Monday, February 15, 2010

LearnCentral - A Social Network for Educators

While Richard is on his annual fishing trip, I am honored to have been selected to step in and guest blog for him. So, with that said, on with the blog post!

February 2009 saw the launch of the social network for educators called, "LearnCentral". LearnCentral is a free community that allows educators to network, share and post resources and participate in a variety of discussions. Educators can create or join groups based on any number of traits pertinent to education. While the LearnCentral community may not be thought of as a specific technology tool, the community itself is full of wonderful tools available to the community members.

LearnCentral is a growing community and one feature that is a widely used aspect of the site is the implementation of live webinars using Elluminate. As a member of the 'Host Your Own Webinars' group at LearnCentral, educators are able to schedule and use a fully featured Elluminate room for FREE! There is no fee to participate in the community, group or use the Elluminate room. In addition to the 'vRooms' that Elluminate offers to the general public, the Elluminate room available through LearnCentral allows for an unlimited number of participants to join your webinars scheduled through the LearnCentral community instread of just three people like in the vRooms. The only contingency that is required of LearnCentral and/or Elluminate is that the webinars must be open to the public and the link to the recording posted in the LearnCentral after the webinar has concluded.

Elluminate offers fantastic training sessions to help you prepare to moderate and host an Elluminate session. The LearnCentral community, sponsored by Elluminate, was founded by Gailene Nelson and has become the passion of Steve Hargadon to help grow and develop LearnCentral.

If you do not feel comfortable initially hosting or moderating an Elluminate session by yourself, feel free to call upon me to assist you. I can help out and provide a general overview of the features used in Elluminate or step back in the session until you need assistance.

I hope Richard enjoys his vacation and returns to blogging energized and refreshed! It has been an honor and privilege to guest blog for Richard and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share ways to engage students and teachers to use technology.

*Note: Kim Caise has been an educator and technology specialist for the past 20 years. In 2006 she became a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education with a specialty in Technology Education and was nominated for the 2005 Disney Teacher of the Year Award for her dedication to the teaching profession. Kim is a co-host of the Classroom 2.0 LIVE show that is broadcast in Elluminate on Saturday mornings which provides opportunities to learn about Web 2.0 tools and resources through collaboration with guest presenters and other educators. She recently has taken on the position of the Elluminate/LearnCentral Community Facilitator and Flat Classroom™ Project Administrator while maintaining a professional blog titled, “Kim’s Ventures in Educational Technology”. You can often find the many resources Kim shares with her Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter, Plurk, LearnCentral or Facebook and maintains a wiki on video conferencing resources.