Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cool Tools and iPhone 3.0 Update

Surfer feelin' goodImage by Garry' via Flickr

Here are some cool tools that were shared with me this past week. I can see them having an impact in the classroom.

Livescribe - Never miss a word. A pen that recrods audio while you write. One of my building leaders showed this to me and he has been using it for meetings, discipline issues and ARC meetings.

EtherPad - Real time collaboration. Multiple people working on the same document, etc. at the same time. Be sure to view the screencast on this.

Firefox's Fast Dial - great way to oraganize multiple views / windows within your browser.

iPhone 3.0 Update: here is the official preview of the 3.0 software update. Watch the keynote presentation to get all the details.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 16, 2009

iPhone 3.0

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Rumors are that the iPhone 3.0 software will have MMS, Copy and Paste and Tethering (allowing you to share your iPhone's Internet Connection with your laptop). As a faithful iPhone user, let's hope these rumors are true. These much needed updates would provide the cutting edge device a more solid foundation with its other Smart Phone competitors.

Click here for more information about the iPhone 3.0 update.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Cloud Computing Resources

Old NewsImage by ...-Wink-... via Flickr

As the words "Cloud Computing" continue to become a household phrase, there are still many people asking - what exactly is Cloud Computing? I have compiled some resources to assist with that question:

I believe the question is why shouldn't be incorporate cloud computing solutions into our environment? Are they more cost effective? Right now - yes. Do we have the infrastructure to support it? Yes. Are these tools being used by our users outside of the K-12 environment? Yes.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, March 5, 2009


An illustration based on :Image:Voip HowItWork...Image via Wikipedia

Our district is in the early stages of evaluating VOIP and its overall value to our organization. The initial conversations have revolved around reducing long distance costs, leveraging our wireless infrastructure to reduce cellular plans and voicemail for all users. (Note: our infastructure is more than capable of supporting VOIP in our current environment.)

It is a must we are able to utilize existing handsets, in order to keep costs minimal initially. I forsee power users requesting IP phones, or simply preferring to use the soft phone on their PC.

I am at the point in this project that I cannot find a reason to move forward and continue the conversations with vendors willing to engage. Are there other school districts / small businesses out there that have implemented VOIP recently and would comment on its value? What cost savings did you see? What features / functionality do your users have now that they didn't before?


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Content Filtering

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...Image via Wikipedia

The conversation on content filtering has been a hot topic in our region and my district. This post is not going to focus specifically on any piece of hardware or software, but more the philosophical view of content filtering. I encourage you to read my opinions (which are my personal opinions) and leave yours below.

I believe it is the role of the school CIO to provide CIPA compliant filtering; blocking pornography and other hard core non-educational items. It is NOT our role to block every site that is non-educational. Currently our system is setup to block content by keywords (sex, bomb, etc.) and this can sometimes cause educational related sites to be blocked.

The question becomes...why should we limit the content our students are able to view? Shouldn't we allow them to learn, explore and share information without being hindered by filtering appliances? (Again...obviously blocking the hardcore and extremely inappropriate / non-educational content.) If students were allowed to freely, safely and securely browse the web - finding the content they needed, imagine the improved productivity both of the student and the teacher.

I do believe part of the teachers responsibility is classroom management. As a former classroom teacher who taught in a lab environment, I made it a priority of mine to always be aware of what my students were doing on their computers. I did this not only by observation and movement throughout the classroom, but also utilizing software such as Syncroneyes. If the classroom teacher makes classroom management a priority, then those sites that can slip through the cracks are quickly remedied by communication from the teacher to the district.

Our district will continue to refine our process of content filtering, ensuring that any and all appropriate and educational related sites are available to our students. We will also continue to take the necessary steps to ensure all inappropriate content is blocked.

What are your thoughts on content filtering? What should we or shouldn't we allow our students to see?


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]