U.S. Educational Stimulus Aid and EdStimulus.org - Feedback?

I could use some feedback for a simple website I've built around the idea of helping promote good long-term decision-making with the educational stimulus funds. The idea is fairly simple, but has a "subtext" as well: to also help show administrators the value of Web 2.0 and social media by giving them some direct experience with benefits in a very practical area.

EdStimulus.org has the following components:

1. A Twitter feed for announcements (especially of events).
2. A public calendar of any events I see, both free and paid, around the educational stimulus package (taken from a Google calendar and updated automatically).
3. A way for anyone to apply to hold their own Elluminate sessions (for free) on this topic. I can do this because of my work for Elluminate, and their interest in having the Elluminate platform make a difference (and be visible) in this larger discussion. Will people find a use for this? Are there folks who will be interested in hold a free webinars/discussions on using the stimulus funds wisely?
4. A prototype discussion forum. I really need help understanding this--which is: what kind of discussions are decision-makers going to want to have, and will they want the confidentiality of a private network in order to feel free to talk about this topic?
5. A links page to other resources (that draws, if anyone is interested, from my Diigo social bookmarking account).
6. A news page with a feed from Google News based on the phrase "educational stimulus."
7. An archive page for links to recordings of past events.

I'm a little fascinated by the ability that our current social media landscape gives me to relatively easily create and update a resource site like this around a specific topic. But I don't think the site will make much of a difference if I don't get some help in refining the idea and growing it beyond my initial brainstorm.

Here's where I think I could use some help:

1. Are there features that could be included in the site that I haven't thought of? (For instance, since a portion of the funds will be given out based on grant applications, would it help to have a blog specifically on that topic as a part of the site?)
2. If the site is truly useful, how do we get the word out to administrators and decision-makers?
3. Is there anyone dying to help with this? I'm figuring it would help to have some others who can track events, bookmark resources, give information webinars, and facilitate panel discussions or group meetings.

Thanks for your attention. Please feel free to respond here or to email me directly at steve@hargadon.com.

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Hi Rory,

I run Grant Wrangler and would be happy to share what we know on the site. But I'm wondering what information administrators are looking for? Are they setting up mini grant programs to disburse stimulus funds in their districts or are they seeking out support for writing state grants for the funds? We've done a recent report, analyzing what types of grants we find available and what people are seeking.

As a superintendent of schools, I am very interested in this topic and to learn from others. My primary focus initially has been to find ways to use the stimulus funds to help with staff professional development aimed at helping to better utilize the technology we already have to enhance the curriculum and improve student engagement. I'll follow the thread and add to the brainstorm as lightning strikes...RR
Thanks, Randy. How do you respond to the discussion aspect? Do you want a place like this to have threaded forum discussions, and should they be publicly viewable or would you want it private?

I can see some concern about "thinking out loud" about this in a public forum, but I wonder how many would join a private one... Would love to hear what you have to say about this.

Your ideas seem to be quite helpful for all educators especially school administrators like me. Honestly, I have been in the educational leadership for a number of years already, yet it's only last July 2008 that I get myself immersed in e-learning. So far, I find this mode of learning as informative, educational, and thought provoking. I hope that as days go by especially when my exposure to e-learning increases, I could share to this network as well my insights in various web 2.0 undertakings.


Hi Steve,
This is a great idea! With so many questions flying around now about ed stimulus and how to effectively utilize the $, this would be a great place to find quality resources and suggestions for for administrators, educators and school board members as they create district strategic plans. The only way for this site is up.... As content is added and events are attended, it will begin to grow. Thanks again for your dedication to education!!! How about you come back to PA. :)
You know me--any excuse to come to PA! (Not kidding!)
Hi, Steve,

RE: "to also help show administrators the value of Web 2.0 and social media by giving them some direct experience with benefits in a very practical area."
things in the trenches may be a bit than you realize. Here in DE, the DOE web filter blocks much of the social media landscape as "social networking" and "forums." For those of us who recognize the potential Web 2.0 tools offer the profession both inside and outside the classroom, the situation is particularly frustrating. Someone who is particularly interested in exploring the possibilities (like myself) may be committed enough to devote time and energy to do so away from the workplace, but enticing colleagues to do so is difficult if they cannot even explore what is available from their desk at work. Attempts to convince the poser-that-be at DOE to loosen the reins have been futile thus far - with part of the problem being related to the fact that the background and knowledge of the tech people there is not rooted in the application of ed tech and these tools in instruction and learning.
Fascinating. Are you able to access LearnCentral.org? What about the small discussion already started at EdStimulus.org?
I am interested in figuring out if the part of the stimulus package description that talks about meaningful after-school activities can be used to support Math Clubs and Math Circles. I'd like to share information and know-how about the topic with other potentially interested parties. We will probably do it via the wiki at mathcircles.org - but maybe we can collaborate with your site?
Absolutely. You are welcome to schedule an event/conversation, or start a discussion there.


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