technology platforms for TAPPED IN. Within the next couple of years, we'll likely be moving off the MOO platform onto a more scaleable, robust technology that will provide the functionality we have now and support thousands of simultaneously connected users. Now is the time to let us know the kinds of features that *you* would like us to build into the system. So drop us an email!

[6] TAPPED IN Slogan Contest
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To go with our new graphics look and the new server, we need a new "tag-line slogan" for TAPPED IN. Wed like this slogan to come from you, the community. If you'd like to enter this contest and tell us what TAPPED IN is to you as an education professional, please send in your ideas for a slogan for TAPPED IN by April 30th. Keep the slogans as short as possible please. The winner of the contest will receive a TAPPED IN t-shirt (one of the original ones--soon to be a collectors item), and a newly designed t-shirt which will feature the slogan on the back of it.

[7] "Voyages Through Time": Test pilots wanted!
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Yo! Science teachers! Ever dreamed of being a test pilot? Now's your chance! Teach and test our revolutionary, evolutionary secondary science curriculum "Voyages Through Time", and help us steer a journey across the eons from the Big Bang to the Big Brain!

Sound intriguing? For more info on this great opportunity, go to: http://www.seti.org/education/letter.html

Voyages Through Time is a curriculum development project of the SETI Institute in partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, San Francisco State University, and the California Academy of Sciences. Funded by the National Science Foundation with support from the Hewlett-Packard Corporation and Foundation for Microbiology.

[8] About ...On the TAPIS
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Postings of all ...ON THE TAPIS issues are available on the TAPPED IN website. Contact us if you have any questions about your subscription, password or user name, or if you have any news items that you want to share with the community for ...ON THE TAPIS.