April 11, 2012
To the Administrator Addressed:
Subject: New Project Share Gateway
This letter is the sixth in a series of letters to inform districts and open enrollment charter schools of activities in Project Share. Throughout the 2011-12 school year, the Texas Education (TEA) has worked closely with the twenty education service centers (ESCs) and many districts across Texas to create educator and student Project Share accounts, to support new account holders as they access and use the online platform, and to train existing account holders on the possibilities of working with colleagues and students in an online environment. As of the first week of April, over 882,000 accounts have been created for Texas K-12 educators and students. Account holders continue to have access to online courses, content repositories, web 2.0 tools, and secure, private connections with other online learners.
The beginning of the 2011-12 school year marked the end of what is referred to as Phase I of Project Share. In September 2011, we began working diligently to launch Phase II and to achieve new objectives. For this new phase, our primary objectives are expanding use of online resources and increasing numbers of Project Share users.
In order to meet Phase II objectives, the TEA has determined that the Project Share website (www.projectsharetexas.org) will undergo a major change in the first weeks of April. While the web address will remain the same, Project Share’s home page will take on a new look and will become a gateway designed to provide faster, easier access to online resources for educators, students, parents, and community members. Anyone visiting the home page will now be able to search for resources by student expectations (SEs) as listed in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Search results will provide instant access to videos, interactives, links to other educational sites, online courses, and other instructional resources. The new Project Share gateway will first offer Algebra I resources. During the initial launch, we will test for usability and gather feedback from the field. After a brief trial period, we will work through spring and summer to add other math resources followed by science, social studies, and English language arts.
While the new gateway is an exciting step forward for Project Share, it is important to note that the secure environment provided via Epsilen will still be available behind the login in the upper right-hand corner at www.projectsharetexas.org. All of the courses, groups, ePortfolios, and networks created in Phase I of Project Share will continue to be a major portion of the state’s online initiative. We have gathered feedback from districts that are pleased to hear about the growth of Project Share into a more public venue, but they are equally dedicated to providing a secure and private space in which educators and students can work. We are confident that the new gateway will offer the best of both worlds – open, easy access to state-vetted instructional resources and a password-protected environment for personal learning and interactions among educators and students.
We hope that you will explore the new Project Share gateway, and we welcome your feedback. The TEA will continue to provide information about new online resources, new professional development courses, and new student lessons through the regional ESCs and at www.projectsharetexas.org. As Texas education continues to expand into the online world, we are pleased that we can offer resources in both public and password-protected settings. The TEA welcomes your questions and comments and is happy to provide additional information about the new Project Share gateway. You can send questions to the Project Share mailbox at email@example.com. You can also contact Kerry Ballast, Director of Special Projects, at (512) 463-9087 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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