More Teacher Organization

Reason #321 I will probably not pursue a PhD in my lifetime. I struggle with academic writing. I spend hours writing paragraphs. I come up with what I think are great ideas, but then fight to clearly articulate them. In the end I am usually satisfied, but for me that process is deadly.

Anyway, I have been slaving over the article I am writing with one of my former MA professors on knowledge management for teachers. After looking at everyone’s comments from a couple posts ago (Thanks, they were very helpful!) and reading some of the popular and academic literature available, I have developed the following criteria for a knowledge management system. (Numbers 1-6 are for a personal system and 7-10 are necessary for a collaborative system).

A KMS must have

  1. The ability to store multiple types of resources.
  2. The ability to easily revise descriptions and artifacts in addition to storing multiple versions of a specific artifact.
  3. The ability to add annotations and comments beyond the descriptions.
  4. The ability to categorize and tag all entries.
  5. A simple interface to input and upload information.
  6. A simple interface to search by category and tag.
  7. Individual logins for each participant.
  8. Safeguards so artifacts aren’t mistakenly deleted by another user.
  9. The ability for participants to comment and annotate artifacts from different users.
  10. The ability for participants to track recent additions and changes.

I’m feeling pretty good about this (and have spent way too much time on it), but, if you are a teacher and you have a suggestion or comment, please leave it. We are working on a final draft this week.

Unfortunately this article is only a discussion of ideas with a couple possible solutions. There is no silver bullet for teachers out there. I’ve looked at the most popular content management systems and it doesn’t seem like they could be easily adapted. The best solution I can come up with is a blog. WordPress or Moveable Type (personal license is free, but if you want more then one author you have to pay) fit the list of criteria nicely. I would love to build my own system from scratch, but, unfortunately, I am only a geek – not a supergeek programming guy. Anybody know a guy (or gal) who is and has extra time on their hands? It could be a great project, there is probably demand, from what I understand, there are a few teachers out there.

Once this article is done, I can start working again on my NECC presentation. They placed me in an insanely big room. So please come if interested, there will no doubt be seats!

4 thoughts on “More Teacher Organization”

  1. Wow.

    The whole idea makes me salivate and want it right this very second. I’m interested to know how you see this. Are we talking a database or something more along the lines of a wiki, some combination of the two or something I haven’t even begun to think of.

    Just one question. There are certain things: movies, posters, etc. that couldn’t really be “stored” on a computer. How would you handle those entries?

    What a wonderful idea!


  2. I assume this is referring to your earlier post about asking teachers what type of organization they use?

    This is the type of stuff I get excited about. I know it’s a little different, but when I read an article a few years ago about data mining being implemented in a school district (I think it was in South Carolina), my head was swimming with possibilities. Teachers were tracking the grades that students were getting on units/books over a couple of years and changing their lesson plans based on these stats.

    What type of database were you thinking of using? I think of a simple interface and plenty of training would be of extreme importance. If you decide to do something more with this idea, contact me.


  3. I too have thought about this to no avail. Blog platforms would seem to fit the bill somewhat but then everything is out there for the world to see and you might not want that. Even a blog with the rss feed shut down can still get indexed, right? I registered for a wiki but I don’t think it has the capabilities of doing what I want it to. I’d love to have a private file cabinet on-line where I can file ideas, notes, actual lessons and then be able to search keywords and come up with a document list. That would be heaven. Keep us posted.


  4. I read through your list and it is great, and I’d be interested in hearing what CMS’es you considered. We are using a CMS called Drupal which can do all of the things you mentioned. Now whether or not it does it the way you would like that is another question.

    Have you heard of drupal? What kind of resources are you talking about (pictures, documents, pdfs, movies, flash)? You should be able to do all of those things. Revisions, tagging/categorizing, easy to use interface, individual logins, user contributed security, as well as the ability to add comments, as well as to track changes.

    By the way, your session about Wiki’s and branching simulations was excellent and well attended.


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