Well, all things gradually decline into a state of entropy and perhaps nowhere faster than technology. As web standards have morphed over the past couple of decades and as browsers and hardware have changed dramatically, many of the technologies that were the backbone of MabryOnline.org have ceased to exist, ceased to be supported, or “just plain broke” for reasons beyond the understanding of ordinary mortals.
MabryOnline was a central hub for Mabry Middle School in the Cobb Country School District. As far as we know, it was the first of its kind: a collection of about 100 teacher and staff blogs welcoming students, their parents, and even the world into the school’s learning community. The school taught parents and students how to subscribe to the blogs’ RSS feeds and podcasts relevant to them and their child; so, they could have the most up-to-date information from the school delivered to them in real time.
Exemplary student work and academic and personal achievement were prominently featured. The Global Learning Collaborative linked Mabry with students, educators, schools, and scientists around the world. Podcast Central provided podcasts of parent meetings, student exemplars, the principal’s grade level meetings with students, special topics and student challenges above and beyond the normal academic demands of the school.
The site was also home to the Annual Mabry Film Festival, showcasing the astonishing work of young students on a mission to make the world a better place. They produced 2 minute movie productions that were beyond anything ever produced by such young learners. The film festival, hosted like the Oscars, was an annual highlight, and those video products are all still available on MabryOnline’s Podcast Central at the Podcasts and iTunes Store. More information about how to access them is below.
Here are what people have said about Annual Mabry Festival:
“This is as good as anything I’ve ever seen. In fact, the 7th grade movie on human embryonic stem cell research is better than most of the things I’ve aired on TV!Patrice Weaver, Program Director of Georgia Public Broadcasting
“This [the Mabry Film Festival] is the first and only Level 6 Technology Implementation I’ve seen in the country. This is the highest level of educational technology integration in the nation.”Dr. Moersch, Principal Investigator and Creator of the Internationally-recognized LoTi (Level of Technology Implementation) Project, and Director and Co-Founder of the National Business Education Alliance
“Dr. Tyson’s work at Mabry is a national treasure.”Leslie Connery, Deputy CEO and Conference Chair for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
By all accounts, the website was a stunning success. It served the world over 1.5 million files each month (a total of over 30,000,000 files in the first two years), and averaged almost 6,000 requests per day1 . This was all unheard of back then – when most internet users in the US were still using infernally slow dialup modems and waiting, waiting, waiting. In large part because of the website, educators from around the world came to visit the school to see how to implement similar technologies at their institutions.
MabryOnline was archived when Dr. Tyson, the school principal and site creator, retired from Cobb County School District and became a consultant, traveling the world working with educators. (You can learn more about his work after leaving Cobb County School District by visiting drTimTyson.com.) In 2020 he decided to remove the MabryOnline website rather than spend a vast amount of time and resources to polish up its old bones and get everything working flawlessly again with all of the latest browsers and hardware.
MabryOnline’s Podcast Central still remains published at the iTunes Store. You can launch the Apple Podcasts app on your computer or tablet and search for MabryOnline. You will find Podcast Central in your search results. Or, just click this link.
And, if you would like to check out what once was here at MabryOnline.org, visit the internet archive, The Wayback Machine, and search for MabryOnline.org, or just click this link. There you should be able to see the internet archive of what was an active site from 2005 – 2007.
We would like to think that, at the time, the website served as a model for what could be possible for schools the world over, that it inspired other schools and school districts to build on these ideas that were very novel at the turn of the century, and that the profession was propelled forward by what could be possible as schools welcomed the world into their digital learning community. We hope you too build on those ideas to make the world a better place because of your own significant contributions.
- These figures do not include the media files served through the iTunes Store. ↩