On November 3 and 4 the Ultranet Lead Users and Prin team from the college met up with other schools teams and the Ultranet coaches for training in the new release features of the Ultranet.
It is looking good. Great to have some more design features such as themes for different pages, and the ability to use CSS (a way to add code to your pages to give them a more individual feel). The Learning tasks appeared to work well, but as we don’t get students onto it until next year it was a little frustrating.
The electronic copy of the release 2 book, with all of the details is HERE – Ultranet Release 2
In August we were introduced to the first release of the Ultranet, and were able to set up a range of different spaces for different purposes and aims: personal, peer sharing and student sharing. The new version of the Ultranet has added enhancements to those pages as well as some new areas.
The Learning tasks area gives teachers the opportunity to set up courses with a range of features. These can be set up in the “planning” space which only the teacher can see, much like an electronic chronicle. These “classes” can then be shared with your own classes. In 2010 only homegroups are being added, so you can’t see the next step unless you teach your homegroup. All of the rest of the classes will be added next year. This is frustrating, but we have to work within the timelines.
The other new feature is the addition of parent spaces. Parents will be able to access the Ultranet, and have at their fingertips information about their child’s timetable and when learning tasks are due etc.
There are many other features, and I would strongly suggest jumping in and getting familliar, as it is an expectation that you will have Learning tasks etc up there for your students. You can find a heap of helpful information on the Support Site by using the Cogwheel which pops up along the bottom of the Ultranet page.
The Cogwheel to Support site
Many teachers across the state have already embraced the sharing nature of Web 2.0 and the Ultranet, and have created spaces for sharing curriculum ideas and innovations with other like minded teachers. For example there are Design spaces set up for VCE classes in outdoor Ed, Maths etc as well as VELs groups looking at Metals, LOTE, Maths, Textiles, Science Twitter users, iPad users etc. Just do a search for your subject or group interest and you will find a space you may like to join… there are nearly 8,000 Design spaces already, or you can create your own. Some spaces are open or restricted, which means you can join them. Private spaces don’t show up on the list, and you would need to be invited to.
Our timeline is to have all teachers using the Ultranet over the rest of 2010, and developing their courses for 2011. Students will then access the Ultranet through Term 1 2011. Together there will no doubt be some fun and games as we all work our way through it, but there needs to be some content on the Ultranet before we invite parents on in Term 2 2011. By that time, no doubt, there will be parents waiting to see what all the hype is about, and having heard about it from earlier release schools who already have content on their Ultranet spaces.
Looking forward to seeing what we can create.