School Town Aims for Safe Social Networking for Students, Teachers

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School Town has launched a "student learning system" aimed at encouraging self-directed study and building "life-long" skills in students, including time management and effective social networking.

School Town is an online community for students and teachers, as well as parents and other education stakeholders. It offers what the company describes as a "safe" social networking environment, as well as various teaching and learning tools for students, parents, and teachers. For teachers, these include features to help facilitate self-directed and differentiated learning.

"School Town represents a paradigm shift from school management system (SMS) to student learning system (SLS) and it empowers students with responsibilities for self-directed learning, a critical piece of the puzzle for 21st Century Learning" said Teh-yuan Wan, coordinator of Education Technology Initiatives, New York State Education Department, in a prepared statement.

The idea of the site is not just to be school-focused, but to bring all education stakeholders together to get families, coaches, and others involved in students' learning activities.

"School Town's distinguishing strength is the child/family orientation, as opposed to some sites that are well organized for school, but do not address the whole context of the student's life," said Susan Sullivan, technology leader for Sacred Heart School, Winnetka, IL.

It also provides professional development tools for teachers built on Web 2.0 technologies. Other features include:

  • Homework management and assignments;
  • Discussion forums;
  • Secure chat;
  • A "locker" for handouts and worksheets;
  • The ability to include resources with assignments, such as podcasts and external links;
  • Online parent-teacher conference scheduling;
  • Announcements and reminders;
  • A pool of partner-provided, standards-aligned resources that can be included with assignments; and
  • A centralized calendar for assignments, due dates, etc.

Further information can be found here.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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