Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NSBA T+L / Seattle / Tech & Learning Award

City of SeattleImage via WikipediaI have had the opportunity to be in Seattle, WA the past 36 hours to attend the NSBA T+L conference. A huge thanks to Tech & Learning for the opportunity.

First, Seattle is an awesome town. I just wish I had the opportunity to spend more time here. I stayed at the Westin downtown (excellent recommendation) - with a great view of the Space Needle. I was able to walk around downtown today - explore a few luxury shops, drink some coffee from Starbucks and enjoy some fine dining and excellent micro brews.

The NSBA T+L conference had some quality sessions. I was able to attend a few sessions on Tuesday afternoon: net Trekker d.i., collaborative tools and the classroom and a session on server virtualization/consolidation (which I was able to provide information on what our district has done). I also browsed the exhibit hall and had the opportunity to speak with Infinite Campus CEO Charlie Kratsch - we discussed the ongoing implementation in KY and his continuing plans for evolving this tool.

Finally, the trip culminated with a reception by Tech & Learning, net Trekker d.i., Atomic Learning and Qwizdom. The reception was to honor educational technology leaders throughout the nation. I was extremely fortunate and humbled to be selected as one of the top four Leaders of the Year - the Administrator Leader of the Year. The other winners were outstanding and to be in the same room and the same group as them was quite an honor. Check out Tech and Learning's website for updates and hopefully a video stream of the reception.

Click here to view my Flickr photos from the trip.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Articles of Interest

Here are a few interesting ed tech reads I came across today:

Essential Strategies for Leading a Technology Department

Vista SP2 to release more beta...

20 websites you never realized you needed

Digital TV implications on school districts

Our state organization for technology leaders (KySTE) held an event yesterday for new CIOs in Frankfort, KY. The event was extremely successful with vendor partners, state leaders and veteran CIOs participating to share a wealth of knowledge on both technical and instructional items. Thanks to all for assisting in making this training a success!


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cool Tools

Math - Teacher EducationHere are two cool tools I came across today:

The first is a micro-blogging site that was built for use by teachers and students. Edmodo is a site that was built with student privacy in mind. It allows teachers and students to safely and securely share notes, links and files. Teachers also have the ability to send alerts, events and assignments to teachers.

I have evaluated this tool over the weekend and found it extremely user friendly and functional while providing excellent setup instructions for both teachers and students.

Teacher Setup Instructions

Student Setup Instructions

Edmodo also recently added a grading system and assignment turn-in feature.

This free tool provides all the necessary items for teachers and students to share, discuss, collaborate and extend the walls of learning beyond the classroom.

Click here for a brief video on how to use Edmodo. (Note: scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Another cool tool I came across this weekend is Remember the Milk. I was looking for an online place where I could store various pieces of information such as tasks, reminders, lists, etc. But I wanted other people to have access to these lists and be able to update them also. Remember the Milk is a great tool for iPhone users as it syncs with your iCalendar.

Click here for Remember the Milk's website.


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Social Networking

Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...I heard a comment the other day that teenagers now access social networking sites more than anything else (including adult sites). This has become the world they live in. Today's student uses Facebook, MySpace or one of the other up and coming sites to blog, post pictures, connect with friends and sometimes communicate with complete strangers. They put their most intimate details available for all the world to see. While I am a proponent of these sites and will continue to preach their value to education as a whole (as long as the users abide by the moral rules), there is one glarring topic I would like to address: Student / Teacher interaction on these sites.

While these sites are most popular with teenagers, there are many young teachers who are just recently out of college or grew up using these sites - who post their lives on the web as well. I have a MySpace page. While my page and its content is private and only available to my 97 friends, what if I received a friend request from a student at the high school or a player who I coached in soccer? This is where the line of social networking and education/schools needs to be drawn. While I believe these sites allow our students to be creative, communicate and share information - this type of interaction with their teachers, coaches or administrators is not acceptable. It should be the adults who are intelligent enough to communicate this expectation to their students. If our teachers emphasized the value of social networking, while also pointing out its potential dangers and barriers - I believe our students would embrace it.

Student / teacher interaction on social networking sites has made national news. A majority of the time it is the teacher who is the predator and seeking some sort of intimate interaction with his/her students. However, sometimes the interaction can be that of a student finding pictures, videos or other information about their teacher/coach/administrator that would be damning to someone's career. Educators must be intelligent about the information they place on these sites and ensuring they are secure for only friends to view.

Here is an interesting read w/ feedback about student/teacher relationships on social networking sites:


Here is an article that I read early today on eSchool News that prompted my post above.


Social Networking has transformed our ability to communicate, share and inform. Let's continue to educate our users (both young and old) on how to responsibly use this tool to enhance our daily lives.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Visionapp Remote Desktop

Terminal ServicesFor those of you who manage large numbers of computers on your network, a remote management tool can quickly become your best friend. While Windows Remote Desktop is nice and serves its purpose, it certainly does not provide you the organization, control and flexibility like Visionapp Remote Desktop.

I started using this application several months ago and would now confidently recommend it to all. This application has allowed me to organize my connections and open multiple remote desktop sessions within a single window (using tabs).

Click here for screen capture of Visionapp.

Click here to download Visionapp (free) for use in your environment. I am confident it will improve your organization and effectiveness for remote access.


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Saturday, October 4, 2008


My iPhone's Home ScreenAs my friend has provided updates on the use of his iPhone on his blog - http://techucation.tumblr.com/ - I figured I would provide an update on the use of my iPhone over the past 2 months.

  • While I have had people tell me to the contrary, I have been impressed with the battery life of my iPhone. On average I go 16-18 hours before charging and the battery still has life. I actually went nearly 36 hours one day before the phone died on me. (I just was curious how long it would last.)
  • App Store - I have found the App Store not only entertaining, but also providing tools useful for my job. Ping Lite, Remote Desktop Lite and Google have all been useful during the course of my business day. I have also used apps such as Brain Tuner, Sudoku and iWant for entertainment value. The neatest app I have came across thus far was shown to me last week and I just couldn't wait to download it - Zippo Lighter.
  • Keyboard - This was one of my initial concerns because of the keyboard being on the screen. However after a few days of typing and the phone starting to remember commonly used words I use - I was able to type as quickly as I used to on my Palm Treo 750.
  • Maps/GPS - I have used this feature several times while navigating in Nashville, TN, and while visiting friends in TN a couple of weeks ago. I was impressed with accuracy of the GPS as well as the iPhones ability to provide accurate directions to my requested location. Forget my request for Tom Tom for Christmas.
  • WiFi / 3G - When I use my phone connected to a WiFi (work, home, other location) or the 3G network (when I was in Nashville) - I could do anything (Safari, mail, iTunes, App Store, etc.) as quickly as I wanted to. This speed is as good as advertised. (See below for comments on the Edge network.)

  • Lacks of MMS messaging. I do find it inconvenient if I take photo and need to send it to someone - I have to use my email rather than text messaging.
  • Edge Network - while I do not live in a 3G area - it is slow to use my Internet, App Store and impossible to use iTunes.
  • Camera - I did expect a higher quality camera on the iPhone. While I am able to use this feature, I guess my expecations were for more megapixels.
Overall, this purchase has been one of best investments of the past few years. This phone is more than a phone - it is a tool that allows its owner to communicate, share, collaborate and create. The iPhone is the premier smartphone available on the market.


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