NESA

NESA Contact Information

Executive Director
David Chojnacki
nesa@nesacenter.org
Website
http://nesacenter.org
WVS Tech Rep
Brian Turner
brian-turner@acs.sch.ae
NESA Virtual School Project

The NESA Virtual School (NVS) is a consortium of currently 19 NESA member schools costsharing a single ASP installation of enterprise level Blackboard, augmented with Learning Objects building blocks. The consortium is in its 6th year, and the Blackboard platform is now being shared also with the AISA Virtual School Project.
 
NVS provides for each participating school a platform for blended learning, professional development, community communication, and (very importantly) emergency continuity of operations. It also provides for the NESA region a powerful tool for regional and even inter-regional collaborative initiatives.
 
Contact Ken Paynter, NVS Project Manager, at nvsproject@gmail.com for further information.

NESA Schools Speech Contest

Who: Speech contest participants are high school students from three NESA schools in 2008-2009, with the hope to open up to more schools in the future. One adult coordinator and three judges from each school will also be involved in the project. When possible, one of the judges will be a staff member, one will be a school community member who has experience with public speaking, and one will be a student. This student could be someone who participated in the contest but did not get selected as a school finalist.
 
Where: Online through a special Blackboard course. All coordinators judges would be enrolled in this course until deadline for speech winner announcements is reached, at which time course can be opened to all participants and interested students and faculty from every school.
 
How: Each school holds an internal speech contest. Top three speeches are uploaded to the Blackboard course. If all schools involved are able to upload to youtube or googlevideos, speeches may be uploaded to one of these sites with links provided to uploaded files through the Blackboard course. If video capabilities are not available at all schools, a category for audio-only entries could be created.
 
Contact Susie Trifman, at strifman@wbais.org for further information.

NESA Virtual Science Fair
Using the NESA Virtual School platform, the NESA Virtual Science Fair is an innovative and exciting new take on science fairs, for both middle school and upper elementary school students. It combines online mentoring and judging expertise with hybrid physical and virtual presentations. The 2007-2008 NVSF Project involved approximately 1200 students across the NESA, AISA, and other regions.
This NAIS article is about the Paradigm Shift in Science Fairs and discusses in full the NVSF concept. http://www.nais.org/resources/index.cfm?ItemNumber=149604
 
Also real examples can be seen by accessing:
http://nesa.blackboard.com username: superstudent.nvsf.nvs password: science
Contact Stuart Fleischer, NESA Virtual Science Fair Project Director, at stuartfleischer@gmail.com for further information.
NVS Film Festival 09

At this stage the NVS Film Festival is in design mode and should be completed and ready to go for the second semester of this school year. Our hope is to have 4 or 5 schools participate for the first time to test it out and get it right for the next school year. Schools will contribute three finalists and then all NESA NVS schools could present the films to their students for voting. A Winner will be chosen from these results. The hope is to have students contribute to an environment where they feel they are contributing to a real audience with a global appeal. Eventually we could invite industry experts to help develop the films into something a little more professional using the blog and wiki components of Blackboard.
 
For more information, contact Michael Pelletier at mpelletier@ais-r.edu.sa

Global Studies Course Ideas

Still at very early stages, one idea focuses around the concept of perhaps middle school classes from different international schools (perhaps 4 in a group) sharing a Global Studies course in which they each develop and present primary source information directly from their host countries. A variant idea has this as an upper level (perhaps even AP) Global Studies course. The ideas are currently under discussion, soon to be posted on the GEO Ning site. For more information, contact Ken Paynter at nvsproject@gmail.com

Blended eLearning - A Blackboard Course for NESA Teachers

Historically the NESA schools have been able to offer college credit for teachers who learned to use the Blackboard platform. The syllabus was set and approved but to meet it, the sys admins set up some sort of local meeting schedule and developed their own materials. Participating in the course tended to depend on the number of people interested at any given site. The course was very much focused on the how of using Blackboard.
 
In contrast, at the NVS consortium meeting this fall, we decided to refocus the course on the why of using Blackboard. Such a course would be set out to address the essential questions of:
1. How can a blended elearning environment enhance existing classes?
2. How can a blended elearning environment facilitate communication and collaboration?
3. How can a blended learning environment allow students to demonstrate different understandings?
4. How to pace learning in a blended environment so that students are challenged and yet able to interact socially?
5. How to assess learning in a blended environment?
6. How have communication technologies changed the nature of learning and learners?
7. What challenges have to be overcome?
8. How to assess collaboration?
Dr. John Schembari , the curriculum director at AIS Jeddah has set up a course on 21st learning. Some of these essential questions will be addressed, but not all. The course to address these questions still has to be designed. Anyone interested in assisting with this development, should contact Brian Turner at brian-turner@acs.sch.ae.

NESA Technology Advisory Group (TAG)

Arising from a "grass roots" initiative of a lead group of Technology Directors of several NESA schools, The NESA Technology Advisory Group (TAG) was established during the 2007-2008 school year with the following purpose: "To articulate and guide a vision of best practices for the integration of technology (teaching/learning, administration, communication, and infrastructure) for the NESA community." The TAG group also established a series of goals with this purpose in mind. These goals are:

  • To represent schools’ needs for technology integration
  • To identify and advocate professional development for the NESA community to maximize student learning through the integration of technology.
  • To develop collaborative spaces to support and inform member schools’ decisions.
  • To provide technology guidance to the NESA board to inform their planning.
  • To build educational technology leadership capacity.
  • To model collaborative leadership.

Now having met several times, online and face-to-face, the group has provided the NESA association with advice such as recommendeding conference speakers and conference strands, and developing best-practice proficiency measures, exemplar showcases, and professional development guidelines.
For more information, contact Brian Turner, TAG Chairperson, at brian-turner@acs.sch.ae