Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Things I've been up to

20111221-135948.jpgSeems I've been rather busy since returning from Thanksgiving break. Thought I would share a few of the things I've been working on and elaborate on them in other posts.

The Hixson Hive
7th grade science weather video projects
Preparing for a Website Awareness Month
Meetings: BYOD, Reforming Building Tech Committee, Support Staff
Creating a trailer for the school musical
The Hixson Student show
Using new video editing software
Filming the school Musical
Social Studies Green Screen project
Filming, editing, posting French Class video

Whew, I'm exhausted even after recapping all of the things I've been working on and I feel like I've left things out.

Stay tuned for more...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Green Screenin' in the media center

Our 7th grade science students have recently been working within a weather unit where there is an emphasis to produce a video segment using green screen.  Since the first group we've managed to successfully determine the correct amount time needed to complete said project in which the students have put together information about a weather phenomena, presented the information on camera and added in footage of the weather event  behind them.

We've managed to discover a slew of issues, 90% of them stemming from the fact that we are working on equipment that is 9 years old and extremely sluggish. Our first teacher, @meyersroom, has managed to persevere and discover all the issues so that we can correct them for our next 2 teachers who are doing the project starting Tuesday, December 6th.

The project does a nice job of providing exposure to production and multimedia tools but does not allow for every student to have full access to explore a media rich product from start to finish. It seems that little time is available for teaching/sharing/showing/allowing time to explore the software the students are using, which I contribute to the fact that this is the only project in science that the students do where they would use these tools or software. If this was the first of a series of projects then the students and teachers could give time to learning/understanding the tools. Currently we are expecting the students to produce something which may be the first time they've ever even filmed/edited/etc.

I've spent the day working in the classroom helping to guide the students into importing their footage and trouble shooting through how to edit their footage and have had the opportunity to discuss possible ideas for  development of future video productions in science and allowing the student in future endeavors to choose a video production for a future project instead of mandating that every student do the same thing.

Tomorrow we start on our next batch of green screen video projects with a new set of students.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time to blow the dust of the blog

The time has come to wipe away the cobwebs sitting on my blog and freshen it up with a bit of new content. As it is I find my mind swirling with information that I would love to publicize, share, and get others thoughts and feed back on, unfortunately it seems, time, life, and my job are against me. Lucky for my blog, I've come to terms with these facts and am hoping to reboot and update my system with a bit of micro-blogging techniques.

Always seems I have time to write a little here and there, or share a thought or photo as I am moving from meeting to meeting, or from classroom to classroom.

Stay tuned, grab a cup of coffee and don't lose me in the your RSS feeds.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

App of the weekend: Zite Personalized Magazine

I've been enjoying this App off an on all week, but I really got to sit down with it and enjoy everything it has to offer this weekend. To me the number one benefit is the simple method of adding to a list an interest topic I have that I would like to read about. Simply choose from a list of pre generated topics or define your own and allow the digital magazine to populate content for you. Read through the top articles/posts that it finds for you or choose from the topic bar on the right and read up on a specific topic. A great interface and free to download. Enjoy your customized magazine today.

Check out this application on the App Store:

Cover Art

Zite Personalized Magazine

Zite, Inc.

Category: News

Updated: Jul 22, 2011

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345 Ratings view_item_button.png

iTunes for Mac and Windows
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

App of the weekend: Zite Personalized Magazine

I've been enjoying this App off an on all week, but I really got to sit down with it and enjoy everything it has to offer this weekend. To me the number one benefit is the simple method of adding to a list an interest topic I have that I would like to read about. Simply choose from a list of pre generated topics or define your own and allow the digital magazine to populate content for you. Read through the top articles/posts that it finds for you or choose from the topic bar on the right and read up on a specific topic. A great interface and free to download. Enjoy your customized magazine today.

Check out this application on the App Store:

Cover Art

Zite Personalized Magazine

Zite, Inc.

Category: News

Updated: Jul 22, 2011

  • rating-star.png

  • rating-star.png

  • rating-star.png

  • rating-star.png

  • rating-star-half.png

345 Ratings view_item_button.png

iTunes for Mac and Windows
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Student Protection act and what it means from the technical side

To preface, I am no lawyer, I am merely making aware notes that our teachers should consider when using social networking tools/sites in the classroom to assist in making their classroom more global and transparent.

First and foremost: Those using Facebook pages: Make sure they are open to the public. I would also send a direct link to your building administrators to make sure they are aware of the page and they too might enjoy following what goes on in your class through this medium, as well as post links on your websites so that parents can see and follow along with the information you are sharing.

Next up: Edmodo users: The very nature of Edmodo is to make private online shared classroom spaces. If you are using this tool in your class, I would see if you could set the page to public, and make sure that the building administrators have all been connected to your Edmodo class room pages. I would also offer up access to your parents by simply posting a message on your website or in a weekly mailing offering up a connection code to the pages that you are using so that they can join and see all the conversation and work being posted to the pages.

Windows Live: At the root of windows live is email. If you are using windows live in the classroom I would make a public statement about how it is used and then offer to any parent, their students username and password so that they can monitor the online conversations and file sharing that their children are participating in while using Live to enhance their learning/sharing/file storage methods while using the cloud.

The key to this act, from the technical standpoint, is to ensure the tools you are using are transparent. No private conversations should go on between anyone in a school when it comes to class work. We want to share as much of what we do as often as we can and this act helps refine and think about the tools we are using. With purpose and with the intent to develop a more global classroom should always be part of the goal when using any online tool.

Again, just my first thoughts on the act, to ensure that people are thinking about the tools they are using wisely, and to help make their extended online classroom more available to the parents, students, and administrators.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Windows Live

Last school year our school as well as the Highschool began to use Windows Live. Primarily for two reasons.


1. 25 GB of free data storage for every student that is accessible from any where could not be passed up

2. Moving our students into the 21st century with email access (ie direct link to their teachers outside of the classroom)

Now, within these two notes there were a plethora of other reasons why we chose to use this tool (one being that we are a PC based district and it seem the next logical step in simple tech integration for giving the students accessibility to their own work all the time at any computer.


This summer will be bringing the installation of Office 2010 to all PC computers in the district. A huge step up for us as we have been operating with Office 2003 for many many...many years now. That being said, I had my hopes that with 2010 and Live there would a simple means to connect  each student computer and student login to automatically or with the click of a button sync their data from their computer to their Live account, thus granting them a harmonious means to work on a computer and then have access ot that work on any computer with out having to use an external storage device.

I just happened to log in to Windows live now when I cam across a message that stated "Sync your computer with Windows Live, download the essentials pack"...Click...downloaded...install.

Time to play.

Google +

As a standard now, I have Google Chrome brought up anytime I have a laptop opened, the main reason: Google +.

Why have I found Google+ so fantastic primarily stems from that fact that I have found great conversation and connections within Google+ which is what I felt I have been missing or lacking with twitter of late.

Don't get me wrong my Twitter PLN is such a fantastic source for great ideas, new technologies, etc, but what I was missing was the conversations.  The cause of the lack of conversation is no ones fault per say.  I imagine that everyone's twitter follow list is as long or longer than mine and being constantly bombarded with great tools that you want to investigate further causes any person to spend their time just reading, so there is no time to have conversation, we are all to0 busy reading and planning how to implement what we are learning about.

Google+, in it's current infancy, has produced a concentrated version of my PLN, sure people are still posting resources, but after a single post you get conversation connected to said post. A person comments on it or adds to the source that was shared. Then I as a reader of the post and comment finds another person to add to my PLN.  Not only have I found this useful but I have also been able to ask a question and get an almost immediate response. In my early days of twitter I tried this and even tried to start a hashtag. #AskTheMasses, which never took off, I used it a couple of times and never got a single response.

Perhaps over time this may or may not change, but for now I am enjoying the simple, clean, conversation rich, platform that Google+ has offered. Never fear faithful twitter followers, I am not leaving Twitter. I like any other tech enthusiast will continue to spread myself over the newest tools that exist and find some sort of happy medium.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NewTech Tuesday

Introducing the 1st iPad purchased in our district specifically for student use.

Please meet 007


Purchased by our gifted teacher, who just happened to have the exact amount of the cost of an iPad 2 left in her budget from this school year. Purchased with the intent to increase her already stonrg fleet of PC desktop and laptops. This iPad will be the first (that I know of) in our district that was purchased with the primary intent to be for student use.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bringing life to my avatar

Sunday Funday, using the Morfo app, I brought life, a voice, and a healthy CG glow to my avatar

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer 2.0

Summer has just begun, and fresh on my mind are tools that I want to delve deeper into and learn more about. I want to find out what they fully offer and see if there is potential to use them in the class room, or in the work that I do.

As far as I can tell Webdoc offers a media rich conversation stream that shares similar aspects of micro blogging tools as well as Edu.Glogster.

The potential to have a live streaming session or sessions which one can view on mobile devices is exciting, I am also hoping there is potential to record content and upload it. There are similarities to to YouTube, but the idea of being able to host live web content for free through UStream has great potential.

As a whole I am very interested to to push blogging to new limits. Primary goal: the creation of an Online "text" book.  When presented with the challenge of creating an online text book my mind immediately went to Wordpress, however, it's number one limitation was the inability to post video content for free. So what I needed was: a system that shares the most recent content on the front end, while also sustaining ease of access to regularly desired data/content. Multi Media fusion would be a must, as well as forwarding/pushing/feeding updates to students/teachers via conventional and student popular methods would also rank high on my list. So I hope to explore the depths and power behind Posterous, which offers many methods of "auto-posting" or sharing.

If you have used any of the above mentioned tools leave a comment, send me a tweet, or email me about them

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The day

It is the last day for teachers today, I am sure they are more than ready for it to be done and over with so they can begin their summer rituals.

Me on the other hand, I will begin my summer routine. I continue to go into the school every week day throughout the summer. My work and mind begins to change. At the for front: Website updates/development, testing new web tools, developing and creating online PD, planning and discussing PD plans for the following year, budgeting and planning for the next 5 years, and last, but certainly not least, is the fact that I will have to touch everyone of the 400 + student computers that we have to prepare them for the next school year.

It is an exhilarating feeling to begin summer both for those who leave the building, and those of us who stay.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Today two iPads arrived for our assistant principals. I look forward to further development and use of these devices in their work, and I hope they enjoy and see benefits in the constant connection and communication that these devices offer to their work.

I am sure that @HixsonPrincipal, with these new devices, will enhance their daily routine and practices.20110503-102551.jpg

Monday, April 25, 2011

I was, to say the least, a bit surprised.

During an after school faculty meeting today I was pleasantly happy to see our principal, @HixsonPrincipal , using our internally built School Center website dubbed "The Hixson Network". The gist of network is to provide a single point for teachers to have access to everything they need ranging from PD, the principals notes, documents, referral information, email, sub finder, etc. I digress, as this post is not about the network...

As it was, the principal was actively using it during the meeting when a teacher asked a question regarding a technical question on access to the network:

"Is there a way to set it so that I do not have to type my login information every time?"

To our principals credit, he replied back "I just click the remember me on this computer button and then I do not have to re enter it"

They replied "That doesn't work"

Here is where my surprise entered the picture.

I have not been to a faculty meeting all school year, the first one I attend and a teacher is asking for technical advice, to which I shared: "Use fire fox"

I knew this to be the immediate fix, as I just recently had a technology request come in with this issue on it. Field tested and Tech Spec approved solution

Then it happened, at least 3-4 other teachers all agreed that this solution did not solve their problem.

I sat there, not shocked but upset, that teachers have been experienceing this issue for I do not know how long and not a single one had reported the issue. This is the soul purpose of the technology request system.

I brushed it off and jokingly responded to the crowd "Put in a tech req"

I do hope the teachers who have experienced this issue enter in the request to have the issue re examined, in the mean time I have tested it multiple times on different computers and found the issue to only happen in IE and could not duplicate the issue within FireFox.

Monday, April 18, 2011


For the past 4 years I have worked to stream line and maximize total efficiency of the tech department at our school. Each year we have grown closer as a team, worked to identify each others strengths and weaknesses and become a true team when it comes to supporting the teachers in all their technological endeavors as well as helping them to grow more and more comfortable with technology.

In order to help them grow comfortable with technology they first had to feel a sense of stability and trust that the tech department would be there for them when ever they needed it.

Year 1 I introduced the Technology Request system to them. This system was not my own idea, it was implemented by the district as a way to manage technology issues that were being had in the district and in buildings. Teacher would fill out an online form and submit it, and it would then go to the building tech who would then prioritize the request and tend to it. As it was, my predecessor chose not to use this system. So when I introduced it and had my first
"customer" their first response when I showed up to their room, after receiving the request, was "I just put the technology request in, and now you're here to fix he problem?" To which I replied "yes, that's how it works"

Year 2 the technology request system got an upgrade and we began to implement the full version of the "Monthly maintenance plan" We began it my first year but we were able to fully provide month to month updates, cleanings, data backup, software installs, etc the second year. Simply put, the monthly maintenance plan is a method to ensure the livelihood of the technology in the building. With proper up keep of the equipment you increase the longevity of it's usefulness. The monthly maintenance schedule would be posted via email and teachers could respond if the time slotted for them was in conflict with their schedule.

Year 3 we completed the digitization of every piece of technological equipment that was in the building and entered it into our libraries data management system which allowed us to check out equipment with precision and locate the equipment at a moments notice. The huge benefit of this was that when a technology request would come in for a piece of equipment we could locate who had it and then retrieve it from them to check out to the next person. No longer were teachers having to hunt down who had the equipment they needed or if the equipment even existed in the building. They simply sent a technology request for the equipment and if we had it we would notify them and then either bring the equipment to them, if it was available, or we would let them know when it would become available and then bring it to them.

Year 4, was our year to receive an enormous amount of computers for our school. This year we introduced Microsoft live, and with it, a direct line of communication to the technology department, with the simple use of instant messenger. With this tool and the aide of my personal iPhone I have become instantly reachable, where in the past the only way to directly communicate with me was if I happen to be at my desk ( a rare occurrence) and answer my phone should someone happen to call. Now, with all the previous installments each year of new methods to streamline the tech department we are hoping to jump into the future of technology support with the simple implementation of three devices.

iPad 2, one for each member of the technology department.

With these devices we will be able to create a direct line to each other as we move independently around the building to tend to technology requests. It also puts the technology request system in each of our hands, this way when we go to work on one technology request, we can close it after completion and then check the system to see if any new technology request have come in, in the area we are at. By using Ping Chat we can let each other know which request we are working on and where we are headed to next to prevent doubling up on a single request.

With Face time, we now have the direct access to each others knowledge base. When one of the three of us comes across a technical problem that we can not repair ourselves, we can simply use face time to show one another what we are seeing, and then walk the other through what to do to repair the issue. This will severely decrease the down time that occurs now, when one of us must bring the equipment "in" to be looked at by another.

Lastly, using IM+ and MSN instant messaging we now have a method for teachers to contact us immediately when they have a technological issue in their class that is directly affecting student learning or teachers teaching.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Team Tech Tuesday

Yesterday I met with a team for our first  regularly scheduled technology focused meeting.

This came about after the initiation of Web Wednesday 2.0, a time that I was offering every other Wednesday every month to give teachers an opportunity to work together on their websites. This was an original creation of our district web master, @Webgrrrl, who offered summer sessions every Wednesday to those who signed up.

Web Wednesday quickly morphed into not only working on teacher websites, but anything that had to do with the web 2.0 tools (Edmodo, live, blogging, twitter, etc.) Unfortunately some of our teams were unable to meet with me on Wednesdays due to other regularly scheduled meetings during those days. One team in particular asked if they would be able to setup a time once a month to meet to work on their sites with me, and ask other technical questions.  My only request was that they send me their questions or the content of what they wanted to work on during that time before hand so that I could come best prepared to assist and develop with them.

They sent me their questions and added to the list and modified as time went on until we got to the day, and this Tuesday we met and I answered questions, assured with technical help, and used the time to find out what was working and not working for them in their classes so that I could better the support we give and manage the equipment and services that we offer.

The time was well spent and I was able to get feedback on technology tools they were using in the classroom, talk about possibilities of growth and development of the tools they were using, learn what was working and what was not working and troubleshoot through the problems together to strengthen their integration of technology in their classes. I very much look forward to our next meeting and the possibility of adding more regularly scheduled meetings with teams in regards to technology development in their class rooms.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shared article: 21 things that will be obsolete by 2020

Ok, so this is another trick answer. More subtly put: IT Departments as we currently know them. Cloud computing and a decade’s worth of increased wifi and satellite access will make some of the traditional roles of IT — software, security, and connectivity — a thing of the past. What will IT professionals do with all their free time? Innovate. Look to tech departments to instigate real change in the function of schools over the next twenty years."

A special thanks to @EthanMead for sharing this interesting article on what one person thinks what the educational system will be morphing into in the near future.  I particularly found great interest in number 11 as it is in my field and right where I am and have been in the past 4 -5 years of providing a "different kind of tech support"

Above is an excerpt from the article, if you are interested in the full article, here you go.


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.

Monday, February 28, 2011



thanks to @kylepace for sharing! Loads of educational and fun value in this online game of  life.

my notes on: Gadget A-Go-Go #METC_CSD

my notes on: Gadget A-Go-Go #METC_CSD

I thought about writing up my actual notes from the session but then I realized that all of my notes could be found ,minus the typos, on @gwynethjones’ blog already.

my notes on: Copyright Clarity #METC_CSD

Copy Right Clarity -  @ReneeHobbs

The value of copy right

Using  copyright materials without paying

Written in the constitution, the purpose of copyright is:
“To promote creativity innovation and the spread of knowledge”

How teachers cope
“See no evil” Adopt that they do not want ot know, they choose
“Close the door” Anything I do in the context of helping the students do good, and I tell no one, who’s to know. The work is more important
“Hyper Compliant” Hold onto the rules, more rigid rules for their students but less for them selves. Maybe not fully understanding the rules

Replace old knowledge: You and your students are granted copyright at the moment they create their work.

  1. the right to reproduce your own work

  2. make a derivative work on your work

  3. right to distribute

  4. perform

  5. display

Who’s responsible for the copyright: The copy right holder
But…there are exemptions.

The Doctrine of fair use: You don’t have to ask permission to use  a copyrighted work if you are using for socially benefiting purposes such as teaching, news reporting, criticism, comment

Strong protection for owners, and strong protection for users. Fair use is designed to promote copyrighted materials.

The tips to remembering fair use:

“Trasnformativness, add value, re-purpose

Fair use is contextual – No issue until it is taken to a judge.

There is no lawsuit to this day where a copyright holder sues and educational system.

Copying does not deserve the use of fair use

4 choices:

  1. Pay a license fee.

  2. Claim fair use, just use it.

  3. Select public domain royalty free or creative commons licensed content.


Citation is ethical, not legal.

Did I transform it or did I just copy it? – The question that students need to ask themselves.

“Get out of jail free card”- clause If you’re an educator and you make a fair use determination in using copyrighted materials and you are sued by the copyright holder, the law mandates that all statutory damages are remitted to 0.

Thanks to Renee Hobbs, teachers may unlock dvds that are protected with a content scrambling system when circumvention is for the purpose is socially benefiting purposes such as teaching, news reporting, criticism, comment

Friday, February 25, 2011

Properly embedded: Our Book Fair Trailer


Thursday, February 24, 2011

my notes on: PD Live and on the Go #METC_CSD

PD Live session notes:

Using Adobe Connect to provide and create Webinars has been very beneficial to help create a bank of PD sessions that people can use when they need them. It also allows the user to host sessions where multiple people can view a live session and use a chat to ask questions as the session progresses.

Best method for providing PD was to disect the PD into small pieces. 20 minute max sessions.

Connecting beyond the classroom: Use free tools like SKYPE to connect to one another and other teachers

ADOBE CONNECT: One host license, annual license, packs of 5 for $600 unlimited amount of meetings and recordings. No server setup is required.

What to consider before starting an online PD program:

  • Cost

  • Training presenter and participants

  • Bandwidth - depends on how much video you are running

  • Technical hurdles - wireless issues if everyone is on the same access point. Do people know how to select their microphone?

  • Accountability - do you want people to be tracked by how long they are logged in? More cost

  • Scheduling - Getting people online at the same time.  Run webinars multiple times a day.

Looking at Microsoft Lync
Connect with the community and the experts.

Lesson learned
Train participants and get them comfortable with online PD
Keep session within 20-30 minutes
Change the mindset of trainingg
Specific skill focus

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NewTechTuesday: Behold our new SMART Board in our media center. Color me excited

Monday, February 21, 2011

Best #coffee tweet of the day. Thanks @fredthefourth

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blabberized my avatar for a session tomorrow #edchat #METC_CSD

On the subject of Prezi's and Linked URL's

Start text with http:// and Prezi will transofrm the text into a link when Prezi is saved and run as a full Prezi…not in view mode while editing Prezi.

I owe my answers and thanks to @mgilb @JPPrezz @techiedork

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

RT @krperrier: @TheTechSpec it is official - best thing I took away from #METC_CSD was meeting you on twitter and in person lol - worked .. thx!

RT @krperrier: @TheTechSpec it is official - best thing I took away from #METC_CSD was meeting you on twitter and in person lol - worked .. thx!
A tweet that could make one blush

If you have a 1st life, don’t get a 2nd life

If you have a 1st life, don’t get a 2nd life
Most excellent advice from @gwynethjones on 2nd Life at #METC_CSD

Save the date #METC_CSD 2012

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my notes on: Cool Tool Duel at #METC_CSD

Cool Tool Duel – The presentation:

The Notes:

Francis Howel - “QR Code Quick Response is basically a two-dimensional barcode  that is encoded with information such as text, URL or other data. It is readable by QR bar code readers and camera phones.”

Scanning methods: SMART phone free app QR scanner, QR reader connects to the a webcam. (free software available). You can use the QR code tag extension in Google Chrome to turn anything into a QR code.

Classroom application: QR codes on work sheets, use it as an enrichment tool, place the codes in the back of the book in a library . Create a calendar that uses the QR Code to link to videos posted on YouTube or teacher website

Wiffiti – Digital Public Brain storming tool. Use a text code to text in a message or answer to a question that is posted on Wiffiti. Texts then come in on a feed  in an animated way. Can use a laptop to send in the message with a Wiffiti account

Classroom application: Use the tool to have a continuous and on going dialogue about a chosen topic. Allows for a digital record of the online conversation and constantly flows in

ParkwayGoogle Art Project – Collection of museums from across the world. Hi res images of art work. Impressive Zoom function on many of the pieces of art.  Can create a collection of art work for your specific purpose, or you can use the tool to walk through many of the art museums with a function similar to using google street view. Select levels and rooms within museums to go directly to, or take a walk through the whole museum.

Search -  YoLink once you do a search, it puts a  button in your tool bar (extension) when you click on it you can refine your search further. Opens another box within the same window. Searches the links for new keywords. It has the ability export the link/search and create a google document with the content in it.

Rockwood – Voki – Creates an avatar like character that you can use to then speak to your class. Voki offers a bank of animated  historical figures and famous speeches. It also offers the user the ability to enter in text and have a computer generated voice read it aloud. The user can also use a microphone, or call in the dialogue you want the animated figure to read out loud.

Classroom application: Interviews recorded can then be brought to life with a digital avatar. Another means for a student to present information.

Classroom 2.0 ( Social networking for your classroom. Questions and answers for technology integration,  A resource about using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom.

Ultimate referring site is the presentation itself

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Twitter and #METC_CSD merged and The challenge

All of the twitter connections I can tell that are at METC this year are listed here. My personal challenge is to meet them all in person:


@gwynethjones check

@ghartman check









@JPPrezz check

@usamimi74 check


@midschoolsci check



@room214 check

@bizmark check

@rjacklin check

@kevinhoneycutt check


@andreablanco check

@Luke1946 check

@justintarte check

@techiedork check


@dianadell check


@reneehobbs check

If you're looking to expand you PLN here’s a great list of people to get you started!

#METC_CSD Part deux

After a great first day at #METC_CSD it is time to gear up for the next and final day of the conference.

My picks for tomorrow include:

Tech Tool Duel

Gadget a GoGo

Copyright Clarity: Remix and Fair Use in Education

Paperless Classroom for under $100

Some much needed time in the exhibit hall

Tomorrow @Sk8rmom819 and @BettyeJoPrice will be joining in the fun as well as @MidSchoolSi

my notes from: #METC_CSD Motivational Technology Coaching and Professional Development

“Students – what are the needs of the students? Each student comes in with different needs.”

Goal - Getting students comfortable with 21st century skills,

Motivate – Tech Coaches need to motivate staff to want to make some sort of change. The keystone to bringing about a change are the administrators. Working with an administrator to infuse technology in their work and discussions with staff will help to model the use of technology and how it can play a roll in the classroom.

Coach = PR person.

The structure: Build trust – take baby steps

As a coach, whatever you can do to use the web tools more regularly the more exposure people will have an have a stronger interest in learning about them or actively use them. 

With the reluctant learners, start slow and small. The first steps: the coach does the work and the teacher infuses your work into the lessons until they become comfortable with it.

Find that staff member who loves to try everything, your success student. Share the tools you find with them, have them try new softwares and web tools. They will give you the sense of accomplishment and share what they liked and did not like, then find the reluctant learner to work with and to develop technology  into their everyday use.

Confidence is a key issue with “reluctant workers” giving them the sense of comfort or a zone of comfort is the key. Know your staff. Get the teachers to “take the risk” Give them the soft cushy place for them to land, no judgment, guide them and use patience with them. Remind your learners that tech issues happen to all of us. “No stress, no panic” becomes the mantra to follow when tech issues occur. 

The group then talked to one another about “coaching strategies that work for you” “Viral approach. Giving the teachers step by step directions that include pictures. 

Tools for creating visual rich instructional guides:Print screen, screen cast video, jing video.

“Braindump - share what ever you know about the topic.”

Light the fire ; Enthusiasm is the key. Steer away from the negative and guide into a solution. (documents on the metc session site)

Make a plan about the project/goal/etc

Connect with yourself as a coach. Carve out time for your learning within a week otherwise your plate turns into a platter and things begin to spill over. Stay connected – Conferences, list servs, portal, twitter,

onto PD 

Getting a structure in your district is crucial.

Differentiation is the key to successful professional development

Using a 2 tier approach to PD – 1st tier is for learning about the software, tool, or hardware. 2nd tier: creating and implementing a unit promoting the tool or software that was learned.

(break out time) “What infrastructure do you use for pd or what is missing?”

  • Creating a centralized storage palace for training or lessons.

  • Putting people together by similar interests and levels.

  • Teach parents tech – use it to send home through group email various technolgoy tips. Allows user to choose a custom greeting and a video on various  tech support, or tidbits:

Reffering sites: The prezi, Teach Parents Tech, jing video, screen cast video, the session on METC wiki

my notes on: Peripheral Learners at #METC_CSD

Empowering the students is the key. We must meet them on their digital playground and offer guidance and direction to help them form a positive digital legacy.

Simple and practical methods to assist students succeed include: filming yourself teaching everyday and posting it on your website or YouTube channel. This simple no frill filming and posting approach allows a student to go back and watch processes and perhaps find answers to questions they have without having to announce that they do not understand something or would like something revisited. 

Creating a place in the class where the students could easily share their thoughts and feelings so that, the teacher, could easily see what is on their students minds each day helps both the teachers and students in many ways. Giving the students space in their classroom creates a stronger sense of community and ownership. They feel more comfortable in the space where they are trying to learn.

“What are some ways we could or should do to help kids make good decisions while using their devices”

Students today are carrying around, in their pockets, mobile devices that they can use to do research, film and edit a video, write essays, connect with peers and students; guiding them to use it appropriately and effectively is our responsibility.

Take time to discuss how they can use their mobile devices in their classwork, how to use it socially, share the impact that they can make both positively and negatively with their instant and constant connection to the internet, each other, and everyone in between.

Referring sites:

Digital Dumpster Diving

Digital Dumpster Diving

Monday, February 14, 2011

My part to share #METC_CSD

My part to share #METC_CSD

Currently, our school district does not allow the use of Twitter in the district. Unfortunately this means that those who could not make it to the conference have no way to follow along with abundant networking that takes place with the commonly used hashtags and sharing of information via twitter during their day.

So this year, I developed a method to share all of the important hashtags and stream of METC_CSD tweets that come out of the conference. I hope my site offers those who have twitter blocked some connection to the wonderful things that are going on at the conference while they are in the classrooms, offices, etc working, planning, or teaching.

#METC_CSD goes virtual

#METC_CSD goes virtual

Thanks to @mbogart for the post

2nd verse same as the 1st

Today is the second day that a student brought in their own personal laptop in because they needed tech support.

We cleaned up about 200 + malwares that were hidden and taught the student how to use the software we installed to scan for malicious software on her computer in the future.

This is new and uncharted territory for the team, but it was handled with finesse and accuracy.

Hot off the #METC_CSD presses

Hot off the #METC_CSD presses

Blog post by @kcreutz on his first experiences and thoughts of METC 2011

Pregaming #METC_CSD 2011

Tomorrow I will be attending the METC conference in St. Charles, Missouri. I look forward to this conference every year. It is a time to connect with peers, collaborate with people in my field, explore new possibilities, unlock new resources and meet people that share the same passion for technology and education.

This Tuesday I am hoping to attend the following sessions and share them via twitter, ,Facebook, and my blog

Peripheral Learners

Changing Middle Schools Online Professional Learning Communities

Motivational Technology Coaching and Professional Development

PD 2.0 - Live‚ Online‚ and on the Go

What tools do I need in my differentiation toolbox

Tomorrow my fellow colleagues, @BookLadyJCW and @Midschoolsci will be joining me at the conference. I look forward to sharing, collaborating, and learning more tomorrow.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

“What does TIFF stand for” -teacher “I don’t have it memorized, that’s why we have internet” - me

“What does TIFF stand for” -teacher

“I don’t have it memorized, that’s why we have internet” - me

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thoughts on too much tweeting from @kevcreutz

Thoughts on too much tweeting from @kevcreutz

I agree that so long as you are engaging, learning,teaching, or having great conversation there is no such thing as too much tweeting. Now, Retweeting…that one can do way too much.

App review: iPhone and some other SMART phones

I’ve been using IM+ (free version) for sometime now. It is extremely useful for me as I am always on the go and rarely at my computer for any length of time. With IM+ you can connect several of chatting tools such as GChat, MSN Instant messager and more to continue chatting after you’ve left your computer. It’s push notifications are instant. Start a conversation on your laptop and receive the update instantly on your phone.

I use this as the primary method for people to locate and communicate with me while in the building, as I can converse using MSN IM on my computer and to my phone. I also use it to as a method to give online support while going mobile.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Technology Resources

New Tech Tuesday: We’ve just recently acquired 2 new Kodak Zi8 HD pocket style video cameras.

Top favorite aspects:

  • The camera has two filming modes: Macro and Landscape.

  • An almost prehensile USB extension

  • SD card slot

  • External Mic port

  • Takes still pictures

  • 3 different definitions of film quality (1080p, 720p/60fps, 720p,wvga)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Trivial Trivia

Tonight our school is putting on a trivia night. We’ve assembled our team, studied constantly for the past two months. We neglected all work, family, and personal commitments.

A victory shall be ours…or 90% of that was fabricated.

Fun will be had by all.