While I hope that readers might join LearnCentral as a part of their regular exploration of resources available for educators, I would also hope that even if you haven't joined LearnCentral, the following will give you some simple and immediate steps you can take in the case of some kind of education disruption.
LearnCentral is a free social learning network for education with features that can be used immediately for planning and responding to events that impact learning continuity. With LearnCentral, you get forum discussions areas, public and private groups, robust meeting and event calendaring, document and file storage and sharing, and real-time meeting capability.
LearnCentral also integrates free Elluminate vRoom technology and offers a free public conference room. vRooms are three-person online meeting rooms with a rich set of sharing capabilities, including audio, video, whiteboard, text chat, application sharing, and web-touring. The public conference room allows you to schedule and hold larger public meetings and other events.
In an emergency or pandemic, you can immediately invoke the capabilities of LearnCentral and Elluminate for:
Small administrative, faculty, or staff meetings (vRooms)
Individual student meetings and/or parent conferences (vRooms)
Collaborative meetings with state and national authorities (vRooms or Public Room)
Large training meetings including remote guest speakers to address learning continuity (vRooms or Public Room)
Ongoing crisis training for instructors and students (Groups, vRooms, or Public Room)
Maintaining class organization, lessons, assignments, and communications (Groups)
Remote "bridging" of sick students or teachers from home (vRooms)
School and staff organization and communication (Groups)
Distribution of learning or other materials and resources (Groups)
Sign up for LearnCentral at http://www.LearnCentral.org.
Upon signing up, you are automatically provisioned with the free three-person Elluminate vRoom, which can be accessed from the “Home” page.
Join the existing "Pandemics, Disasters, and School Closings" group for help and discussions at http://www.learncentral.org/node/3781
Utilize the free training for LearnCentral and Elluminate
Free training sessions for LearnCentral are held live each workday and are listed in the community calendar on the site. For free written, live, and recorded training resources for Elluminate, visit http://www.elluminate.com/support/training.
Create a group or groups for your organization
Create a group or groups by using the main group menu option, then use the “Invite” function to send invitations to join to your colleagues or community. Each group has its own discussion area, calendar for events, and portfolio for storing and sharing documents.
Join the “Host Your Own Webinars” group at http://www.learncentral.org/node/3432.
Join this group and familiarize yourself with the instructions on how to schedule a free large event in LearnCentral.
Distribute the LearnCentral.org information to your parents, students, staff, or appropriate individuals
Include the links to any groups, individuals, or events that you have created. Encourage them to sign up for LearnCentral, and let them know they can use the meeting and other capabilities for free as well.
For additional emergency, preparedness, and learning continuity resources, visit the Elluminate-sponsored EdReady.org website and wiki.
For more information about having your own LearnCentral community for private continuity of learning, read LearnCentral Private Edition datasheet at http://tinyurl.com/yadzqj9.