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Case Study: North Colonie Central Schools
"PBworks fits the needs of our entire district for collaboration, sharing, posting and most importantly for our students and independence in learning and peer review."
1. What background information should people know about you and your organization?
The North Colonie Central School District is a public school system in upstate New York, with seven elementary schools, one Junior High and one High School. We have about 5,700 students. We have a strong connection to the Internet, and a wide area network that allows us to bring Internet and multi-media resources to classroom, libraries and computer classrooms.
To support our technology integration, we have technology resource teachers at each school, with a district-wide instructional technology teacher, Gary Cimorelli, computer room aides to support school-based labs, and a Director of Information Technology, Dr. Elizabeth McNamara. We have a rich program of professional development that includes online courses, video tutorials and direct instruction in a variety of school-day and afterschool settings, with teachers providing instruction and support for their peers.
2. Why did you start to use PBworks?
Our district was beginning to investigate Web 2.0 and we needed a consistent place for teachers to create web pages. We were also promoting collaboration among teachers, disciplines and with students.
3. How are you using PBworks?
We are using PBworks as a common way to host and share information. Specifically, we use it in four key ways:
- Teacher-created lesson units and projects: We have database of project and activity descriptions and then teachers are directed to the workspace to download or upload them.
- Professional Development and support: We have a great staff development program were our teachers are the instructors. As a class is proposed, a workspace space is created for that class. The instructor will then post materials on that space prior to the class. That workspace workspace then becomes a rich resource for our district complete with readings, materials and many times teacher activities. We hope that space will build more each year.
- Shared district information for teachers and administrators: We have several Steering Committees and PBworks is our workplace for those as well. We use PBworks also as a holding place for shared files.
- One of our more extensive uses of PBworks is with students: Many of our senior elective classes use these spaces for their entire class, including the lesson outline, and student workspaces are used. The workspace workspace has also made its way to the elementary level classroom. A great example is our fifth grade project on Canada and the provinces. Students complete research and create a multi-media “commercial” podcast about the benefits and attractions of each Canadian province. Each class has its own space for gathering resources such as text information, images, audio and video files for the commercial. PBworks is helpful because students can research materials at home and add them to the overall workspace page for other students to review.
4. What were you using before?
Before PBworks, teachers were using Google, Teacherweb and Quia for creating workspaces. All work well, but the workspace page format provides better support for teacher and student collaboration.
5. How did you train your users on how to use PBworks?
We have had four staff development workshops from beginner to advanced users of PBworks. We also have made video tutorials on the use of PBworks.
6. How has PBworks benefited you and your organization?
PBworks has given our district a useful tool that allows our teachers and students to learn and use the 21st Century Skills that they will use beyond high school. PBWorks has also given our district a consistent means of creating web workspaces for our teachers that we can support and build upon, and that can be extended to build student technology literacy.
7. What are folks saying about PBworks?
PBworks fits the needs of our entire district for collaboration, sharing, posting and most importantly for our students and independence in learning and peer review.
Many of our PBworks spaces or password protected, but several are shared to the public. You can see many of these at
We are very proud of our staff development program.
This site is a workspace for our elementary labs. It includes lab schedules as well as many web resources for lab activities
Smartboard technology is promoted highly in our district. Below is a workspace for smart resources
Want to bring PBworks to your school or district? Talk with a product specialist by calling 866-945-4463 (+1 (415) 963-4369 outside the US) or emailing email@example.com.