NESA Virtual School
A cooperative venture between NESA and A/OS, this future-oriented project provides a powerful vehicle for students and teachers, within and among the 16 participating school communities, to learn about and benefit from an online academic environment.
To learn more about the NESA Virtual School Project, go to http://nesa.wvsgeo.org and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Jump to the Spring '13/ Fall '11 / Fall '10 / Spring '10 Updates)
Spring '13 Update - Reaching Uniformity on Version 2
By Kenny Paynter, NESA Virtual School Project Manager
The NVS Project continues to provide participating schools a reliable platform for blended learning, for professional development, for participation in regional and global collaborative projects (such as the NESA Virtual Science Fair and the AERO Summer Institute), and for emergency continuity of operations.
This spring, we are now in the process of upgrading all of the NVS sites that are not already in Moodle version 2, and we should all be in this newer platform for the 2013-2014 school year. The newer versions of Moodle support improved usability features such as iPad compatibility, drag-and-drop editing, and mobile device presentation.
For information about the NESA Virtual School Project, please contact Kenny Paynter at email@example.com
Fall '11 Update
By Ken Paynter - NESA Virtual School Project Manager
The NESA Virtual School (NVS) Project enters its tenth year of operation this fall, having successfully transitioned from Blackboard to the Moodle learning management system over this last year. Compared to Blackboard, Moodle affords each participating school considerable independent control, and Moodle also proves to be much more accessible to both teachers and students as an effective educational tool. Consequently, our average usage per school has already increased very significantly.
NVS is also undergoing a major growth spurt this year - from 19 schools to 24 schools. We welcome these new schools into this dynamic and innovative project, and we look forward to a very busy and productive set of meetings at the Fall Leadership Conference in Athens in October. Although Moodle start-up and management issues will necessarily comprise some of our agenda, we also expect to be able to share methodologies regarding best practices for blended learning in the classroom, and very importantly, we will work on developing opportunities to collaborate - building on the exemplary model of the NESA Virtual Science Fair.
Finally, the Moodle transition also allows the NVS group to participate directly in the World Virtual School (WVS) Network. Although the WVS Network was officially deployed only within this last year, it is already comprised of nearly 60 schools, representing six of the eight international regions. This network allows for sharing among regions, and for the possibility of global collaborative endeavors. The WVS Project was conceived and built from the hard-earned successes of the NVS Project, and there is every reason to believe that WVS will continue to grow and thrive, thanks to the pioneering work of the NESA Virtual School Project.
Year of Change Management and New Possibilities (Fall '10)
By Ken Paynter - NESA Virtual School Project Manager
Having decided this spring to move ahead with a metamorphosis of the NVS Project platform from Blackboard to Moodle, and having this entire school year (2010-2011) to do so, significant transformational steps have already been made by all of the participating schools. School System Administrators have been working with our ASP (Application Service Provider) Remote-Learner to specify and setup a Moodle instance for each of our schools, and we are all participating this inaugural year in a Moodle Administration online training from Remote-Learner as well to learn to configure and manage our systems for each of our schools. Each NVS school has a transitional plan to carefully migrate its users and content to the new Moodle platform. Teacher training is of course a very important part of the transition, and for the NVS faculties some things will seem very much the same, and others will be quite different.
In our fall 2010 NVS SysAdmin Strategy Meetings in Kathmandu, we will most certainly trade notes about all the phases of the transition, from setup to configuration to teacher training and classroom usage. Ultimately our goal is to focus as much as possible on the latter - the actual teaching-learning environment - for our individual schools, in collaboration within the region, and now even in collaboration with schools from other regions also connected to the global framework of which we are now a part, called GeoNet.
Overall there is considerable evidence already that this transition to Moodle not only gives greater flexibility and autonomy to each NVS school, but that it also provides an excellent framework for collaborative learning as well.
NVS Project Special Planning Meetings, Bangkok March 2010 - "Transformation"
By Ken Paynter
Following up on both our fall 2009 decision to consider a project migration from Blackboard to Moodle, and on our subsequent "Valentines Day decision" to actually move ahead with this, our special meetings in Bangkok focused almost entirely on the migration process. Thanks to the NESA Board and to the generous support of the Office of Overseas Schools, we have an optimal situation in which to work - an entire year of overlap of the two systems, Blackboard and Moodle.
Our agenda was comprised of gaining familiarity with Moodle administration, exploring and considering methodologies of course migration, and developing an understanding of the globally interconnected architecture and opportunities of the GeoNet multi-regional project of which our NVS Project now becomes an important part. Action steps derived from our Bangkok meetings include: moving ahead together with a Moodle ASP provider (Remote-Learner.net); each school deriving, sharing, and implementing its own transitional plan; and each school's System Administrative team receiving online training while continuing to collaborate with project peers to take best advantage of our new regional and global networking framework. We expect that many if not most of our schools will start next fall with Moodle up and running strong, with the wonderful advantage of teachers being able to reference the older system for content during the course of the year while they finish building out their courses.
This project truly exemplifies a bountiful spirit of cooperation. The relative ease with which this transition is taking place bespeaks of the strength of purpose, character, and fabric of the group. I personally want to thank each and every member of the NVS Project team, who have once again collaborated intelligently, graciously, and generously in the course of these meetings, all towards the end of developing this very productive, innovative, and ever-evolving partnership.
For a glimpse of the old and the new, please go to nesa.blackboard.com and nesa.wvsgeo.org.
Download updates from previous years here.