The Wire

New mousesquad.org Features for this Fall!

Welcome Back, MOUSE Squads! Over the summer, our learning design team has been hard at work making upgrades to functionality and digital badges on mousesquad.org. Read below to learn how to create your own learning pathway through the MOUSE Squad Badge, check out the new Scratch activities in Serious Game Design, and earn the new MicroProject Submission and Web Maker Wins!

badge2014.pngEarning the MOUSE Squad Badge:

Over the years, Squads across our national network have given us different feedback about earning the "MOUSE Squad Certified" Badge. We've heard loud and clear that having the structure and activities of the 10 skill areas is extremely helpful, but most Squads tell us that rather than completing all 10, they want more control over which badges (or skill areas) they want to include in their own site's definition of what it means to earn it.

For 2014, we've introduced more flexibility to the process. Squad Members now become eligible for the "MOUSE Squad Certified" badge on their profile after completing three (out of 10) of the recommended skill areas. Once Members have earned Wins! for each of their first three, Coordinators can review work and issue the badge. Members earning Wins! for more than three of the skill areas will see a number in their badge graphic that indicates how many Wins! they've earned. Our hope is that now, with more flexibility, Squads can tailor their activities according to the skills profile that suits their site, and members will have credit where it's due in their profile pages. More info about the process can be found in the KBase.

scratch.pngNew Activities in Serious Game Design!

We've added all new activities to our Serious Games specialist certification! Learn the fundamentals of Scratch, a powerful and easy programming language. You can now make your first Serious Games by remixing games in Scratch. We've added new activities to complete and new Serious Games to play. Check it out and get gaming!

web-maker.pngThe Change Maker Win! is now the Web Maker Win!

The last module in the MOUSE Squad curriculum has been updated! Web Maker Win candidates will gain experience with the basics of creating, sharing and exploring on the web. Activities include everything from web design basics to search engine optimization techniques, defining online identities, and analyzing the credibility of websites. Check it out now!

helptours.pngHelp Tours

Help Tours are being adding to the site over the fall and will take you through a step-by-step walkthrough of key links and features on pages where you see the "Need Help? Take a Tour" orange button. If you're new to the site, you can use the Help Tours to familiarize yourself and learn how to do things like join or create a squad and how to submit a MicroProject! If you've used the site before, you can use the Help Tours to find out what's new about existing features or get familiar with new ones!

communitywins.pngEarn a Win! for all MicroProject submissions

To celebrate our network's spirit of participation, users who submit to our monthly MicroProject competitions will earn a new MicroProject Submission Win!, viewable in the Community Wins section of the MOUSE Squad profile. For each project submission, the Win! will level-up, recording your participation over time and helping others identify you as a someone whose hard work and creativity has helped make the competition what it is!

Share Your Favorite Projects on the new MOUSE Makes!

mousemakes1.pngMake Magazine has declared 2014 the Year of the Maker, and here at MOUSE we couldn't agree more.

Apply to be a Featured MOUSE Maker

We were so inspired by the amazing projects and learning innovations you shared during our MOUSE Squad Digital Meet-Ups last year that we want to broadcast your stories with educators everywhere -- so we are excited to introduce MOUSE Makes! MOUSE Makes will feature videos, blog posts, and other resources from the MOUSE team, our friends and partners, and most importantly, from YOU. This is a place to share the awesome technology and digital media projects happening at your site, notes on what your MOUSE Squad is up to and how you get it all done, and more!

How to get involved:

  1. Think of something awesome happening at your site! It could be a great way you've implemented software for student use, an amazing project your students took on, a fantastic system you've perfected to get your MOUSE Squad up and running every year, or anything else that you want to share with the MOUSE Squad Network and the broader ed-tech community. The ideal MOUSE Makes installment will spark great ideas for the viewer, and put them on the path to making or doing something awesome of their own.
  2. Put your name and idea in the short form below.
  3. A MOUSE staff member will get in touch with you about your installment of MOUSE Makes. It could be done interview-style over a webcam with someone from MOUSE asking you questions, or it could be a quick video you shoot with your Squad! Installments can be as long or short as you want; an ideal installment will be about 5 minutes long.
  4. MOUSE will edit the video and post it to the Wire and our social media, so that educators from the MOUSE Squad Network and beyond can see your great work and be inspired!

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MOUSE Makes FAQ

What is the right format for a MOUSE Makes installment? Keep it low-maintenance -- think 5 minutes or less, and feel free to use video, a screencast with audio or subtitles, or request an interview over Skype or Google Hangouts. We would love it if your students were involved in the production of your installment!

What's the right level of polish for my installment? Please feel free to keep it simple -- no need for post-production or significant editing. The main goal is to find an easy, accessible way to share your projects, ideas, expertise, and -- most importantly -- your excitement!

What's the right content for a MOUSE Makes installment? How can I plan my contribution? MOUSE Makes segments are intended to provide a forum to share best practices, awesome outcomes, and great tools, ideas, and works-in-progress. They're a way to shout out great work you and your Squad are doing, and help other educators figure out how to do what you've done. One way to plan your segment (just as an example -- please feel free to alter as you see fit!) would be to split the time roughly into thirds:

  • Spend about 1/3 of the time explaining your project/fieldtrip/partnership/etc, what it is and how it works.
  • Spend about 1/3 of the time explaining how you did it -- how did you recruit, vet, and train volunteers? How did you learn to use the tool? What support did you need? What resources did you find most useful? What recommendations do you have for others who may be interested in doing the same thing?
  • Spend about 1/3 of the time talking about outcomes and next steps -- what did you get out of this? What did your students, volunteers, community, etc. get out of it? Where do you see it going? Who do you think would benefit most from taking on a similar project?

How can MOUSE help me participate? Feel free to contact Naomi for help editing a storyboard, outline, or script; to talk through ideas; and to provide feedback. However, our hope is that the process and product will be your own, and will reflect your work, tone, etc.

September Microproject: Flyer Like An Eagle

microproject-flyer.png

It's September again and that means MOUSE Squads from coast to coast are assembling!

But what's that you say? The super-techie who helped fix smartboards last year graduated? The media master who created videos showing teachers how to use Case Tracker graduated too? Never fear! Now is the perfect time to recruit awesome new members and find your Squad's latest network ninja, webmaking wizard and game design guru! That's right, it's time to flyer like an eagle!


Click here to get started!