"Similar to YouTube, the popular Internet video-sharing Web site, L3RN (pronounced simply "learn") is touted as a tool for professional development of teachers, allowing teachers in different schools to discuss ideas and upload lesson plans and other information.
But for students, it means they can comment on their peers' work and also show off their projects to their parents. According to Hale's Advanced Placement students, it also has proved to be a lot of fun."
Also from the article:"Though many parts of L3RN are available to the public, at www.l3rn.com, only teachers can post to the site. They can designate certain files as private, so only other teachers and students can see them. To comment on students' work, visitors must have a login name and a password from the school district."
"The district gets the software free, and Hale estimates that L3RN saves thousands of dollars in paper.
"The less paper, the better," Hale said. "It's almost heartbreaking when I had students write an essay and watch them put it in the recycling bin on their way out of the door. This solves that problem."
"There is no anonymity on L3RN. Student comments are permanently attached to their online-user names. They cannot be changed or deleted by the student, so teens must think twice before posting something inappropriate or hurtful."
There's also another network tool, Medley:
This fall, the district plans to add to L3RN by introducing another online system called Medley, a social-networking site comparable to MySpace.
"Medley will allow students to have personal home pages. They can create online journals and send messages to their friends and teachers.
"It's great, because it's safer than a lot of the social Web sites that are out there," Pierson said. "Kids will feel secure on Medley because we'll manage it and make sure there's no bullying." "I'm more on-board with the 3LRN than Medley. I like the idea of teachers sharing ideas as well as students sharing their work (although I hope there is a filter so that kids don't plagiarize).
I'm not sure I think it's worth the district's time and money to have Medley. Are kids really going to want to post to a site monitored by the district? Maybe younger students but I doubt if a lot of middle/high school students would (unless their parents wouldn't let them use FaceBook or MySpace). Frankly, why is the district getting into this business? It doesn't relate to academics.