Virtual Instructional Took Kit

In the event of an extended school shut down, what are some tools and spaces that we could use to conduct our classes and ensure that the learning continues? I strongly suggest that we choose tools that work on both Mac and PC and are low/no cost. I would strongly encourage everyone to at least use Skype, Moodle, and the Castilleja Google Apps environment at a minimum.

Synchronous Meeting Spaces and Tools:
Skype - one of the most useful software applications that I use. It allows up to 25 people on a skype call. Video conferencing only works with a two way call. Skype is actually a wonderful group chat tool as can great a group for your class with all of your students in the group.

Ustream.TV - The Gator Radio Experience uses ustrem to conduct our live radio broadcasts. I also worked with a teacher who used ustream on a regular basis to conduct live review sessions. He put his webcam on and did a review while his students asked questions in the chat.

Asynchronous Tools:
Moodle - Running your class in Moodle allows you to utilize forum discussions, assignments, podcasts, assignment submissions, etc. This is a great space to deliver instructional resources and materials to your learning community. Think of Moodle as your home base from which you launch out into other online workspaces like blogs, wikis, Voicethread, screencasts, YouTube, etc.

Castilleja Google Network - All 6th, 7th, and 8th graders have accounts in this space and are quite familiar with the interface. Most 9th graders have an account as well. This is useful for document collaboration/sharing, power-point like presentations, creating of websites via sites, etc. It may also be used for Skype-like features via chat. It isn't as powerful for group chats as skype, but since it doesn't require a software download, this might be quite useful. It also has 2-way video conference capapbilities as well.

Slideshare - a great place to post your slide presentations for your students. You can upload your powerpoint files and keynote files directly to slideshare where your presentations become visible to your students right through their web browser.

Jing Screencasting - This is a free screencasting software program. You can use this to create a presentation for your students and post to YouTube,, etc. This software needs to be downloaded and installed on your computer. You are limited to 5 minute videos with the free version.

Screen Cast O Matic - This is just like Jing, but runs right through a web browser. You don't need to download/install software to make this work.

Reference Materials:

All library databases, and the online catalog, are available off campus through Castinet. The databases include e-reference books, periodical articles, art images, streaming video, and more. The library website is your portal to this information. The prompts you will receive for acc/pw when clicking through to this page:
off-campus are *not* special library passwords. They are your ordinary castinet credentials, that you use to login to the Daily Bulletin, the test calendar, etc. Our virtual resources are listed behind the Databases tab, and the individual accounts and passwords you will need to access the databases are listed there.