One small step for a man, one giant leap for ISDs state-wide

For those that follow my blog, you realize I have had an ongoing debate (mostly with myself and a few awesome commenters) about the fact school districts have to pay to receive TEA updates via the TETN video conference network. I have even started working with a few connections within the legislature to find a way to make this change. Well, things changed yesterday.

I returned a call I found in my school voicemail from Carol Willis, TETN Manager. Let me say right off the bat, it was a joy to spend an hour on the phone with Carol. She is very open-minded and understands where I am (we are) trying to go with this. She has already put some processes and inquiries into motion inside the TETN system to gain feedback from its membership and governing board to decide the best route.

She also asked a favor of me. There is this underlying question of what consitutes a session that should be deemed free from TEA. It is a good question. I have made it clear that I do not want the student class offerings done this way. All I am asking for is that the updates from TEA (grants, policies, laws, textbook adoptions, etc) be offered as a free download from one archived point.

So here is what I need. Please feel free to blog about this if you are a Texas educator.  Let me know that you have so I can look at the comments on your site as well.  I need you to leave in the comments answers to this question: “What consitutes a TETN session that should be a free download on the TETN site from a TEA?” Keep in mind that there are tons of TEA TETN sessions. Not all would be notable to download since they have a very limited audience. (i.e. one district or region of districts). Please take the time out to consider this and post your thoughts ASAP. I plan to talk with Carol again after Thanksgiving so we can see where we are at at that point. Remember, you do not even have to agree with me. I appreciate the opposing views I received in some of the comments. According to Carol, one of them was very well informed. It is great to debate with knowledgable folks in this manner, as J wrote in the comments.

The one thing of importance that came out of my conversation was that Carol took the time to read my blog postings on the subject and understands the goal. That says so much for her, considering she has bigger fish to fry, and I truly appreciate that. Her call to me was a proactive step to find a solution that benefits all the school districts in Texas. You cannot ask for any more than that from one of the state’s leaders. It was also cool to find out a little more about her political background. She is a wealth of information who probably has some great stories to share with grandkids one day. I wonder if she will Skype into one of our history classes to discuss Texas politics from a few years back?

Also, TETN has rebuilt their website. It is now showing a side of TETN that few knew existed. There are links to future uses of Web 2.0 tools. Imagine being able to subscribe to TETN’s blog to know what is happening on their network from one of the staff directly instead of an email forwarded to a person that was forwarded to a person…… For instance, they just went through a network upgrade that will be a tremendous boost to offerings. This is fantastic news. Carol has even more Web 2.0 ideas she would like to utilize that network for, but I will let her share that on her blog once it gets running.

Sp, pleas join us in moving this project forward. We need to hear from you. “What consitutes a TETN session that should be a free download on the TETN site from a TEA?”

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