Archive for Uncategorized

2013-04-26 Weekly IT Update

This Week

Web Page – Live May 3rd

Training – Coming Soon

It’s Not Too Early – Backup, Backup, Backup

Blubbr – Create Video Trivia

Why (Not How) – iPads in Education

MOOC – 1 Year to a 4-Year College Education?

 

Top 20 iPad Apps – My Suggestions

 

Web Page – Yes, you’ve heard it several times now but the new web page will be going LIVE on May 3rd. There will be a point in time on May 2nd where you will be unable to edit your own pages in preparation for the change. In the meanwhile, take a look at http://www-dev.asd20.org/Schools/pchs/Pages/default.aspx and see if there is anything that is glaringly obvious that is missing. As I have mentioned before, the page is a work in progress and will be updated until the end of the year. If you have the wrong information under your name, your site isn’t linking, or other please let me know and I’ll get it fixed up ASAP! Right now the structure is in place, making it pretty comes with time.

Training – As I’ve been working on the web page I haven’t had the time to organize training for it that I would like. This should change after the May 3rd rollout so I hope to have something ready for you before the end of the semester. As the site is very non-intuitive it will, most likely, require a dedicated training time along with supporting documents. Rest assured, I will do my best to get this to you in a timely manner. In the meantime, if there is something that absolutely needs to be on the site with the May 3rd rollout just let me know and I’ll get it put up there.

It’s Not Too Early – With the end of the semester coming up rapidly it is easy to get into patterns with technology. One thing to remember and keep in mind as more important documents, notes, quizzes, and tests happen, backing up in multiple places is highly recommended! An easy place to find many of your documents would be under the C: drive. If you go from there to the Users directory you should be able to find your name. This is where the majority of your documents should be stored. There are multiple ways to back up your information including the H: drive, Dropbox, external hard drives, and blank DVDs. Personally, I back up almost all of my stuff to my Dropbox account as you get 2GB of free space and can increase it by referring friends. Check out http://db.tt/ypmLIWzm to sign up. Dropbox also allows you to access you material from any computer or smart device. I keep everything from lesson plans to recipes on the site and it is all cloud based. Just a friendly reminder to back up as the end of the semester brings a lot of important documents to the forefront.

Blubbr – I almost sent off the Weekly IT Update this week without including this. I found a somewhat fun site which can be used for educational trivia or just any trivia should you choose to do so. Check out: https://www.blubbr.tv/ . Keep in mind this site is still in beta so there are some things about it that don’t work quite the way you might expect, but the overall use of the site is pretty cool and easy. Check out this one I made that didn’t take me very long. (The biggest quirk is the videos show BEFORE the questions). https://www.blubbr.tv/game/index.php?game_id=10379&org=3

Why (Not How) – When running across this article “Why (Not How) We Should Use iPads in Education,” I took a lot from the following. “On a basic level, there is one concept to keep in mind that does not involve technical know-how of apps or an iPad. “Verbs not nouns” is the mantra that can keep the iPad classroom from turning into a classroom about iPads rather than a classroom with iPads.” One big thing to keep in mind is, no matter how technically proficient you are or how you could ever even think about using iPads in your classrooms, there are ways. It’s all about what works for you and I, like the blogger, believe that it should be about turning the classroom into a classroom ABOUT iPads. Take a look at the article here: http://edudemic.com/2013/04/ipads-in-education/

MOOC – Massive Open Online Content (MOOC), you may have heard the term but do you know what they are? Basically, think of it as a free online course covering any topic. (I actually plan on building a MOOC this summer for both U.S. and World Histories for my own purposes) Anyhow, there is a guy named Jonathan Haber who is attempting to get the equivalent of a 4-year college education in 1 year by only using MOOCs. It’s a pretty grand idea and a really interesting way of seeing how effective the free education can be. Check out his latest blog posts at: http://degreeoffreedom.org/

 

 

Top 20 iPad Apps

Here is a list of iPad Apps I would recommend for any discipline as general tools for the iPad.

Dropboxhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dropbox/id327630330?mt=8

Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Access any file you save to your Dropbox from all your computers, iPhone, iPad and even the Dropbox website!

Evernote https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8

Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

Penultimate https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/penultimate/id354098826?mt=8

The original and most popular handwriting app for iPad. Penultimate gives you the natural experience of writing on paper, with the added power and availability of Evernote. Take notes, keep sketches, or share your next breakthrough idea — in the office, on the go, or at home on the sofa.

iTunes U https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itunes-u/id490217893?mt=8

The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools — plus the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content — right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Whether you’re majoring in molecular biology at a university, taking Spanish in high school, or just interested in European history, you now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere.

Socrative (Teacher)https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teacher-clicker-socrative/id477620120?mt=8

Socrative brings smart clickers, student response and ease of use to a whole new level. Engage the entire classroom with educational exercises and games while capturing student results in real-time. Interact with the data to further student understanding in the moment, and review the reports to prepare for future classes. Socrative will even aggregate and grade your pre-made activities! Saving you time, so you can engage more with your students on an individual level. Create a library of activities and share them with your colleagues and learning community. Not a 1:1 school? That’s okay! Have students bring their own devices and join in the learning!

Socrative (Student)https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/student-clicker-socrative/id477618130?mt=8

Wunderlist https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wunderlist/id406644151?mt=8

Wunderlist 2 is the easiest way to manage and share your daily to-do lists. Whether you’re planning an overseas adventure, sharing a shopping list with a loved one, or simply keeping track of your daily to-dos, Wunderlist is here to help you get things done.

VoiceThread https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/voicethread/id465159110?mt=8

Create and share dynamic conversations around documents, snapshots, diagrams and videos — basically anything there is to talk about. You can talk, type, and draw right on the screen. VoiceThread takes your conversations to the next level, capturing your presence, not just your comments. Anyone can join the discussion from their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC — anytime, anywhere.

Stitcher https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stitcher-radio/id288087905?mt=8

Listen to your favorite news, comedy, sports and talk radio shows ON DEMAND from your mobile device. Discover the best of NPR, CNN, Fox, BBC, WSJ, Adam Carolla, Joe Rogan, Rachel Maddow, Rush Limbaugh, Fresh Air, Freakonomics, Radiolab and over 15,000+ shows, podcasts and live stations. Change the way you listen to radio – on your schedule, not the schedule of traditional stations.

Haiku Deckhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/haiku-deck/id536328724?mt=8

Haiku Deck is the simple and fun new way to create stunning presentations – whether you’re pitching an idea, teaching a lesson, telling a story, or igniting a movement. Featured on the iTunes “New and Noteworthy” and “What’s Hot” lists, Haiku Deck makes it fast and fun to create beautifully designed slideshows you’ll be proud to share.

PixnTell https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pixntell/id532075424?mt=8

Pixntell adds your voice to your pictures and creates a personalized video you can share on Dropbox, Facebook, YouTube or email!

ScreenChomp https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/screenchomp/id442415881?mt=8

Share a great idea… Explain a tricky concept… Help kids with their homework…ScreenChomp for iPad helps you do it all. A simple doodling board, markers, and one-click sharing tools make spreading your ideas and know-how easy and fun!

Mindmeister https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindmeister-mind-mapping/id381073026?mt=8

MindMeister is the one and only mobile mind mapping app you’ll ever need. Whether you’re using it in the boardroom, the classroom, the presentation hall, or the lunch meeting, MindMeister can help you organize, prioritize, and even generate new thoughts.

 

ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/showme-interactive-whiteboard/id445066279?mt=8

ShowMe allows you to record voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online. It’s an amazingly simple app that anyone can use, no matter how young or old!

Flashcards* https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flashcards*/id403199818?mt=8

Flashcardlet is a free, easy-to-use studying application with material for any class or standardized test. You can also create and share your own. It is the best way to study on any iOS device.

Khan Academyhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/khan-academy/id469863705?mt=8

Khan Academy allows you to learn almost anything for free. Our iOS app is the best way to view Khan Academy’s complete library of over 3,500 videos. We cover a massive number of topics, including K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even the humanities with playlists on finance and history.

Encyclopaedia Britannicahttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/encyclop-dia-britannica/id447919187?mt=8

The complete Encyclopaedia Britannica – the world’s most trusted reference source, enhanced for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Class Dojohttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/classdojo-for-teachers/id552602056?mt=8

ClassDojo helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators. Teachers can use this app to give students realtime feedback while in class – it will sync with the main ClassDojo website.

NearPod https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nearpod/id523540409?mt=8

The Nearpod platform enables teachers to use their iPads to manage content on students’ iPads, iPhones or iPods. It combines presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.

Skype https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/skype-for-ipad/id442012681?mt=8

Say “hello” to friends and family with an instant message, voice or video call on Skype for free. There’s so much you can do, right from the palm of your hand.

AppsGoneFree https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apps-gone-free-best-daily/id470693788?mt=8

Find great apps without spending a dime! Get high quality paid apps for free each day. Unlike other apps, we offer no paid listings – these are expert-picked top-ranked apps, for FREE!

 

 

2013-04-04 Weekly IT Update

This Week

Web Site – Coming Along

Rumor Mill – 1:1 / Replenishment

iPads in the Classroom – Tips

AppleTV – 5 Uses in the Classroom

Presentation Sync – Laptops, desktops, and devices, oh my!

Social Networking – Facebook is no longer “cool”

 

Web Site – Although the web site is still under major construction (the new web site which will be going live on May 3rd), you can jump on in there and take a look at some of the structure. With School Center pages shutting down, the new site will be the go-to site for all Pine Creek internet presence. As I’ve probably stated before, I am trying to keep the clicks to find things down to 2 to keep with industry ‘standards’. Take a look at the site at: http://www-dev.asd20.org/schools/pchs/Pages/default.aspx   and remember, this is a WORK IN PROGRESS! If you do have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to E-mail Jason.Rasmussen@asd20.org .

Rumor Mill – There was an interesting rumor going around earlier this week that the 1:1 deployment of iPads would cause our regular computer rotation to go to a 10-year plan. This is not the case. While the Tech Team must be more creative with replenishment funds in the coming years, those computers that will need to be replaced and are on schedule to be replaced will be completed in a timely manner. I am not sure where the rumor started (nor do I care), but I just wanted to quash it before it became a bigger non-issue. Thank you for your understanding and patience in this as the 1:1 program will create a definite learning curve for everyone involved.

iPads in the Classroom – For some ideas on how to use iPads in the classroom in a cross-curricular manner, check out this article:http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/mar/06/ipad-ipod-technology-primary-curriculum . The article gives a good idea of how to integrate apps that may not traditionally be used in particular types of lesson planning.

AppleTV – As there are many that don’t know what some of the uses are for an AppleTV in the classroom, here is a list of 5 to give you an idea: http://edudemic.com/2013/03/5-ways-to-use-apple-tv-in-the-classroom/ . When used with an iPad, it is very easy to maneuver the room, answer questions, provide immediate feedback, etc. which may otherwise be more difficult if you are in the front of the classroom having to click through slides and presentations. I do have a list of folks that I still need to get their AppleTVs installed but for the 2013 – 2014 school year we should have more access to these devices for testing/use in your classrooms!

Presentation Sync – Ever want to have a presentation in a computer lab or across multiple devices and have everyone on the same page? Presentation.io does just that. It will allow you to make a presentation where you can project your material across multiple devices and have everyone on the same page. Even better, the subjects do not even have to be in the same room or on the same continent as you while you give the presentation. From the Presentation.io website: Left something out? Any questions during the presentation? Add comments to the slides as you go. These will also appear on everyone’s screens real-time. Enable the audience to comment as well. For additional remarks or information, both the presenter and the audience will be able to make individual and shared notes during and after the presentation. You can find out more about this one at: https://presentation.io/ . Another service like this which I found while researching material this week can be found at: http://presefy.com/

Social Networking – Funny enough, I polled my students on Facebook vs. other social media a few weeks ago and they confirm the story in the attached link, Facebook is no longer “cool”. So, what, based on my minutes of research, are the more popular trends now? Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to name a few. This actually prompted me to really dig into Twitter to see why I have never connected to it before and why it is so popular now. I have come to the conclusion that, because of the ability to quickly check and update Twitter, it is a service that is much ‘cleaner’ in function than Facebook. For more on this phenomenon check out: http://www.businessinsider.com/its-official-teens-are-bored-of-facebook-2013-3 . And, once I can get it on the new web page, you will see that Pine Creek HS now has a Twitter account @PineCreekHS (it hasn’t really been updated yet but it is there). And, funny enough, while I was updating the newsletter this week I ran across this infographic about how fast Twitter is growing: http://edudemic.com/2013/03/how-fast-is-twitter-growing/

2013-03-21 Weekly IT Update

This Week

Network Outages – Random

PCHS Technology – Reminder

Evernote – In the Classroom

Modern Teachers – 10 Necessary Skills

 

Network Outages – You may have noticed that there have been some times in recent weeks where we have lost connectivity to different sites (including ALEC and internet sites). This is happening for a couple of different reasons. First, the new internet filter, iBoss, is still being tweaked by District and may cause some downtime while it is being worked out. It is a completely new filter and is being worked on to have it resemble settings from the old iPrism filter. Fortunately, there are some better options with the new filter, it’s just a matter of getting to the point to where they can be implemented. Second, in preparation for our upgraded infrastructure (i.e. install of more wireless networking at PCHS), there may be some times when outside connectivity may be temporarily disconnected. It shouldn’t be very often but just be aware that changes to internal hardware configurations by District Facilities may lead to brief outages. I apologize for any inconveniences that either of these may incur.

PCHS Technology – As iPads are going to become very popular with you all soon enough, I just wanted to send out a reminder that I have created an ALEC site named ‘PCHS Technology’ which has links to quite a few different applications for the iPad which you may be able to use in the classroom. Alongside the links, I have also posted video walkthroughs on many of the products (some are just reviews) so that you can take a look before you vest any time in the use of a program you may/may not use. For those that are wondering, some of my favorite apps include: Evernote, Dropbox, Haiku Deck, and Socrative. You are all enrolled in the PCHS Technology ALEC site so take a look. I also update the site with frequency and have put resources, categorized by department, out there for your use.

Evernote – As I just mentioned Evernote as one of my favorite apps, I came across this blog entry about how Evernote has revolutionized the classroom. Check out the article at: http://edudemic.com/2013/03/the-evernote-experiment/ . Personally, this is how I take notes in my ‘Renaissance/Middle Ages’ course at UCCS. It’s much quicker, cleaner, easier to add/move notes from one section to another, and it is accessible across devices (i.e. iPad, Nexus, computer, etc.) so I can check them anywhere at anytime. Take a look at the blog and see why the teacher chose Evernote and how it has affected his classroom/students.

Modern Teachers – Ever wonder what kind of skills educators should employ to be successful in the modern classroom? Look no further. Author Jeff Dunn provides ten different ‘rules’ as to what you can do to make the transition from the ‘traditional’ classroom to a more modern one. And it isn’t as scary as you might think. As with students, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is realizing that failure is perfectly acceptable. Take a look at this article for more in-depth information: http://edudemic.com/2013/03/the-10-skills-modern-teachers-must-have/

2013-03-13 Weekly IT Update

This Week

1:1 – iPads

Experience – Patrick Larkin, Burlington High School

5 Ways to Use Apple TV – You Can Do It!

iTunes U – 1 BILLION Downloads

Using Primary Sources – Students and Teachers

 

1:1 – As you have probably already heard, the 2013 – 2014 school year will be bringing Pine Creek High School (along with Challenger Middle School and Mountain View Elementary School) into the beginnings of 1:1. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, 1:1 means 1 device to 1 student. The decision has been made and we are going with the frontrunner in the race, the iPad. While there are still a ton of logistics to figure out before they are rolled out to students, the capabilities of the iPad are pretty amazing and it will help even more that each will include a keyboard/case so that traditional methods of typing can still be employed. There will be plenty of updates on the strategies we will look to employ in the future but the first major hurdle has been completed: the choosing of the device!

Experience – As we are going to change over to 1:1 next year (at least for ¼ of the school), I thought it might be useful to see how other schools that have already made the shift are faring and how they promote success in both their educators and students alike. Patrick Larkin, principal of the Burlington High School in Massachusetts, has been publishing a blog on the experiences of his school and the growing pains involved. Several of us had the pleasure of visiting the school last year and learned a lot about the processes involved. Check out his blog at: http://www.patrickmlarkin.com/ If you are doing any research on 1:1, Principal Larkin’s name is pretty prominent and he’s a very charismatic guy.

5 Ways to Use Apple TV – What?! Another entry on iPad support? Yes. I figure now is as good as a time as any to get you thinking about your future classrooms and how you hope to implement hardware. I am a big fan of the Apple TV. It allows you to project apps, images, etc. from your iPad onto your projector. One of the great things about this is not only will you be able to walk around the room to do classroom management while doing lessons, but that specific apps can be shown to support your curriculum. Take a look at this article to get more ideas on how to use an Apple TV in your classroom: http://edudemic.com/2013/03/5-ways-to-use-apple-tv-in-the-classroom/ — As I found this first article I also ran across this one: http://edudemic.com/2013/03/apple-tv-in-the-classroom/

iTunes U – Yes, iTunes U has reached 1 ‘B’illion downloads (yes, with a ‘B’)! Based on the article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/apple-says-itunes-u-tops-a-billion-downloads/2013/02/28/8a399a1a-81b8-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_story.html , some of the statistics shows over 250,000 students enrolled in free educational courses. I would give away more of the article but it’s not very long and the statistics are pretty impressive. Take a look and see for yourself the power of free online learning!

Using Primary Sources – Students and Teachers alike can find information on how to analyze primary sources. The Library of Congress has put together several specific PDFs on what to look for and address when attempting to determine if a source if primary or not. Each one deals with observation, reflection, and questioning the source. I’ll also post the link to the site on the PCHS Technology ALEC site. Check it out at: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born American inventor

2013-02-27 Weekly IT Update

This Week

Beauty – Bullying

Sequestration – Arne Duncan Interview

I Don’t Have Time – Technology

ClassDojo – Fun Classroom Management

This American Life (Part 2) – Harper High, cont.

Contest of the Week 1 – Not Edutopia?

Contest of the Week 2 – Yes, Edutopia

 

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence.” – Robert Frost

 

Beauty – In this spoken word poetry, Shane Koyczan created a video for YouTube about bullying and some of the experience he, and others, go through in school. It is about 7 minutes but the message is strong and should be taken to heart, especially in this day and age of rampant bullying both in and out of school as well as cyberbullying. Take a look at: http://youtu.be/ltun92DfnPY  (P.S. This has trended as one of the most popular YouTube videos in the past couple of days)

Sequestration – Arne Duncan was interviewed on ‘Face the Nation’ on the 24th and during his 5-minute interview he talks about education cuts and how up to 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs. It also talks about cuts to services that will be nothing but detrimental to an already ailing profession. It does end on a note about gun control but I am posting this for the message about the sequestration, not the issue of gun control. You can check out the video here: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57570957/education-secretary-not-rocket-science-to-stop-dumb-sequester-cuts/

I Don’t Have Time – In a blog post entitled ‘Why “I Don’t Have Time for Technology” Is No Longer Excusable’, principal Bill Powers writes about the need to somehow fit time into schedules to get to know current trends and methods. His blog is located here: http://edudemic.com/2013/02/i-dont-have-time-for-technology/ and he points to two other blogs, one titled “I Don’t Have the Time” (http://edge.ascd.org/_I-DON39T-HAVE-TIME/blog/6485399/127586.html ) and the other titled “Professionals Making Time For Learning” ( http://www.thenerdyteacher.com/2013/01/professional-make-time-for-learning.html ). Both bloggers make some valid points about taking the time to learn and update skillsets. Take a look if you get the time! 🙂

ClassDojo – Recently, I was visited by Kathryn Bott about a recently revamped iPad app called ClassDojo. In her description she stated that she was easily able to set up her classes on the app and that it made for a much more interactive experience between her and her students. Basically the app will acknowledge good behavior while encouraging classroom participation. You can have both positive and negative behavior categories (multiple categories under each so you can easily reference WHY you gave the behavior). Most importantly, each student has a customizable ‘character’ which they can see how their progress is. Check out a quick article about it here: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2013/02/using-class-dojo-to-motivate-your.html and find the app for download here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/classdojo-for-teachers/id552602056?mt=8 It appears that it will be available for Android systems soon as well.

This American Life (Part 2) – To complete the story of Harper High School in Chicago, Ira Glass and team return to their previous stories of the school to give us some resolution on how things turned out. From 2011 – 2012, 29 students of the school were shot resulting in the death of 8 of them. You can check out the second part of the story here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/488/harper-high-school-part-two and if you missed it last week you can check out the first part of the story here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one . If you’ve ever wondered one of the easiest ways to listen to Podcasts, check out the App called Stitcher available on all types of devices at: http://stitcher.com/  I have used it for years and it is, by far, one of my most used apps as I listen to it on the way to work every day.

2013-02-22 Weekly IT Update

This Week –

Teachers + Tech – Students Can Take Control

17 Ways – iPads in Schools

Striking.ly – Simple Web Page

This American Life – Harper High School

 

Teachers + Tech – In an interesting article from Katrina Schwartz, she explains how the combination of technology and teaching allows for more classroom freedom for students to be able to direct their learning. The article gives examples of how the traditional classroom has changed and how the ‘old school’ methods of a classroom with traditional lecture is becoming a thing of the past. It goes on to talk about how curiosity and questioning have been replaced by standardized questions and answers. Check the full article out at: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/02/alan-november-how-teachers-and-tech-can-let-students-take-control/

 17 Ways – For an idea of how iPads are being successfully used in the classroom, check out http://edudemic.com/2013/02/ways-ipads-are-being-used-in-schools/  . The article does a decent job of giving ideas and solutions to using an iPad (or tablet) in the classroom in a way that best supports the students.  Number one is ‘Putting the Students in Charge of the Learning Experience’. Check it out if you’re interested in not only how the iPad may benefit Pine Creek in a 1:1 but think ‘device’ instead as the different devices each have pros and cons.

Striking.lyStriking.ly is a service that can be used to create one page websites to show off your best digital work or to advertise an event. Striking.ly provides a variety of templates for digital portfolios and digital flyers. Each template can be customized by hovering your mouse on any element of the template and selecting the edit button. Free Striking.ly pages are assigned Striking.ly subdomains. Premium accounts can have custom domains. (Description from Free Tech 4 Teachers blog) Check it out at http://striking.ly/

This American Life – Want an idea of how good we have it here at Pine Creek? Check out the episode of ‘This American Life’ from this week at: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one  The second part of this story will air on the 22nd which reminds me that I can’t remember hearing any episodes which played in a 2-part back-to-back way before. (They have done separate stories on the housing market crash but they were spread out). The Harper High episode (shared above) is an interesting and heartbreaking story about education in an urban area and those it affects. (It becomes particularly apparent when you see the tags of ‘death’, ‘crime’, and ‘teenagers’ as the keywords for the podcast)

 

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” ― Mark Twain

2012-02-15 Weekly IT Update

This Week:

iPads – Distributed

iBoss – Web Filtering

Hoodamath – Going, Going, Gone…

16 Apps – iPad Apps Worth Trying

Are Teachers of Tomorrow Prepared? – Innovative Technologies

6 Biggest Challenges – Educational Technology

 

iPads – Thank you to everyone who had requested and have since picked up their iPads. Due to the way replenishment funds worked out this year I was able to get a few extra which have since been snatched up. Reminder: For those that have school distributed iPads, if you have an application that you are interested in trying out please let me know and I’ll get you a redeem code for it. Please keep the requests to between $2 – 10 so that I have enough to cover the requests. And, if you need any suggestions for apps (either for general use or department specific) let me know and I’ll let you know what I’ve found.

iBoss – As you’ve probably already noticed, the web filter for the personal device network has gone active as of last week. What does this mean to you? Basically the filter will be similar to the old filter but you will have to log in and keep the window open in the background. Once you get past the initial login there should be a CONTINUE button which will do this for you. This should hopefully help with keeping logged in to a personal device for more than ½ – 1 hour at a time. It’ll be a brief growing pain but should actually benefit us in the long run. Thank you for your continued patience in the changeover as Barry Young (District) is doing his best at keeping up with the filter requests.

Hoodamath – So, in case you hadn’t noticed by now, the game site Hoodamath is now being blocked from student use. After a command decision by administration, it was determined that the site did not have enough educational value to be useful to students. For those unfamiliar with Hoodamath, it is a site with quite a few games which are supposed to hold some educational value but the majority of them have little to do with education. If you happen to see your students playing any games on the school computers, please let the Tech Department know and we’ll deal with it accordingly. Thank you for your assistance in this.

16 Apps – For those that are interested in some great apps to try, check out: http://edudemic.com/2013/02/edtech-apps-and-tools/   The site provides 16 different iPad Apps to try and I’ve actually researched or used 6 of them. Those that I have tried are pretty nice (including such apps as the iTunes U (I have my students do a project on this at the College), Haiku Deck – a great presentation tool, and Learnist – a growing site for tons and tons of resources on different topics. Take a look, I’m sure there’s something in there for you to use!

Are Teachers of Tomorrow Prepared? – For an interesting article about the state of learning about educational technology in Teacher Education Programs (TEPs), check out: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/02/are-teachers-of-tomorrow-prepared-to-use-innovative-tech/  It talks about the differences between educators who have been in the classroom for a long time and their feelings about education versus new teachers and their abilities straight out of college. There is more to the article than this but I felt a teaser was enough, I don’t want to spoil it for you!

6 Biggest Challenges – Edudemic has an article about the 6 Biggest Challenges of Using Educational Technology and, at least in my opinion, do a good job of narrowing it down to some of the more common hurdles. You can check out the article at: http://edudemic.com/2013/02/challenges-of-using-education-technology/  From the site: “In these six identified challenges, we seem to come back to the idea that technology for the sake of having technology is not enough; the technology needs to have a purpose for both teachers and students, and it needs to be the right choice for the institutions, teacher, and students involved.”

 

“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. … The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”

–George Bernard Shaw,
Irish playwright

2013-02-07 Weekly IT Update

This Week

iPad Management – Thank You

Computers and Mobile Device Form – Approximately 30 to go

Introduction to Technology Integration – Video

Failure is Mandatory – Innovation

 

iPad Management – Thank you to everyone who brought me your iPads over the past couple of weeks. Due to your diligence, over 90 iPads have been registered in the system (with 9 which still need to be completed). We ALMOST made the due date which is pretty impressive considering how busy schedules sometimes conflict with the ability to get these tasks completed. Your assistance in this was appreciated and has provided the compliance needed to satisfy District requirements. Thank you.

Computers and Mobile Device Form – As for the form that I put in all of your mailboxes, I am still missing about 30. Considering I put out almost 140 of them in mailboxes this isn’t bad but I still need some. If you still need to sign it and have happened to have misplaced your original copy, you can find it at: \\sam\public$\pchs\StaffPublic\ (Otherwise known as the StaffPublic drive, R:). The deadline was the 1st of February but we’ll do what we can do to get them submitted. Please submit the completed forms to my mailbox or my desk and I’ll get them scanned and sent to District. Thank you for your continued assistance in this. (Next year it should be a part of the Account Provisioning so this should be a one-time thing).

Introduction to Technology Integration – If you’re interested in how technology has changed education and some ideas about how to integrate technology in your classroom check out this 5 minute video: http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction-video It does not bombard you with apps, programs, etc. Instead, it shows how teaching with technology can enhance learning and recognizes it as a TOOL rather than the be all, end all solution to education.

Failure is Mandatory – Much like I’ve read in several of the current books on 21st Century Skills and Education, a repeat theme is that failure should not be seen as a bad thing in students (it is not talking about receiving a ‘F’, it’s more about application of material and creative thinking). Without encouraging our students to take risks and challenge them they will be less likely to fail and learn from their mistakes. Check out this well written article about the theory at: http://edudemic.com/2013/02/failure-is-mandatory-creating-a-culture-of-innovation/

2013-02-01 Weekly IT Update

This Week:

Testing and Technology – Is testing still relevant?

School Printing – A Thing of the Past?

QR Codes – In the Classroom

Educational Technology – Advice from Teachers

Professional Development – Online Educational Technology Trainings

Free Educational eBooks – 5 Sites

 

Testing and Technology – Much like my belief in my PPCC courses, traditional testing is becoming a thing of the past. Even more so in the last couple of weeks with a couple of schools / educators refusing to issue standardized tests. But, the point of this blog is that it gives an example of how alternatives to traditional testing can both be successful in the classroom AND make your grading that much more interesting. Instead of having a single option for a project, the goal is to allow students to create material based on what they know. I won’t spoil it but there is some great advice in this blog posting at: http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/01/21/ive-got-99-problems-but-a-test-aint-one-by-nick-provenzano/

School Printing – With textbooks going digital, netbooks and tablets becoming more and more mainstream, and continual access to the cloud, is printing slowly going the way of the dodo? Recent reports have shown that the need to print is on the decline and that digital resources are booming. So, instead of printing that itinerary of a meeting, send it out in an E-mail and keep the paper for important things, like the bathroom. Take a look at this infographic for more on the current trends: http://edudemic.com/2013/01/will-school-printers-soon-be-a-thing-of-the-past/

QR Codes – Ever wonder how QR Codes can make a difference in your classroom? Take a look at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-qr-codes-in-classroom-monica-burns . From the site: “A Quick Response Code is a digital image that can be scanned without the beam of light needed to scan barcodes at the supermarket. It’s used in advertising and marketing for smartphone users. You may have seen QR codes on flyers, subway posters, brochures and even cereal boxes. They are often accompanied with a message that says, “For more information scan this code.” They can be scanned using one of the many free QR scanner apps available for smartphones and tablets. When you scan the code, you’ll be taken directly to a website.”

Educational Technology – For some interesting ideas and feedback about educational technology in the classroom, check out: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_ahead/wanted-tech-savvy-teachers/?cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS2 . The blog is rather lengthy but has some pretty cool ideas on how to use technology in the classroom including practical examples and activities. It is all in preparation of the upcoming Digital Learning Day (February 6th). Each suggestion / tip leads to the practical instead of using “technology for technology’s sake”. Take a look, there’s some good stuff to get motivated by.

Professional Development – An interesting site to take a look at is: http://training.fractuslearning.com/index.php which has begun offering online professional development for different educational technology tools. So far it looks like they have three courses available ranging from 1 to 3 hours of training. Right now they have Prezi for Use in Schools and the Classroom, Introduction to Social Media in Education, and an Introduction to Online Video and Screencasting. While the regular courses run around $39, there are free course samples to make sure you are interested in the material. These are some great methods of gaining skills in educational technologies.

Free Educational eBooks – If you’re looking for free sources for educational eBooks, look no further than this site: http://edudemic.com/2013/01/free-educational-ebooks/ . The site includes links to The Harvard Classics, Project Gutenberg, Bartleby, OER Commons, and the International Children’s Digital Library. All books are available and there is such a wide range it’s impossible to get in here. One cool one is Gray’s Anatomy at: http://bartleby.com/107/   (And, unlike the student who was just looking over my shoulder, it is NOT based on the TV show) Do enjoy!

2013-01-23 Weekly IT Update

This Week:

iPad Requirement – District Requirement

Laptop and Mobile Device Agreement – Before February 1st

Digital Literacy – Google Resources

Love of Learning – How to Sell It

 

iPad Requirement – Recent changes in iPad management at the District level now require each iPad to be registered on the network. Basically, this allows us to track and find stolen iPads, attach them to the ASD20 network (although most of you are already on the network), and help with software management. If I have E-mailed you about this and you have not brought me your iPad yet, please do so as this District requirement is due by February 1st. It takes approximately 2 – 3 minutes and requires a single login from you. Thank you for your consideration and assistance in this.

Laptop and Mobile Device Agreement – District staff members who are assigned the use of a district laptop computer or other mobile device and peripherals are responsible for care and basic maintenance of that equipment. This includes iPads, laptops, and any other mobile device. Agreement forms will be put in your mailboxes this week, please be sure to fill one out and return it to either my mailbox (Jason Rasmussen) or to Karen Place. Even if you do not currently use a mobile device or laptop, please look the form over and sign it (as it applies to checkout laptops and devices as well and needs to be on file for these purposes). This is a requirement from District so the due date is February 1st. Thank you for your cooperation in this.

Digital Literacy – Do you or your students get mixed up as to valid resources on the internet? Ever wonder what you can do about providing sites that are useful to everyone? Google has got an answer for you. The Search Education site at Google provides you with Lesson Plans and Activities tips on Power Searching, Live Trainings, and more. The Lesson Plans are even aligned with Standards making it easy to incorporate them into many different types of curricula. Take a look at: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/searcheducation/index.html

Love of Learning – In this article, the focus is upon how to get students to love learning and pay attention in class. It is focused upon Daniel Pink’s new book, To Sell is Human. I have started into one of Pink’s books at home and he does a good job of breaking down how people are motivated and what leads to their eventual success. Here’s a snippet from the article: “Jobs in education, Pink said in a recent interview, are all about moving other people, changing their behavior, like getting kids to pay attention in class; getting teens to understand they need to look at their future and to therefore study harder. At the center of all this persuasion is selling: educators are sellers of ideas.” For the full article check out: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/01/dan-pink-how-teachers-can-sell-love-of-learning-to-students