Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Big Campus Lightspeed Connect Conference

There are still two Summer of eLearning Conferences on the calendar, but we're in Austin, Texas to learn and share some of the new features of our partner My Big Campus at their annual conference. (You may remember last year it was in Indianapolis!) This morning's keynote "What if? Why not?... Oh well" by our own Candice Dodson really set the tone for the first day of My Big Campus' LightSpeed Connect--BRING IT!

What's New with MBC seemed like a good place to start our learning. In this session, My Big Campus Developers were on hand to share updates such as the streamlining of templates in creating Schoolwork and the ability to add rubrics at various levels of assignments and assessments. Also in the room was Lightspeed CEO Joel Heinrichs who was interested in attendees' questions. One feature that is still in development is the Gradebook in Schoolwork. Offline Schoolwork is a feature in the new rollout that will allow you to add item to Gradebook without creating an assignment that needs to be completed in MBC. Early September is the expected release date for the Gradebook updates. Also in the works as a result of the previous night's Hackathon is the possibility to give a grade to students' participation in a Group Discussion. There were a number of questions from attendees and the really neat thing about this conference is that you could follow up in the Developers Den or try out new features in the Technology Playground.

Bridging the Digital Divide: Getting Technology and Curriculum Departments Working Together This session opened with Joan Roehre, MBC Coach, and Philip Linscott, Senior Systems Analyst for Lightspeed dividing attendees into IT and Curriculum sides of the room. Interestingly enough there was a large group in the center who fill both roles. The facilitators walked the groups through venting concerns. It might be surprising how many Lightspeed and My Big Campus solutions exist in a house united.

Lightspeed Filtering in a Google/GAFE World Lightspeed Systems Sales Engineers Nick and Ty addressed how MBC users can selectively allow and block Google services. In the Lightspeed overview they stated that GAFE is a great solutions for schools and that they want to help districts make the most of their implementation. The SSL Decoder was discussed as the primary means for categorizing Google domains and restricting features like Chat if students have access to personal emails in addition to their GAFE accounts. Various access scenarios were described and prescribed solutions.

Best practices for allowing YouTube videos in school were shared. Some session attendees expressed dissatisfaction with YouTube for Schools. Nick explained why MBC Library is an effective alternative. Lightspeed filter customers who are not MBC customers do have access to the MBC resource library. Districts that are customers can have their teachers add material to the library anytime; whereas non-customers have to submit materials to MBC Coaches. When a teacher submits a YouTube video to the MBC Library, they immediately receive a direct link that they can use or share with students.

Bring Bob Squad to Your School! Two members of Madison Consolidated Schools' Digital Leadership class, Haley Jansen and Hadassah Harris presented this possibility in their session Get to Know the Bob Squad. The girls created an additional group, Bob Squad Information, where you can access a bundle that explains their class activities and work in piloting Bob Squad Junior. The girls shared how they developed the Bob persona as part of their training and walked the participants through similar exercises. If you are interested in starting a Bob Squad in your school or district, start here.

In addition to our Indiana student presenters, there are a number of #INeLearn tweeps presenting at the conference. Connect with your state resources:

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