Hello. My name is Kerri Karvetski and I am a communications consultant working with THV to relaunch their Web site. I’m am very proud to give you the first ever sneak peak at the new TeachingTheHudsonValley.org.
THV has lesson plans. Hundreds of lesson plans. Two years ago THV’s Debi Duke approached me and asked, what’s the best way to share them, with everyone. The answer of course is to put them online, but how else could we make them really useful. There’s lots of sites on the Web that list lesson plans. We decided to add really robust search and browse, coalesce THV’s existing community using the new Web site, and grow, grow, grow the community by giving educators a compelling reason to join.
So with much pleasure I bring you THV’s new home page. I need to preface the rest of this presentation with, “we’re still working on it.” But we can still show you lots of what to expect when the site does launch, which we’d like to do in about a month. There are three top priorities for the new site -- 1) Find and share lesson plans 2) Connect via the Institute 3) Apply for Grants. We’ll be shifting the focus of the home page slightly during different parts of the year to emphasize those priorities. Fall will focus heavily on lesson plans. In winter we’ll dial up information about the spring grant deadline. And in spring and summer we’ll be recruiting and planning for the Institute. You will ALWAYS be able to find and share lesson plans and join the community. What you’re looking at now is a focus on lesson plans.
So, let’s find some lesson plans! There are three main ways to find lesson plans. Browse, Search and Explore via our Map.
I’ve zoomed in on parts of the browse and search screens to give you a better sense of some of the functionality. I’ve basically dissected these sections for better viewing in this presentation. On the top left is our lesson search. You can search by multiple criteria -- say agriculture, county and grade 12. Browse lets you lookat lesson plans in a different way -- perhaps you’d like to look at everything in the Lower Hudson Valley. There’s also an All Lesson Plans view. At a minimum, every lesson plan on the site has title, destination (or site), subject, grade(s) and map coordinates. For those lesson plans with nondistinct destinations -- farm, stream, river for example -- we’ll have an “Other” category. Option information included with each lesson plan is NYS curriculum standards, and stuff -- attachments, activities, handouts. Stuff can be lots of different file formats -- Word, pdf, video, audio, image, etc.
Another way to search for lesson plans is via our special Google Map. We’ve loaded close to 200 Hudson Valley destinations on an interactive Google Map. This includes all State and Federal parks and historic sites, plus a number of other destinations. Anyone who has used an online map before will recognize the zoom and navigate buttons on the left (you can also drag your way on the map, but it’s a little slow with all of those destinations loaded). Red bubbles are sites. If you here today representing a site or destination, check out your bubble when we launch. Is it in the right place? Do you have lesson plans that we can place here? Blue bubbles are sites with lesson plans. I’ll expand on this in one of the next slides.
Here’s a view of the map zoomed in a few levels to the north of us in Kingston. The map is much more useful when you zoom in. You’ll be able to distinguish the bubbles. Also note on the top right that you can change the way the map looks -- to a satellite view or a hybrid.
Here’s an expanded bubble destination for Hudson River Maritime Museum and Rondout Lighthouse. With every destination there will be a physical address. (Again if you representing a site, check your map point when the site launches.) Sometime GoogleMaps is wrong. We see here that there are three lesson plans associated with this destination, and there’s links to those lesson plans, so you can go right to them with a click.
Let’s go to the first lesson plan. Here is an example of how a lesson plan looks on our site. You have lots of information right off the bat -- title, unit, grade, Overview, Resources, WorkSheets and Attachments, NYS standards. And here’s the difference with our site, and how it empowers members to contribute. When you are in a lesson plan you have options -- you’ll be able to download it in Word or .pdf, save it to your account, comment, or create a variation of it and upload it. Personalize the site by saving lesson plans to your account. Customize lesson plans through variations. Let people know what you think by posting comments. We’ve looked at the elements of successful communities -- Flickr, Facebook, Netflix, LinkedIn, Upromise, YouTube -- and participation by members is what makes the site. Perhaps the day will come when member lesson plans outnumber THV lesson plans. The more lesson plans the better.
Now, THV has lots of lesson plans. But we KNOW there are loads of lesson plans out there. We’ve built the community for you. Lesson plans, join THV!
Here’s how you do it. Anyone who has received a grant knows that THV has its own lesson plan template. We’ve been working very hard at improving that template, and we’re making it available for free on the Web site for educators to use as a worksheet. Using the THV lesson plan template to organize your lesson plan, you can copy and paste your text into our Web site using the online version of the template I’ll show you next. If you already have lesson plans in your own format -- as I expect many of you do -- don’t worry. We’ll cover that shortly.
Here’s a screen capture of the online template. We’ve broken it down into 7 screens, and you can easily see where you are in the process. You can enter your lesson plan all at once, or go part way and come back later to finish. We realize that lesson plans are long and you might need to time to finesse it.
OK, here’s our plea to use the THV lesson plan template. 1 -- When you enter the text into our site, it makes it that much more findable in the lesson plan search and browse. We think that if you’re listing your lesson plan with our site that you want people to find and use it. 2 -- Using our template automatically makes it easier to access -- no extra steps. The more hoops members have to jump through to get to your content, the less likely they will actually read it. 3 -- We’ve been working with a variety of educators for several years to improve the template. We think it’s pretty good, which is why we are offering it up freely.
OK, OK, if you MUST, you can use a short lesson plan entry form that we created. You can upload a Word or a .pdf file, or link to a lesson plan on your site. BUT, you have to give us some information first. Why? So it can show up in the lesson plan search and browse. With this option, there will be fewer opportunities for members to interact with your lesson plan. But given the choice between not having your lesson plan at all and having a file or link, we’ll take the file and link. Just come!
A few points I’d like to emphasize. First, please share. Sharing your lesson plans helps everyone. Anyone can upload their lesson plan. We’ll take all subjects, grades, learning standards and HV destinations, as long the lesson utilizes a significant site in the Hudson Valley.
Second, Participate. What’s going to make this valuable to all educators is your participation. Comment, rate, post variations, so this resource grows and grows.
We’ve already been contacted by a number of groups asking if they can post their lesson plans on our site. The answer is YES, YES, YES. So museums, historic sites, nonprofits, let’s work together to make that happen sooner rather than later.
At the beginning of this presentation I referred to grants and Institute. I didn’t forget about them. Let’s take a quick look.
In About THV you can get background info, grants and institute info. All of the grant information is the same from the old site. And we have an ambitious goal for the Institute section. We realize that the information shared here is invaluable, and that not everyone can make it. How many times have you been to a great workshop or conference and wanted to share it with a colleague, but you just didn’t have a way to do it. We’d like to begin addressing that by posting all of the presentations we can get on the site. So presenters, send us your stuff. We’ve got a few options for posting materials online -- even big files. To go back to a point that I made earlier in the presentation, at different times of year we’ll be emphasizing grants and then the institute. The buttons on the home page will reflect that emphasis. On launch we’ll have a 2009 grants button. While we’re not accepting grant applications now, we’re encouraging educators to think about it.
LAST SLIDE! So, I have a to-do list for you. Watch for our launch e-mail. Visit the site when you get that e-mail. And post it to any e-mail groups that you belong to. Referral is one of the strongest ways we can grow the site. Share a lesson plan. Participate through comments. Tell us what you think. Well thank you for listening and watching. I hope that the information I shared with you sparks ideas and enthusiasm for launch. I’ve left plenty of time for questions, so fire away.