Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

It dawned on me last night as I was madly researching everything that there is to know about Ubuntu and Edbuntu that when a teacher has an idea that they share with me they have no idea the amount of energy and mind power I expend to get their goal accomplished.

Recently a teacher was inquiring about running the open source OS Edbuntu on donated computers in his class as he wanted to have more access to the internet to use and discover all the potential that Edmodo and other cloud based systems had to offer in his class on a daily basis. Long story short, any devices that are brought into the building that will use any sort of district resource, whether it be electricity, internet, software, time, technical assistance, etc has to be approved by the district tech coordinator ( and with good reason). So his request, though well thought out and shared, was denied.

Both the building principal and myself saw what the teacher was trying to accomplish and we conversed about other options that would be available, larger points that had to be addressed were addressed and we left it at that....sort of.  While at home, I had been tinkering with Ubuntu on an old computer we had and saw potential in resurrecting old laptops in our building, laptops that we already have that HAVE been approved by the district for use in the class room.  So I sent the teacher a DM letting him know that I was scheming up something which led him to my office this morning so I could share my idea.I am testing out Ubuntu on some of our older computers that we have in the building, which have various issues, which keep them out of the classroom and sitting around waiting to be parted out. If Ubuntu will run on these computers then they can be checked out to his classroom for him to use to further test what Edmodo can do for his class. He is comfortable enough to work with the OS and has used Edmodo on as close to regular basis with his teams shared laptops, but he is actively trying to pursue student use of laptops everyday, using Edmodo for classroom management and attempting to go paperless with a few other digital resources.

Now the testing begins. I've created a bootable CD and will try to isntall the OS on a laptop today and then we shall go from there.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blog, blogging, blogged.

At this precise moment in time, I’ve 10 blogs. Why, why do I have 10 blogs, is it really necessary?

No, it is not. For the past month I’ve been working to consolodate the many blogs I have down to one source. The quest for the right place, or tool is a long and twisty road though.

The break down

Tumblr: Great for mobile posting and hosting videos, audio, images, text, etc. The app for the iPhone is great and simple to use as is the web interface. For my line of work I am always on the move and so using Tumblr has been great for me to be able to post on the go

Posterous: Another simple and easy to use blogging tool. It’s number one reason for popularity: Email your post and it is automatically setup as a post. After setting up an account you are given an email address to send anything you want to post. You can use this to post video, audio, text, etc all by attaching it to an email. I’ve been using this as the primary method of sharing tech news specific to my building/district with the staff. I simply send the email to staff and cc my posterous and instantly create an archived post and share the information directly to the staff.

Wordpress: A powerful blogging tool that can take a bit of “getting used to” but once you’ve mastered it you have a very powerful tool in your hands. I rarely recommend this as a beginner tool but only because the first two I’ve listed are the easiest tools I’ve found. Wordpress offers many very creative looking themes and functions. The primary “great tool” I think is the Site Stats. You can get instant information on how many people are viewing your blog what they’ve clicked on your blog, how they came across your blog, and all in real time. A few of the dislikes: You can not host/post video on Wordpress without an upgraded (pay) account. Also you can not do to much to the theme without upgrading your account to a paid version.

Blogger: Google owned and one of the most commonly used “starter” blog tools, blogger offers easy setup, several basic themes (that with some knowledge you can customize) and site stats on your blog views. Though it has been some time since I’ve used blogger (first blog I ever made was with blogger) I am re-looking into it for the simple fact that I want a free tool for blogging that I can customize and alter the html of. Blogger also offers a local hosting of videos to your blog for free which is also a bonus.

Weebly: is more of a tool that allows you to create a whole entire site, but within the site you create you can “add a blog”. I’ve not much experience with weebly, but I have created one and have been using it for about a month now. I have found it to be very simple to setup and at the same time allows you to bring in many different and more advanced features using html and feeds from other sources. Once you’ve created you weebly, you can easily access “stats” on the site to let you know how many visitors you’ve had and what they’ve been looking at on your site.

I hope that this post helps those of you looking to get started with blogging a look at the a few of the various tools that are out there as well as helps you figure out which tool may be best for you.

A few of my blogs: Tumblr, Posterous, Weebly

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3 Weeks after #METC_CSD

Here we are three weeks after the METC conference and I thought I’d like to share what has happened since.

The short list

  1. Co-planned a 2 hour block of time offering 6 different PD sessions with multiple presenters

  2. Presented 2 PD sessions the Friday after METC

  3. Created a Weebly

  4. Posted several blog posts

  5. Used and Voki

  6. Shared information about fair use with a few staff members

  7. Attended my first webinar

  8. Provided multiple sessions of IT support via instant messaging

  9. Setup accounts with Animoto, Edu Glogster, YouTube, and a few others

  10. Found the positive, everyday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mikogo: Free web conferencing and desktop sharing

Mikogo: Free web conferencing and desktop sharing

I almost forgot about this. I learned about ti last week and had a few ideas, depending on what the software can do and how it works. I’m going to have to try it later on this week and see how it works. If you’ve had any experience with it I’d love to hear about it.