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Last update: 2013-06-24

Virtual Manipulatives #iste13

2013-06-24 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

What a fascinating opportunity to listen to the topic of virtual manipulatives and the research on using them to enhance math instruction in the classroom! The presenters include Julie McCleod and Mary Jo Dondlinger.


Here are some of the slides they shared, which include some links to virtual manipulatives:













Neat slide that reflects the placement of virtual manipulative web sites (which use Flash BTW, so not sure if this would work well on iPad without Photon or Puffin browser):



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Keep It Simple: Yet Another Wrap-Up of Privacy Tools

2013-06-22 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

...as one former NSA official noted, "You have to assume everything is being collected." (Read More)
Source: http://goo.gl/zTZNII'm not willing to trade privacy (defined by people being able to read all my confidential data, communications) for security.

As much interest I have in encrypting confidential communications and data that K-12 schools are involved in, there seems little point in attempting to do so under the full scale assault of governments--American and British--tapping into the Internet pipe via PRISM, MAINWAY,MARINA, and NUCLEON, as well as their foreign counterparts . You'd think that with all that computing firepower, they'd be able to bring about the "world peace" equivalent when it comes to identity theft!

Not only that, but that encrypted communications can actually be archived and kept LONGER than unencrypted ones...well, that's too much. 
...specifically to encrypted information, allowing it to gather the data regardless of its U.S. or foreign origin and to hold it for as long as it takes to crack the data’s privacy protections.
The agency can collect and indefinitely keep any information gathered for “cryptanalytic, traffic analysis, or signal exploitation purposes,” according to the leaked “minimization procedures” meant to restrict NSA surveillance of Americans. ”Such communications can be retained for a period sufficient to allow thorough exploitation and to permit access to data that are, or are reasonably believed likely to become, relevant to a future foreign intelligence requirement,” the procedures read. (Read more)
Worse, if you're using a Windows computer (switch to Linux or Mac), then there's a definite certainty that you are being spied upon:
A CARELESS mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency have been secretly built into Windows. The NSA access system is built into every version of the Windows operating system now in use - See more at: http://therebel.org/stone/655776-full-nsa-access-built-into-every-windows-os-since-1997#sthash.dz5TpuZ6.dpuf
Those facts aside--that EVERY communication we participate in is being archived and that encrypted communications are being kept indefinitely just in case--I'd like to encourage EVERYONE to use encryption for their communications, storing files on cloud storage, etc. Send a message to the President of the United States, to the National Security Peepshow Agency. And, it's still important to protect confidential data.

My go to security tools include the following; I've included my advice at the end of each section with a short wrap-up at the end:

Password Protection - Keep track of passwords in a secure way.Use Secure Passwords - Both KeepassX.org and Secure Password Generator can create high quality passwords. Take advantage of this.KeepassX - This is my favorite password tracking tool. You can save the file on Dropbox--but you don't have to--then access it from any device (e.g. iPad, Android, Mac/Win/Linux computer). It's no-cost, free open source, and your passwords are encrypted by a single password.1Password - If you aren't afraid to spend money and save your passwords in the cloud, then this may be the solution for you. They just beefed up their encryption to protect against the NSA.Advice: Use KeepassX...please don't store your critical info in GoogleDocs.File Encryption - Protect sensitive files/documents.Secure Space Encryptor (SSE) - This works great on Android and Win/Mac/Linux computers with its java equivalent. It's my new go-to tool because it not only lets you encrypt individual files, it also can handle folders! On Android, you can also encrypt text messages, which is great!AESCrypt.com - Another phenomenal encryption tool that works at the command line and has a nice GUI. You can use it on Mac, Win, Linux computers and with Crypt4All Android app (slightly limited).Truecrypt.org - This is different than the two previous products, since you essentially create a "box" and drop all your confidential files in that. Works great, easy, and should be used in combination with one of the other solutions.Advice:  My advice is to go with SSE and TrueCrypt for a winning combination. If you use Dropbox, Box.net, then any one of the solutions above would work for you. For individuals, you might also consider Boxcryptor. A Windows only no-cost solution is EncryptFiles.Email Encryption - Encrypt the text of your emailsMailvelope - This is my go-to text encryption add-on for Firefox and Chrome browsers. If you're using Thunderbird email client, you'll want to use probably use Enigmail. Both solutions require knowledge of GPG/PGP public/private key encryption and probably will not be a good solution for most people who aren't serious about encryption.Get a copy of Fourmilab's Javascript that does text encryption for you...you can save the page to your computer (right-click and save link as) and use it on your own computer. Encryption uses AES-256 algorithm.Advice: Type your message, save it to a document, encrypt the document using SSE File Encryption and email that as an attachment or share it as an anonymous attachment through a solution like TransferBigFiles.com or YouSendIt.com. Protect Your Browsing Habits - Try to keep where you go online to yourself.Use extensions like HTTPS Everywhere.Virtual Private Network (VPN) - You'll want to take advantage of  a VPN. Read these articles to get some background info. Or, setup your own.Tor Browser Project - Take advantage of the TOR Browser Project. It protects your location. The Onion Router (TOR) Project makes it easy to surf anonymously. Read their explanation for more information. There are iPad, Android apps you can use for "tor" or "The Onion Router."DuckDuckGo - This is one of those browsers that doesn't track  you. Turn Off Google History. Advice: Ugh, this is tough to keep up consistently so be prepared to spend a lot of time on this one. Be sure to Trace Your Online Shadow.
If we continue to permit this, the ultimate fault and blame will not be with our government or our leaders, but rather with ourselves. (Read More)
RECOMMENDATIONS:
The most flexible solutions for me include the following:For encrypting email messages, take advantage of youFourmilab's web page on your own computer or server to encrypt text messages. Use secure passwords.For files/folders, take advantage of Secure Space Encryptor (SSE) tool, and, if you don't want people to glean information from the filenames, use Truecrypt.org. Save all your passwords in KeepassX.Use Tor Browser Project to protect your location; it comes with HTTPS Everywhere.All these solutions take advantage of AES-256 encryption.

Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Be an App Smasher #iste13 #ipaded #ipad #iplza13

2013-06-22 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Notes: Here is the final draft of materials for an app smashing session I facilitated earlier this month in one blog entry. What is so delightful are the products teachers created, of which only a small sample has been placed immediately below (the other products include multimedia ePubs created with Book Creator app, and comics created with Strip Designer). Kudos to them for their first time efforts!

Teacher Projects (video only)
Animal Crackers on Parade (absolutely hilarious)Nightmare on Sinclair RoadThese were developed by teachers participated in a local school district's EC3 Program, which happens to use iPads to enhance teaching and learning. You can find Mary Ray's (@mray29) overview of the EC3 program online; she shared it at iPadPalooza 2013 Conference last week.

Are YOU an App Smasher?Be an App Smasher!Agenda 

Morning

1. Getting Comfortable with the Apps: Level 1 and Level 2 Apps2. Overview of App Smashing3. Writing Workshop - Digital Poetry with Kenneth Koch
4. Publish your app smashed creation

Part 1 - Getting Comfortable with the Apps


Image Source: http://senecacopyright.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/clip-art00201.jpg
Divide up into 7 groups and explore an app (either  Level 1 or Level 2) of your choice.Pick your team liason and send them to see Miguel.After playing around with the app, create a cartoon, slideshow or audio-enhanced image presentation that introduces the audience/viewer/reader to what the app's best features are (in your opinion). Have fun! You will have approximately 30-40 minutes.Be prepared to share that presentation with the group.If you really want to enhance your presentation, share a quick brainstorm of how you might use this in the classroom with your students.Level 1 - Photo/Video Creation Apps

Download Links (if you need them):
Camera RollSkitch30HandsHaiku DeckStrip Designer
Level 2 Apps
Level 2 - Photo/Video Creation Apps

Get the App:
Explain EverythingBook CreatoriMovie

Part 2 - App Smashing Overview
Additional Resources
Watch this short video walkthrough via ECTV or DropboxMini-Lesson - Interview with a Beautiful Creature 
(Duration: 5-10 minutes)

App smashing2 from Miguel Guhlin
Examples*Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? - Watch via ECTV or DropboxButterfly, Does the Blue Fire? | Sample Teacher Feedback (really weak!)*Note: These examples are hosted on Dropbox. If viewing on an ECISD device, make sure to authenticate as a teacher first.
Independent Writing - Writing Your Own Interview with a Creature(Duration: 20-30 minutes)
 â€œImagine you are talking to a mysterious and beautiful creature and you can speak its secret language, and you can ask it anything you want.”


Conferencing(During independent writing)

SharingUpload your creation to Edmodo, either the video or the link.
Note: Find out more about the Structure of a Writer's Workshop








Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Constructing eLearning Environments

2013-06-21 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Note: This is a revised article...2nd edition I suppose (smile).

Constructing eLearning Environments

Creative Commons (ShareAlike-NonCommercial-Attribution) Copyright 2013 Miguel Guhlin

"A habitude," shares Angela Maiers in her new book, Classroom Habitudes (http://www.lulu.com/content/4903951), "is the combination of habits and attitudes." Angela makes the point that as teachers, we often work from checklists. Instead she challenges her readers by asking, "Is the checklist we operate from, our scope and sequence of traditional; skills and lessons, enough for our students to invent, create, collaborate, and solve their own problems?" The 6 habitudes, according to Angela, include imagination, curiousity, perseverance, self-awareness, courage, and adaptability. Online learning environments seem to bring out some of these habitudes.

In an Introduction to Online Learning course I  facilitated, here are 3 comments participants--some of whom had never participated in online learning--made and include the following:

"I realized that online learning gives those of us who work opportunities for continued education at our own time and pace.""I know that I am an independent learner, but I also know that I am one to respond positively through active conversation with others. I felt that the only way to do that was in a traditional classroom; now I understand that I can have that active conversation through others' comments and postings.""This introductory course has greatly influenced how I feel about online learning. Although I was very nervous at first it has clearly given me the self confindence to take on a course of this nature. In addition this course has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences and evaluate those skills I already had. I encourage anyone who is skeptical about an online course to embrace it with open arms and reap the benefits it has to offer."
For each of these participants, there was a checklist about teaching and learning that they were working from. Such a checklist might be:
Traditional face to face workshops are the only way to learn.I would not do well in an online learning environment because I am not that tech-savvy.When you are online, you lose the affect of a conversation, you are distanced from other people.Old habits have, perhaps, predisposed us to learning a certain way, or worse, limiting our understanding of what we believe we can do. This article seeks to share my perspective towards online learning environments in K-12 school districts. It is a practitioner's perspective and I suggest to you that learning online embodies the habitudes of lifelong learners.

QUESTIONS THIS ARTICLE ADDRESSES
As director of  technology, I have had the opportunity to set in place several Moodles, Edmodos, and wiki-based courses. Online learning is critical to our future, both for adults and children in K-12. I'd like to see a series of courses that go beyond how to design online learning--although that is certainly essential--to how to best manage resources to facilitate and enable online learning. As an administrator growing his own program, what planning do I need to put in place to ensure success for learners in K-12 environment?
MANAGING YOUR eLearning Environment

"What is your vision for professional learning in the District?" It is a question that I have constantly asked myself. Now that I know how to setup a learning management system that allows you to facilitate online courses for literate learners ofhttps://sites.google.com/site/elearningmaps/resources/constructing-online-learning-environments all ages--how can I combine what I know with what I want to do? I imagine online learning environments that scaffold both adult and K-12 learners as they learn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. First, let's consider what research has to say about professional learning:

Research (http://www.srnleads.org/resources/publications/nsdc.html) shows that "professional learning can have a powerful effect on teacher skills and knowledge and on student learning." Unfortunately, most teachers who need 50+ hours of professional learning around relevant topics only get 16 hours of irrelevant professional learning. The report goes on to say that for professional learning to be effective, it must meet 3 criteria.

Professional learning must be 1) Sustained, 2) Focused on important content, and 3) embedded in the work of collaborative professional learning teams that support ongoing improvements in teachers’ practice and student achievement. How do you achieve this?

Modern LMSs (e.g. Moodle, Edmodo, Wiki+Discussion Board) allows one to create a virtual learning space, yet what happens in that space is even more critical than what happens in physical space. When I try to imagine what online professional learning looks like in K-12 schools for adult learners, I find myself staggering from vendor to vendor, seeking what might work. For example, in an urban school district I worked in, I found that PBS Capstone's program was too difficult for the majority of the teachers who began the program. 

Although a minority of teachers completed the year and half long program, the majority dropped out citing the intensity of the program. What good is rigor if you lose the class? It's a question every teacher struggles with. Instead, we realized we needed to scaffold our teachers' learning and growth online. It has been the right decision for us but it may not be for district staff more experienced with online learning.

Here is what our trial-n-error yielded as a possible approach:
Get staff certified as Online Learning Facilitators - this enables staff to better understand what is involved in facilitating an online course and gives you a standard framework to work from when designing a course. This is an ongoing process and I would select online certification/learning courses that are specific to your State or culture.Construct an Introduction to Online Learning course--about a week long--that can be used as a pre-requisite for teachers who have never experienced online professional learning before. This enables everyone to start from a common perspective, building familiarity with learning management system (which becomes your district standard) and opening teachers' eyes to power of a collaborative professional learning. No incentive for completion of this course except 6 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) and/or gifted and talented (GT) credit hours. If a teacher does not pass the course, they can take it up to three more times. Pass rate for this course is about 98%.Implement a technology integration lead teacher program that grants incentives such as an iPad, a 10 week online LOTI Lead Teacher course (affordable courses!), and the opportunity to develop a Level 5 technology integrated lesson.Purchase online courses that are relevant to teachers' practice in ways that are relevant to the focus of your District. Since my focus is technology integration, I sought out courses that are relevant to achieving the Texas ePlan:PBS TeacherLine courses--available for a variety of areas, not just "technology"--for deployment in your district. These courses are 30 hours each, can be converted to Moodle format and deployed in your district. My district purchased 90 hours of content--3 courses--with unlimited rights and had them converted to Moodle format. Our goal is license the content for two years at minimum and offer the 30 hour courses in smaller bites. This is necessary because PBS TeacherLine courses, which run for 6 weeks each, are fairly intensive.LOTI Lead Teacher courses, which last 10-weeks, enable you to gradually ease teachers into the online learning environment. Frankly, teachers in my experience--myself included--have little stamina for length online courses. LOTI enables you to have conversations about learning and technology over an extended period of time without the rigor of a PBS TeacherLine course, which can be frightening for newbies. Furthermore, the LOTI (levels of teaching innovation) Lead Teacher course discusses how to "harness the power of your existing programs into one united effort to assess, plan, implement, and sustain a systems approach to improved student achievement using 21st Century teaching, learning and leadership." This can put online learning into perspective.Third party how-to online learning experiences are widely available. Whether you use InfoSource Learning's content, or Atomic Learning, the question to ask yourself is, "How easy is it to plug-n-play these technologies into my Moodle?" Will I be able to embed content from these tutorial web sites into my Moodle or will participants find themselves having to log-in to yet another system? It is this last question that encourages me to consider the next option.Create your own online courses. When I started creating courses, I found myself wondering, "Where are the templates for designing an online course? What are the standards?" Like any teacher developing a lesson, I wanted some framework, a checklist to follow. I recently had the opportunity to review an online course developed by another district on an important subject. I was disappointed at the design of the course. As a result, I spent some time working with two of my team who are actively developing their own courses for use in the District. We set out to developing and revising an Introduction to Online Learning course that truly reflected the values we had learned going through Online Facilitator Training. Our course design is modular (course content and activities like forums, assignments organized by topic), features a syllabus, assignment checklist, and is multi-modal (featuring videos, audio, and text). As we worked collaboratively to revise and design new courses together, it has been helpful to have a set of internal standards to adhere to.
When first launching a learning management system, I was tempted to have one-stop shopping for courses and content. There would be ONE place to find everything. This was as a result of my experience as an electronic bulletin board system assistant systems operator (SYSOP). I had noticed that dividing up your discussion area into too many ways diffused discussion. I have since realized that this approach of clumping things will not work well.

For example, we had professional learning for adults, support areas for groups in the District, and K-12 students. As a result, I sought to re-organize our approach to  into fundamental areas, expanding on the recommendations of my team:

Professional Learning Center (PLC) - This is where adult learners can participate in either instructor-led or self-paced, 100% online courses and earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) and/or Gifted and Talented credit hours. The GT credit hours are done in collaboration with our district's Advanced Academic Services Office, and the partnership with them has been well worth the investment of getting their staff trained in online learning.K-12 Open Campus - The Open Campus, the title the idea of Sue Harris, facilitates 26 teachers (and growing quickly) as well as impacts 1,000+ students who are participating in online literature circles, classroom specific courses being facilitated by teachers, and more.iTech - This is the Technology Center, a place where support areas and online communities for technology department initiatives are facilitated.
Finally, it is critical to develop and codify a standard approach to course development. Failure to do so means that everyone will develop willy-nilly, ensuring that end-user experiences will not be as productive, as reflective as they could be. A clean window lets us see the light rather than obscures it. So should it be with online courses. Of course, this is my perspective.

One of the most important steps that needs to be taken in is building capacity among curriculum and instruction department staff. It is critical because professional development needs are rising quickly and two curriculum specialists can reach many more people over a sustained period of time--which is more effective for professional development than the drive-by face to face workshops that characterize K-12 professional development--via online learning.

To accomplish that, we need to develop our own district culture specific courses, including the following:
How to Facilitate Online Courses in Our DistrictHow to Develop Online Courses in Our DistrictThe purpose of these two courses is to build capacity in our district teacher specialists to facilitate professional learning opportunities, as well as learn how to develop online courses around content that is important to the District. 
CONCLUSION
Occasionally, one encounters complaints from teachers like this one:

Our tech director refuses to even consider #NameOfanLMS as a resource. He won't unblock it or let me use it with students. How would you respond to those concerns?
We need to embrace fresh habits and attitudes--or as Angela puts it, Habitudes--of imagination, courage, self-awareness, adaptability and perseverance. Implementing online learning environments in K-12 school districts requires cultivating "elearning habitudes" in ourselves and others. After all, online learning--whether hybrid, or 100% online--is a reality whose time has come.


About the AuthorAs director of technology for a school district in Texas, past president of the state-wide Technology Education Coordinators group in one of the largest U.S. technology educator organizations (TCEA), Miguel Guhlin continues to model the use of emerging technologies in schools. You can read his published writing or engage him in conversation via his blog at Around the Corner.

Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Old Friends, Fresh Reflections

2013-06-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Caption: Isn't that an awesome team? Instructional Technology
Left to Right: Stephanie Zunker, Mary Ray, Marguerite Lowak, and Miguel Guhlin

Yesterday at iPadPalooza 2013, I had the good fortune to encounter the "Mother of TA:TEKS." For the unenlightened, Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TA:TEKS) were going to change the world, clearly articulating a vision for what children in Texas needed to learn to use technology effectively in an ever-changing world.

The chairperson for the committee that authored the TA:TEKS was Patsy Lanclos, a technology director that left the field in glory only to return in her next incarnation as a knowledge architect and education consultant. And, she pointed out to me, has authored at least 5 books on the subject of Apple devices in schools.
In the image below, you can see our chance encounter prompted me to see if I could play an old joke on Patsy, mainly that of introducing her as the Mother of TA:TEKS. My thanks to Mary Ray (prime mover of the EdCampSA.com along with Marguerite Lowak, Dr. Roland Rios) for playing along in joshing a dear friend.


Image (Left to right): Gail Lovely (also a welcome surprise), Mary Ray (standing), and Patsy Lanclos (seated)

As Patsy and I caught up, I found myself sharing with her the value of Crucial Conversation and what's it has meant in my work. I'm quick to point out that I never attended the Crucial Conversations/Confrontations training, learning from the books I'd read and the conversations I had. Over time, I've realized that while these books are very helpful to me, for others, they may not be. After all, one's brain absorbs what it needs or thinks it needs, and that's true in this case.

Some of my favorite take-aways from the books, I keep written in memo pad that I carry around with me.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION
Whenever I believe I'll be having a crucial conversation/confrontation, or simply want to review, I revisit my notes...the following is my "cheat sheet" so I don't have to read the books over again. However, I would definitely encourage you to visit Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble (bn.com) and pick up copies of these powerful books, Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations.
The authors also have some other titles worth checking out, such as Influencers. I encourage you to take these books a bit at a time and practice their principles in your daily work, whether you are a manager or CEO. This stuff is gold but it's so easy to skip over it with the mistaken perception that "Oh, this is common sense or I already do this." You may think you do, but I encourage you to try "the formula" for crucial conversations.
As I shared with Patsy Lanclos yesterday, I honestly wish I'd read these book a decade or more ago. They would have profoundly changed how I interact with others. Ah well, we get wiser as we get older if we're fortunate.
In the meantime, here are my notes from the books...any mistakes are my own.
Crucial Conversations
--What do I really want? For myself? For others?
--How would I behave if I really wanted those results?

AND
1) Clarify what you really want
2) Clarify what you really don't want.
3) Present your brain with a more complex problem.

SILENCE
Masking - understating/selectively showing our true opinions...Sarcasm, sugarcoating, couching.

Avoiding - Steering completely away from sensitive subjects. Don't address real issues.

Withdrawing - Pull-out of conversation completely.

VIOLENCE
Any verbal strategy that attempts to convince, control or compel others.

Controlling -  Coercing others to your way of thinking. Cutting others off, overstating your facts, speaking in absolutes, changing subjects, asking directive question.

Labelling - Putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category.

Attacking - Being belittling and threatening.

SAFETY
When you look around, evaluate conditions and realize that it doesn't feel safe, take these steps:
• Step Out.
•Make it safe then step back into the flow of conversation.

One way to accomplish that:

"Can we change gears for a minute? It would be good if we could both share what's working and what isn't. My goal isn't to make you feel guilty, and I certainly don't want to become defensive. What I'd really love is for us to come up with a solution."

Conditions of Safety
1) Mutual Purpose: 
• Do others believe I care about their goals in this conversation?
• Do they trust my motives?

2) Mutual Respect:
• Do others believe I respect them?
• What are ways in which we are similar?

To rebuild mutual purpose or mutual respect, use 3 skills:
• Apologize - When you've made a mistake thhat has hurt others, start with a sincere apology.
• Contrast - Contrasting is a don't/do statement that:
1. Addresses others' concerns that you don't respect them or that you have a malicious purpose.
2. Confirms your respect or clarifies your real purpose.
"Let me put this in perspective. I don't want you to think I'm not satisfied with the quality of your work. I really do think you're doing a good job. This punctuality issue is important to me, and I'd just like you to work on that. If you will be more attentive to that, there are no other issues."
• Create a mutual purpose: Use the following 4 skills to create mutual purpose:
1. Commit to seek mutual purpose.
2. Recognize purpose behind strategy.
3. Invent a mutual purpose
4. Brainstorm new strategies.

Four approaches:
1) Make a unilateral public commitment to stay in the conversation until you come up with something that serves everyone.
2) Ask people why they want what they're pushing for.
3) If after clarifying everyone's purpose, you are still at odds, see if you can't invent a higher or longer-term purpose that is more motivating than the ones that keep you in conflict.
4) With a clear mutual purpose, you can join forces in searching for a solution that serves everyone.

Retrace Your Path to Action
1) Act - Notice your behavior. Am I in some form of silence or violence?
2) Feel - What emotions are encouraging me to act this way?
3) Tell Story - What story is creating these emotions?
4) See/Hear - What evidence do I have to support this story?

Types of Stories
• Victim - Not my fault
• Villain - All your fault
• Helpless - Nothing else I can do.

Flip the Clever Story:
• Am I pretending not to notice my role in the problem?
• Why would a reasonable, rational decent person do what this person is doing?
• What do I really want? For me? For others? For the relationship?
• What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?

Contrasting Statements
"I know this is difficult and I don't want to upset you; I just want to make sure we consider everything we area dealing with."

Tentative Statements
"I'm beginning to feel that you are an upset with me. Did I do something to make you angry?"

STATE
Share your facts
Tell your story
Ask for others' paths
Talk tentatively
Encourage testing.

Talking tentatively means that we tell our story as a story rather than disguising it as a hard fact.

Examples:
Perhaps you are unaware...
In my opinion....
I'm beginning to wonder if...
I'm starting to feel like you...

Invite Opposing Views
• What am I missing here? I'd really like to hear the other side of the story?

Mean It
• "I know people have been reluctant to speak up about this, but I would really love to hear from everyone."
• "I know there are at least 2 sides to this story. Could we hear differing views now? What problems could this decision cause us?"

Model Disagreeing
• "Maybe I'm wrong here. What if the opposite is true?"

Share your facts.
Tell your story
Ask for other's paths.
Talk tentatiely Encourage testing.

1) Learn to look beyond content to conditions.
2) Tone down your approach.
3) Catch Yourself.

Share Your Facts
Start with the least controversial, most persuasive elements from your path to action.

Tell Your Story
Explain what you're beginning to conclude.

Ask for other's paths.
Encourage others to share both their facts and their stories.

Talk tentatively
State your story as a story--don't disguise it as a fact.

Encourage Testing
Make it safe for others to express differing/opposing views.

Try AMPP approach
Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase, Prime.

Mirroring is most useful when another person's tone of voice or gestures are inconsistent with his or her words. Some examples:
• You say you're OK, but by the tone of your voice, you seem upset.
• You seem angry at me.
• You look nervous about confronting him. Are you sure you're willing to do it?

If you do disagree, compare your path with the other person's. Rather than suggesting that he or she is wrong, suggest that you differ. Start with a tentative but candid opening such as:
"I think I see things differently. Let me describe how."

Agree when you agree. Build when others leave out key pieces. Compare when you differ.

Ask:  Start by simply expressing interest in the other person's views.
Mirror: Increase safety by respectfully acknowledging the emotions people appear to be feeling.
Paraphrase: As others begin to share part of their story, restate what you've heard to show not just that you understand, but also that it's safe for them to share what they're thinking.
Prime: If others continue to hold back, prime. Take your best guess at what they may be thinking and feeling.

As you begin to share your views, remember to agree when you share views, build when others leave something out, agree where you share views then build. And, compare. When you do differ significantly, don't suggest others are wrong. Compare your two views.

ON MEETINGS
When teams meet and generate a host of ideas, they often fail to convert the ideas into action for two reasons:
• They have unclear expectations about how decisions will be made.
• They do a poor job acting on the decisions they do make.

Four common ways to make decisions:
• Command
• Consult
• Voe
• Consensus
Suggestions for leaders:
• Make a list of some of the important decisions made. Then, discover how each decision is currently made and how each decision should be made--using the 4 question method:
1) Who cares?
2) Who knows?
3) Who must agree?
4) How many people is it worth involving?
After discussing each decision, decide how you will make decisions in the future...make sure to ask, who does what by when? How will you follow up?
Talking: "I'd like to talk about something that's getting in the way of my working with you. It's a tough issue to bring up, but I think it'll help us be better teammates if I do. Is that OK? [Describe issue then...] I'd thought I'd bring these up because they send a message that makes me uncomfortable. How do you see it?"
Learn to look for patterns, don't focus exclusively on a single event. Practice CPR:
For first incident, focus on content.
For second incident, identify the pattern.
For the third or more, talk about how repeated pattern affects relationships.

Crucial Conversations

“Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand. This unique combination of thoughts and feelings makes up our personal pool of meaning. This pool not only informs us but also propels our ever action.”“When two or more of us enter crucial conversations, by definition we don’t share the same pool. Our opinions differ. I believe one thing, you another. I have one history, you another.”“People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool—even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open. The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more committed action later on.”

Don’t fall prey to a Sucker’s Choice. A Sucker’s Choice is a this or a that, an either / or … etc. The assumption is that you have to trade one thing for another.Find an “and” solution over “either / or“. Find a way to have it both ways. Challenge yourself to seek the higher ground.Know what you want and what you don’t want. Stating what you want and don’t want are powerful because they clarify your intentions. Clarifying what you don’t want can be particularly powerful because of the principle of contrast. It can can also help take away perceived threats. Clarifying intentions is an important step because it’s easy to get lost in the content and lose sight of the real intentions. Your intentions guide you through your dialogue.
Crucial Confrontations



When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they'll hold it well.If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it's likely there's another more important problem you need to address.CPR = 
Content-what happened; Pattern- what has been happening over time; Relationship - What's happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it's that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. "This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don't like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can't trust you to keep the agreements you make."People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don't respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don't care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don't mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.AMPP = Ask to get the conversation rolling; Mirror to Encourage; Paraphrase for understanding; Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN - Follow-up

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Twitter Hashtag Magic - An Example @diben #edtechchat @twubs

2013-06-19 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Next week at ISTE 2013, lead presenter Diana Benner and I will be engaging the audience of 152 participants with a problem and approaching it from a Problem-based Learning angle a la PBL-Enhanced Professional Learning.


Unfortunately, there are going to be a LOT more people in the room than we counted on--150+. Wow. Here's how the PBL enhanced lesson works:
Introduce folks to the Problem via a video, a scenario they read or have read to them.Share that to solve the problem, we're going to go through a few steps.Hunches - In large group, ask participants to share their guesses about what's happening in the scenario.Identify What We Know - Focus on identifying--in the text--what we actually know about what's happening.Identify What We Need to Know - Identify what we need to know to help them solve this problem.Take the questions formulated in Step 3 and prioritize them according to importance.Identify stakeholders and then divide large group into stakeholders to respond to questions that are stakeholder specific.Stakeholder groups develop solution from their unique perspective, then share back with the group.That's pretty much the process in a nutshell. With only an hour to do this, chances are, we'll probably only use the problem engagement to identify questions and stakeholders. The solutions, we hope will come from the resulting interaction.
One of the challenges with such a large (150+!!!) group is collecting responses so they are meaningful. An approach that dawned on me was to take advantage of Twitter and hashtags (read how to do it here) to capture responses. These responses to hunches, what we know, what we need to know in the form of questions, can be organized in a table.
To organize the hashtags as a table, we'd need to embed those hashtag searches. Twub.com makes that possible, as you can see from the image at the top of this blog entry.
What do you think? Crazy?


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Terrible Twits: Stream Those Hashtag Tweets on One Page with @Twubs #ipdlza13 #iste13 #edtechchat #ectobuzz

2013-06-19 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



A nice press release from the Twubs folks...the place to go to easily manage hashtags and searches. I have to admit to some level of irritation at Twitter for nuking their API which makes it possible for 3rd parties to connect, including ones as friendly as Monitter.com and others that are swiftly fading from memory. What causes the irritation, you ask? The fact that Twitter did not make a web gadget that offers the same functionality as a site like Monitter. That functionality includes multi-column view of Twitter searches--as well as RSS feeds based on Twitter searches--that you can easily embed in a web site.

As terrible as that news is, it's old hat. In the meantime, we can take advantage of Twubs.com, which offers the ability to search on a tag and embed that search in a page...for example, a search #ipdlza13 for iPadPalooza 2013 Conference ends up like this:




But what if you wanted to see several columns of hashtag searches? Try this...create a table using a free app like Kompozer (or GoogleDocs) then paste in the embed code for a hashtag from Twubs.com...here's where you can find the embed code for each of the hashtags represented in the table below...be sure to replace the bold hashtag with your own choice!

http://twubs.com/ipdlza13/embedhttp://twubs.com/edtechchat/embedhttp://twubs.com/iste13/embed
#ipdlza13#edtechchat#iste13#ipdlza13
#edtechchat
#iste13



New Free Tool: Host Awesome Twitter ChatsWe are so delighted to connect with you! We recently launched a new Twitter Chat tool that we thought would excite you. This FREE tool allows you to engage your audience by hosting moderated Twitter Chats. Use the following today:Brand your page with your logo, graphics, and colors. Messages from hosts are visually separated to make the conversation flow dynamically.Two powerful words: SPAM Blocking!!Embed your Twitter Chat feed.Easily view chat contributors.... and more!Learn More about Twitter Chats »Make sure your chat is listed in our new Chat Directory: http://twubs.com/twitter-chats
In case you did not see our recent front page article on Mashable.com, check it out here: http://mashable.com/2013/06/12/twitter-chat-management

This is only the beginning! For this launch, we simply added features. We have a completely new chat solution coming in the next couple of months that will reinvent Twitter Chat.


For help and more information, definitely watch our "How To" video: http://www.twubs.com/twitter-chats/aboutLastly, if you have ANY ideas, curiosities, questions, concerns, or just want to say hello, please email us at contact@twubs.com. We greatly value your feedback.Learn More about Twitter Chats Â»


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Copying Music Off #iPad

2013-06-19 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



A colleague recently asked me the following:

I recently moved from the UK to the US. When I tried to sync my music, iTunes wiped out all my music on my iPad. Instead of copying the music from my iPad to my computer, it removed all the songs off my iPad. What can I do with my other iPad that has my music collection so I don't lose it?

Here's one response:
Thank you for sharing your interest in getting music off your iPad without using iTunes (because it wipes your iPad). 

Here are some promising solutions:

DeTune (Mac (free))
http://www.headlightsoft.com/detune/

SharePod (Mac/Win - Free)
http://www.getsharepod.com/download/

iExplorer (Mac/Windows ($35))
http://www.macroplant.com/iexplorer/buy-now/

Recommendation:
Try out DeTune...it's easy and worked great on my iPad 3rd Gen. Here's what it looks like:




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The Omnipotent CTO - Avoid Temptation #edtechchat #edchat

2013-06-17 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/2UV9N
The role of the CTO is, as you might imagine, rife with temptation. For example, consider the following case:

“This defendant is accused of lining his pockets with millions of dollars intended to be used to educate the children of the Cuyahoga Heights School District,” Dettelbach said. “Our office will continue to go after those who would abuse the public trust.” 
Palazzo was employed by the Cuyahoga Heights School District as its Information Technology director until February 2011. Palazzo was responsible for managing the district’s IT Department, which included purchasing hardware and software and making other IT expenditures to benefit the district and its students, according to the information.Source: FBI.gov
Abuse of the public trust is one of the many temptations Chief Technology Officers face in their jobs. But, there is one more pernicious, more debilitating to an organization than the temptation to be all-powerful. It can be marked by unilateral decisions on the part of Technology to take actions like the following:

Indiscriminately block web sites, citing CIPA concerns, but providing little explanation or room for discussion.Purchase equipment that's easy to deploy and maintain without regard to what end users see as necessary or worthwhile.Spend district funds to the sole benefit of the Technology infrastructure to meet world-class standards without carefully considering how those purchases align to district goals.Implementing data management processes without involving stakeholders.Unblocking or blocking services (e.g. VOIP) to further an agenda (my favorite story is the blocking of VOIP technologies because the CTO wanted to push a particular solution he was sold on...hmm).
The omnipotent CTO works under the illusion that his expertise makes him THE final arbiter of technology issues. "I know best what the school district needs," s/he says to himself, and then with arrogance, sets out to prove the case, "This is the best solution and you shouldn't ask me why, you shouldn't question my motives, because, after all is said and done, you hired me for the job and you must trust me to do right by the District."

This temptation to embrace omnipotence goes hand in hand with the willing individuals who surrender their ability to ask probing questions. It goes something like this: Don't you agree that you, as Technology Director, should be the one who makes decisions about this? 

So, how do you avoid temptation? Surprisingly, one does so exactly by doing a gut check, a motive inventory where you ask yourself, what can I do to help others understand the ideas and information I have to share with them? How can I encourage everyone to share their thoughts, ideas, yes, fears even, so that we have a pool of meaning that facilitates rich dialogue?

By asking questions like this of ourselves, we remind ourselves that our first priority isn't to exercise our superiority, display our power as technology geniuses, ride roughshod over the contributions of others because they are not in the technology department. We set aside our egos, our anger at being challenged, our fear of embracing a solution that we did not first put on the table, and strive to ensure that all stakeholders appreciate our true objective--improve service to the District and those it serves.

In the final analysis, it's not our vaunted abilities to serve, but rather, placing our abilities in service of the organization that make the difference.


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Chromebooks in the K-12 Library

2013-06-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/H1OPnWhile reading my unautographed copy (yay!) of Doug Blue Skunk Johnson's The Indispensable Librarian, I found myself reflecting that any technology planning guide should include libraries. I confess that I'd left libraries out of my technology planning guide, not because I forgot them per se, but because, well, they weren't my first priority. A mortal sin, I know.

One of Doug's points in his book is that as we move online more, our "students' homes become our library." I suppose my favorite line from the first few pages of the book are:

When information is transmitted to a class instead of the class being transmitted to the library, where should the Virtual Librarian be working with students?
When I think of a library these days, I see a hybrid of virtual and physical resources and books vying for attention. Instead of rows of desktops, why not Chromebooks? These are less expensive, allow for easy replacement of obsolete boat anchors (e.g. OS X-X.6, WinXP computers) that use up tons of space and electricity.
Source: http://goo.gl/OucpQ
Check out the results of this Ohio study (shared February, 2013):
Overall, the Chromebook does appear to meet its promise of easy use. 89% of patrons found the Chromebook reported that they were able to complete their tasks using the Chromebook. 
Similarly, 90% of staff members also reported that they were able to complete their tasks using the Chromebook. Common praise of the device was the quickness of loading and the speed of the browser
...many staff members commented that their dissatisfaction with being unable to get ebooks from the library on the Chromebook. Patrons can in fact get ebooks from the library via the vendor Overdrive on a Chromebook using a free app called the Kindle Cloud Reader. To accomplish this task, the patron would need both their library card and an Amazon.com account. 
Patrons were unequivocally in favor of the service: 97% said that this was a valuable service the library should provide
While you will want to read the study in its entirety, what about using Chromebooks as replacements for aging computers in K-12 school district libraries?

With Chrome apps like Readium (DRM-free ePubs), Kindle Cloud Reader, B&N's Nook for the Web, reading content isn't as much an issue. Thoughts?



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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A Reluctant Moses: Getting Crucial

2013-06-14 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/MBsHDEarlier this week, I received an email informing me that I'd be part of a team introducing staff to Crucial Conversations concepts. A part of me said, "See? You blabbed about trying to apply this in your life and someone listened." The problem is, I'm not an expert at it. If I had to rate myself, I'd say I'm at Rank: Beginner.

Of course, I don't want to play the part of a reluctant Moses here. What? You're not familiar with that timid Moses, who when God asked him to speak, he tried to bow out a few times? Well, that's who I identify with (which is quite ironic since I am occasionally called upon to keynote):

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
You have to love an exasperated Almighty! Slow of speech and tongue. This is one of my failings as well. And, one of the reasons why Crucial Conversations is such a powerful text. I'd remarked on the applicability of this earlier within the context of "straight talk:"
Often straight talk is exactly what IS lacking in much of what we do in schools. I often think poor teachers don't hear that they ARE poor because we don't want to call down the wrath of union or legal representation (depending on the State of the Union you work in). 
Probably the one group of people that get straight talk are campus principals. Not only do they have to engage in straight talk that is "velvet," they have to endure it when their campus fails to measure up.
Another more important reason for Crucial Conversations is the need to avoid conspiracies of silence. Have you worked in organizations where people were afraid to speak up, to share what the issues were?

“Why was there almost a conspiracy of silence?” John R. Kimberly, a Wharton management professor, asks of these scandals and others like them. â€œWhy do we behave in ways that are inconsistent with our articulated beliefs?” He wonders why people with integrity behave differently within an organization than they would on their own.
In hindsight, especially to observers, it is clear what should have been done. Yet in case after case,companies overlook internal problems that at best impede performance, and at worst could bring down an entire organization.  (Source: Don’t Mention It)
Companies overlook internal problems. Well, school districts do it, too. I recall with some interest when someone said to me, "Miguel, John didn't say anything about this during the meeting because he was afraid of what Junie might say."
"You mean," I responded incredulously, "he was afraid to say something?"
"Yes."

Aghast, I realized that I was still grateful for this insight. I've made it a point of encouraging my team to speak up, to ask themselves, "What is it that you've noticed, observed but hadn't thought to bring up or maybe were unsure about bringing up for discussion?" I try to incorporate this into every meeting because this kind of conversation is absolutely crucial to finding out what you don't know about to even ask about.

Some of my favorite ideas from the two books, Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, include these:

Crucial Conversations

“Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand. This unique combination of thoughts and feelings makes up our personal pool of meaning. This pool not only informs us but also propels our ever action.”“When two or more of us enter crucial conversations, by definition we don’t share the same pool. Our opinions differ. I believe one thing, you another. I have one history, you another.”“People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool—even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open. The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more committed action later on.”

Don’t fall prey to a Sucker’s Choice. A Sucker’s Choice is a this or a that, an either / or … etc. The assumption is that you have to trade one thing for another.Find an “and” solution over “either / or“. Find a way to have it both ways. Challenge yourself to seek the higher ground.Know what you want and what you don’t want. Stating what you want and don’t want are powerful because they clarify your intentions. Clarifying what you don’t want can be particularly powerful because of the principle of contrast. It can can also help take away perceived threats. Clarifying intentions is an important step because it’s easy to get lost in the content and lose sight of the real intentions. Your intentions guide you through your dialogue.
Crucial Confrontations



When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they'll hold it well.If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it's likely there's another more important problem you need to address.CPR = 
Content-what happened; Pattern- what has been happening over time; Relationship - What's happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it's that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. "This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don't like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can't trust you to keep the agreements you make."People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don't respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don't care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don't mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.AMPP = Ask to get the conversation rolling; Mirror to Encourage; Paraphrase for understanding; Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN - Follow-upContrasting, Who will do What by When (and following up), CPR, finding and solutions really help tongue-tied Moses type leaders get past their insecurities. 

As a person responsible for others, I try to implement these strategies in my work. I know that my success rate is low, but sometimes, I imagine that they know that I'm working to achieve these principles (i've been transparent about it, much to my chagrin now that I get to share them with others).

One of the challenging observations, though, is that I don't think others necessarily see the value of CCs in their work. And, I don't want to be cast in the role of a sales person trying to push these ideas. Rather, I want to simply share my experiences and invite others to consider CCs in their lives and work.




Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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The Disinterested Leader: In the Library

2013-06-14 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Altar of Sacrifice - http://goo.gl/IId00

"Why aren't people interested in my agenda? Don't they know that it's the best for students and staff?" The questions aren't uncommon among librarians, as Doug's recent blog post highlights:

The short answer: Figure out what the principal believes is important for you to do - then do it. This means creating a program that helps meet the goals and solve the problems in your school, NOT creating a program that meets AASL standards necessarily. It means deliberately learning what is important to your principal and then effectively communicating how you are contributing to those important issues. I don't know of another way to get a principal "on your side." Too many principals have worked with librians who have their own agendas which are viewed as irrelevant. 
It's easy to misunderstand Doug's short answer...it seems a bit of a sell-out at first glance, doesn't it? Just do what the principal or administrator wants so you can "earn some credit" in the system (a.k.a. political capital) that you can spend on what you really want.

In a previous blog entry, The Disinterested Leader, I shared the power of disinterest. That is, affecting the role of a disinterested leader who asks some simple questions to get him/her-self in the frame of mind that grants him/her impartiality.

The Crucial Conversations and Confrontations books advocate asking questiosn that that help us do a gut check:

What do I really want for myself?What do I really want for you and me together?Have I made the effort to build mutual purpose and respect?These questions have profound implications for anyone who is trying to get things done and hitting a brick wall. For fun, let's explore these together...no promises this will make sense.
1) What do I really want for myself?As a librarian, my goal is to encourage information literacy and problem-solving, encouraging reading. I want to do this well because it taps into my excitement and fulfills me as a teacher-librarian and a human being. I love crafting programs that engage students, staff and community. To that end, I'm willing to work a little extra because it's what I love to do. I want to be appreciated for this work because it makes me feel good. I don't want to be the school media manager and chase people down constantly about how they're abusing technology, or a media police officer.
2) What do I really want for you and me together?I want you to understand that the world has changed, and although libraries may seem to be out of phase with current time and events, the fact is that information problem-solving is even more important these days. What I really want is to encourage teachers to feel as excited about building engaging, quality literacy programs for students and community members, and have the principal supporting this--not only lip service, but funding--every step of the way. 

3) Have I made the effort to build mutual purpose and respect?
You know, I often feel like I'm on one side of the fence and teachers are on the other, with the principal somewhere off in left field. We end up sniping at each other because we're about competing interests. Each party wants what they want and it's not necessarily what I think is right.

Everyone else seems interested in one thing or another--having a facility that looks great, works great, is organized, clean and inviting, high stakes test scores, using the library as a meeting room but seldom as a core component of the school community--and I feel left out. I realize that maybe I've told myself a story about the way things are, and my bitterness comes from that.

I need to ask how what others really want out of the library, and then ask how we can accomplish this together. It's so easy to complain and whine about what I don't have or what others aren't doing. I need to engage others.
Reframing is a powerful tool for gaining clarity, generating new options, and finding strategies that work. Educational leaders need to have the ability to frame and reframe the issues they encounter. 
Source: Bolman and Deal's Reframing Organizations via slideshare preso

Stepping Back - The Way of Disinterest
If we assume the role of the disinterested librarian, there's a way to transcend the bickering, the infighting and disagreements among people who lack mutual purpose and respect. That way is to ask ourselves, What is best for the school and those it serves? When we re-frame our conversations with others from this perspective and do so genuinely, we send a message that is unconsciously picked up by those with whom we speak. Others begin to trust us more because we're not working for our own gain (e.g. MY project is more important than your's) or trying to block you from achieving gain.

By doing this, we enable others to trust us because they know our motives and intent are purely focused on the good of the organization and those it serves. This is important, as Stephen Covey points out:
 When trust is low, in a company or in a relationship, it places a hidden "tax" on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down and sending costs up. My experience is that significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done. 
By contrast, individuals and organizations that have earned and operate with high trust experience the opposite of a tax -- a "dividend" that is like a performance multiplier, enabling them to succeed in their communications, interactions, and decisions, and to move with incredible speed. A recent Watson Wyatt study showed that high trust companies outperform low trust companies by nearly 300%! 
We are saying, simply and powerfully, that we're willing to sacrifice our sacred cows for the benefit of the organization. We communicate that we're team players that hold nothing above the good of the organization. When an idea is challenged, we don't respond from what is the AASL's perspective, or our fiercely held beliefs, but rather, from the perspective of, what actions will result in the best way ahead for the organization?

The way of disinterest, of impartiality means setting aside what we most desire, transcending the bitterness that results from failed attempts to dominate and control the conversation. Calmly, one can put ideas, information into a pool of meaning, engage in dialogue that focuses on what is best for the organization.

Are you ready to make that level of commitment? I assure you that the way of disinterest is the way to organizational success.





Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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PBL Your Way to Crucial Conversations/Confrontations

2013-06-14 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

The importance of mutual purpose and respect

Wouldn't it be neat to get an email like the one in the quote section below?

Winner! Winner! Winner! YOU have been selected as the team to present, "Crucial Conversations" to the district leadership team in 1.5 hours.
What an opportunity! What would YOU do?

For fun, what would this look like as a Problem-based Learning Enhanced Professional Learning opportunity? Here's what I mean by PBL-enhanced:
The wonder of the PBL approach as employed with adult learners is that they will not perceive your workshop as a long, boring exploration of a topic at the periphery of consciousness. 
The CC approach can be done via individuals to answer this question:
What conversations are you not having that are keeping you from advancing or moving forward in your organization? 
or, another way:
What conversations are we not having as district leaders that are keeping the organization from advancing or moving forward?
Either way, here's one way to approach it:

Given 90 minutes (1.5 hours)....
15 minutes: Introduce them to what strategies we really want them to get out of the Crucial books and want them to apply in work setting. I would recommend breaking them up into small groups to explore various resources (e.g. videos, print documents) that summarize the key ideas, and have them share back to the large group.
No Time - This takes ahead of the session, so no impact on time to present: Craft a scenario that reflects current undiscussables in the organization, or, if preferred, common situations between individuals they are sure to encounter. The scenario should include a variety of stakeholders. Another variation would be to craft multiple scenarios, then have different groups work through them (Step 4 below).
— What information, processes or strategies do we really want them to learn?
— Why is it important that they learn this?
— What problems or issues would they be able to resolve with the information, processes, strategies they've learned?5 minutes: Share the scenario with staff.30 minutes: Facilitate the following in large group:develop hunches/guesses about the problem,
share what they know based on the scenario (find the facts),
write questions about what they want/need to know to help solve the problemprioritize the questions and organize them according to various stakeholder groups (e.g. principal, district leaders, teachers, community, board members).20 minutes: Divide leadership staff into stakeholder groups represented in the scenario. Then, have them craft solutions to the scenario that address the questions and
20 minutes: Teams present the Crucial key concepts introduced to them.

  


Of course, I'm just playing with the ideas here. Is this too much?



Outline of Problems as PossibilitiesMake the Connection5 Actions to Big6 PBL Lessons using Graphic OrganizersIll-Structured Problems


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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avast! Free for Education

2013-06-13 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

For fun, I asked fellow school districts in San Antonio, Texas area  how much they were paying for antivirus/anti-malware solutions...for large districts (42K students), $300K over 3 year period. I was surprised at how much they were paying! Many school districts combine this desktop protection tool with Fortigate to prevent malware intrusion. In this way, school computers are at less risk of contracting virus/malware because malware intrusion solutions protect them. 


Take computers home, though, and they risk catching whatever is out there and then bringing it into the District. The question is, will your desktop anti-virus/malware protection hold up against the bad stuff that students and staff may expose their hardware to?


Although I'd heard of avast! anti-malware solution, I had no idea that it was available at no charge to educational institutions, such as K-12 school districts. Several of my colleagues in Texas mentioned it , and I was thrilled to see this information that was sent to me by avast! Free for EDU folks (thx, Stephanie!). 


The application process is quite simple and we were on our way quickly.

All public educational institutions in the US are eligible to use AVAST’s premium, business-grade avast! Endpoint Protection Suite at no cost. Each educational license includes two central management control options, which enables IT administrators to remotely manage antivirus protection on laptops, desktops and servers across any campus, large or small.
Two central management control options (with each educational license)Protection for Windows endpointsProtection for servers supporting 5–30,000 endpoint devicesRemote management for all supported devices on campusWho is eligible
You must be a public or non-profit educational institution/organization (this includes grades K-12 and higher, vocational / trade schools, head start programs or other entities with educational purposes under 501(c) of the IRS Publication 557 - Organization Reference Chart section) or public library, operating in the United States (includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
How to apply
Review our Eligibility and Participation Requirements and then complete and submit the application form. If you have questions about the application process, please email us at edu@avast.com.


We are piloting avast! on Windows computers, as well as placing the Mac version on Macintosh computers. With Windows computers, there is a management console that allows you to easily install avast! on those computers remotely...that's right, no need to touch the machine. The Mac version isn't quite as far along, but if you have a remote desktop management system--such as JAMF's Casper Suite--then you can push it out without issue.


Here's some info from their press release:




The AVAST Free for Education program, which launched in November 2012, approaches the two-‐million-‐protected computers mark, freeing up about $20 million of US education budgets.

Six months since its launch, AVAST Free for Education covers nearly 2 million computers and servers belonging to over 1,400 schools, districts, universities, libraries, and other educational institutions. At market price, these institutions are saving $20 million per year by getting the AVAST enterprise-‐level protection for free.

“By now we are protecting computers for about 7 million students,” said Vincent Steckler, Chief Executive Officer of AVAST Software. “As the National Center for Education Statistics puts total US enrollment just over 75 million, we’re protecting roughly 10% of US students, which keeps us on track for the 30% market share we expect to have by the end of 2013.”



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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App Smashing Stuff #ipaded

2013-06-11 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

In this blog entry, I shared a bit about an app smashing session I'm facilitating tomorrow. Here is some more stuff I put together to help me get my point across:


Introduction to the Creative Apps

App Smashing Intro
http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Job Posting - Technician (San Antonio, Tx area) Closes 06/14/2013 #edtechchat #txed

2013-06-11 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Please be aware of this Technician job posting available through East Central ISD in San Antonio, Texas.


The position of Technician will be available immediately. Employees of the district may apply in writing to the Personnel office. Others who are interested in this position may submit an application online at www.ecisd.net and then contact the Personnel Office at 648-7861 to express interest. The deadline for submitting an application is 4:00 p.m., Friday, June 14, 2013 or until position is filled.

Primary Purpose: Perform on-site technical work to install and maintain computer equipment and network and software applications throughout the district. Respond to work order requests by diagnosing and repairing network and computer hardware.

Duties and Responsibilities:
Install/upgrade operating systems on PC-Compatible and Macintosh computers and configure them to work with existing computer networks.
Assist other technicians with troubleshooting and repairs and display exceptional attitude.
Install/maintain software for network connectivity.
Implement hardware and software problems on multiple computer types.
Provide routine preventive maintenance of computers and other technology equipment.
Keep records of repairs, maintenance, and other service costs.
Commit to staff development on district systems and earning certifications required for advancement.
Perform other duties as assigned.
NOTE: Not all applicants will be interviewed. Each applicant’s resume, application and other available information will be considered n the screening process. Only those persons currently meeting all of the minimum requirement will be considered.

Minimum Qualifications:
1. Highschoolgraduateorequivalent.
2. Experience in computer troubleshooting.
3. Experiencewithpersonal/privatelocalareanetwork(LAN),networkprintersetuppreferred.
4. Experience with Windows, Mac, and mobile device (e.g. iOS/Android) operating systems.
5. PossessandretainavalidstateofTexasdriver’sLicenseandbeacceptabletotheEastCentralSchoolDistrict

insurance issuing authority for the operations of school district vehicles in the performance of assigned duties.

Equipment used: Computer, service tools, motor vehicle, telephone.

Working Conditions:
Mental Demands/Physical Demands/Environmental Factors: Climbing, stooping, bending, heavy lifting, and kneeling; frequent use of small hand tools and electronic test equipment; frequent district-wide travel between schools. Occasional prolonged and irregular hours. Normal classroom/office environments, and work around electrical energy.
Period of Employment: 260 day basis Salary: As per district salary schedule 



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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App Smashing - Digital Poetry #ec3ta13 #ipaded #edtechchat

2013-06-09 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Note: Later this week, I'll have the opportunity to share some ideas inspired by app smashing concept...and share some of my favorite apps! Here's a draft of what I have in mind.
Becoming an App Smasher!Definition of App Smashing: "The process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project."
Source: Read more about app smashing here!


Today's Learning Goal: Create an app smashing activity that you can share.

        
Module 1 - Building Famliarity with AppsClick to view larger image

Level 1 - Photo/Video Creation AppsNote: There are a multitude of apps that allow you to create. These are a few that are easy to get started and get you going.Camera Roll - This is an app that comes pre-loaded on your iPad. You have probably already used it to snap pictures on your iPad.Skitch - This app makes it easy to add comments, circle or draw arrows, as well as blur student faces, in photos you've taken with your iPad. You can also save the marked-up photo--without losing the original--back to your Camera Roll, then import the annotated image into other apps like those below.30Hands - Take a collection of photos, organize them as slides in any order you want, then add audio narration. Include pictures of your Haiku Deck presentation. If you need to do some quick annotations on them, considerHaiku Deck (in lieu of Keynote) - stunningly beautiful images, text and chart preso maker. With this app, you can quickly create a slideshow using free images (copyright-friendly) on the web or from your own camera roll. You can easily export this slideshow as a Powerpoint via email or view it on the web via the Haiku Deck web site. Tip: Avoid in-app purchases of images, etc.Optional: Strip Designer ($2.99) - lets you create comic strips using photos from your Camera Roll. You can build your comic, then save it as a picture into your camera roll. Once a comic is in your camera roll, you can import into 30Hands, Explain Everything, Book Creator, or iMovie for further fun.


Level 2 - Narrating Your WorkNote: You can "remix" anything you've created at Level 1 with the apps below. Explain Everything ($2.99) - Capture pictures and and video, then annotate and narrate them using this app. You can also use this to share your finished product to GoogleDrive, Dropbox, and many other places. All the products from Level 1 apps can be "remixed" to create something new inExplain Everything.Book Creator ($4.99) - Create your own ePub books with embedded video, audio, text.iMovie ($4.99) - Inexpensive movie creation tool.
Level 3 - Sharing Your Creations
Readdle Documents - Less of a creation app, more of a viewing app,this is an app that makes it easy to share your content with others, as well as copy your final product to Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud storage locations.

        

Module 2 - Structure of an App Smashing Activity:End Result - Begin with the end in mind. Describe what the end product will look like. Apps Smashed - Make a list of apps you will be smashing. Don’t worry about how you are going to get things going.Smashing Workflow - This is where you detail the step by step process of app smashing. It’s helpful to make a flowchart but others may want to just type it up step by step. Product Created - Show the finished product that represents what you’ve created.

Sample App Smashing Activity - Writing Digital Poetry

Background for Fellow Learners:In his book,  Rose, Where Did You Get that Red?, Kenneth Koch writes:When I became interested in teaching a particular poem, I would look for a poetry idea to go with it, such as for the Blake class, “Imagine you are talking to a mysterious and beautiful creature and you can speak its secret language, and you can ask it anything you want.” The poetry idea, as I’ve said, was to give the students a way to experience, while writing, some of the main ideas and feelings in the poem we were studying. . . .

Here’s an example of what that looks like.

End Result - Begin with the end in mind. Describe what the end product will look like. Students will create a poem in response to idea that Koch shares: Imagine you are talking to a mysterious and beautiful creature and you can speak its secret language, and you can ask it anything you want.”

Apps Smashed - Make a list of apps you will be smashing. Haiku DeckCamera RollExplain Everything

Smashing Workflow - Detail the step by step process of app smashing.

Teacher shares mini-lesson on writing poetry, models it as students write on their own. View sample poem, Rose, Where Did You Get that Red?Teacher then invites students to try writing a poem based on their mysterious and beautiful creature. Students can draft on their iPad (Haiku Deck at first, Explain Everything in time), or on paper.Sample poem written by Lynn Bonner:
Rabbit, how come you twitch your nose?
Rabbit, how can you run so fast?
And why are you so feary and why do you run away from people?
Why do you eat grass and carrots?
Why don’t you eat bugs?
Why do you hibernate?
Create slides that illustrate the poem with images, drawn either by the student or found on the web (cite images appropriately).Load slides into Explain Everything or 30Hands to add narration.Provide student some feedback by loading the slides into Explain Everything and then recording your thoughts as his/her teacher. Here’s a poor example of that (hosted on Dropbox).
Product Created - Show the finished product that represents what you’ve created.

Butterfly, does the blue fire burn? (Sample Student Product)Feedback on Butterfly Fire (Sample Teacher Feedback)

SAMR
Where would this activity fall on the SAMR? I suspect, it's a simple augmentation with a slight step into modification. What do you think?






Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Crafting a PLN #edtechchat #iPaded #hfsoars

2013-06-09 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Later this week, I have the opportunity to share some ideas about Twitter and PLNs with a group of teachers focused on enhancing teaching and learning with iPads. This is my outline for my session...how would you improve it?

Join the Conversation! If you want to jump in and share advice with folks, feel free to join in by tweeting your PLN advice to #ec3ta13



Crafting a Personal Learning NetworkSession Overview:
Today, we have the potential to tap into
a flow of conversation, a web-based learning ecology, that we can learn from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Who you choose to follow in that conversation is YOUR PLN. We’ll explore some of the workflows.

‘Appy ConnectionsActivity OutlineApps Featured:Haiku DeckTwitterHootsuite


Video Tutorials:15-minute Intro to Twitter and PLNsCreating a Twitter ListHootSuite Video (Outside of ECISD at YouTube)

Articles To Read-n-Tweet AboutUtilize Twitter Chats for PDPersonal Learning Networks - Advice from the TrenchesNew Face of PD5 Ways To Get Quality PD This Summer

4 Mindsets to LearningSlideshow: Twitter Tornado of Connected Learning
Twitter Tornado from Miguel Guhlin

Activities:Setup Your Twitter account & Hootsuite.com
Exploring Hashtags:
EC3 Teacher Academy - #ec3ta13EC Tech Ops - #ectobuzzEducation - #edchatiPads in Education - #ipaded
Twitter List Setup - Follow specific people

Now You Try It Organize Your Hashtags in Hootsuite streams on your computer, then setup Hootsuite on your iPad.
Read one of these articles and tweet a “take-away.” Add hashtag of #ec3ta13 at the endApps Featured:
1. Read It Later’s Pocket app
2. Zite Magazine app
3. Flipboard app

Slideshow: Drinking from the Internet Firehose

Activities:Create Your Pocket account (Computer)     Install the Pocket app on your iPad and other devices
VideosIntro to Twitter and Building a Professional Learning Network (PLN)Creating a Twitter List to Better Follow Your PLN MembersA Quick Intro to Social Networking MagicContent Curation Made Easy with Flipboard (iPad only)




Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Built Not Bought #spurs #leadership #nbafinals

2013-06-07 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Now, before you Miami Heat folks freak out about the Spurs trouncing the Miami professional basketball team last night, or before the Spurs fans freak out that this post isn't about them, I'd like you to focus on the message on that image above.

Built, not bought. 

(Note to my current team: This is NOT about you, avid readers, even though we just did some reorgs and hiring).

What a powerful concept. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to hire new staff members. The team was growing because of increased workload and projects we'd put into place (which, isn't that just awesome?), so we had to hire a few positions.

Here are some of the lessons I learned:

While having a skill-set is important, hiring for attitude is more important. This was a lesson I was reluctant to learn that my first assistant superintendent shared with me. We often may have the most wonderfully talented and skilled individuals in the interview pool, but the same character trait that made them be so talented is the same one that makes them a pain to work with. Better to go with a B+ candidate with great attitude than an A+ candidate with a crappy one.

Unfortunately, unless you go out of your way to ask questions about attitude, you won't find out until it's too late. I have some special questions I include in EVERY interview I have to gain insight and they have proven invaluable.Build on candidate's strengths, especially when they are your second, or even, third choice. Once upon a time, I recommended a top candidate but the candidate was passed up from higher up for reasons I was not made privy to until after the second candidate had been accepted. The second candidate, I argued, didn't score as well in the interviews, was an unknown, and frankly, I'd rather go out and hire again.

Surprisingly, though, this candidate turned out to be one of the best additions to the team. Even though the higher-ups' reasoning wasn't based on hiring the best candidate or greatest attitude, this candidate enabled the team to achieve new levels of customer service. In fact, I credit this individual with getting me started in Linux, supporting free open source solutions like Wordpress, Moodle, etc. And, that was very helpful for the schools I've served in as well as rewarding professionally for myself and other team members whom I later taught.

So, what made the difference? We built our programs around the "second" candidate's strengths rather than cling to what had been the previously perceived needs of the District. Instead of focusing on the perceived weaknesses of the candidate who did get the job, enhance their strength. Indeed, a powerful lesson--build on their strengths and you'll go in directions you can't imagine.Grow your team. We're back to the lesson of the image at the top of this post. Though I scarcely pay attention to basketball (uhh, sorry I'm a reader not an athlete), I found this image powerful because it highlights the power of investing in your team and building them up. That's why Coach Popovitch is hailed as a great coach...the team he built has done so well.Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes, you get a candidate that has great attitude and awesome skill-set. When you do, do whatever you can to bring them onto your team. I've had the good fortune to work with folks like this, and those experiences can power your entire program. However, there aren't as many of those as you might imagine. 
That's why mentoring and supporting folks, helping them build their great skills and awesome attitude is critical to your organization's success. I think of this as helping them transform their potential to kinetic energy (see science teachers? I haven't forgotten those lessons!).
These are life lessons that come slow. What have you learned over time about building your team rather than buying it outright?
A quick aside: When I was hired for one position quite a few years ago, I later found out I was the second choice. It blew my mind. "What," I asked myself, "I'm second-string? Not good enough to be chosen first? Only in the job because someone else's boss said, 'No, you can't have your first choice candidate?!?'" Then, I got over it. After all, *I* had the job. And, over the next few years, I knocked the socks off that place. I did stuff that they hadn't imagined doing, and we were all better off. I was hungry, thirsty, to do well, and it made a difference. The sweetest moment was when the boss said, "You're the top hand on this team." What else could you ask for?

Of course, no one is a top-hand alone. Your team makes you top-hand by the choices they make. You make them "top" by the choices you make. If you want to serve the team, make the choices that make your teammates great.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Uploading Pictures

2013-06-06 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Recently, someone on the GCT list shared this problem:

We had our official school opening today (yay) and have photo's from all sorts of places.  I haven't used Picasa for quite a while and was wondering if there was a way to allow our parents to be contributors to the album as we want to collect all the photos we can from people in an easy way.  We are a GAFE school, but our students are all under 13, so we do not allow Google+.
Wow, what a toughie!

Here's my response...what would you have suggested?

Howdy! Wow, that's a tough request. You want parents to contribute to a photo album but don't want to allow them to do it via email. Presumably, you also want them to be able to see immediately what photos they've contributed by going to a web-based album, or have the images show up in a slideshow (embedded in a web page).

Via Email, you can do one of these two ways:
1) Setup a Dropbox and use DropItToMe.  This enables anyone with the password (if you enable it) to email photos. Then, use IFTTT.com to post the pictures via email
2) Or, if you prefer GoogleDrive, use GoFileDrop to allow folks to email images that get saved in Drive.

With your own web server, you could do the following:
Combine one of the Folio solutions  (both work great; in the zip file linked below, I use the single file Folio solution) with the upload forms elaborated on here (don't read it unless you want to learn PHP).
To get you started, I've included the solution into "up.zip" and you can uncompress it. It's a bare bones form attached in a zip file to this email; the form would allow anyone to upload images to an uploads directory. Note you will probably have to modify it; it was meant for a Linux/Mac server (modify it to work for Windows).


To view the uploaded images, just go to http://webserver/up/uploads and the pictures will display.
Don't have a web server? Then, you could do the following:

Setup an Edmodo account and enable parents to have accounts as students. You could give out the group code and they could upload the pictures. Then, save the pictures to your web album of choice.




Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Remembering Writing Workshop in Cotulla ISD

2013-06-06 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Cotulla ISD
At Frank Newman Campus in Cotulla, Texas, I had many wonderful teaching experiences. It was there that I learned how to share my love of writing with children. Since I was a "brand new" public school teacher, I had few preconceived notions of what it meant to teach Language Arts and Reading the "right" way. So, I began with Lucy Calkins' book on "The Art of Teaching Writing," William Zinsser's "On Writing Well," and, most importantly, Nanci Atwell's "In the Middle." Using these books, I taught children how to write--not from the Houghton-Mifflin textbook that the more experienced teachers used--from the mini-lessons and workshops I gleaned from the maverick writing teachers. I supplemented those minilessons with the work of Writer's Digest magazine, Kenneth Koch's "Wish" poems, and avoided grammar except to teach them "X-words" and how to diagram.

My classes were writing and reading workshops, and what my students did was transform how they learned writing. I managed to sidestep the grammar in Houghton Mifflin and help my students learn how to share their stories, to listen to others, and find their voice. Wow, what a powerful feeling and excitement that caught us all up.

Collaboration: I fostered sharing of ideas and collaboration, per Nanci Atwell's instructions, by how I grouped students. Heteregeneously grouped, these students worked together on their writing. In Cotulla, I worked with several groups of students.
English as a Second Language students: Picture 1 | Picture 2 | Picture 3The "almost" Gifted and Talented group: Picture 4 | Picture 5 | Picture 6 | Picture 7| Picture 8The "regular" groupOne of the most exciting times during any class was Group Share. This is when we all sat in a circle and listened to what we'd written (I wrote, too). It was a wonderful experience...powerful to me as a new teacher, and even more astonishing now that I look back on it from my experiences in San Antonio and East Texas schools. Yet, sharing has always been an important part of my classroom, as has been working in the excitement of doing things differently.

One of my favorites was using Marjorie Franks' book, "If you're trying to teach kids how to write, you've gotta have this book!" What a wonderful book full of activities, like the clothesline activity I did with my students.





Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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The Disinterested Leader - Leading without Drama

2013-06-05 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

"Yes, what we need to do is move one of Miguel's staff positions over to my department." I felt the blood rush to my head, fill my ears with hot anger, and the story I told myself was simply disastrous--this director was stealing my staff, telling the boss what she wanted, and had the temerity to do it in front of me. My reaction? I exploded, stating, "You're tearing down my department to build your's! Who do you think you are?"

It didn't matter if my charge was true (it was). What mattered was that I had lost my temper, exploding like a volcano, and I'd done so in front of everyone that mattered. I never spoke to that person again. Even though I was right, in spite of proving the point on the breast of my enemy, I'd lost the relationships at stake. 


The concept of the disinterested leader appeals to me. Instead of fierce conversations, engaging confrontations, passionate interactions between two or more individuals, the leader manages to maintain emotional aloofness. That's not to say that what's at stake isn't important, that the leader is a Vulcan from Star Trek who practices logic, but rather, a leader, who in spite of provocation recognizes the threats, acknowledges their "hair trigger temper," and makes the choice to not indulge fight or flight.


To accomplish this, the disinterested leader affects the pose of someone who is NOT personally involved in what is at stake. The pose comes as a result of deep reflection and choosing to not engage in ways that heighten the drama of a situation. Rather, his/her actions minimize that drama, focusing on, as the Crucial Conversations authors point out, what that leader really wants to achieve.


Eric Foutch makes the following point in his guest post, The End of Drama is the Start of Leadership:

We propose that you can’t fully actualize your leadership potential without first eliminating drama from your life, your team, and your organization. The challenge is that you come hardwired for drama, but you do not come hardwired for leadership, although leadership is a choice you can make at any point in time.
Hardwired for drama, although leadership is a choice you make. I wonder if this approach is different, especially in light of  Patrick Lencioni perspective, as he explores the importance of drama to transform meetings from bad to good:
Bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders...The first step in transforming meetings is to understand why they are so bad. There are two basic problems. First, meetings lack drama. Which means they are boring. . .Leaders of meetings need to do the same by putting the right issues - often the most controversial ones - on the table at the beginning of their meetings. 
By demanding that their people wrestle with those issues until resolution has been achieved, they can create genuine, compelling drama, and prevent their audiences from checking out.
I like the notion of engaging drama in movies, but the thought of it driving team meetings gives me chills. What is exciting is making choices to solve problems together, trying to fill the pool of meaning with the information, feelings, experiences that are valuable to all. When I can facilitate that, then I can be satisfied with the decisions made as a result of that process. 

Drama thrives on the anticipation of action. Consider the following fake scenario:

"Hey," exclaimed one worker. "Why did you wipe out my files on my flash drive?""You needed to learn to encrypt your data!" replies another. "Come on, you have a backup.""No, I don't! I never take that flash drive home. What were you doing poking around in my stuff? I'm going to talk to the boss."
You can see it,right? The drama of one team member's interaction with another, the desire to commit an act that calls attention to the offending party. Into this scenario, the team leader is brought in to settle a dispute between staff. There is inevitable bias...after all, there are personal relationships, close interactions, friendships, agreement or disagreement with the action. The question is, can the leader assume a state of disinterested leadership that allows him the ability to deal with the issues at hand? 

 The best engagements are those where drama is minimized. Simply, how can a leader move from information gathering to action and minimize the drama? I like to think of the leader in this situation as "disinterested." When you're interested, there is the opportunity for bias. When you are personally engaged, passionate about the outcome, then your interests are at stake. You have to take those interests out of the equation


Simply, can we do without the emotional baggage, the drama that each of us brings to the table? 


It's a tough question. That's why I like Crucial Confrontations, even though I'm a poor practitioner of the art.  


What do you think? Does the concept of the disinterested leader hold water, or is it simply another way of labeling ineffective (or effective) leadership?





Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Embarking on a Journey - Onward or Downward?

2013-06-05 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Will your new 1 to 1 (or 3 to 1) initiative land you at a new destination over the horizon, a land of milk and honey, blazing a path to learning and glory? Or, rather, will your ship sink into the ocean, full of heroic efforts that end in despair and lost resources?

"Achievement gains are more likely to emerge from innovative teaching, including individualized and problem-based instruction than from the deployment of laptop computers." (Larry Cuban as cited in The End of Techno-Critique)


It is a question Doug Johnson asks:
Even if try to ban or ignore or minimize student use of technology in our classrooms, it will still have an impact. Our children live in a technology-rich world and their habits, their learning styles, and their expectations are all being shaped by non-school environments. Do we stay relevant in kids lives?

OK, I am over my five minutes....
What would you say in five minutes to teachers embarking on a voyage to unknown places?
As I look forward to a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) journey, I don't know what I would say. I'd like to say something memorable, something phenomenal that will inspire a journey of a hundred leagues past the krakens, the gaps in cartography, the mysteries of the unknown. I might say something like this, trying to encourage them:
Today, we begin a journey. The journey doesn't begin because we have new technology in our hands. Rather, it begins because each of us has made a commitment to each other and our children. The commitment? That who we are, what we do, the time we spend will be bound to one purpose--teaching and learning in ways we have never done before, using methods we've only dreamt of, to transform how we create, communicate, problem-solve and collaborate with each other. 
But, as a technology director now, shy to speak, it's easy to write a blog entry of what I might say, like this:
When I was thirteen years old, my Dad bought me an Apple //e computer with a printer. My Mother asked him, "Why are you buying this computer for him? He will never grow up to be a programmer." Only a few years later, not having done any programming whatsoever on my computer, I taught a class to fellow teachers during my first year of teaching. I was called on to analyze test scores for the campus and make graphs. I made databases of student data, printing reports that were needed at the District level. Today, I am a technology director. I ask myself, "Why did my Dad buy that computer for me?" 
I share this story because when you enable children to use technology in your presence, when you show them that you stand in solidarity with learners everywhere, you free them from being children dependent on a parent. You empower them to learn, not only from you, but with you.
Now, I ask, "What can I do for my students that will transform their lives in the same way my father did for me so long ago with a $3000 computer?"  
As we begin this 1 to 1 initiative today, I have a question for you that a loving parent inspired me to ask: "What can I do for you that will transform your life as an educator?" And, I hope you, as a loving educator, will ask another question: "What can I do for my students that will transform their lives as human beings?"
Thank you for your time.
You know, sharing these personal stories is powerful. I like the personal story much more because it gives voice to the transformative power of what we've experienced.
"To publish is to make known." You know, as a writer, that's one of my favorite quotes. While I have held many jobs, writing has enabled me a thread of continuity, a way of chronicling the journey. I love words and douse myself with them frequently, hoping that an idea will spark and I'll be caught on fire.  
Yesterday, I saw a video on YouTube of children expressing themselves in ways I never imagined. They took a written story another child had written, then illustrated it with pictures and sound, publishing it as video. For me, the power of the word is all powerful. For them, the power of video to transform how they report their experiences, to share their journey, to create as well as solve problems, amplifies their voices. As we go forward into 1 to 1 initiative, you may be tempted to go "app crazy." You may find yourself wondering how to do more of the same with the technology you have. 
I challenge you to make known the work you do with children, to invite them to publish their ideas and thoughts--no matter the content--and stand next to them, not in front of, as a world responds.
Doug's blog post allows for 5 minutes. That's 3 minutes too long. Perhaps, 1 minute is all one needs. When they look in your eyes, will they see a fire burning bright or ashes grown grey with apathy?

source: http://goo.gl/63upB


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Dumping Google+ Comments

2013-06-03 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

While quite a few web sites are pondering the benefits of Google+ Comments, I've decided to dump them. This came after an email from esteemed colleague, Doug Johnson, who writes:

For some reason, you blog doesn't seem to want me to leave a comment. Feel free to add this reply to your blog if so inclined.
When I dug deeper, I realized that you had to have a Google+ account to leave a comment. While it may seem perfectly natural to Google for everyone to have a "Plus" account, I occasionally do support folks to leave comments anonymously, etc.

And, while some might think that anonymous commenters only leave spam, the truth is that the old Blogger commenting system makes it a cinch to deal with it. Google+, on the other hand, requires me to go to every comment and mark it as spam (it's not called that, though, per se). After having done that 10 times in a row, I decided Google + comments wasn't up to the challenge.

Is anyone else annoyed by Google's efforts to make Plus the center of the universe? I can only speculate as to how long I'll be able to hold out on Blogger before having to move to another blog host.

Sigh.




Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Cognitive Bonfire - Twitter the Fire River @mcleod @blueskunkblog @ryanbretag

2013-06-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

River of Fire - Source: http://goo.gl/4JXELWhile some have characterized Twitter as a stream of global consciousness, wouldn't it be fun to picture Twitter as a river of fire kindling global imagination, igniting a cognitive bonfire we can all cook marshmallows around?

In Doug Johnson's blog entry, The 140 Character Discussion,  Doug makes these points:

Discussions on Twitter are like having a debate where everyone gets to shout out their point in 10 words or so at the same time, a cacophony of chaotic cymbals.Twitter talk is an exercise in "parallel play," invented by toddlers, that we all engage in without connecting with each other at deeper levels necessary for growth.Time should be spent reading, responding, writing blog entries that allow for greater elaboration, deeper relationships.Although I still read many blogs, I find that many return to simple collection of topics. Some are rants, others are restatements of other's more artful expression, and a very few reflect blogging as once explained to me--a conversation that begins with another's ideas, interweaves their ideas and involves reflection in ways that catch readers' minds on fire.
Twitter conversations appear to catch other's on fire. The brevity of a tweet is rife with meaning, potential misunderstandings that must be worked through. The constant influx of fresh ideas, different takes, become the new source for conversations. More so than blogs which seem to echo many similar perspectives penned by different people, Twitter conversations slice through the miasma of boring education reform talk, although as Doug highlights, they can also result in group think.
While Twitter can enable us to achieve our cognitive potential, how can we get started?
In the article, 5 Ways to Maximize Your Cognitive Potential,  5 approaches are suggested. Ask yourself how Twitter can help you get there.


1. Seek Novelty
Novelty can be a beguiling concept. It means being open to new concepts and ideas. By being open to new experiences, you can learn an incredible amount of information that has great potential in your life. As a Twitter user, I equate new experiences to what I do with what I find on Twitter. I have often seen people equating "professional learning" with the conversations they have on Twitter. In truth, I don't learn anything unless I do something with it, reflecting on it, then applying it to some aspect of my life. The advice in the article is to be a knowledge junkie; Twitter makes this possible because your PLN provides inputs 24/7.2. Challenge Yourself
Our brains get more efficient as we do things. While some bemoan the use of Web 2.0 (, I used the term) tools and the professional learning centered on it, saying it's a waste of time, according to the article, our brain function improves as we learn something, then move onto the next. If we dwell on the same activity--say, how to use an iPad app--then our cortical energy decreases as our brain gets more efficient.As a result, I don't agree with the assertion in this tweet:

 @edrethink @mcleod @blueskunkblog @library_jim the fault does fall to the teachers. You have a bad PD program if you are teaching tools
If all you do is play with tools, at the very least, you are improving brain function. This may actually explain why I get a brain boost every time I switch from one tool to another for writing. The novelty, the challenge to my own brain makes my brain work harder. How's your professional development designed to help teachers learn, unlearn, learn in different ways?3. Think Creatively
When I read Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse, the main character cast into the role of the incarnation, Death, relies on various matchstick approaches for solving problems. Among the approaches are parallel thinking and divergent thinking. The former is characterized parallel lines, while divergent lines go off in all directions. In the parallel approach, all facts lead to the same conclusion. In divergent, the focus is on developing new solutions. As we bring new technologies into schools, it would be easy to continue going around in circles doing what we've always done. Twitter conversations foster divergent thinking because they involve ideas coming from a rich variety of perspectives. Rather than parallel thinking where all of us have the same set of facts pointing to one inescapable conclusion, we can find new solutions, new creative insights into the set of mundane facts we deal with. Technology in a K-12 classroom with students and staff. Now what?4. Do Things The Hard Way
"If you stop using your problem-solving skills, your spatial skills, your logical skills, your cognitive skills—how do you expect your brain to stay in top shape—never mind improve?" asks Andrea Kuszewski in the her article on 5 Ways to Maximize Your Cognitive Potential.Twitter can help your brain stay in tip-top shape. As Doug points out humorously, Twitter isn't the easiest medium to track conversations. Yet our brains are able to track conversations, not unlike teens do when sending abbreviated txt msgs to each other. Their brains adapt to a new form of communication, and our brain fills in the holes. The "easy" way for learning these days is to follow longer conversations in blogs, but our brains have grown more efficient than that. Now, we crave more interaction, a higher level of randomness and feedback. We want to reach more people and get more information.Twitter can help us do that.5. Network
By networking with other people—either through social media such as Facebook or Twitter, or in face-to-face interactions—you are exposing yourself to the kinds of situations that are going to make objectives 1-4 much easier to achieve. By exposing yourself to new people, ideas, and environments, you are opening yourself up to new opportunities for cognitive growth. Source: Andrea Kuszewski, 5 Ways to Maximize Your Cognitive Potential

A part of me wants to shut the door, do my own thing. But, the truth is that constant interactions available in person and through Twitter drag me physically and intellectually out of my shell. When others appreciate my work online, retweet, I am encouraged to connect with others. Before, the majority of those interactions took place via my blog. Now, they are occurring via Twitter.

The network, my PLN, provides me with great source material to write about, to reflect on and apply to life. I can't do it all, but I become a knowledge junkie. The fun part is making that knowledge come alive. What a relief that I don't have to go it alone.






Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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iOS Apps on Linux: Imitation, Flattery and The Apple Way

2013-06-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Imagine running Explain Everything on Linux, or 30 Hands. Wouldn't that be neat? The exciting point is that iOS apps could be made to run on a variety of platforms, given enough free open source community brain power and money!

That's the potential in the idea explored by Darling, a free open source type of emulator that may, in time, enable iOS apps to run on Linux:

Darling is a new open source project like Wine, which is capable of running Mac OS X apps on your Linux machine, opening up a whole new level of possibilities for the Linux users. Source: Karthikk

What will happen when you combine Ubuntu mobile with Darling on a mobile device?

At Cageless Thinking, Adam shares how he's attended an education conference trying to figure out what's the best device for his school. His question is one I've struggled with as well, especially when planning ahead.
Which device fits the needs of my school? 
Is this the question people ask though? Do they simply look at the Surface and think, great, it has Windows and a USB port, i knowhow to work that, it is what I want. Or do they look at the iPad and think, great, I’ve got an iPhone, Apple is cool, the kids will love this. 
It’s important to be as clear about your needs as possible before you go to an event like BETT because it’s so easy to be jollied along by a good salesman, or turned off by a bad one. Which mobile learning device to buy is probably one of the most important decisions anyone in your school is going to make in the next few years, with regards to teaching and learning. Not because the device itself will make students more or less clever, but because if you get it right, everything you do could change for the better. 
If you choose the right device, students will be more engaged, attendance improves, learning is recognizably more independent and more thorough. Choose wrong and things won’t get worse, they will simply stay the same.
In the last paragraph above, Adam pins a lot of hope on choosing the right device, that it will involve more students, engage them. And, while I do see iPads as the device to pick now--Android doesn't even come close, although I have to resist the urge to get one and probably will when my 1st generation Nook dies--what happens when we all choose the right device?

Think about the interesting statistic Jennifer Spille (Apple sales) points out in a Google + post, As of today, every major mobile competitor... also makes apps for iOS:
...every single one of Apple's major mobile competitors now makes apps for iOS.
Apple is approaching world domination, isn't it? It's become THE device to create for, THE device to use in schools. Does that bother you at all?

It obviously bothers folks like David Phillips who, in a twitter conversation I ran out of time to respond to some time ago, points out:
@mguhlin @unklar funny...the irony is that laptops req contortions u r familiar with. No learnibg is wthout wrinkles ;-) (pun intnded)Well . . . laptops come with keyboards, and you don't have to install them or search for blue-tooth to make them work. With Windows 7 and later the laptop finds the projector when you plug it in, no dongle necessary. Printer installation on a laptop is pretty easy, even with a network printer--and you don't have to buy an app. Google Drive works really well with laptops and submitting student work is really easy. Laptops have lots of hard drive for backing up files, and it's at least as easy to use Dropbox or Sugar Sync on a laptop as on an iPad. 
And with reference to @mrhooker's comment on creativity, my yearbook staff would be surprised to hear that their creativity has been limited all this time on PCs.
I often reflect on my own technology practices and shudder a bit. I typically embrace new technologies, then reject them when they fail to live up to my ideals. The list is growing of technologies and solutions I've tried and rejected over time. While that may improve my brain's effectiveness, it's also taught me to be skeptical of technology as a solution. Unfortunately, it's also taught me to embrace the more accepted technologies rather than go off into the bushes searching for something less known but better aligned to my needs. Schools need to go with what works; limited funding, state/federal mandates limit the level of experimentation that can be performed.

Dan McGuire's quote of Matt Montagne's comment is particularly relevant:
"Schools need an exit strategy for getting out of the computer business. Barbara Bareda wrote about this in a recent leadertalk post. Let kids bring in their own stuff and provide stipends for students/families who can't afford a device. I'll take it a few steps further. In the next 5 years, the relevance of the LAN and school owned networks will shrink as wide area broadband continues to proliferate, improve and become a commodity. Are schools prepared for this? Do they have an exit plan to get out of the computer and ISP business? December 20, 2009 6:39 PM

In the end, I hope we'll have device agnostic tools that pack a punch like the ones currently on the iPad, pushing our thinking on what is creative and novel. We need to develop learning activities and house content in places that aren't dependent on any one technology, and should encourage free open source projects like Darling that make device agnostic use of apps the way to go.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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From Grade-based to ePortfolios

2013-06-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Some time in the last two weeks, I found myself rethinking the use of Google Sites, part of Google Apps for Education, as a place to store student ePortfolios. That's too bad because moving from grades to portfolio-based assessments is as important an issue as ever.

Change anything else without doing away with the tyranny of age-based grades and your reform will fail because students will never be allowed to truly develop as humans - at a rate and in a pattern appropriate for their own needs. Only when you toss out this industrial structure - the Prussian Model - can teachers and students really begin to re-imagine school. Source: Changing the Structure
Earlier this year, in collaboration with others, I developed a webquest--modelled after my Copyright WebQuest--that helped staff rethinking grading policies. The web quest is called GradeQuest and you can find it online. The webquest discussed the issues with grading, but I'm not sure it adequately, if at all, addressed the transition to ePortfolios.
http://barlowb.wonecks.net/

School districts that have embraced GoogleApps for Education have access to Google Sites, a wiki platform where each student could potentially have an ePortfolio. Unfortunately, as discovered in conversations via Google Certified Teachers (GCT) list last week, I found that transferring ownership of those to students once they left the school district wasn't that easy. So, what to do?

One answer involves having students use third party sites to create their ePortfolios. This, of course, takes them beyond the school district's control and ability to adjust in case an unfortunate incident occurs. There's also the issue of under 13 year olds creating web sites that house confidential student data, easily hosted on a district-external site.

White Oak ISD in Texas has implemented ePortfolios for students--relying on Edublogs to host all their content--and their goals are outlined on the web site:
Welcome to the Roughneck Blogs and ePortfolios site. We are proud to offer this resource to our staff and students. The goals of this site are:
Provide a stable, long term platform for students to display an electronic portfolio of work that they feel portrays their abilities
Provide a communication portal for staff to share information with students, parents, and the community
Instead of building up servers, White Oak ISD has taken the novel step of hosting all their eportfolios elsewhere. Since the portfolios are centered around Wordpress, a free open source blogging platform, it's very easy to issue students a complete backup of their site or spin it off to it's own web address. This is infinitely easier than dealing with ePortfolios on GoogleSites within the GoogleApps for Education. I hope that GoogleApps will improve on this and make it easy to share student eportfolios on GoogleSites with others outside the school's control.

Whatever the technology, there is some major shifts in thinking that have to happen to bring ePortfolios into schools. It seems that even though the technology has improved, we still have a ways to go with the underlying thinking, processes, and planning.


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Formula for How Many Computer Labs at a School (Updated)

2013-06-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/Is9ry
At a time when most folks might want to abandon computer labs in a school district for mobile devices, carts, etc., a sad fact stands in the way. The fact is that high stakes testing is currently best achieved in a traditional computer lab setting.

Although iPads, Chromebooks are the way of the future, that 3 to 1 devices overshadow the old 1 to 1 concept, the fact remains that high stakes testing impedes future implementation of this vision of highly mobile devices eliminating computer labs. It is ironic that while we advocate for mobile device enhanced learning, in the end, it is high stakes assessments required by the State that consume most of the funding available to schools. Simply high stakes testing relies on old technology that isn't mobile, may be more expensive to maintain and implement.

The situation was predicted by a colleague of mine years ago. In the end, there will be time for only one sort of activity in our schools' computer labs. The work of test prep, drill-n-kill, tutorial, and assessment. As a committed instructional technologist, I am committed to keeping educational technology alive. As an administrator, I find myself planning for computer labs.

So, in that spirit of number crunching, what's the formula for how many computer labs need to be implemented in a school with how many computers per lab?

I see this as a math problem, and math isn't my strongest subject. If you know a better way, I humbly ask for your insights.

Here are the questions:

In an elementary school with 500 students, how many labs and computers per lab should there be?In a middle school with a total enrollment of 1,200 students, how many labs and computers per lab should there be?In a high school with a total enrollment of 2800 students, how many labs and computer per lab should there be at minimum?
Some points to keep in mind:

The ratio of students to computers for purposes of a lab is 11 students to 1 computer.  I read this somewhere and don't have a source (late night desperation searches months ago and I failed to bookmark the PDF)In my State, 22 students is the maximum possible size of a classroom in elementary grades.Middle and High School classes can have 30+ students in them but for purposes of this conversation, I'm going to impose a limit of 30 students as max class size.
Formulas to Get Desired Information:

To obtain the Total Lab Computers that need to be purchased, divide Total Enrollment by student:computer lab ratio of 11.To obtain the Total Number of Labs, divide the Total Lab Computers by your total max class size.
Applying the Formula:

In an elementary school with 500 students, how many labs and computers per lab should there be?
Response:
Total Lab Computers = 500/11 (Result: 45 computers for labs)Total Number of Labs = 45/30 (Result: 1.5 labs)Here's what that looks like with real numbers...note that the columns titled Projected Labs and and Projected Computers are the results of the formula above.
The projected data is used to calculate how much equipment needs to be purchased to replace the obsolete equipment.

My final question is as follows: Is this reasonable or is there a major flaw in my calculations?
Update: In response to this blog entry, Doug "Blue Skunk" Johnson wrote the following:

Hi Miguel,
For some reason, you blog doesn't seem to want me to leave a comment. Feel free to add this reply to your blog if so inclined. 
You have to think about "how many labs" when it comes to testing. First, any lab used for testing  needs to have as many machines as your building's largest class plus 2 (if it is high-stakes testing). You may also want some mini-labs scattered about the school for testing special needs students, make up tests, etc. 
Then you look at the testing window - how many days you will have to give the test. Next you look at the length of the test and determine how many classes can be scheduled to take the test per day. That will determine how many labs you need. 
For example, if you have a 10 (school) day window and you can test 4 classes a day, one lab can accomodate 40 classes of students. Make sense?
We've been doing online testing here in MN for a number of years. It's a pain in the ass and a terrible waste of computer resources - hardware, bandwidth, and tech support. But it also provides a rationale for reliable computers, sufficient internet capacity and adequate tech support. And job security for all the wrong reasons. 
Good luck and let me know if you have questions,
Doug Johnson
Web: www.doug-johnson.comBlue Skunk Blog: http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/Twitter: blueskunkblog


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Relic of My History - #BookBag2018 #ipaded

2013-05-31 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

My First School GraduationYou go to school, you do what they say, if you're lucky, you get a lollipop and a diploma. But what does the diploma mean, a life of conformity and survival? I'm not sure...sometimes, all we want is to be loved and supported. Do schools do that for our children? I hope so.

In my closet, I have an assortment of bags, ranging from the ones you pick up at conferences to camera bags to backpacks. I'm proud of my "grown-up" backpack, which I can pack to the gills with all the essentials while on the road consulting, preparing for a zombie apocalypse or more likely these days, visiting my daughter at college. But, not unlike David Warlick, I find myself wondering what to put in my silver-trimmed, black backpack.

And, what I invest into that backpack is the memory of many days of shouldering my pack. Carrying a backpack takes me back down the long road of memory, grown dim and faded like an old photo.

One thing that I do know is that a Bookbag, filled with 20 pounds of books, indicates a school based on standards — and such a school does not teach literacy nearly so much as it teaches compliance. Source: David Warlick, 2cents Blog
Over the years, I've carried laptops...Windows, Mac, and even on those occasions I felt brave, Linux. I've also carried books. An avid reader, I remember carting Stephen King's Under the Dome, clearly a tome if there ever was one, along with a few Louis L'Amour paperbacks to the TCEA conference.

These days, I carry over 1,000 books, 4-5 full length videos, carry 20-30 of my favorite multimedia slideshows (just in case someone asks me to stand up and say something), several gigs of videos, a small paper notepad encased in a black leather case, my entire family photo album, and a VGA adapter cable for my iPad (3rd Gen, 64gig). In truth, it all fits--including the power cable--in a bag a quarter the size of my backpack.

Sometimes, I feel I have left something behind. I want to stuff my backpack with more stuff...maybe, I need an extra chapstick, or a pen. The truth is, I don't need any of that.

Then, I watch my son shoulder his pack. Even for him, textbooks are relics of the past. His teachers post assignments online, recording lessons.

Once upon a time, I carried a backpack and kept my books, pieces of tree bark bound together....




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Copying Email from GoogleApps to Gmail

2013-05-28 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Get a free email client - http://mozilla.org/thunderbird 

Wondering how to quickly move your email from your Gmail account in GoogleApps for Education (GAfE) to Gmail, as this person below asks?

I would like to move all of my email from my school GAFE email address to my personal gmail address. I've spent a great deal of time organizing/filtering my email into folders and I'd like to keep those same folders in my personal gmail account. I know how to enable POP forwarding for future emails, but I'm not certain how to get all of my past emails to my personal gmail account. Since I'm also trying to help other teachers with this same issue, I'm trying to find the quickest, easiest way (other than to select all and forward...I really want my folders to keep it manageable). Any ideas or tricks? The stuff I'm finding online is just not helping.
Here is my response, although others such as Eric Simmons have also considered this question:

 there are several ways to accomplish this. Here's one that I use frequently:

1) Mozilla Thunderbird, a free open source email client. Install Mozilla Thunderbird email client - http://mozilla.org/thunderbird - on your computer. 
2) Connect to your GAfE email account via IMAP using Mozilla Thunderbird. It's pretty easy since Thunderbird will help you out...here is what my settings look like:


3) Connect to your regular Gmail account via IMAP using Mozilla ThunderbirdThunderbird will automatically detect the GMAIL IMAP settings for you. 
4) Once both accounts are able to check mail through Thunderbird, click and drag on the folder in your GAfE account, moving it to your regular Gmail account. If you have sub-folders, those will be recreated and the email copied from one account to another.
I tested this approach with Mozilla Thunderbird and have used it many a time. If you like, you can even save the message (with folder structure intact) to your computer for offline access. Instead of copying folders from your GAFE account to your personal Gmail account, copy them from your GAfE account to Local Folders in Thunderbird. Works great to make an offline copy you can then backup to an external USB drive.

Another approach might include the following:
Take advantage of CloudHQ.net. I used this recently to pull my Gdocs out of Drive over to Dropbox, but from what I can see, it would let you move Gmail from GAfE to Gmail. Note that the 15-day trial is free but after that, you would have to register for an account. So, I'd probably do the Thunderbird route if you're going to be doing this more than once, the CloudHQ route if it's a one-time thing only.
https://www.cloudhq.net/




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Does HS Prepare Students for College? Help a College Student Do Some Research @arguhlin

2013-05-27 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Would you help a college student do some research? Read below....

I'm a college student at the University of San Diego who's conducting a survey for a project that revolves around high school and college students. My goal is to see if high school properly trains students for college life and if college prepares students for post-graduation life. By getting feedback from these surveys, I hope to better understand how students feel during each step of the education process. The goal would be find and address any needs that are currently not being met. On top of this, there are also survey for parents of students in high school/just entering college and a survey for students who have already graduated from college and are transitioning into adult life.
The surveys are short and simple, they also require no personal information. I was wondering if you could post the links to the surveys on your blog so that I could get some most results (I'm about half way done currently). I've actually learned some interesting things so far, for example, parents find their children to be very prepared for college; however, many students comment on how they were unprepared for the challenge of living alone and managing their time the first year away from home.
Thank you for the time and consideration.
The links to the surveys can be found below:
High School Student Poll: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NB7DLWPCollege Student Poll: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XFDZPNGPost-Graduation Poll: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZQD292SParents' Poll: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NTKDMXK
Thanks again,
Safa






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2 minute test video post for ipad viewing

2013-05-27 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

This blog entry is in response to two questions:Can videos uploaded to Blogger be viewed on an iPad? No because Blogger uses Flash video format, not HTML5.Can you easily adjust embed code for a GoogleDoc embedded in a GoogleDoc? Yes.

This is a Blogger embedding test of a 2-minute video (10megs) in MP4 format. I did not spend much time picking this video since I plan to delete the entry. The goal is to embed it in a blog entry then view it on an iPad:


Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCfA_1KQXQI
Test results: Safari browser on iPad did not reveal the video. Puffin (a flash-enabled browser on iPad) did show the video as a Flash video. Here's what that looks like:

Safari:


Puffin:






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6 Favorite Zombie Authors

2013-05-25 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Over the last few months, I have fallen into reading quite a few zombie tales. Since there are a lot of boring zombie stories out there, I thought I'd share my top 6 authors.

What makes these 6 authors special is that they each author a trilogy or more of books about zombies, which is great since there's nothing like reading one zombie book and feeling the hunger to read more.

Aside: And, to be honest, this is a test post of Scriptogr.am, a Dropbox-based blog engine. I'm using IFTTT.com to post to this blog via email and RSS...I'm curious to see what works faster).

So, here are my favorite authors of zombie tales:

Top Authors Jonathan Maberry - Maberry not only hooks you with his Young Adult Rot & Ruin series, but Patient Zero is the beginning of some awesome stories. Mark Tufo - I am absolutely shocked how engaging Tufo's work was. I read all of his series featuring Michael Talbot, an ex-Marine with a family being persecuted by a vampire and a few million zombies. I honestly could not stop reading. Language is brutal in this book, but Talbot is so good-natured and "in character" that you forgive him...and it IS the end of the world. Joseph Talluto - Who couldn't like a zombie series which features a school administrator as the protagonist? Engaging reading and only mild profanity, making it one of the more tame zombie tales on this list. That said, the action is gripping and I find I can't stop reading! Joe McKinney - San Antonio-based police officer turned writer. It's a bit weird reading about your home town in a zombie book. Taking notes.... Stephen Knight - Though I've only read The Gathering Dead in the series, I'm looking forward to the next book. Rhiannon Frater - Wow, this series grabs you and doesn't let go! I find it funny that there's at least two Texan authors on this list!

There are many other zombie authors out there, but these have entire, engaging series of stories that develop the storyline and characters.



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Blogging with Dropbox and Scriptogr.am

2013-05-25 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Wow, who would have thought you could publish a blog on Dropbox using nothing more than a simple text editor and an app called Scriptogr.am! You even get an RSS feed (http://scriptogr.am/mguhlin/feed/) Working in text is pretty simple...here's a little bit of information from the sample post that Scriptogr.amprovides for you:

scriptogr.am uses Markdown, a lightweight markup language, originally created by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz. Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). See the Syntax page for details pertaining to Markdown’s formatting syntax. You can try it out, right now, using the online Dingus.Getting started
After connecting your Dropbox account to scriptogr.am, some necessary files and folders are added to your Dropbox at Apps/scriptogram. First theGET_STARTED.txt text file that pretty much explains the exact same as what you’re reading now. Next, we’ve added a posts folder. This is where you add your blog post (& page) files. These files are plain textfiles, but needs to be saved with the .md (markdown) extension like this: yourfile.md
Pretty nifty! Here's a bit more on Markdown.To route the post to Blogger, I'm posting via email using IFTTT.com. Posting via RSS works works but the formatting is better when routed through Gmail.A look behind the scenes...
Creating a blog entry with Markdown...left side is the markdown version, right-side is the preview.
 The dashboard...the current version of Scriptogr.am requires one to synchronize all posts. It's an added "Publish" step that they hope to get rid of in future versions.
One of several themes....
One of several themes....


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JobPosting - Instructional Technologist Navarro ISD

2013-05-24 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Navarro ISD has posted a postion for an Instructional Technologist.  Information can be found at www.nisd.us.  

The position would be in charge of staff development and  the point person for an iPad rollout for our 7th grade students.  

Navarro ISD is a 3A school district located between Seguin, New Braunfels and San Marcos.  





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The Spiderman Question: 3D Printing

2013-05-23 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

"There's great educational content on YouTube," shared one educator. "Why are we still blocking it?"
"Skype is also a great tool," another shared, "but why are we still blocking it?"

Ever wonder how come technology doesn't play by the rules? Why are our creations so evil in one context, so transformational in another? These thoughts popped into my head as I reflected on 3D printers. These are powerful devices that, while expensive right now, will undoubtedly go down in price. As a school district, if I had a 3D printer, how would I use it for good?
3D Printed pistols
Some have chosen to use 3D printers as way to make guns. What I find really interesting in this remark:

“Significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printer files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns,” reads a May 21 bulletin from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center obtained by Fox News. â€œLimiting access may be impossible.”
Limiting access IS impossible. Over 100,000 downloads, the plans for printing a plastic pistol are out there for anyone with an Internet connection to access. Making great ideas and plans for achieving this can be likened to how we are advocating change in schools. Let's make the technology ubiquitous and, in so doing, make it impossible for traditional network nazis to control. In fact, those network control freaks have thrown up their hands and gotten wise over the last few years, saying, "We can't block everything. You need to figure this out and have some conversations! Teach digital citizenship or something."

I've grown up watching Spiderman and every movie seems to highlight the quote. In the clip at the end of this blog entry, Parker/Spiderman (Toby Maguire) labels his power as both a blessing and curse, embracing them both.

For 3D guns, it may be about making something that saves lives, not unlike the story of the doctors who 3D-print an emergency airway tube and save an infant:
“Quite a few of the doctors said that he had a good chance of not leaving the hospital alive,” said the mother of the baby boy, who suffered from a severe version of tracheobronchomalacia, causing his bronchus to collapse.
Desperate for a solution, the doctors obtained emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to surgically sew the 3D-printed splint on the child’s airway. “It was amazing. As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK,” said Michigan University Professor Dr. Glenn Green, who came up with save-saving solution, with his partner Dr. Scott Hollister.
Life seems to be about what we embrace...whether it will be a blessing or a curse.


"With great power comes great responsibility."




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Leadership Challenge - Redefine Your Difference

2013-05-23 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

InfoGraphic - Sitting Is Killing you usFlipping through pictures of attendees at a recent conference, I was struck by a horrible observation that resonated in my own heart--we're all overweight. Aside from a few lean greyhounds and fitness buffs with bulging biceps, trim triceps, it's frightening to see so many of us so weighty.

It's no surprise since we find ourselves sitting for much of technology use...it's hard to walk and talk, much less walk and manage an iPad or mobile device. We like to sit still. We are tasked with creating, working hard to make things happen. It's a pressure that can be stressful because it's essential to our future:
Source: Amber Teamann's blog entryPresence can mean so many things, such as this short list from Amber. For many of us, though, it means spending hours sitting still, punishing our arms and nerves as we work on web sites, write, design images that "pop," and participating in collaborative virtual jaunts that link us to the world.

Consider the contributions necessary here and ask yourself, how can I achieve this and remain healthy?
Shawn Cornally says:I asked the lead tech developers of several Cedar Rapids companies what they look for when hiring, and they all responded with, “The applicant’s Github [open source] portfolio.”Not their GPA.Not their test scores or transcripts.Their what-have-you-done files.The only way a student can have a Github portfolio is if they have a project worth working on, and the only way they can have that is if they’ve had generative interactions with the greater community; a community who has a plethora of problems worth working on.
Source: Dangerously IrrelevantHow do we redefine the difference we make, the one that makes us so valuable, employable? How do I change what *I* am doing now and continue to be of value?
InfoGraphic - Sitting Is Killing you us


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Secret Space Encryptor (SSE) #android #java #mac #windows #encryption #encrypt

2013-05-23 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Looking for a cross-platform encryption tool? As I've shared in the past, one of my favorite apps for encrypting content is AESCrypt.com, which is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. AESCrypt.com does have an Android version (Crypt Lite4All). But AESCrypt only works on files, not folders or text messages on an Android phone/tablet.

Enter Secret Space Encryptor (SSE).

Take a look at the beautifully designed, open source Secret Space Encryptor (S.S.E. on Android). It comes in a java version that works with a GUI and a command line. You can tell they spent some time on Android developing this, though. It not only allows you to encrypt files, but also text messages/notes, as well as securely wipe folders on your Android device. Awesome!

Here's a quick overview of SSE's features from Linux Magazine author, Dmitri Popov:

Using it, you can securely store passwords, encrypt text messages, and encrypt individual files and entire folders. The app offers several strong encryption algorithms, including 256-bit AES, 256-bit Serpent, and 256-bit Blowfish.SSE consists of three modules: Password Vault, Message Encryptor, and File/Dir Encryptor. The Password Vault module allows you to safely store passwords and organize them into folders.The Message Encryptor module can be useful for encrypting text notes. You can paste the existing text from the clipboard, encrypt it, and copy it back to the clipboard. Alternatively, you can save the note in the built-in database for later use.Free, open source software
On the desktop, it runs in a java environment and looks like this:
Encrypted files have a filename extension added to them - encEncrypting is lightning-fast!I'll have to play around with this tool some more, however, a nice feature is the ability to move back and forth across platforms using SSE File Encryptor!
Other mobile screenshots:

This Message Encryptor makes encrypting text messages easy! Too bad there isn't an iOS alternative yet.


Looking for secure password generation, clipboard cleaning,etc? Other utilities built-into SSE are convenient:




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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Training Your Technicians - DRAFT Proposal #edtechchat

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Is this a crazy idea? Sometimes, you think something for so long, that you start to think it makes sense and maybe, it doesn't. 

Source: http://goo.gl/ycsm2

Check out this DRAFT proposal I'm putting together...constructive feedback welcome!


ProposalThis proposal recommends that the District fund Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ training for all Technician I and II staff members and pay the cost of certification exams for first attempt. Certification and training must be linked to job descriptions and advancement.
BackgroundDistrict technicians in the District are currently auxiliary staff members who are low-paid and need access to training opportunities that enable them to better serve the District technology support needs. Districttechnicians often learn as they go, but seldom receive any formal training. This lack of training impairs performance, impedes student learning, and results in longer down-time for District faculty, staff, and students. Other school districts have begun or have been sending their technical support staff for training and paying for certification.

NeedAs a result, district technical support staff need access to structured learning opportunities that help them to better understand the best trouble-shooting possible in schools. For a variety of factors, technicians are unable to pursue training and certification on their own. Peer training opportunities are limited due to the small pool of knowledge available.
CostThe total cost of sending all technical support staff through specialized training and obtaining certification is $11,380.00. Below, please find the details on the budget:
Technician TrainingNeedAudienceTraining TypeCostStaff lack the critical problem-solving skills for resolving district technical issues.5 technical staffCompTIA A+ training through TestOut LabSim courses$4000 =(5 staff x $800 per course 1 seat license)District Technology Office lacks a way to differentiate between levels of technicians aside from salary.5 technical staffCompTIA A+ Certification Exam$1500 =(5 staff x $300 per exam)

Total Cost$5,500
Technology ManagementNeedAudienceTraining TypeCostStaff lack the critical problem-solving skills for resolving district network issues.2 technology managersCisco Certified Network Assistant (CCNA) training through TestOut LabSim courses$1390 = (2 staff x $695 per course 1 seat license)Linux support for existing systems1 technology manager1 technology directorCompTIA Linux+ Training$990 =(2 staff x $495 per exam)VMWare Server Support1 technology manager
$3500 = (1 staff x $3500 per training)

Total Cost$5,880
Prices are based on TestOut.com’s LabSim online video training series. A list of prices is available online at http://www.testout.com/home/it-certification-training/product-list


The District Technology Department has 3 levels of technicians:All technical support staff (5) will be given the opportunity to complete CompTIA A+ training and test once, supported by the District.Technicians that complete CompTIA A+ will be eligible to be considered for promotion to Technician III.Other technical staff--systems integration manager, staff manager (2)--will have the opportunity to pursue CCNA, Linux+ training to support District initiatives.This is a one-time offer for any employee. All employees incur the cost of future certifications. To remain in the position, staff must successfully complete re-certification in 2 or 3 years (depending on the area) and maintain that.



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What's Lost When You Go #iPad - Dealing with 5 Concerns

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

"What else is lost when we go to iPads?," asked a colleague from a school district. His question threw me off a bit as I pondered it for a moment. What's LOST? I reflected, wondering what had been lost. Then, I stumbled around a bit, I ran across this link +Lisa Johnson (@techchef4u) had shared to what had been learned after a year of 1 to 1 iPads:


As you can see from the slide, the presenter highlights some key areas. As I review these concerns, I don't see them as insurmountable issues that block iPad adoption. And, a concern I don't see that one would think might be a show-stopper, isn't listed. More on what that concern is later.

For now, let's take each of these concerns in turn:

1) Need for keyboard and stylus.
One of my first efforts as an iPad user was to get a keyboard. I use my keyboard for wrting, blogging, typing in notes during meetings. In fact, I can't imagine my iPad without a keyboard attached or one nearby. However, a lot of the work that gets done on an iPad--such as Haiku Deck presentations, adding captions to images, words in comic strips with Strip Designer--don't require a keyboard for dissertation usage. Why not invest in 4-5 keyboards and make those available in an iPad enabled classroom? For me, the real magic isn't the focus on words, but on video and audio projects available. After all, Garr Reynolds' advice (Presentation Zen) is to avoid lots of words on a screen...and the era of Powerpoint is over.

But for serious writing, that is getting in the flow of writing, I don't see it happening without the keyboard. As to stylus, I seriously wouldn't waste my money. That's MY preference, though.

2) Tool for Projecting Student iPads.
The Reflector app on a Mac is absolutely wonderful and I've used it to share my iPad screen via a digital projector. It's inexpensive, works on Mac and Windows and also routes audio from your iPad to the Macbook. That means if you have a sound system hooked up to your Mac, you don't have to mess with unplugging cables and plugging them into your iPad.

Of course, I still carry my iPad dongle so I can hook up directly to a digital projector.

3) Ability to Print.
This is easily solved. You can invest in an AirPrint compatible printer (Dell is now selling them) or setup your ipad to print via IP address to a network printer--which is how laptops and/or computers print to a network printer--so that's pretty easy. You can use an inexpensive app like Print Central ($8.99) to enable your iPad to print just like your other devices.

4) Consistent Process for Submitting Work.
Yes, it's actually quite easy to submit student created work. If you can get that work into the Photo/Camera Roll, then you can easily "collect" or submit it. The best way is to use Google Drive, since it's gotten quite easy to submit work. Or, if you prefer, Edmodo.com. There are many other possibilities, but Drive is the best (unless you want to use Dropbox, but their terms of service don't make it easy for under 17 year olds).

If you don't want to depend on cloud storage, why not show students how to get their work from their ipad to a computer (or the teacher's iPad) by using Readdle Documents?

5) Process for Backing Up Work and ePortfolios
Creating ePortfolios can be tough. In addition to merely getting work off the iPad, you have to find a system that students can use their iPad to interact with. Again, using GoogleDrive works well since students can store their work and then create a document that links to that work. 

The Real Issue - Workflow
So, what's the main concern not listed? Workflow. To achieve all this on an iPad, you have to step away from the side of the pool and venture for the deep-end of iPad workflows. Most people I've seen don't have the desire to learn how to do something on an iPad. They start, but then quickly give up when it comes to backing up work, creating content. Why? I'm not sure. The iPad is a phenomenal creativity engine but you have to gas it up...and your imagination is the fuel.

What's lost when you go with an iPad over Chromebooks, etc.? Well, it's not about what you lose, but what you gain and whether you have what it takes to push yourself to learn a new workflow. If you won't do it, then the iPad will end up as yet another failed technology in K-12 schools.


Image Source: http://goo.gl/5efXY


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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Yawn, a terabyte at Flickr

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Ok, I've already paid my $40 for two years of Flickr, moved much of my image collection over there from PicasaWeb--which was murdered by Google in its attempt to make Google + more attractive--but Flickr has left me desiring more.

As I heard on NPR today, Yahoo acquired Tumblr. But everyone is hoping that they won't do to Tumblr what they did to Flickr and Delicious...let them languish into near obscurity or worthlessness. Still, Flickr appears to be trying to do something different, maybe Yahoo's attempt to say, "Hey, we still care." But a terabyte of storage...well, who cares? I have 9 gigs of photos, but a terabyte isn't going to turn me into an avid photographer.

What's missing on Flickr is what drew me to Instagram (everything I post on Instagram goes straight to Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, etc)--the Power to Share easily with my social network, my family and friends, with complete strangers.

Flickr is Web 2.0, while Instagram is Web something else. Sure, Instagram has had its PR problems, but...sharing is what makes Instagram powerful, and Flickr just an old shoebox.

Image Source: http://goo.gl/xvtIJ


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Move Your Stuff in the Cloud

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

http://mover.io/
Earlier this year, my enthusiasm for CloudHQ knew no bounds (except financing)! I was thrilled at a tool that let me move content from one cloud storage space (e.g. Evernote) to another (e.g. Dropbox). Yesterday, I played around with another one--Mover.io.

I successfully migrated content from my Box.net account--after all, who wants to move all that stuff oneself?--to my Dropbox account. In the process, I received the following email, which bodes well for others who'd like to move content from one space to another:

Hello from Mover,
Thanks for signing up! I hope you find Mover to be a useful and friendly tool.
Everyone starts with a free account. We give you $10 in credit which will let you transfer up to 10GB of data!
Common questions and answers can be found via our support site at http://support.mover.io.
If you have any troubles getting started please don't hesitate to let me know! It's my job to help :)
Thanks,
Eric Warnke       


10gigs of data! Pretty fantastic!



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


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Google + For Schools vs Hangout

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

This past weekend, a few of us tweeted at each other about enabling Google + in schools. Throughout the whole discussion, I equated Google + with Hangouts. While Google+ is great and all, I've really embraced Twitter as the avenue for crafting my PLN. It's become the rock solid foundation of my PLN. While I could switch to another, I have to admit that twitter remains my go-to tools to introduce folks to.

Some folks are developing Google+ resources for their school districts, such as Jay Atwood's (@jayatwood):

We're rolling out Google+ to some faculty and high school students. I whipped up some video tutorials on the basics to help so I thought I'd share. Getting Going on Google+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vNw37mOz4EMeet Your Google+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeqVzND1_ugCircle Basics in Google+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXNUl0lkNQQHangouts on Air in Google+ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjQ3d0WailsThe emerging playlist is here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Nrs6rglVNHPpUZ9NPsj0FrzCF9EUvEG
I have to admit what has the most interest for me is Hangouts, especially as a replacement for Adobe Connect. Could Hangouts do the job? That's the question...and if Hangouts is a part of GoogleTalk (or replaced it), can it stand alone separate from G+?




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Free Antivirus/Anti-Malware for Schools

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



How much can antivirus/anti-malware cost a school district? As much as $300,000 for a 3 year contract, depending on the number of "endpoints" you have to protect. Even small districts suffer the cost of protecting Windows and Macintosh computers again viruses and malware.

Although great appliances (e.g. Fortinet, Barracuda) stand like sentinels against the army of malware that try to penetrate your school district's defenses, seeking to hog your bandwidth and tear through your computers, each endpoint still needs individual defenses. In case the malware breaks through, what can stand in the way?

That's why paying for a solution like Symantec, Sophos, Kaspersky, and others can make the difference. But the cost is incredible. Couldn't you, as a technology director, spend that money in another way to impact teaching, learning and leading with technology?

Enter avast! Free for EDU. This is an antivirus/anti-malware solution that's available at no charge to schools, comes with a management console, and a million other features worth taking a look at:

All public educational institutions in the US are eligible to use AVAST’s premium, business-grade avast! Endpoint Protection Suite at no cost. Each educational license includes two central management control options, which enables IT administrators to remotely manage antivirus protection on mobile devices, laptops, desktops and servers across any campus, large or small.Two central management control options (with each educational license)Protection for Windows endpoints (Mac OS X compatibility available soon)Protection for servers supporting 5–30,000 endpoint devicesRemote management for all supported devices on campus


Several school districts are already taking advantage of this, and I know one district I work with closely is investigating this, doing a pilot for the Fall, 2013. How's your district working to not spend money protecting itself from ne'er-do-wells?


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Freak Out about Leadership - #Ubuntu

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

LeadershipFreak consistently writes blog entries on leadership that I have to read. Isn't that great? As a person in a leadership position, I often self-evaluate...do an expansive gut-check, asking questions that are posed.

Here are some take-aways that Dan Rockwell points out (read the whole blog entry):

Incompetent leaders have teams who turn on each other.People, who need control or credit, fight to get it and refuse to give it.Naughty fighting focuses on people. Nice fighting focuses on issues.Past tense conversations never create the future.High performers, who don’t fit, ruin teams. Wow, that first one makes me ask, "What kind of leader do I need to be to create conditions that promote teams that interact with each other in real ways?" Perhaps, ensuring that the rules of engagement are clearly marked, that we know how to interact with each other. There are always people on a team who are smarter than everyone else, who know it all...and there are others who resent that, who aren't afraid to push back against injustice, and pretty soon, it's all over. You've spent the meeting arguing about personalities rather than focusing on the issue.
The second one--control or credit--reminds me of folks who are on the hunt to rip up other people when/where they've made a mistake. In these cases, you ask what you really want. If the desire to be right or get credit wins, then that's what happens at the cost of what should have been your real objective (whatever was best for the organization in that situation). Often, it ends up being about personalities, about disagreements.
Even high performers can cause issues, as Dan points out. Having worked with my share of "prima-donnas" who think they are so good that they don't have to learn anything from anyone, you realize that you'd probably settle for a B-player with a great attitude than an A+ player with a crappy attitude.
In fact, that's what one of my assistant superintendents told me. It's all about attitude. When i reflect on how little I know, I'm grateful that my ego hasn't let me forget that I know quite a bit. 
But there are times when I feel at my most knowledgeable, when I'm in expert mode and feeling cocky and arrogant...it's those times I have to hit the brakes and ask, "When did you become a demi-god?" That's when you have to watch out for trouble. 
Today, a new team member was welcomed. On her welcome card, I shared the definition of one of my favorite words--Ubuntu.

'I am what I am because of who we all are'.
You know, I try to remember that most of all.


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Fake It 'til You Feel It

2013-05-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Or, as Dale Carnegie said, "Act enthusiastic and you'll BE enthusiastic!" Yes, at 17 years of age, I was learning to act my way into the kind of person I wanted to be, thanks to Dale Carnegie. Oh, what invaluable training that has been and I've worked hard to pass it on to my children. Thanks, Dad!

"Fake it until you feel it." Ah, old advice that helps one overcome their fear. Reading a story yesterday about a Mom rescuing her children, someone asked, "I didn't know you were so brave! How did you screw up your courage to take these steps?" The response was about what you'd expect. "Brave? Bah! I wasn't brave, just more frightened of what would happen if I didn't do anything!"

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
“I think there is something more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers. There aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision.” ~ W. Clement Stone  
“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you ready or not, to put this plan into action.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Are you frightened of what might happen if you don't DO anything? I have to be transparent and share that I am often asking myself, Is this the right action to take? The appropriate response? Sitting around the lunch table with colleagues, I shared how I'm trying to bring about a fundamental change in my thinking, a change I think is desirable. It's proving quite difficult, even though colleagues tell me I'm achieving a modicum of success. What is that goal? To internalize the principles in Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations. Of course, while I experience success some days, failure dogs my steps on others.

The feeling results in one of my favorite Robert Quinn, author of Deep Change, stories. Three professors are walking down a hall, each highly respected. When one of them received tenure, he confessed to his friends that he didn't know enough. He felt like a fake.

Perhaps the condition of NOT being a fake is realizing you don't know it all, realizing a commitment that you have to keep re-evaluating who you are.
What I want to know is, how long does it take to turn into the person who actually 'feels' comfortable, confident, and competent on the inside, rather than the person who believes they are a fraud in these three categories, and taking a new setting hour by hour and hoping they don't get discovered in their inept-ness. Source: Quoted in The Bamboo Project
Michele Martin, The Bamboo Project blogger, shares her perspective:

Your real question is did I feel like a fraud inside and, if so, how did I get over it? Here's the thing. There are days when I feel very good about myself professionally and then other days when I feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing at all--a complete, inept imposter.  The days when I feel confident, competent and comfortable are gifts.  I can do things to encourage the gift to come more often, but I can't control it all the way. I can only try to create the fertile ground for the gifts of grace and ease to come to me. 

Her response is "spot-on." I am an inept imposter. In fact, recognizing when you feel like an imposter is a source of power, enabling you to avoid arrogant posturing, insecure retaliation against others. It's an opportunity to tap into the power of the team.




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Get It Done For Free

2013-05-18 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

If you're a school district that still using Microsoft Office on most desktops, you need to stop. Really. 

Curious about Bring Your Own Technology? Read Embracing Bring Your Own Technology: In classrooms at East Central High School over the past month, students enhanced learning through the use of their personal, mobile devices with the encouragement of classroom teachers and campus leadership!
It's a point that Jeff at The Thinking Stick makes quite well:
In the US, 74 of the top 100 Universities use Google Apps and 7 of the 8 Ivy League Universities use Google Apps. Love that they released these figures as just two weeks ago I had an IT Director tell me students still needed to know how to use Word as that was the standard. According to Google itself over 5 million businesses use Google Apps. What this tells me is platform no longer should be the focus. Word processing the skill should be.
Last week, I had to seriously crunch some numbers. I didn't have to go to a desktop application once. Instead, at work, I use GoogleApps for Education's Sheet. I seldom start up LibreOffice anymore, even though it's continued to be developed.  And, MS Office...even though it's installed on my computer, I avoid that like the plague. You may not believe me, but I haven't used MS Office in years.

If you have to use something on your computer, use LibreOffice, which just came out with a new version:
LibreOffice is a comprehensive, professional-quality productivity suite that you can download and install for free. There is a large base of satisfied LibreOffice users worldwide, and it is available in more than 30 languages and for all major operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Suse, ...). 

What's outstanding about LibreOffice?LibreOffice is a feature-packed and mature desktop productivity package with some really great advantages:
It's free – no worry about license costs or annual fees.
No language barriers – it's available in a large number of languages, with more being added continually.


LibreOffice.org

Perhaps we should all be making videos, slide shows, etc. But sometimes, you just have to crunch numbers, word process...and LibreOffice or GoogleApps can get it done for free.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Encrypting Your Data? You Should Be

2013-05-18 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: Technology Review

"In response to declining utility of CALEA mandated wiretapping backdoors due to more widespread use of cryptography, the FBI is considering a revamped version that would mandate wiretapping facilities in end users' computers and software. Critics have argued that this would be bad for security (PDF), as such systems must be more complex and thus harder to secure. CALEA has also enabledcriminals to wiretap conversations by hacking the infrastructure used by the authorities. I wonder how this could ever be implemented in FOSS."

via Slashdot
I encrypt everything, whether it's earth-shatteringly confidential (ok, NOTHING I have is that) or mundane stuff (99% of my stuff) like important receipts, contracts, tax returns, medical records, and financial transaction records. I'm actually thrilled to read the following news that the FBI is having trouble eavesdropping on private citizens because there is more widespread encryption.

Can police search a cell phone as part of lawful arrest and search it? NOPE! Read this: 
This case requires us to decide whether the police, after seizing a cell phone from an individual's person as part of his lawful arrest, can search the phone's data without a warrant. We conclude that such a search exceeds the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment search-incident-to-arrest exception.

If you're using Google Drive, Dropbox.com,  Box.net, or the many other cloud storage solutions, you should encrypt your data before it's put in the cloud. You can use many solutions, whether it's individual file encryption tools like AESCrypt.com, 7zip compression utilities, or Truecrypt.org and/or Boxcryptor.com,

For organizations that have confidential data, I was thrilled to find out about a solution known as OneHub.com. It's a solution that reminded me of a solution like Dropbox, but with AES encryption security built-in. Here's a quick tour:

You can create folders to house your data!
GoogleDocs integration...note that all docs are saved as docx files in OneHub
Document previews are available.easy to download folders of data!
Some of it's main features appear below:
Looks very similar to Dropbox.com and/or OwnCloud.orgFeatures a folder sync utility...think Dropbox installed on your computer where anything you put in the folder is automatically synched.Onehub works directly with Google’s document platform, Google Drive, to allow you to create and edit files from inside your Workspaces. You can even simutaneously collaborate on the exact same document with your fellow workspace members, all from within Onehub. When the last editor saves the document, all the group’s changes are saved back to Onehub.Share your files with others by inviting them to a Workspace, folder or file. Users receive a branded email with a single click to set up a password and access your content.role-based permission system. The role is set when the user is invited and can be changed at any time by an Administrator or Moderator.Secure links provide direct access to any folder or file without requiring a Onehub account. With the Team Edition and above, you can set passwords and expiration dates.Works for iOS devices, Android, Windows mobile, and more.What's more, you can install it on your own servers or go vendor-hosted. I found out about it from a law firm who wanted to exchange confidential documents with a public school district. Pricing is also pretty reasonable.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Flat and Connected Learning: A Recipe for Success by @julielindsay #edtechchat

2013-05-13 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Note: The following is a guest post by Julie Lindsay. Thanks, Julie!


My proposition today, and for many years past, is that learning is 'flat' and has to be 'flat'. Learners need to connect themselves to networks, many networks, and learn from and with the immediate as well as wider world. I am talking about a change in mindset, a shift in pedagogy and an essential purpose for the integration of technology across the curriculum - including mobile computing.

'Flat' or 'Connected' learning is the use of technology to virtually eliminate the walls of the classroom. The walls are 'flattened' through bringing the world into the classroom and opening the classroom, opening the learning to the world. This can happen teacher to student, student to student, student to teacher and include expert advisors, sounding boards, and opportunities to learn from and with anyone. This is bigger than 'flipped' or 'blended' learning. 'Flat' is the superset learning objective, the others are subsets of this whole.
'Flat' learning is important because it connects learners with the world and impacts the context in which we learn. It promotes discovery and engagement with those who are not in the same physical space, and fosters opportunities to develop 21st Century skills, attitudes and habits of learning. Most importantly, adopting 'flat' learning can change the world as we know it - locally and globally - by creating more globally competent and aware learners who have enhanced cultural understanding and experience working with people across the world.
'Flat' learning is the future you say? NO! 'Flat' learning is NOW!How do your 'go flat'? Here is a simple recipe for success.....only THREE ingredients!
Three Ingredients to Flatten Your Classroom 
1. Connection - (Connected Learning)
Connect yourself, connect your school, connect your students
Develop habits and a daily workflow that includes regular interactions and opportunities to learn with and from
Do not be confined by the synchronous! Develop strategies for asynchronous connections and conversations
Use 'Pull' technologies such as RSS, blogs, social bookmarks and smart search engine use to pull information to you so you know what is going on, when it happensBecome a teacherpreneur! Find opportunities through your PLN and bring them to your students and your school. A teacherpreneur is a teacher who sees an opportunity to make a profitable learning experience for students through the forging of partnerships with other classrooms with common curricular goals and expectationsMake virtual connections, and participate virtually in global events
Develop a strategy for curriculum development and refer to the Taxonomy for Global Connection to support embedding connected learning into what you do every day Connection is not enough.....it is the first step....but we need more..... 
2. Citizenship - (with a splash of global competency)
 Although technology is used in communication, digital citizenship is still squarely about relating to people Promote discussions about individual digital identity – including for older students and adults Personal Branding  Be aware of the Enlightened Model of Digital Citizenship that includes: Five areas of awareness: technology, individual, social, cultural, and global – for framing analysis of online situations; and Four key “rays” of understanding: Safety, Privacy, Copyright, and Legal; Etiquette and Respect; Habits of Learning; and Literacy and FluencyDevelop a powerful digital citizenship curriculum - and encourage global competency. It is not all about the hardware and software, it is about how you can learn more about the world supported by the use of technology  3. Collaboration - (the sort that includes co-creation)
If collaboration is a needed 21st Century skill (are there any standards that do not include this?), educators need to not only teach it but to employ and model it as wellDevelop educational approaches to social learning
Develop technopersonal skills for both synchronous and asynchronous learningMove towards co-creation of products with others at a distanceDo you want to learn more about 'Flat' learning? Do you want to embed global collaboration into your curriculum>Join Julie Lindsay in San Antonio, June 20-21 at the International School of the Americas (just before ISTE 2013!) for the next Flat Classroom Workshop - Yes! there are places available - and discounts for groups of 4 or more educators
Join the Flat Classrooms network and find like-minded educatorsView Julie's ECIS IT Conference 2013 Keynote slides - 'FLAT'Learn more about Julie Lindsay - global educator, innovator, leader


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Hitch Your Wagon to New Learners #hfsoars #edchat #cpchat

2013-05-12 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Don't you just love this quote?

Image Source: http://goo.gl/mSoOmWhy settle for one star when you're fortunate enough to have 3?

As a veteran blogger and social media tinkerer, one of the tough aspects of finding stuff to write about is "new stuff." Try as I might, I sometimes come up completely dry in terms of new blog posts about stuff that I want to learn about. In those cases, I'm grateful for questions from new learners, folks that are embracing new technologies and learning stuff fresh. It gives me the opportunity to take a look at things from THEIR perspective...and the enthusiasm of learning something new, as well as the frustration, can also be enlightening, too.



Since I'm working over the several weeks with a campus team (pictured above) on building a Professional Learning Network (PLN), one of the fun aspects is watching them get better at joining the flow of a global learning conversation. . .in many ways, it reminds me of how a young driver learns to merge onto the traffic on a busy road or highway.

I love this visual representation that was put together by the campus leadership team as they pondered how to share their journey with a roomful of principals and assistant superintendents:
Diagram created by @skfuller , @shelleyyeater and @ccmorenotweetsAs I've shared in previous blog entries, it's quite easy to get caught up in the how-to, the technology aspect. It's a lesson I learned many years ago while facilitating a Curriculum Using Technology (CUT) series. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, people remembered the technology they had to learn to do something, not the pedagogy and/or theory that undergird it.

That's why I was thrilled to see Shannon Fuller (@skfuller) put our focus on Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (PTLC) (the link will take you to the PDF of the document shared).

Image Source: SEDL developed the PTLC in partnership with the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The process reflects the research on best practices in professional development and school improvement.

I see some real connections between using Twitter to accelerate professional learning for teachers, freeing them from their dependence on traditional F2F workshops, conferences and print magazines:

One of the key strengths of PTLC is its design as a job-embedded professional learning process that is ongoing and results driven. According to multiple correlation studies on teacher quality (DarlingHammond, 2000; Darling-Hammond, Hightower, Husbands, LaFors, Young, & Christopher, 2003), higher levels of student achievement are associated with educators who participate in sustained professional development grounded in content-specific pedagogy. Continuous professional learning that improves teacher outcomes, in turn, impacts student outcomes. Studies indicate that when teachers improve their instructional practice,student achievement also improves(Fishman, Marx, Best,&Tal, 2003;Guskey, 2000; Kamil, 2003).
Social media (e.g. Twitter) can be used in this way to initiate and sustain professional development; the wide variety of rich ideas, or even "little" ideas that aren't as earth-shattering but appear in great quantity, are powerful.
"For a long time, we went into our rooms and we went into private practice," Hammel notes. "We never shared what we knew. Now we're allowing teachers to look at it all and talk about strategies they're going to use together. If I'm a new teacher or a teacher who has difficulty with particular content, this gives me an open door with my colleagues so I can get some ideas." Source: SEDL

Continuous learning happens, whether we're working with big ideas or little ones:
“Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.” Dylan Wiliam via Can Coaching Help Transform Teacher Quality?
Here's how Shannon (@skfuller), Shelley (@dyslexiadepot) and Christina (@ccmorenotweets) approached introducing a group of principals to PTLC and the role Twitter could play (I apologize if I didn't quite capture all aspects...I have video of each act below but my video jitters and shakes):

Act 1 - "Sharing the Journey as we develop a system for learning together, how we developed our team and our structure."
This was a brief presentation and I think the idea of developing a technology-enhanced system of collaborative learning is incredibly powerful and praise-worthy. It may be so because we often engage in "parallel play," not unlike toddlers. Learning collaboratively can be powerful for adults who often go to far in respecting each other's autonomy and independence.
...we need to ensure that we at least ‘embed’ improvements in practice. This is paramount because we know that despite the complex array of factors that influence student attainment, teacher quality trumps everything else. We also know that teacher impact plateaus after a couple of years (see my article here on reaching the â€˜OK Plateau‘) and that we must make professional development genuinely continuous and continuously effective. Source: Can Coaching Help Transform Teacher Quality?

Act 2 - Analyzing the PTLC Article. Participants were asked to analyze the PTLC and create a visual representation. Here are some of the products:



There was one more image, a series of 3 interlinked circles in a series but the photo was too blurry.
Act 3 - Watch The Dive Deep videos (read companion blog post) and fill out a window sheet.
The cycle demonstrated in the videos can be used in anything. Here are my imperfect notes on this portion of their engaging presentation:
What we've done...in the beginning, we talked about how we have ever-changing best practices, standards...change is inevitable in education process. How do we build capacity for teachers to be successful in the classroom? It's constantly changing and my ILT can't be the deliverer. How are we going to develop capacity? We talked about instructional coaching and PLNs...connecting with experts outside of ourselves to build capacity. 
One of the ways to connect to experts is through Twitter. I am not a techno-person. Our goal is to introduce you to Twitter. If you have an account, we encourage you to use it.
When we come to the table to discuss a topic, we have content to refer to that we've learned about through Twitter. We're going to rotate around 3 different stations to show you about Twitter, PLN and building capacity. PLNs can help with that study. We, the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), worked on this for the last few months.  
Literacy, instructional coaching, leadership and math are initiatives I try to find people talking about on Twitter. 
Act 4 - Discussion of the Mechanics of Twitter and PLN
Participants divide up into 3 groups and walk around to listen to different presenters. The topics included 1) Twitter and hashtags, 2) Flipboard and creating flipboard magazines others can follow, and 3) using Pocket to keep track of information and easily share it with others.


Key Points from Shannon's Presentation (@skfuller):

Connect to other people around a topic using hashtags like #edtechchat , #leadfromwithinYou connect with people and they can send things out, and you can adopt their ideas for your own.Twitter chats involve searching on a hashtag, and the moderator posts 10 questions throughout the hour and people respond and share what they are doing.This is fast, such as 175 tweets per minute. You take things that speak to you (favorite them).This was the scariest thing for me so I lurked for the first Twitter chat and just read along.Creation of a hashtag for our campus (#hfsoars)
Christina and Shelley both shared more about Pocket and Flipboard, respectively.

Act 5 - Making Connection between PTLC and PLNs
Here are my notes on Shannon's presentation:
Go back to PTLC...Twitter supports it in multiple ways:
It's how we engage in personal learning for our study piece. We can get content about it, as well as connect with people who have actually done it. It also helps us push information...makes it easier for us to share with each other via our hashtag. Twitter can support our entire process.
Here's the DRAFT document they shared with a roomful of principals:


Goals: By the end of the first nine week, all instructional staff actively involved in a Personal Learning Network, PLN, via twitter.By the end of the end of the year, our goal is that all instructional staff is engaging in their PLN as a professional learning tool. Commitment by staff to engage in learning conversations that are ongoing to transform what we are doing in the teaching and learning sphere.  Vision:Learning has to be publicCreate, sustain, and grow a culture of learning for allKnowing and doing gapTechnology is a mustPassion and driveConnectivism vs. StaticEveryone at HF connectedCollaborationFind what works for youSkills: (reference Miguel’s Famous Blog)TwitterEstablish an AcctBuilding FollowersCreating a listLogistics of TwitterDefine hashtags for HFContent Curation (How will you organize info)Customization of supportUnderstanding your digital foot printContribution of conversation, digitally (Part to Whole)Resources:Wireless access for up to a minimum 50 staff members at timeAccess to technology for each individual staff member that can access twitter.Equipment to project ipad during meetingFree apps loaded on devices prior to PDMotivators:14 Day Twitter ChallengeWay to display & celebrate twitter useT-Shirts (with hashtags)

Plan:February:All of ILT create accounts in TwitterMarch 2013Invited Miguel into our ILT to discuss building PLNDigital Foot Print with ILTTwitterContent CurationRSS FeedAppsApril 2013:ILT engagement in twitter picks upHF hashtagConnecting with digital learners across the worldBegin our initiative planning for the staff for rollout of 2013-14Study on our PLNs about initiatives and getting staff started with Twitter

May 2013Survey staff for devices typesJune 2013July 2013Define HashtagsCheck wireless connectivityDefine customization of supportAugust 2013Prior to PD – Make sure all staff has twitter downloadedDigital Foot Print PDRollout PLN Initiative to Staff during Back to School PDAll staff on Twitter & connected with other staff membersSeptember 201314 Day Twitter Challenge
ReflectionsAs I reflect on the presentation by 3 team members, the following points come to mind:Grounded Use - What a wonderful opportunity for a campus instructional leadership team to model how to ground their use of social media in research and practice. I loved the fact that this presentation was given by people who only a few months ago had not begun to use Twitter as a PLN, even though they had been on Twitter for as much as 3 years prior. What/who enabled them to get to the next level? The answer appears obvious (e.g. Instructional Technology staff facilitating learning), but I honestly think it was their desire to find ways to connect, learn and share with others in ways that their current approaches weren't achieving. Without that desire, no amount of technical support would have helped them achieve this.Relationships - As one principal put it during the meeting, it's all about relationships. Relationships DO matter and they must be built. These 3 members of the instructional leadership team (Shannon, Christina, Shelley) spent serious time, investing in their relationships with each other, individually and as a team. This made the difference when it came time to learn together, failing together.Fail faster, succeed sooner. Shannon's leadership can't be underestimated. Without the conscious application of concepts that were powerful in and of themselves to educational settings, innovative leaps that put the group at risk of failure (in front of a roomful of principals...right? opportunity rife with chances to fail), we wouldn't have seen this.The final question is, was the presentation delivered as well as it could have been? Of course not. It was their first attempt at a complex subject, delivering a multi-level, nuanced approach. While I don't mean to say or imply this occurred among those present, this reflection is a bit more general to educators and others:
It would be easy for some to dismiss the ideas at each level. For example, Twitter is frivolous and just a distraction from the real work. Connecting with people doesn't require a tech-enhanced PLN..."In my day, we just talked to each other." Or, "I don't have time to spend on this; I have real work to be about."
Learning is our FIRST priority as educators, and sharing that learning is our second priority. All else--including leadership--finds expression in how we model learning and sharing that learning as it happens. For these leaders, it was clear that a first step needed to involve accepting that they weren't the experts, the know-it-alls with all the answers.
"Once a leader accepts he doesn't have all the answers, he is free to ask bigger, more provocative, more interesting questions." Source: Twitter
Are you free to ask more provocative questions? It's clear to me that this leadership team is working to ask those questions and they want their campus team to have that freedom as well. I really appreciate that this presentation ended with an invitation to principals to join the session facilitators...it highlights the power of this image below when people ask, "So what's Twitter going to do for me?"

For me, folks like @skfuller, @ccmorenotweets and @shelleyyeater fall into the category of "if you are determined to learn, no one can stop you." 
Welcome, friends.
"Who is my co-learner, and who are my teachers?" And stretching out her hands towards the Twittersphere of educators, she said, "Here are my co-learners and my teachers! For whoever wishes to be connected is my co-brother, and teacher, and friend." Source: The Gospel of Twitter
;-)





Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Job Posting - Two Instructional Technology Specialists #iPaded #Texas #edchat

2013-05-11 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

FYI


I want to get the message out that Belton ISD is hiring two instructional technology coordinators who have experience with iPad implementation for all levels of instruction.
The district's vision is to change instruction to a student-centered model, and it's a tech coordinator's dream come true. Great schools, great admin support.
 
I think the hiring process will start in the next week or so. If you are interested, please see the job posting and instructions for applying here:
https://www.astihosted.com/belton/JAMNew/Posting/Pos_DetailView.asp?PositionID=QPT3124153:111112&jobtype=T





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Master Delegator? Boss or Leader

2013-05-09 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


"You're a master delegator," a colleague told me recently. Delegation was something that didn't always come naturally. For me, it involves knowing who and how much authority to grant to get a job done. As a leader, delegating work has gotten easier. When I first started, I was frightened to do it. Who could do the job as well as I? But then, once jobs came along that I wasn't the expert at, I realized that delegating well was a necessity of the job. If I didn't give up the job, then the organization would suffer. To help with delegation, the "who will do what by when" question became very important. It solves issues easily and allows you to change expectations for when work gets done. It also makes accountability a whole lot easier.

But delegation reminds me an awful lot of the top part of the image above. While not sure of the source of this image, I do have to admit it hit me between the eyes. That may be because I'm off my exercise schedule and starting to feel a bit thicker around the waist as I sit at my desk, working through emails and crafting memos and missives. What worries most about being the boss who sits at his desk is the message I convey to staff--sitting at your desk is OK as long as you're getting things done.

It's pretty easy to be sedentary, especially when you're getting a lot accomplished. But it's critical to get off your rear-end and get "out there" building relationships. I was reminded of that at a principals' meeting when one administrator shared, "It's all about the relationships." He'd just finished laying out the facts of a situation with his faculty, and kindly telling the person to "shut up about it." I LOVED his approach because it was clear to me that, while I would never say "shut up," (even at home), the depth of the relationship with his team made that action possible. Brutal honesty in velvet tones.

How do you build relationships like that? Simple principles exercised over time, I suppose:

Stay on message...Transparent decision-making that involves stakeholders, that isn't afraid of pushback (or being afraid, asks for critical feedback of ideas).Unswerving dedication to the organization that servesRelationship building.It's that last one that I always feel I fall short of. Somewhere, I have a Flip Flippen assessment to show I need to build rapport with my direct reports. Sure, it's 5 years old, but it's easy to fall into old habits of behavior...I'm often reminded that who we are often flows from our nature, and that's hard to change. It's do-able, but requires constant, daily, minute-by-minute dedication until the new behavior becomes the new normal.
So, what percent of your decisions as a leader fall into the top half of the image? The bottom half? And, are those numbers you want to have as your legacy, as your model to the people you serve?






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Training Your Mind - On Writing #motivationalposters

2013-05-08 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

In a brief Facebook exchange, my daughter bemoaned how much she dislikes writing rough drafts. To be honest, I've never had a problem with "rough drafts" because I see EVERY piece of writing I craft as a rough draft...as never finished. If finished means, "I'm done with you because you're perfect!" then I'm never done.

However, if rough draft means "I'm done because, frankly, I've spent enough time on you and need to move onto something else and I might come back to you later," then yes, I have plenty of those. For me, even years after I've written something--and I now have written more blog entries than I have anything else, by the way--I have to say that I will revise what I've written. Reasons for revision are simple--you find a new way, tighter way of expressing something. Maybe, you can tidy up your thinking or sentence structure.

I like to think of "rough draft" writing--writing that is never finished--as a way of "Sloppy thinking getting fit." For fun, I used BigHugeLabs.com to make this poster (try it, it's easy!) from something Stephen King allegedly wrote when he was 10 years old...it reads like Stephen King!
;-)


I added my quote, "Sloppy thinking getting fit," at the bottom.



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Squatter's Rights - Taking Over a Hashtag #hfsoars @dyslexiadepot

2013-05-08 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to a campus instructional leadership team share how they had tapped into Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) to accelerate professional learning. I managed to record video at the event, so I'll be sharing that soon!

Recently, someone asked me the following about taking over hashtags:



When I introduced hashtags to my colleagues, I encouraged them to "squat on it." I suppose, the idea for squatting on a hashtag reminded me of my elementary social studies/history class on the subject:

Squatter’s Rights,  in U.S. history, policy by which first settlers, or “squatters,” on public lands could purchase the property they had improved. Source: preemption, Brittanica
Why couldn't we do the same to twitter hashtags? Of course, it doesn't seem Twitter.com offers one the ability to register hashtags...and why should it? After all, it's in the best interests of everyone if people can just commandeer a hashtag for their own use. Still, squatting on a hashtag can make for some interesting juxtapositions of ideas and content!

That's what happened with my #tf13 hashtag for TechFiesta 2013 regional conference...can you guess what other group I was competing with?


If you guessed toys, then you were right! I believe I improved on toys conversation...of course, toy enthusiasts may not agree!

So how do you register a hashtag? I don't know, but I did enjoy going through the motions with Twubs.com:




As you can see, the process is pretty straightforward. When the process is done, you'll have a screen that looks like this:

As you can see, there are some advantages to having everything in one place like this! And, you can actually embed your hashtag activity in a web page or blog! Pretty nifty, huh?

By the way, I'd be remiss not to mention Cybraryman's hashtag collection...give it a shot!



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Grabbing MP3 via YouTube on #UbuntuLinux #avconv

2013-05-08 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Earlier this week, someone asked me, "How do you strip audio out of a youtube video?" The process was pretty straightforward (using ffmpeg) before but apparently, it's changed with more recent versions of Ubuntu and/or distros based on Ubuntu (I'm using Linux Mint, which has turned out to be an absolute joy).

Here are the steps I followed:

1) Install necessary software if it's not already there. I installed the following, although I'm not sure if it was "necessary:"

sudo apt-get install avconv ubuntu-restricted-extras youtube-dl
A quick overview of those:

avconv - this program replaced ffmpeg and is the program we'll use to strip audio out as MP3 format from an FLVubuntu-restricted-extras - this adds some components that are usually needed. I believe I had these already installed in Linux Mint.youtube-dl - this will enable you to download/get a youtube video from YouTube.com (as opposed to using a service like snip2mp3.com )
2) Once software is installed, all you need is a YouTube video URL to begin download. For example, here's the YouTube video I made Reaching for the Heart. The audio will put you to sleep quick, so download it!

At the command line (in Terminal), type the following (you can shift-insert to paste the youtube address/URL or right-click and paste with your mouse):
youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00QTN_TFRtE
This will save--depending on your internet speed, etc.--a copy of the YouTube video on your computer as an FLV video file. In this case, it was saved with the awkward name of 00QTN_TFRtE.flv. You can rename it easily by typing:
mv 00QTN*.flv reach4heart.flv or choose to not rename it. It's all up to you.

3) Extract the audio as MP3 from the FLV video file.
avconv -i reach4heart.flv -ab 192k reach4heart_audio.mp3
The resulting file looks like this:

-rw-r--r-- 1 mg mg  15M May  8 19:24 reach4heart_audio.mp3
-rw-r--r-- 1 mg mg  21M Mar 12 07:54 reach4heart.flv

You can get a smaller sized file than 15 megs by changing the bitrate:


avconv -i reach4heart.flv -ab 48k reach4heart_audio_small.mp3

and that will result in the following....
-rw-r--r-- 1 mg mg 3.6M May  8 19:26 reach4heart_audio_small.mp3

I didn't significantly notice the quality being diminished.

If you want to have multiple input files--or batch convert several files at once--then try this at the command line (copy-n-paste):


for i in *.flv; do avconv -i "$i" -vcodec copy -ac 2 -strict experimental "out-$i.mp3" ; done


4) Remove un-needed files, such as the FLV video files.
rm *.flv
Be aware that the command above will remove ALL FLV video files in the directory where you type it, so I like to do all my work in a folder setup for just that purpose.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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It's an iPad world in a Pearson Galaxy!

2013-05-04 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/r5D4UFolks often ask, what's the standard tablet that schools should be investing in? Is there any guidance from Pearson?

The educational technology marketplace is being transformed by the introduction of lower-cost and highly-portable new types of computers often referred to as “tablets.” Examples include Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Pearson is following this trend with great interest and excitement, and has helped support its emergence in providing leading edge digital learning products. The Pearson Research and Development team is actively examining the ability of its technology platform for high-stakes online test delivery to work in conjunction with tablets as a delivery mechanism. Pearson has the ability to build tests for use with tablets, but there is still much to
research and consider before secure, summative assessments can be implemented on tablets.

One of my long-term plans is to abolish computer labs as testing centers and switch over to tablets. Given the choice, some teachers shared with me, they'd rather have iPads than a lab of old dinosaurs.


Source: Use of Tablets in Secure Summative Assessment Environmentshttp://www.pearsononlinetesting.com/t/TabletsAssessments_v1.0_v4.pdf
Pearson is building a TestNav app for the iPad, to leverage the introduction of Guided Access recently announced by Apple. When available, we believe this should address some of the security issues that have previously been identified by Pearsonin the iPad. 
 â–  Pearson will work with each state department of education to evaluate their assessment content and the timelines that would be appropriate for content conversion for use on a tabletTablet adoption timelines may vary for different states based on their type of content, their specific policy needs, and their local technology infrastructure needs.
 â–  Pearson is conducting usability testing of tablets and will remain actively engaged in further research, including both qualitative cognitive labs and quantitative studies, to help provide additional guidance and recommendations to our state customers.

What do you think? Ready to shuck that computer lab and replace it with iPads or Samsung Galaxy Tabs?





Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


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Get/Save Gmail Attachments to Dropbox - Kloudless Chrome Extension

2013-05-04 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

One of Gmail's neat new features involves being able to attach or save content directly to GoogleDrive for storage purposes. No more sending large attachments via email, you can just point to GoogleDrive.

How do you accomplish the same if you're using Dropbox or some other cloud storage solution? Give Kloudless, a Google Chrome browser extension, a try!


Main features include the following:

Kloudless offers a simple, secure way to move attachments between your email inbox and other cloud storage services.Send files of any size by attaching them from the cloud to a newly composed email with Kloudless. Move attachments you receive directly into your favorite cloud service.Kloudless encrypts your information in transfer and at rest with bank level security.You can also setup rules to automatically save attachments from any sender or recipient, as well as just copy attachments to a specific Dropbox folder...Kloudless is in beta...but appears to be working just fine!


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


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Video - Sharing Content with @Pocket and @IFTTT

2013-05-03 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Ok, in this blog entry, I shared how I use Pocket as a replacement for Evernote for content curation. In this short 20 minute video (yikes!), I share my workflow on my iPad and computer.
Your browser does not support the video tag.

Link to video in Dropbox


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


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Let Me Count the Ways - Adieu .@Evernote

2013-05-03 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://kennethgmorgan.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/poor-customer-service-image1.jpg

Ok, it may seem like such a little thing--No RSS Feed for Public Folders. That's what Evernote threw out in April, 2013 with little advance notice to its users. In my case, I had over 23 IFTTT.com recipes and an equal number of DLVR.it RSS to twitter processes that immediately failed and because there'd been little notice given, I had to go looking for it. Yes, that means that content that should have been delivered, wasn't.

Of course, Evernote remains a wonderful service sans RSS. However, that bit of irritation at the start of my week enabled me to to look for alternatives, and to transition from storing all my content in Evernote to something else (mainly, Dropbox). What's more, I honestly believe I've arrived at a much better content curation tool, one that I already was using but didn't fully appreciate. Change is the nature of the beast with technology, but you can hope that when you're a "Premium" (bah!) account user who's paid in advance, that the platform of services available won't change under your feet.

Worse, Evernote NEVER attempted contact in spite of multiple tweets directed at their accounts. What's up with that?

Here's a round-up of the blog entries that document my journey away from Evernote, resulting in my cancelling my subscription (recurring) earlier today:

Evernote Cancels RSS FeedsFinding New Workflows for Content CurationRage at the Dying of the LightBetrayal Never Tasted So SourReflections - Cloud Services to Rely OnThe Rule of MomentumCloudHQ to the Rescue - Abandoning Evernote for Dropbox5 Tips for Using Pocket for Content CurationAchieving Simplicity - Saving Text Notes to DropboxPlaying with Markdown Text Editors for DropboxJust Doesn't Hold Water - Evernote and RSSFinding Detours to Roadblocks: Evernote to DropboxVideo: Sharing Content with Pocket and IFTTTIn Memoriam

;-)


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


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Finding Detours to Roadblocks Using Dropbox

2013-05-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

In the face of roadblocks, we naturally seek detours.

Image Source: http://goo.gl/ncprzEarlier today, I received an email from Hermann in Mindelheim (Europe). He asked the following:

Hi, I've read your articele here
http://www.mguhlin.org/2013/05/just-doesnt-hold-water-evernote-and-rss.html
and [was] wondering if there are really alternatives out there for EN?
What will you use in the future?


Here's my two-minute response:

Howdy! Thanks for your email. I've been exploring how to accomplish the same thing without Evernote this week. 

First, I have to ask myself how I use Evernote. Here's how I've used Evernote:
Place to put my notes on various things I'm doing or about. Those can range from notes about work to the phone number for the air conditioner repairman.A place to store important documents.A place to capture web site information, keep track of web sites organized by a particular notebook name or tag and then re-share via social media easily.A place to store pictures/photos/images that I encounter on the web.Record audio directly to the Cloud for easy sharing. Of those uses, I have been able to find Dropbox-based workarounds for 3 of the primary ways I used Evernote. The biggest way I used Evernote was #3, which involved using Evernote to clip content for content curation purposes and easily re-share it.
Here are the workarounds:Note-Management: Store markdown-formatted text (very easy) in folders in Dropbox. This is working surprisingly well and is fast, something I noticed Evernote was starting to slow down with the number of notebooks and notes I had.

Read more about this here:
http://www.mguhlin.org/2013/04/saving-notes-in-dropbox.html
Document storage: Dropbox again to the rescue, I simply organize my documents in Dropbox.Image Storage and Access: Using save to Dropbox browser extensions, I can easily save images to Dropbox, then re-share the link to that image if I need to, or better yet, just share the whole folder. Since I often use Chrome browser, I rely on Download to Dropbox extension to put pictures there. Also, Dropbox has a photo album feature enhanced by Camera uploads from my mobile devices that works quite well.Content Curation: For keeping track of web sites organized by a tag (keyword), I use Pocket and rely on IFTTT.com recipes to share with others as appropriate. Sharing is the main point of putting content in Evernote for me. If I weren't sharing so much, I'd probably just keep using it. You can read about this here - www.mguhlin.org/2013/04/5-tips-on-using-pocket-for.htmlAudio Recording and Sharing. Some interesting options include DropVox ($1.99), Rec.me ($1.99) but I have yet to try these. Any suggestions?One of the ways which I managed to move content out of Evernote to Dropbox involved taking advantage of the CloudHQ web site (pretty neat that Senad, the founder of CloudHQ, sent me email). It copied ALL my content out of Evernote easily, quickly. Once my notes were in Dropbox, I could just rename the text files to include "md" extension instead of "txt" This made it very easy to open them in one of the free/inexpensive (less than $6) markdown text editors, or use web-based Writebox to make your own markdown (markdown formatting is easy). 

If you consider that an Evernote Premium account costs $50 annually, and that Dropbox offers 100gigs of online storage for $99, allowing you more versatility to save all sorts of content, well, I can only ask myself, why didn't I do this before? Of course, before I invested in Dropbox, I had 26gigs of free space already (through various promotions over the years). I could have just used that free space to store images, notes and never tapped in to the paid account.

The answer was simply I didn't reflect on all the different components of online storage I was using, with my content scattered across various services (e.g. Google Drive). Now, I can quickly access content (it's actually faster to access my notes via a markdown text editor on my Android/iPad than run the Evernote app!).

This is an unfortunate trend...we have access to so many tools, we seldom take the time to learn how to use one fully before moving on to another. I know I have that problem; do you?

With appreciation for Hermann's question,
Miguel





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Just Doesn't Hold Water - #Evernote and RSS Feeds Not Available #edchat #edtechchat #conspiracy

2013-05-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/37000-removing-rss-feed-support-from-public-notebooks/If you've been following the story, back in April, Evernote staff posted a message in their forums announcing that RSS feeds for Evernote Public Notebooks would no longer work.

Why?

At this point, the feature was imposing excessive load on the service relative to its use and utility, and the decision was made to remove it.
The more I reflect on this idea of excessive load on the service, the crazier it seems to be a real reason. After all, we all know that Evernote's big bosses rave about how robust Evernote is, how rich, etc. Excessive load on Evernote? This just doesn't compute. How can you provide great service built on robust servers that can handle businesses, etc., bragging about how great you are as a service, but then you drop a popular feature like RSS for public notebooks--which, aside from visiting the notebook is the only way to get stuff in and out of Evernote?

Then, I read this comment on Stephen Downes post that made me think of another angle:
How can RSS feeds make for excessive load? If they're saving to a static file when a note is added and serving this file, how can it be expensive-- compared to any of their other features, like automatic image OCR?Doesn't make sense.
As I was happily highlighting and clipping content to Evernote, I have to wonder if maybe Evernote received some cease and desist letters. You know, all that "copyrighted" content ending up being hosted on their servers, and RSS allowed for easy re-publishing.

Ok, does that alternate story explain what happened to RSS at Evernote? And, what's up with the silent treatment?

BTW, I'll be canceling my account on Friday. But I'm having so much fun writing about why such a great service like Evernote has dropped RSS for public notebooks, and what a thrill it is to find alternatives to Evernote (which I thought would be difficult given how wonderful the green elephant was).





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Playing with Markdown Text Editors #iPad #android #Mac #windows

2013-05-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Yesterday (or was it early this morning?), I shared how much fun I was having replacing Evernote note-taking options with text editors that would work with Dropbox. It is simply amazing to save something on one device and see it immediately available on another. Synchronization happens so quickly because it's just text files flying by.

As I explored apps like Draft ($4.99) on my Android phone and Byword on iPad, I became aware of markdown. If you've ever used wiki syntax--such as in Wikispaces.com--you are familiar with markdown. Wikipedia has a nice overview available with commands worth checking out!

Here's what it looks like in ReText, a markdown/text editor for UbuntuLinux, although these are certainly available for Windows, Mac as well!

What's neat about these editors mentioned in this blog post is that they connect to Dropbox. So you get nicely formatted notes that are quick, easy to access via Dropbox.

Check out this example of a blog post where I just copied and pasted....
Here are my top picks for Markdown editors that sync with Dropbox:
On Android, Draft  ($2.49)is the app to get. It allows for markdown (md) format for your text files. This allows you to bold,as well as other things, your text, which is a plus!On iOS, use Nocs (free) or if you need more firepower, use WritingKit.On Windows, try MarkDownPad (free)On Mac, try Byword. It's also available for your iPad, so it may cover both angles for you.I know, I know...you're saying, why go through all this trouble when you have everything else? For a writer, it's the blank page and the word. I've found that when I change the medium I'm working in, it enhances my writing process, making it easier for me to get in "the zone." I don't know why that is, I just enjoy it.;-)




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Copy-n-Paste Test of Markdown

2013-04-30 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

WhateverWhatWhatNumber 1Number 2emphasisboldfaceblockquote...cool!External link to blog


(that's 3 stars for a horizontal rule)



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


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@CloudHQ To the Rescue - Abandoning @Evernote for @Dropbox (Updated)

2013-04-30 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

www.cloudhq.netSince I have TONS of content in Evernote, I wanted to find an easy way out given that Evernote has dropped support for RSS feeds. Since being able to share is the main reason I invested in a Premium account, and Evernote has not responded in any way to my pleas for RSS feed addition for Premium users, I needed a way to get my content out.

I imagined being able to put all my notes into Dropbox, along with encrypted attachments, but doing so would take...well...forever. CloudHQ.net takes care of this for me!

While there are other ways to accomplish this, CloudHQ.net offers one the opportunity to have a 15-day free trial. You can use this 15-day trial to move content from one cloud service to another. In my case, I decided to export all my content in Evernote to Dropbox.


The process was fairly painless and resulted in a copy of all my Evernote content in a Dropbox folder I'd created right before starting. As you can see below, here's my new folder on Dropbox featuring all my Evernote content:
CloudHQ.net even provides statistics...(these aren't complete, by the way...lots more to go!)

Statistic
360 files and 44.7 MB of data has been transferred in the last week.

Kudos to CloudHQ.net for making it easy to move content from one service to another! You can also sync content back-n-forth between a variety of services, which makes it a pretty neat deal at $9.90 per month (if you need that level of redundancy). Since this is a one-way trip for me, I probably won't be using it much...but CloudHQ.net is tempting as an easy way to move from GoogleDrive to Dropbox or vice versa!

Services that Work with CloudHQTry CloudHQ yourself online!





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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Achieve Simplicity - Saving Text Notes in Dropbox #iPad #Android (updated)

2013-04-30 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Looking for a simple text editor that I can use on any computer, I stumbled across Writebox, a web-based word processor that is quite simple and integrates with Dropbox and Google Drive. That's right, you can crank out a short note, copy-n-paste in content, then save directly to Dropbox or Drive, if so inclined. In this blog entry, you'll find app recommendations for iPad and Android as well!

Update: After even more exploration, here are my top picks for Markdown editors that sync with Dropbox:
On Android, Draft  ($2.49)is the app to get. It allows for markdown (md) format for your text files. This allows you to bold,as well as other things, your text, which is a plus!On iOS, use Nocs (free) or if you need more firepower, use WritingKit.On Windows, try MarkDownPad (free)On Mac, try Byword. It's also available for your iPad, so it may cover both angles for you.Here's what it looks like...you can see the document in the background with the Save as... window in the foreground, including a list of my folders in Dropbox:


As you can see, pretty bare bones interface, but you don't need all that much if you're typing up the grocery list!

ENCRYPT THOSE NOTES!
What's also neat is that if you combine this with the browser-based encryption tool, Mailvelope (don't know about it? check out their Documentation), you can easily encrypt content  in Writebox, which then gets saved to Dropbox. Wow!

Here's what that looks like:



WHAT ABOUT MY iPAD?
Looking to do most of your note-taking on an iPad? Of course, there are apps to accomplish simplicity that work on an iPad:
Nocs - Supports Markdown and text editing with Dropbox integrationPlainText iPad App (free but includes in-app purchase of $1.99 to get rid of ads)Elements ($4.99) - markdown supportByWord ($2.99)WritingKit ($4.99)TaskAgent ($2.99) - a to-do list manager for DropboxOf these, PlainText -enables you to create folders and text files--was utterly simple and powerful. Definitely using this with Dropbox. Here's what the interface looks like, and you can even create folders in PlainText that are reflected in Dropbox...it's magical to see them appear!




WHAT ABOUT ANDROID?
Since Dropbox is cross-platform and works on any mobile device, it's only natural to want to see apps that will let you create/edit text notes and save them on Dropbox. Here are a few apps:

Notes (free but in-app purchase to eliminate ads) - Nice but forces you to save to a Notes folder in the the Apps folder. Contrast that with the iPad app PlainText that lets you save files to specific folder of your choice! Still, it's not a big deal. It does mean though that if you're working on multiple devices, you'll have to save items to the Notes folder.Draft ($2.49) - This program works a bit better than Notes, gives you more options and lets you save to wherever you want. There's a great write-up about it worth reading.
What note-taking app are you using?


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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5 Tips on Using @Pocket for #ContentCuration

2013-04-30 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

GetPocket.com(no-cost)
Given the tragic story of RSS within Evernote being dropped, my content curation process is shot. No longer can I highlight content on a web page, then drop it into an Evernote Notebook with the hope that an RSS feed will allow me to share that content elsewhere. That functionality is gone, and there's no going back.

So, what to do? I still want to share content. Should I pursue one of those content curation apps that turns your favorite links into a daily published emagazine? Well, there are tons of options for that and I regret I don't care for them.

Here's what I would like to be able to do:
Organize my content with tagsShare items to Pocket, no matter the device.SpeedEasily share content using a solution like IFTTT.comEasily save documents to Dropbox.In a conversation with a colleague, I wondered if maybe I hadn't explored ReadItLater's Pocket well enough. Allow me to do that in this blog entry! Eat your heart out, Evernote!

1) Organize my content with tags"Tags are keywords that enable you to easily describe something," I shared at a workshop one day. "Try to use words that pop into your head rather than carefully thinking about one. I've found that the word that pops into my head today is the one I'll remember tomorrow!"

One of the features I like about social bookmarking tools like Diigo and Delicious is how easy it is to add those keywords to web sites or tags. With Pocket, it's pretty easy to add tags when you save a web link to Pocket on a computer, or to add the tag on a mobile device like an iPad.


You can also see a list of all items you've tagged...the list below is an excerpt of what I've tagged as edtech :

Pocket Feature Request: A feature I'd like to see is that Pocket would allow the list owner to make their list public for easy sharing!

2) Share items to Pocket, no matter the device.
"Whether I'm standing in line at the grocery store," I've often pointed out, "or laying in bed at in the pre-get-out-of-bed minutes waiting for the heater to kick in, I want to easily share content to Pocket that I can sort later. Usually, I'm on my Android phone or iPad at these times."

Pocket certainly works across all my devices, and quite well. It was one of the first apps I noticed because it worked so well with various devices. You can also email content to Pocket via add@getpocket.com from the email you signed up with!


3) Speed
"Would you mind waiting for a moment, sir?" asked the waiter as he rang up my lunch, I took the opportunity to scan my Twitter feed and save a few items to Pocket for later reading.
"Sure, take your time!" I replied as I worked my way through several items.

Saving something to Pocket is very fast, as is sharing! I can easily add tags, archive or favorite items in my Pocket List, each action resulting in something different that is picked up by an IFTTT.com trigger (more on that in a second).

Notice the toolbar across the top of the image below...the checkmark archives, the trashcan deletes the item and the star allows you to mark it as a favorite. If you click/tap on the arrow on the right side, you can easily share it with others via various services (e.g. email, twitter, etc.).

If you're a Feed.ly user (and who isn't these days with Google Reader being dropped into the river with cement shoes?), then Feed.ly makes it easy to save stuff to Pocket:

And, when that's done, a Pocket window will pop up that gives you quite a bit of control:

What I like about this window is that you can change the title, as well as type in various tags.

4) Easily share content using a solution like IFTTT.com.
"Now that I've saved valuable stuff to Pocket, I want to make sure that every act I take--favoriting an item, adding a tag, archiving an item--yields results!" Fortunately, Pocket makes it incredibly easy to do that.

Pocket+IFTTT allow me to fine-tune where and to whom I share content with. For example, if I type "team" as a tag, I can have IFTTT send a web page via email to certain staff or tweet it or whatever. If I type a different tag keyword, something else happens. Sharing IS key.

Here are three of my IFTTT recipes that rely on Pocket for sharing (although that second one will soon meet a quick death):
Here goes...anything tagged... "pdf" gets dropped into Dropbox
"tw" gets sent to Twitter"pln" gets tweeted with the hashtag #hfsoars (which goes to a campus whose hashtag that is)

As you can imagine, IFTTT is pretty easy and once you figure out how to add tags to your Pocket, you can save information anywhere or re-share it easily! There are also some great tutorials, like this one at MakeUseOf.com. 
The IFTTT recipe takes the URL of an article saved with the Pocket bookmarking service – converts it into PDF and ‘downloads’ it to your Dropbox folder. (Source: MakeUseOf)


5) Easily save documents to Dropbox.
"Sometimes, you encounter documents that need to be shared elsewhere. Wouldn't it be neat to save them to Dropbox so you can access them from your mobile device or computer?"

One way to accomplish that is to use an IFTTT recipe that enables you to favorite or tag (e.g. "pdf" might be one) that saves all PDFs to a Dropbox folder.

I also take advantage of the Chrome extension, Download to Dropbox.

Those are some of the ways I'm compensating now that Evernote has dropped support for RSS feeds for public notebooks. What are you doing?



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Diving Deep into #PLNs #twitter #edchat #cpchat #hfsoars

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/zAclW
Old ideas find expression in today's learning environment.


This weekend, a colleague asked me, "What do you think of The Deep Dive video?" At first, I didn't understand what she meant. What did this old ABC news video featuring IDEO have to do with personal learning networks (PLN) in schools?

A part of me balked at having to hearken back to an ABC news broadcast to help explain to a group of principals what Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) are about. In fact, I thought it was a bit of a problem. After all, those Deep Dive videos are old. Why couldn't we just say something along the lines of....

Helping teachers build a PLN accelerates their learning and professional growth. The richness and variety of a PLN makes creating change that leads to enhanced teaching, learning and leading valuable.
I promptly started checking out PLN videos, but most of those focused on the how-to. In fact, that was the complaint I had for myself. In creating a PLN, when you focus on the interaction, you're missing something. You're missing out on all groundwork that went before...that groundwork includes relationship-building, building mutual purpose and mutual respect. I would venture that most of our time as leaders should be focused on those 3 core activities. It is a point that George Cuoros acknowledges in his blog entry:

I get a lot of emails asking about creating the conditions for change and recently was asked, “As a new principal, what is the first step to create a better learning environment in our school?” 
Here is my answer…do nothing. 
Too many times people walk into buildings and have some great ideas and they start trying to tweak this, and change that, etc., yet that often alienates the people that you want to get better.
What I would strongly suggest is that you sit back, watch, learn, and figure out what people are great at already and build from there.  Source: The Principal of Change

As I reflected on The Dive Deep videos, it was apparent several ideas were core. For fun, here are those ideas with what I see as a potential connection to PLNs.

1) Defer to the person with the best ideas.
Unbelievably, we've seen that the twittersphere and PLNs defer to the people with the best ideas. It's not the size of the megaphone that captures people's attention (not over time), but rather, the quality of the ideas. In fact, it's all about influence, not authority. The better your ideas, the more influence you have, even if you're NOT the boss. While in the past, it would have taken a courageous boss to lift up a worker with great ideas, now, it's very possible for workers to use social media (e.g. Twitter) to find or create ideas that are sticky and worth sharing.

2) Chaos is encouraged, and is perceived as constructive."This is where the crazies live."
I've asked my secretary to make a sign with that sentence about crazies and put it over the door of our offices. Although a network is very ordered, the activity along that network can be quite chaotic and it's that very chaos that provides the randomness, the variability that engages human beings. If you haven't tried a "walled garden" approach to social networks, then you may not know that once students and staff have had the opportunity to play "in the wild," connecting with people from around the world, they are hooked. There's no going back.

For me, this is a personal experience made true by video games. For many years, I played 'canned' video games, games that required no Internet connection. However, now, I'd rather not play a video game unless I'm playing against other real people who happen to be connected. My son, an avid gamer thanks to my efforts, connects daily with people around the world in a way I could never have imagined when I was his age. And, he is richer for those experiences because learning is ALIVE, it's CHAOTIC...it's messy.

3) Status is who comes up with the best ideas.
As a veteran article publisher and presenter in Texas, I remember the first time this truth really sank in. It's when I had to compete to present and submit articles against others from all around the world. Think about that. While I was once was "good enough" to be a Texas presenter, I soon found myself competing against people who were veteran authors and presenters from around the world. This really came home during a virtual conference where I had to compete against no less than Scotland's Ewan McIntosh! What a terrific incentive it is for learners today that they have to compete, not just against those in their geographic area, but because of modern video conferencing technology, against people from around the world!

Of course, the flip side of that is that I also get to collaborate with people who have the best ideas, who aren't afraid to make their ideas easy to access via social media.


4) Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of a lone genius. Fail often in order to succeed sooner.
"Has anyone done this before?" It's a question I've asked often over the last year as I began a new job. If the answer was, "No," I knew I had a better chance of achieving different results than had been in the past. As an avid PLN member, focused on sharing and garnering the benefits of being a connected learner, I'm able to often see what works, or does not. This has tremendous benefits for us as educators as people report how they interact with students, staff, others in ways that are both successful and unsuccessful.

That's why I love blogging because it allows for transformative reflections that can result in change, if not for you, for others who may be reading. The resulting conversation about failure and success helps you achieve success even if you are a "Rank: Failure." Why? Simply because it means you can find solutions that much faster and get the feedback you need sooner.

5) Teamwork
When you're limited to the team that's on the ground, you're truly limited. Although you may have an awesome group of folks, your REAL team is out there on the Network, connected to you by ubiquitous technology that changes how you approach every problem and solution.


There are a lot of examples, videos on YouTube that illustrate these points. It's absolutely genius to try "old ideas" to new ways of accomplishing things. We no longer have to be part of an innovative organization dependent on its employees with advanced degrees to be successful. Now, the world is our's to explore, to learn from, connect and collaborate with.

Who wouldn't want to build a PLN that helps them be smarter?




Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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The Rule of Momentum - #edcamp #ProtestEvernoteRSSDecision

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

The Rule of Momentum = simple.

if it doesn’t move you, get moving
It's a simple concept that's transforming edcamps, but it can also be a way of sending a message to cloud service providers who decide to discontinue essential services without notifying customers...posting the announcement in a forum is like posting an announcement in the cellar of a building where the lights are out and the stairs are gone.

Are you an Evernote Premium user? Cancel your Premium account because Evernote has made sharing via RSS unworkable. And, guess what!?

They didn't even blog about it. What's up with that?

Get moving. Walk away from services that kick users in the teeth and disable open sharing.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Casper Focus - #iPad #MDM (Updated 5/1/2013)

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

"Ok," I asked, "what kind of solution will give us a LANSchool view for iPads? You know," I continued, "where I can see all the iPads in the classrooms, take remote control of them, etc.?"

I was a bit exasperated at this point, having shared LANSchool for iPads with the idea that it did just that, and sure enough, I was wrong (my team promptly pointed that out to me). So, then, what might work that way?

This morning, one of my team members made me aware of Casper Focus, a JAMF Software iPad app, that promises to do just that:

Casper Focus is an iOS app that gives teachers control over the devices used during class time by allowing the teacher to “focus” the devices on a single app. Focusing a device locks it on the app, preventing students from accessing any other screens or applications. Teachers can also switch the focus from one app to another, or remove the focus from student devices. In addition, teachers can clear passcodes on student devices during class time as needed.
Teachers can perform Casper Focus actions on all student devices in a class or on a single device.
Casper Focus is available for free from the App Store. Casper Focus is part of the Casper Suite, a client management solution developed for the Apple platform and available from JAMF Software. 



I'm not sure if Casper Focus will give me the LANSchool experience one enjoys with computers, but...it's nice to think we're moving in that direction.

Is this the right kind of "focus" for iPads in schools? Only time will tell. Whomever comes up with the product, I hope that we'll have LANSchool type access we now enjoy for computers for better management of iPads. Kudos to LANSchool for their work on this!

In the meantime, check out this video featuring CasperFocus.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Reflections - Cloud Services To Rely On #edchat @evernote

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


"Go ahead," I encouraged a short time ago, "break a few eggs."

Break a few eggs, indeed. That's exactly what Evernote did when they dumped RSS support for their public notebooks, a move similar to Google's wiping out of RSS support on their services in their push to move everyone to Google+.

At that time, I shared a few services I was using. Folks, I'm back to share the results of my experiment.

Initial Plan:
My initial plan involved using the following services to backup critical services like blogs, images, documents, and my web presence.

Wordpress.com - Free and it's a cinch to import entries from Blogger to Wordpress.Flickr.com - $40 for two year accountEmail - Keep the Gmail account but keep it empty and just forward stuff to Evernote ($50 annually but I use it for a whole bunch more).Dropbox.com - I currently enjoy 16gigs free (help me get more!). If I want to really kick it up, like up to 100gigs, I would pay $99. Might be cheaper to keep the 16 and just move stuff I need online.Wikispaces.com - Wikispaces is free for educators. Thank you!!!
Reflections:
As I reflect on my efforts to achieve this switch, I can say with confidence:

All my blogger entries are backed up at http://jmguhlin.wordpress.com AND on a laptop running Wordpress.org. Way to go, free open source software (FOSS)!
Cost: $0.00Wikispaces.com replaces GoogleSites. Once I get my refunds, I'll be investing in them.
Cost: $0.00 for educator accountsAll my GoogleDocs/Drive, as well as pictures, are now backed up to Dropbox. I went ahead and invested in a $9 a month account and it's made getting away from GoogleDrive and PicasaWeb MUCH easier.
Cost: $110 annuallyFlickr.com - Although I created a Flickr Pro account, I wish I hadn't. I could just have taken advantage of Dropbox's Photo Albums feature. What's more, it's very easy to arrange my 9 gig image collection there dragging files around than having to mess with some special uploader. Sharing albums with family is a snap. I'll probably try to cancel my Flickr account at some point.
Cost: $40 for two years (but unless you're into people leaving comments on photos, Dropbox works fine)Evernote Premium - One of the main reasons I signed up for it was that I could easily store notes, to-do lists, and documents there, then SHARE them via RSS with others. Unfortunately, Evernote discontinued RSS in April, 2013 making their service unusable for sharing purposes. I will probably cancel my account (unless they change their mind and reinstitute RSS for Premium accounts), and use Dropbox. Ah, another migration begins.
Cost: $50 for one year but I hope I can get a pro-rated refund.There are so many phenomenal tools one can use these days that it's easy to forget that the best service is the one that isn't trying to make you capitulate and buy into THEIR model. Instead, the best service is the one that allows you to easily manage your content, facilitates collaboration with others, and enables sharing in user-friendly ways rather than through complex APIs.
That nice stuff said about Dropbox, don't forget that putting your data in the cloud also means--no matter what assurances a cloud service provider may give you--encrypting that data. For that, I recommend taking advantage of one of these no-cost solutions:AESCrypt.com - an easy to use, cross-platform solution that lets you encrypt individual files. I have some tutorial videos on this online! Check them out!BoxCrypt.com - another easy approach that is cross platform and enables you to create encrypted containers where you can store your confidential data.TrueCrypt.org - create your own encrypted containers.



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Cacophony of How Great Thou Art #edcamp

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


We so often, agree to disagree. Learning conversations suffer for that, don't they?

A few years ago, I wrote a blog entry that observed how little pushback blog entries get. You know, it's  so easy to publish and no one really takes you to task for it. I suspect that educators are such timid creatures that it's easier to avoid conflict than it is to have a conflict.

Being conflict-averse, I'm sensitive to it. That's why I was delighted to read Todd Nesloney's pushback (relevant section below) on Kristy Vincent's post about Edcamps being hijacked below:

Ok I've been debating wether or not to chime in here. I feel like this post was done in very poor taste. . .Teachers connected. Teachers learned. Teachers shared. Teachers had fun. What more could you ask for? Is there work to be done to make this edcamp better? Of course!!! But why attack it minutes after its over. I ageee in freedom of speech, but this feels highly unprofessional.
What is it that we really want out of blogging and conversations they enable? Do we want to learn--and learning sometimes necessitates vigorous discussion, disagreement, apoplectic vehement refusal of concepts--or do we want to harmonize and be friends?

Notice the sucker's choices:
Agree and be friends
Disagree and be enemies
In truth, we can seldom ensure that our communications will be perfectly crafted to ensure little heartache with those we connect with. Sometimes, we have to take the risk to speak imperfectly, disagree with prevailing thought that would have us all in harmony and singing gospel songs about how great thou art.

If that is the blogosphere of today, a cacophony of how great thou art, then we have chosen poorly (ignoring Indiana Jones and The Quest for the Holy Grail images racing through my mind).

According to Crucial Conversations authors, our ability to keep our friends after we tell them our truth about what has happened is dependent on several factors. Those factors include:

Mutual Purpose - In this area, we have to ask:Do others believe I care about their goals in this conversation?Do they trust my motives?Mutual Respect - We must ask:Do others believe I respect them?What are ways in which we are similar?When I re-read Kristy's email, I do think she had mutual purpose and mutual respect. Given that, I wouldn't worry too much about the pushback. But she probably could write something like the following:
Todd:
Please accept my apology for sending the wrong message with my imperfectly worded post. I did my best at communicating, and sometimes, that isn't what others consider to be the best way. 
What I didn't mean to do was criticize the hard work that others engaged in to prepare edcamp. I have the utmost respect for the work that went into the edcamp since it was a successful conference. I don't want you to think I wasn't satisfied with the quality of the edcamp as an education conference. 
What I did mean to do was to more carefully align actual edcamps to the edcamp ideal and see what the result might be. This is important because the gain is increased awareness of  how to improve future edcamps. Many of us are "presenters" in our daily work.  Edcamps level the field for all because they strip away our "presenter persona" and move us back to learners who are connecting with one another. I want you to know that I will stay in this conversation until we achieve implementation of edcamp the way it has been intended.

While there could be more to say, it would probably be worth just ending that communication with something like the following:
I hope that you will forgive my imperfect communication strategy about edcamps in the past. I also hope you will consent to help me organize an edcamp that is true to what we both want--learning conversations that achieve the reality of what an unconference experience can be.

 Note: This email is just made-up and a fun experience to illustrate my blog entry; it was NOT written by Kristy Vincent. Finally, I really appreciate Kristy and Todd for giving me this opportunity to learn from their interaction.

Moments like these are ones that are made easier because one has the luxury of not being embroiled in the midst of it. That's the power of avoiding the how great thou art conversation and exchanging it for real conversations. In fact, it makes me want to reflect on my recent disappointment with Evernote.

For example, if I wanted to write a similar email for Evernote discontinuing RSS feeds, it might read something like this:

Miguel:
Please accept the Evernote Team's apologies for discontinuing a service that you and others prized highly, namely, RSS feeds for public notebooks. I sincerely respect the work you are about as content curators, serving as human filters for information and ideas worth sharing with a broader audience. That Evernote is integral to your efforts makes us intensely proud of what we've created. We don't want you to think that we made the RSS feed discontinuation without careful thought since that might reflect negatively on our internal decision-making processes. Unfortunately, while we gave that consideration, we realize that not involving those who make Evernote a service worth boasting about was a serious oversight. 
What we meant to accomplish with RSS discontinuation was to ease a burden that taxed our servers. Although we would like to offer RSS for public notebooks, we will have to build to that demand slowly over time. Once we build capacity by September, 2013--which is an eternity online, I know--RSS feeds will be re-enabled. I know this is not what you were hoping to hear, but I hope it will be a compromise position that allows us to keep your business as a Premium user and encourage others to use our Public Notebooks for content curation.
Wouldn't it be neat to get an email like that from Evernote or from any vendor that disappointed you? I know I would definitely change my tone if I knew that Evernote was working towards improving its service.

What do you think? Am I way off on this?



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Betrayal Never Tasted So Sour .@evernote #edchat #cpchat #byotchat #education #txed

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



What happens when a service you're paying for unexpectedly drops a service your work has come to rely upon? You have several options, right?

You find out why and then hope that a conversation will result in a reconsideration or accommodation.You complain bitterly, throw up your hands and walk away but since the service is essential to your work, you come back to it.You complain bitterly, then walk away and don't look back except to wonder at the betrayal...how could they have done that?As I reflect on Google's mis-steps in the last few months, which as I understand it, flow from a decision to lock end-users into their ecology (e.g. Google+), I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at Evernote's decision. Evernote's decision involved discontinuing a vibrant service, a service they admit was causing them issues because it was used SO MUCH. The service involves RSS feeds for public notebooks.
Unlike Google that killed Reader because it was "under-utilized," Evernote chose to kill a service that worked so well, it's customers used the heck out of it. This might be the equivalent of Twitter disabling retweeting. 
When I signed up for Evernote Premium in December, it had been after a long evaluation of Evernote's stability, it's attitude towards end users. I'd already curated hundreds of articles and put them online in Evernote's resources with my free account. With my Premium subscription, I started adding other content. It became my alternative to GoogleDrive for storing resources, documents I needed quick access to.
I went so far as to make videos showing people how to use Evernote for content curation, including doing a workshop at approximately the same time Evernote had made this change. Evernote's RSS feature is at the heart of my content curation efforts, as it is for many other folks.
As Google and Evernote fight to push people to interact with their web sites rather than allow users to use RSS feeds to share their content, many will feel a sense of betrayal. I know I feel it now. Let's review what betrayal means:

Betrayal (or backstabbing) is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contracttrust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations. (Source: Wikipedia)
The breaking of a presumptive contract that produces conflict within a relationship between individuals and organizations. Yes, I signed onto Evernote, and later Evernote Premium, with the expectation that I could share public notebooks via RSS feeds. Evernote, with little notice, chose to set that aside. Of course, they are empowered to do this. Of course, they have the power. Of course, I have the right to walk away from hundreds of notes and notebooks I've filled.
But why would Evernote alienate its users who employ RSS, a service that they admit increased service usage?





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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Rage at the Dying of the Light! Restore RSS for .@Evernote Notebooks

2013-04-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Modified Premium Evernote ad featuring RSS Feed reinstatement

If you use Evernote for anything, but especially content curation, why wouldn't you want to be able to share items you've added to Evernote with others easily? That's an obvious, "Of course I want to!"

The RSS feeds just disappeared from Evernote:
It redirects to the normal notebook... :-(
The easy way to share includes using RSS feeds, that allow you to blend Evernote Notebook contents into blogs, wikis, and as well as repost content via Dlvr.it and IFTTT.com. Create a recipe and you can repost Evernote Notebook content to a Twitter feed, providing content as well as citing the original web site where you clipped some valuable component.

For educators, this is an essential service. Students and teachers posting to a single notebook can immediately re-share content with the world via RSS. That could be taking the RSS feed for Evernote and feeding it to Twitter, Edmodo, Moodle, Blogger/Wordpress or many other content/learning management systems. Student eportfolio? Simply redirect the RSS feed for Evernote to a blog or IFTTT.com recipe and parents could be immediately notified when their child had published something new in Evernote.

Unfortunately, all this is now impossible. Evernote removed support for RSS because it was consuming too much of their capacity. Huh? Let's cut something that's obviously working for people, and worse, let's just post the announcement in a forum or something where folks probably won't see it unless they are die-hard fanatics.

I question Evernote's leadership in regards to RSS feeds and ask you to do the same. Turn this feature back on, at least for Premium users. Otherwise, Evernote, I'll encourage people to "vote with their feet" and run off to any one of the other content curation resources!


Note: Are you an Evernote Notebook RSS user and disappointed? Please share your story in the comments.



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Finding New Workflow for Content Curation - SeeYa @Evernote !!

2013-04-28 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Ok, I have to admit to profound irritation from Evernote's move to drop RSS feed support for public notebooks...well, let's just say I'm looking for a match-up in the ring:
Source: http://goo.gl/kqvalOf course, Evernote still provides great service, now albeit without RSS feeds. However, RSS feeds serve up the content I curate using Evernote to my Twitter feed, Facebook and elsewhere. All that's gone with Evernote's decision to dump RSS, even for paying customers (Hey, I just became a Premium user because of RSS notebook feeds...going to be terminating that later this week).

Enough whining, now what to do? Of course, technology changes so what's another way to handle this? Well, while I can still curate content into Evernote--after all, it is all still searchable and available--I can still auto-tweet using ReadItLater's Pocket and IFTTT.com (feeling any pressure, IFTTT.com, with these hammer-blows to RSS?). I've cleaned out both my Dlvr.it and IFTTT.com RSS-based recipes.

One of the ways to accomplish this is to divert content through Pocket app on your device, or computer, and then add a tag. Adding a tag only takes a moment but IFTTT.com is able to capture that and tweet it. You can still drop that content to Evernote if you so desire, but you don't have to.

Here's the workflow:

Add something to Pocket via your device...you can install the iOS/Android app or get the bookmarklet for your browser.Three possibilities...
Archive pocket'd items. (I like this one because items disappear from Pocket into the archive, even though they are still there. When you read a lot, this lowers the amount of content)
Favorite items by clicking on the star (next favorite option)OR, You can tag it with any short combination you want (share, fb, tw as 3 possibles).Setup an IFTTT.com recipe to send your tagged posts in Pocket to whatever service you want, adding other neat stuff along the way (for example, I've added a link to my blog at the end).
If you want to route Pocket'd content to Evernote for long-term storage, then you still can do that.
Give it a try...it's pretty easy...and it won't cost you anything like Evernote.
Still disappointed with Evernote. 




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.@Evernote Cancels RSS Feeds PlzRT - #angry #complaining #contentcuration_is_dead

2013-04-28 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Hey Evernote.com, you cancelled RSS Feeds for Notebooks!? Do you realize you've just derailed my content curation efforts!??? Sure there are alternatives, but...this is THE reason I signed up for Premium.

Under consideration...

Here's the announcement:

We currently have support for RSS feeds for public notebooks to allow subscribers to automatically get updates to those notebooks.

Last night's (4/10/2013) release of the web service removed this support. Attempts to access Public Notebook RSS feeds will return a 404 HTTP response code instead of the heretofore expected content.

At this point, the feature was imposing excessive load on the service relative to its use and utility, and the decision was made to remove it.

and one response that I agree with completely:
Just canceling the RSS service without notifying users is wrong.  Once I had this set up I would not have checked this blog for a few weeks which means it would not have been working and I wouldn't have even known!  I realize that RSS feeds may be putting a big load on your servers, but how about supplying this service for your premium members?
As a Premium user, I hereby request you turn this feature back on for paying customers! or, would you like to downgrade me to a free account?

VERY DISAPPOINTED.

First, Google Reader. Now, Evernote. Sheesh. Without RSS, why would I want to store my information in your system? If you're making so much money off the business folks, how come you're cutting this service instead of building infrastructure?

You single-handedly wiped out over 20 recipes on IFTTT.com and Dlvr.it. Argh.

This posting reminds me of Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and  how the destruction of Earth was "posted:"

"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."
"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."
"But the plans were on display ..."
"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."
"That's the display department."
"With a flashlight."
"Ah, well the lights had probably gone."
"So had the stairs."
"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"
"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'."

Evernote, make RSS support available for paid users. Otherwise, I'll be dumping you. Yes, that's a dis-satisfied customer talking.

Makes me want to get a server going and run my own doggone note-tracking solution.

Sheesh. Really, Evernote? No RSS Support?


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Moodle, Open Badges and Other Stuff

2013-04-26 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Gee, I just finished updating 4 Moodle instances to the latest version. Lots of fun!
Source: http://goo.gl/FLQUC
This would only be a tweet worthy remark, except that this came into email and I thought I'd take a stab at responding:

I’m thinking about my Moodle site for next year and am interested in gamification – I’d particularly like to try and use badges. I see that Moodle 2.5 integrates the Open Badges framework.
If I were to develop my site on a local v2.5 server over the summer at home, would it be possible to put it on the network in August? It looks like v2.5 may be released by then. Also, if I were to tweak the setup of the server, would it be possible to keep those changes and run it on a separate server here and still make it available off campus?

Response:



I’m thinking about my Moodle site for next year and am interested in gamification – I’d particularly like to try and use badges. I see that Moodle 2.5 integrates the Open Badges framework.

The Open Badges framework allows you to assign badges to students for completing certain tasks or assignments. The badges remind me of what cub/boy scout type badges. The Open Badges framework has grown popular as a way to "certify" achievement of a specific set of skills.
Here are a few relevant links:Open BadgesMoodleNews Features 6 Videos on OpenBadges in MoodleMoodle OpenBadges
If I were to develop my site on a local v2.5 server over the summer at home, would it be possible to put it on the network in August? 

Yes, if he has a local installation of Moodle on a laptop or server, then it would be possible to back up the entire course and restore it. Note that this is a course backup, as opposed to backing up a Moodle instance. 
It looks like v2.5 may be released by then. Also, if I were to tweak the setup of the server, would it be possible to keep those changes and run it on a separate server here and still make it available off campus?

Before you can answer this question, you have to find out what operating system he is running the Moodle instance on. If he wants to make a complete backup of a Moodle instance (e.g. database, php files, moodledata), then that can certainly be done; it would be better to push him towards a course backup
If he wants to replicate the settings he has on his own or local server, and make those changes on the District server, then that will probably only be possible if you are running the same operating system, etc. Chances are, though, the answer to this question would most likely be...
"Sorry, our server has been optimized for speed and reliability. We can take a look at the customizations you would like to see, but it's not always possible to implement customizations from one server to another for a variety of factors."
So, what would you have said?




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Flat Classroom Coming to Texas #txed #edchat @julielindsay

2013-04-26 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Find out more about this San Antonio, Texas event online at http://goo.gl/J8zME
Educators who want to transform their learning and embrace global collaboration in their curriculum are invited to join Julie for a unique professional development experience at International School of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas.
Workshop 2013 DetailsWhat you will learnApplication FormDownload a brochure to share

Apply Now! Places are limited. This is a rare opportunity to work in the USA with global educator, innovator and leader and one of the co-founders of Flat Classroom, Julie Lindsay(who is based in Australia), in a carefully designed collaborative environment.


Twitter/Skype/Delicious: julielindsay
Blog: 123elearning.blogspot.com



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Transferring Photos and Videos Off Your #iPad

2013-04-26 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

When I read this blog entry entitled, Can I Transfer Photo Albums Created On My iPad to My Windows PC? I couldn't help but feel it was a bit short...here it is:

If you are using the Photos app to create albums on the iPad – those albums will not transfer to the PC.
Those albums do not actually contain the photos or copies of the photos. They merely have a pointer to the original photo in the photos app. The albums created in the Photos app are for local photo organization on the iPad only.
You can transfer photos but not albums.
While this is true, there are ways to make transferring photos organized in albums easy, regardless of Windows/Mac computer.

Approach #1 - Transferable App ($.99)
To transfer a photo album--not videos--from your iPad to a Windows, Mac or Linux computer, you simply need the right app. One of my favorite apps is Transferable, an app that allows you to connect via the IP address (e.g. 192.168.1.101) of your iPad on a local area network. You simply type that address into your web browser on your computer...

and you'll see the following:

Notice that you can get a zip file (compressed file) of all your iPad's albums. This makes it child's play to save your iPad Photo Albums to your computer without iTunes and a cable.

Approach #2 - Readdle Documents (free)
Ok, let's say you're a cheap-skate and don't want to spend money on Transferable. You could use Readdle Documents, although it will take a few more taps. Simply go into Documents' settings under FILE MANAGER and turn ON "Show Photos." Now, you'll be able to access the photos stored in various albums on your iPad.

You can save a copy of the photos/videos to your Documents folders, perhaps even creating folders to mirror the names of your Photo Albums. Once you've done that, you can zip those folders holding your photos, and connect to Readdle Documents via your WiFi network from a computer (just as you might have done with Transferable).

Approach #3 - Dropbox (free)
This approach works photo by photo, but it does get you a copy of all photos on your iPad to Dropbox and at that point, you can do whatever you want with them. Simply install the Dropbox app and allow it to put photos on your iPad into Dropbox. Even if you have a few hundred (or more) as I do, the process shouldn't take TOO long.

Are there other ways to get this done? Yes, absolutely! Please share those in the comments. Maybe we can help the iPad Academy folks dig a bit deeper when providing answers to questions.



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Legislated Animosity - Texas Teacher Retirement in Peril #trs #txlege

2013-04-23 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

"Hit their retirement, rip 'em up good!"
Guys in white=teachers
State Legislators = Bull
Source: http://zakireza.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/running-of-the-bulls-05.jpg
Can you hear the Texas State Legislators saying that? I know I can every time I read updates from colleagues that threaten the teacher retirement system. The main points as a fellow educator put them:

A bill is set to go before the Senate State Affairs Committee for a vote. Chair Robert Duncan filed a bill to be heard today that will significantly alter the system. 
The bill sets the minimum retirement age at 62 (without penalty). Each year an employee would retire before age 62, a 5% penalty on benefits would take effect for each year. age 61, 5% penalty, age 60, 10% and so on. 
Read that again...we get penalized if we retire PRIOR to age 62. Huh? Teachers spend their life dealing with all sorts of garbage from legislators, trying to do their job in spite of mountains of paperwork, and then, slam, they get kicked in the teeth if they decide to retire before age 62? Sorry kids, I can't retire to help pay college, fund a life change, or whatever. The STATE GOVERNMENT--you know, the government that the Republicans promise to keep out of our lives as free citizens but are failing so miserably at--is getting involved. (that was obviously political, if you couldn't tell)
There is a grandfather clause attached. If you are age 50, or have 20 years of service, or have a rule of 70 (combined age and service), you would be grandfathered. A large population of employees would not meet the grandfather requirements. 
In fact, a recent study indicated that the TRS system is one of the most sound, viable until 2075. Need a review of some of the main points? Here they are:Over the past 25 years, the TRS trustfund has earned a return of approximately 8.6% despite a decade of highly volatile markets. The TRS assumed return rate is 8%.The Majority Of TRS Members Will Do Significantly Worse Investing On Their Own In A Plan With A Defined‐Contribution Component.80% of TRS members, a figure that includes 95% of public school TRS members, do not participate in Social SecurityThere's a lot more not to like in Texas State Legislature and Government. Unfortunately, until we stop walking around talking big and VOTE THEM OUT! we will continue to face legislated animosity towards teachers.
“I think it’s an outrageous proposal,” Murphy said. “It’s not as if there was a pot of gold waiting under the rainbow for teachers even under the current scheme.” Source: Austin-American Statesman

Joe Smith: Outrageous! - April 24, 2013
I do not support the reduction of benefits of active teachers in order to give retired teachers a raise. This is wrong. All current TRS eligible employees should be grandfathered. The Texas Legislature cannot continue to renege on promises made to teachers, this is an unacceptable solution.





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Leviathan of Learning

2013-04-22 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/LzIzyThe sucker's choice...that either/or of undesirable options that a pounding pulse forces one to make. At a meeting last week, I had the opportunity to make such a choice. In a place where the desire to teaching writing workshop, AND blend technological ingenuity into the process, I found myself opining, "It's too much to expect teachers who don't know how to facilitate writing workshop to also blend technology."

That opinion smolders, made hotter because I am its source. Then, tonight, while flailing about in my RSS feeds, avoiding Feedly because it's too pretty, preferring stark simplicity of LifeRea, I tripped on this:

The point is simple. Teachers need to be able to understand how to embed technology into what they do. But you can’t do this unless you’re already a good teacher. The technological side of it only comes into to play if you already knew how to balance pedagogical knowledge with content (subject) knowledge. Only then can you understand how best to integrate an iPad into a classroom. (Source: Cageless Simplicity)
Indeed, I might as well have said, "Those poor souls. Their lives are so full, they can't spare a moment more to learn how the rest of the world communicates, creates and connects." You know, I'd rather "good teacher" meant something else.

Mayhap, a good teacher might be someone who says, "Throw me into the deepest pool, I'll dog-paddle until I can swim, swim until I can breathe underwater, and emerge a leviathan of learning. Don't molly-coddle me, protect me from failure, baby me until I wither to nothing, unable to move forward without your permission."



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Of Few Letters

2013-04-22 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Men of letters are dead.

William Zinnsser puts it quite well in this essay for The American Scholar:

Men and women of letters were the willing workhorses of the literary enterprise; they saw that the caravan kept moving. They formed committees and juries and gave awards and held readings and signings and receptions and wrote critical essays for obscure quarterlies...On today’s landscape I don’t see many men and women of letters; the apparatus that supported their world has collapsed. 
Still, I long for those days, not unlike a journalist for the old presses, or a teacher for their classroom before schools crumbled into obsolescence and irrelevance.
Every year, there are fewer teachers who have known the experience of confidently entering their classrooms with creativity, passion and the freedom to replace their textbooks with learning experiences that are unique, personal, powerful and authentic.  The rest have only known themselves as teacher-technicians, checking off standards and managing instruction by crunching data.  (Source: 2cents)
Like others who walk the halls, one monitor among a multitude of policy guardians, I long for the open page, the quiet nook, the quest for words, rather than letters that belie their purpose...





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Witless Brevity

2013-04-22 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

"Be brief," he said.

My daughter takes this advice to heart:

Short, concise sentences. Short, concise sentences. This has to become my mantra for when I write papers.
Oh, how I love conciseness. Yet, my emails often go quite long, then on and on. As a young writer, I thirsted for brevity. Samuel Johnson broke my heart first...you have no idea how many sentences I struck out for that fat old English dude:
'Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.'"Boswell: Life of Johnson
Later, Ernest Hemingway's approach engaged me, though I hated his stories...and when I found out he'd committed suicide, well, no thanks! Older, perhaps wiser, I take advice from whomever will give it. Copyblogger shares Hemingway's advice in this way:

1. Use short sentences.
2. Use short first paragraphs.
3. Use vigorous English.
4. Be positive, not negative.
In mid-conversation, my Dad would say, "Ask not for whom the bells toll..." and then smile. The quote smacked me between the eyes when I first saw Hemingway's book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, in high school. Of course, I picked it up. It ended up a classical regret...a book unread.

Could we write more blog entries following Hemingway's rules, as outlined by Copyblogger?

Why not?

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Samuel Johnson



;-)


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Censorship Practitioner - @LearnPad? @rmeyners

2013-04-19 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

UPDATE: Doesn't look like censorship, just a glitch or inadvertent error. Complete details on update at the end of this post!


Rusty Meyners shares the following information via Google+ about LearnPad:

Not familiar with LearnPad? Check out their web site:

LearnPad is an exciting new tablet computer designed specifically for use in schools and the classroom. It supports a wide range of curriculum resources, including tablet "apps", websites and Flash based eLearning content, as well as videos, music, documents and other digital curriculum content, all from a safe, secure customisable student interface. It also supports access to existing network resources and shares, so you can use the content and files you already have in your school.
+Rusty Meyners  is referring specifically to the LearnPad management system that can be installed on other Android devices.

Then, while researching the issue (since this is about the UK version, not the US one), Rusty points out the following:




Rusty MeynersApr 16, 2013Be aware that the version at this link is UK-centric and I'm not sure yet if the U.S. vendor offers the 3rd party software or trial. I expect to find out soon because I have our SpEd folks convinced to try them, so I'll be giving them a call.

Rusty MeynersApr 16, 2013 (edited)U.S. vendor for LearnPad:
http://www.edresources.com/Index.aspx

Texas Rep:
http://www.procomputing.com/

Google Plus presence (how about an update?)
+LearnPad ï»¿

Jeremy MayApr 16, 2013+1
2
1
Thanks for that info:)  Hopefully they'll make an impression here! Definitely going to be following this closely:)

H TeagueApr 16, 2013+1
2
1
I have received training to conduct training on LearnPads. I really like this product and the learning potential they offer. thanks for posting this Rusty!

Rusty Meyners10:57 AM (edited)ReplyFinally heard from the Texas LearnPad rep but it wasn't good news. Here is the comment I just posted on the +LearnPad G+ Page:

EDIT: my comment there has subsequently been removed. What's up with that - or need I ask?
https://plus.google.com/u/0/107384675110857926094/posts/KxX1HdU3hps

Unfortunately when I was contacted yesterday by my nearest LearnPad rep, the information was drastically different - and not for the better. The very appealing exposure to LearnPad that we got at the TCEA (Texas Computer Education Associationhttp://edresources.com/Blog-New-Tablet-Solution-the-Hit-of-TCEA.aspx) conference a short two months ago is seemingly now irrelevant - at least according to the local contact.

I can't buy the 9.7" $299 model and am told the new XD $399 version is the only one available (or WILL be available, because it's still not here). Also, I'm told that we cannot purchase the other products available in the U.K., including the 8" model and the extremely interesting "OEM/3rd Party" installable LearnPad management system (http://learnpad.co/support/tablet/oem-installation.cfm ).

I hope I've been mis-informed because after all the sharing about LearnPad I've done in professional educator circles, online and otherwise, this is disappointing indeed.
While I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions--that LearnPad removed remarks or feedback that shared info about their product that they didn't want shared--it would be foolish for any education partner who thought they could use censorship to restrict information sharing, especially in a hyper-connected world.

I invite LearnPad to respond publically on their own blog and link back here or leave a comment as a response...and I encourage you to tweet and plus one this blog post so that we can get the word out.

Update - Response:

Rusty Meyners2:48 PM (edited)+1
2
Reply
2
1
 
+LearnPad has indicated on their G+ account that my feedback was not removed intentionally. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that frank discussion might still happen. This is what they posted:

LearnPad2:28 PM  -  Public
It appears that a comment from +Rusty Meyners got deleted from one of our previous posts. We have no idea how this happened and we would like to make it clear we would never delete comments negative, positive, or otherwise unless they are horribly offensive (see +YouTube for details) or obvious spam.
Sorry to Mr Meyners! We welcome his input and we are seeking some answers on various points he has raised.




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Drinking from the Internet Firehose - Content Curation #tf13

2013-04-17 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Drinking from the Internet Firehose - Content Curation


Description: What is content curation? It's a way of managing the firehose of information slamming into use from every device we own, from computer to smart phone. This workshop will introduce you to some of the ways you can better manage a world of content, not just online but offline as well. If you are always trying to keep track of web sites, bookmarks, information, then this session will help you get a handle on it all! Of course, you may have a tiger by the tail!



Articles & Content CurationGetting Started with Twitter for Your PLNBuild Your PLNSix Steps to Self-RelianceSharing Evernote Notebooks to Twitter, Facebook, and EdmodoContent Curation Information - This is an Evernote Notebook created around content curation and its use in education.A New Workflow - Zite/Flipboard/Twitter -> ReadItLater's Pocket -> Evernote

VideosIntro to Twitter and Building a Professional Learning Network (PLN)Creating a Twitter List to Better Follow Your PLN MembersA Quick Intro to Social Networking MagicContent Curation Made Easy with Flipboard (iPad only)Evernote for education webinar from Ronald Toledo on Vimeo.
Content Curation ToolsFor Your ComputerEverNote -http://www.evernote.comReadItLater (Pocket) -http://readitlater.comPinterest -http://www.pinterest.comDiigo -http://www.diigo.comList.ly - http://list.lyScoop.it -http://www.scoop.itFor Your iPad
EverNote(no cost) - This is the best app on the iPad, IMHO, with its note-taking capabilities that include still images, audio and more. I simply love this app. If I find out that upgrading will result in saving EverNote content to my iPad for offline viewing, then I will happily pay for it.Sharing Evernote Notebooks to Twitter, Facebook, and Edmodo - Now that you are curating content, wouldn't it be neat to share that with others?
Pinterest (no cost) - "Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. It lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find in your life."LiveBinders (no cost) - If you've played with Livebinders, you'll know how it works. This app allows you to view and edit existing LiveBinders. If not, check some Livebinders out!Pearltrees (no cost) - A nice visual interface that allows you to create trees of content you like, share it, and allow others to contribute/curate with you.
Trying to do some of your curation via the browser on an iPad? You'll want to read this comparison of the best sharing iPad browsers!Content Consumption
Reading Other's Curation (all no cost)Zite - A phenomenal app enabling you to read content from everywhere. I love that you can drop content into section topics, exposing you to content you didn't know existed about stuff you are interested in!Flipboard - This incredible app turns RSS feeds into beautiful magazines you can flip through easily.
Classroom Examples: A Blog Entry on Note-taking with EvernoteA List of Miguel's Top 20 EverNote Notebooks:

BYOD/BYOT - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/byodContentCuration - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/contentcurationDifferentiation - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/differentiationtechDigital Citizenship - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/digitalcitizenshipcyberbullyingEdmodo - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/edmodoEdTech - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/edtecheLearning - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/elearningeReaders - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/ereadersFlipped Classroom - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/flippedclassroomGoogleApps - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/googleappsInfoGraphics - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/infographicsiPad - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/ipadPBL - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/pblResearch - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/researchSAMR - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/samrTeaching & Learning Strategies - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/teachlearnstrategiesTechnology Management - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/techmgmtVideos to Watch - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/videos2watchWeb 2.0 Tools - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/web2toolsWriting - https://www.evernote.com/pub/mguhlin/writing




Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com




Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Transforming Social Stories with your iPad #tf13

2013-04-17 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

iPad - Creating and Telling Social Stories with Your iPad

SlideshowTransforming Social Stories with Your iPad from Miguel Guhlin
Description:In this hands-on session, learn how to blend images and sound into a video social story using your iPad. Learn how you can use inexpensive apps on the iPad to easily create social stories for those within the autism spectrum.

Note: This session developed in collaboration with Janis Arnold (Educational Diagnostician).
"Social Stories were devised as a tool to help individuals on the autism spectrum better understand the nuances of interpersonal communication so that they could interact in an effective and appropriate manner" (Source: Wikipedia).Videos5-minute Interview with Janis Arnold, Educational Diagnostician


Creating a Social Story with 30Hands (not yet available)

ResourcesTelling Social Stories with the iPad - A Blog Entry.Workflow for Creating a Social StoryStorytelling AppsBook: Building Social Relationship by Dr. Scott BelliniTranscript: Autism Women's Network Interview with Temple Grandin
Social Story ExamplesWatch 32 different social stories via YouTubeMore examples.


Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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iPad Workflows - Getting Work on/off your #iPad #tf13

2013-04-17 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



iPad Workflows - Getting Work on/off your iPad
Image Source: http://goo.gl/5efXY

iPads work differently than computers; that is, they have a different workflow. While that is often a blessing, it can also be a bit of a problem when you want to share work easily with others. Make sure you get the free apps mentioned below, as well as adjust your settings prior to taking advantage of the workflows illustrated with video and step by step instructions below.

Scenarios You May EncounteriPad Scenario #1 - I have images/pictures, videos, PDF files, ePub-formatted eBooks that I want to copy to my iPad from my computer, AND I have content on my computer that I want to put on my iPad.
iPad Scenario #2 - My students have spent the last week creating their video in SonicPics and PinnacleStudio and have exported it to the Camera Roll on their iPad. How do I get those videos onto my iPad without using GoogleDrive, Dropbox, etc.?
iPad Scenario #3 - My students have spent the last week creating their Keynote presentation. I’d like students to share a copy of their presentation with me. How can I get them to share to my iPad from their iPad without having to mess with a computer?
iPad Scenario #4 - My students have spent serious time creating their Keynote presentation and I’d like them to have a copy of it in Keynote or Powerpoint format, even if they don’t have an iPad. Can they save their Keynote file to Google Drive, work on it with their Mac computer (which has Keynote), save it back to Google Drive, then open it on their school iPad while in class?
iPad Scenario #5 - My students have spent serious time creating their Keynote presentation and I’d like them to turn it in via Edmodo.com. Can they save their Keynote file to Edmodo?
iPad Scenario #6 - How do I connect to an FTP server from my iPad?
Adjust Your App SettingsNote: These workflows depend on several apps available at no charge on iOS devices. You will need to adjust the settings on these apps to reflect the following information:AppSettings to AdjustReaddle Documents

Cost: Free on iPad.General Tab: This tab covers security and protection. You can leave settings as is.
Wi-Fi Drive: Switch the “Enable Drive” setting to ON. If in a public environment, turn ON “Ask for Password.”
Sync: If using iCloud, choose the appropriate Automatic Sync setting or disable it. Set “Use New WebDAV Engine” to ON.
File Manager: Switch the “Show Photos” to ON. This will allow you to make copies of photos/videos you have in your Camera Roll/Photo Library.

That’s all! Tap on “Close” to finish adjusting settings.Google Drive

Cost: Free on iPadThere are no settings to adjust except initial login to your Google Drive using your credentials.EdmodoThe Edmodo app works great on the iPad and you can connect it to your other accounts (e.g. Google Drive).



Check out Miguel's Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Achieving Escape Velocity - The Impulsive Twitterer

2013-04-16 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Image Source: http://goo.gl/VjxOZOver the last few months, I've slowly come to the realization that we can accelerate professional learning in our schools. Those PLN connections pay off as educators give into the impulse to share something with each other via Twitter. First, though, allow me to share one of my favorite concepts and how it impacts my role as a school district administrator, and, I pray, a leader.

I'm on a quest to be more effective, to find out what I can do to get out of people's way, to maximize their efforts that result in real organizational change, and become more other-focused by clearly understanding my motivations, thoughts, and biases. This is a habit, make no mistake. Here's the relevant quote:

Some people are more effective than others. . .skilled people find a way to get all the information out in the open because the free flow of information is critical.  Furthermore, people need to be able to open and honestly express opinions, share feelings, and articulate their theoriesThink: The greater the group’s shared pool of meaning the greater the groups IQ the better likelihood of good resultsSo our “trick” is to create conditions for dialogue that will help us master the tools for talking when the stakes are high.
Source: http://blog.truebridgeresources.com/?p=436
Wow, what profound points are being made in this short excerpt. We can use social media, which is by its nature, open and transparent, AND if we can do that to get dialogue going, then the group IQ can be increased. If that happens, then the group has greater information available to it to solve problems, plan and do more.This concept simply blows my mind! Having participated in many a meeting over my career, one of the key concepts is that most people simply don't contribute to the pool of shared meaning. They will typically sit inertly, keeping critical data that the group needs to solve a problem, plan ahead for a variety of reasons. Those reasons include the following, all of which I've heard in my work over the years (ok, I may have used some of these myself!):"It's not my place to point that out! That's the boss' job.""If I say something, then [Team Member's Name Goes Here] will chew me out or badger me about it!""I'll get in trouble for saying something about it since the boss or someone likes to keep things harmonious." (or, instead of harmony, "looking pretty even if fake")."No good deed goes unpunished! I'll get stuck with the job, whatever it is because I bothered to speak up!"They don't make a connection between what they know and what the group needs to know, so they keep their mouths closed, like a poor man who holds onto the vase that hides a precious gem that would alleviate his financial troubles.The value of Twitter, of course, is that people can start sharing openly about various resources and ideas that highlight what's going on. If there's a lot of research, articles, public opinion, whatever encouraging a different perspective, then it's THOSE people who are introducing the concept, enabling us to talk about our problem from an elevated perspective...we are simply trying to solve the equation.
Others' perspectives + Internal Reflection on our issue = Positive dialogue
One of my favorite questions to ask at a meeting, a question that serves as a "dip stick" to assess safety in a meeting is, "What haven't we discussed that is important to discuss?" Another way of saying it, "What haven't I brought up, asked about, that we need to talk about?"
When you ask this question over time, you can see growth in a team. If the team says nothing, then safety is low. No one will speak up because for one of the 5 reasons mentioned earlier. In time, though, we should start to get more open dialogue...if not, then that's an indicator that you've made less progress than you hoped for in building the team's relationship.
Absolutely critical is the need for team members to hold each other accountable so they can begin the work of solving real problems a team experiences. As a boss myself, I love it when I get called on the carpet by a team member. It shows me that reverence is given to the needs of the organization over the retaliatory fear an employee struggles under.
Accelerating professional growth means moving the conversation along faster. Some of the realization that this was true came about as a result of the conversation I had in a principal's conference room...some of our brainstorming a vision resulted in comments like these:Learning has to be public.Create, sustain and grow a culture of learning (we stole this one from Karl Fisch, Arapahoe Public Schools...thanks!)Knowing and Doing GapTechnology is a must!Passion/DriveConnectivism vs staticCollaborationFind what works for you.Some of the key concepts for me include the idea that learning has to be public, the culture of learning and how technology can help us accomplish that. The idea that the Knowing-Doing Gap can hamper any initiative trying to get off the ground--essentially, the idea that a teacher may know what to do but never actually do it--can be frustrating. 
I hope that Twitter as a method of facilitating open dialogue about what we need to know, and how we are going to get it done, can accelerate learning, helping us reach escape velocity.






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Headed to the Ballpark - TechFiesta 2013 #tf13 #iPad #edchat

2013-04-16 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Find my session materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com
This Thursday and Friday, I'll be headed along with many other folks to the TechFiesta 2013 Conference being held at the ESC-20 in San Antonio, Texas! There, I'll have the chance to present several sessions on a variety of topics.

Here are the topics along with a short description and links to content! I hope you'll drop by so we can have a learning conversation about content curation, sharing campus stories, and more!


Drinking from the Internet Firehose - Content Curation Made EasyWhat is content curation? It's a way of managing the firehose of information slamming into use from every device we own, from computer to smart phone. This workshop will introduce you to some of the ways you can better manage a world of content, not just online but offline as well. If you are always trying to keep track of web sites, bookmarks, information, then this session will help you get a handle on it all! Of course, you may have a tiger by the tail!
Thursday, April 18, 2013; 9:15AM - 9:45AMFriday, April 19, 2013; 9:15AM - 9:45AM


Sitting Around the Virtual Fire: Sharing Campus Stories with Your iPadAre you an educator or school principal that has access to an iPad 3 or greater but not sure how to effectively use it with social media and podcasting tools to get your campus stories out to the Community? In this hands-on session, participants will explore how to create engaging podcasts through the use of two iPad apps, 30Hands (free) and Pinnacle Studio ($12.99).

Thursday, April 18, 2013; 10:00AM-11:00AMFriday, April 19, 2013; 10:00AM-11:00AM
Transforming Social Storytelling with the iPad
In this hands-on session, learn how to blend images and sound into a video social story using your iPad. Learn how you can use inexpensive apps on the iPad to easily create social stories for those within the autism spectrum.
Thursday, April 18, 2013; 11:45AM-12:15PMFriday, April 19, 2013; 11:45AM-12:15PM
Collect Student Work Easily: Setup Your iPad as a ServerIn this hands-on Bring Your Own iPad, learn how to collect and share student work easily. This workshop will introduce you to several efficient workflows that will facilitate students turning their work in or making it available in-classroom sharing, some without access to the cloud-based storage options.
Thursday, April 18, 2013; 1:45PM-02:45PMFriday, April 19, 2013; 1:45PM-02:45PM





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Getting Started with Twitter for your PLN (Updated)

2013-04-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Note: This article is cross-posted at http://bit.ly/ecto. I wrote it as a quick introduction for work colleagues--which is why it has specific language for my district--and decided to share it here as well. After reading several other Twitter intros for educators, I'm feeling a bit of pressure to NOT post this article...but then that would go against my motto of making contributions, even when they aren't awesome! ;-)
Last Updated: 04/16/2013  - 5th question added


Getting Started with Twitter for your PLNThis article answers 5 questions about Twitter and helps you get started with building your Professional Learning Network (PLN). 


Image Source: http://goo.gl/vY3l4BACKGROUNDAs an educator, probably one of the tougher challenges you face isn’t just keeping up with the technology, but rather understanding how to leverage it in your teaching and learning situation. While in the past, we were limited by the occasions that served as “learning experiences,” in the 21st century, learning isn’t restricted to a special event bound by time and place. We don’t learn just when sitting in a meeting, or at a conference or from 8:00 to 3:30 PM when school is in session. Today, we have the potential to tap into a flow of conversation, a web-based learning ecology, that we can learn from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Connected lifelong learners--as opposed to just being a "lifelong learner"--label this flow of conversation a professional learning network (PLN). In a PLN, you  can share what you're learning as it's happening with others. With the addition of a hashtag (such as #edchat or #ecbyotms) you let others who search on that hashtag in on what you are sharing, whether they follow you or not. This enables strangers committed to learning about similar interests to share ideas with each other.
One of the ways that connected lifelong learners build their PLN is by using a social media tool, such as Twitter. For educators, the question to ask isn't Twitter's stock, What are you doing now? but rather, What are you learning now? Read on and watch the videos to get started. 
Tip: Be sure to check back often since I'll be updating this entry over time!

1) HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH TWITTER?Watch this short 15 minute video that walks you step by step on creating your Twitter account.


2) WHAT'S A TWITTER LIST AND WHY SHOULD I USE IT?A Twitter list is a sub-set, or sample, of your total population of people you're following on Twitter. You can set up different lists for organizations you may be a part of. When you view those Twitter lists, you ONLY see what those people are tweeting rather than what everyone else you are following is sharing.
Watch this short video:

3) How can I take advantage of hashtags?Hashtags are words embedded in a tweet that allow others to track what you are tweeting about. If I want to quickly find out what others are saying around the hashtag #edchat, I can do so by doing a Twitter search on the hashtag or taking advantage of one of the free services, such as Twubs.com.
For example, for #ecbyotms which is the EC Bring Your Own Technology @ Middle Schools hashtag, I can see what anyone has tweeted with that hashtag easily:

I can always find out what's happening by clicking on the http://twubs.com/ecbyotms link to see what others are sharing via #ecbyotms hashtag.

4) How do I better manage my Twitter account?While you can use the Twitter.com web site, as well as one of the various mobile apps for Twitter, consider taking a look at Hootsuite.com, a service that is no-cost and enables you to control how you tweet. For example, with Twitter.com, your tweets are shared as they happen. With Hootsuite.com, though, you can schedule your Tweets. This is particularly helpful in a PLN situation when you want to queue your tweets in advance, whether that be for a simple reminder for a "hashtag chat" or something else. 
You can also have multiple Twitter accounts and manage them from one interface. Hootsuite.com makes it very easy. For example, you can see that the HootSuite.com screenshot below has various components...notice the tabs at the top of the window which reflect different accounts that Hootsuite can access. You can switch accounts by clicking on the tabs.


5) How do I track what I like via Twitter?
Track your Twitter Trail. As you are working your way through Twitter, there are several ways to keep track of what you are seeing. Here are a few ways to keep track of your twitter favorites:

Favorite It - The quickest and easiest way is to tap on the star (on mobile apps, press and hold on a tweet you want to favorite, then press on the star. Other options include retweeting).
Access Your Twitter Favorites by replacing "mguhlin" with your own username:
http://twitter.com/mguhlin/favorites

You can later embed your favorites in a web page, blog or wiki.
Send it to Pocket (f.k.a. ReadItLater) - Use an intermediary tool like Pocket--works on mobile devices and your computer--to easily keep track of what's in Twitter. Pocket allows you to share the full text of an article, image, etc. to other sites like Evernote.ReTweet It - When you retweet, quote the tweet and add @myen to the tweet. This will allow you--if you have an Evernote account connected to your Twitter account--to save RTs to Evernote.Hashtag It - When you retweet something, add a hashtag to it. Drop the # symbol when searching on a hashtag. Note that this will generate an RSS feed you can re-direct using a service like IFTTT.com:
http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=edchat

This will enable you to search on it using one of these commands...you can modify "mguhlin" to reflect your username

RSS Feed for Whatever a User Tweets: http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=mguhlin

RSS Feed for What is Tweeted at a User: http://search.twitter.com/search.rss?q=@mguhlinMore tips to come....





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Job Posting - Network Services Engineer

2013-04-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


EAST CENTRAL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICTJOB ANNOUNCEMENT
Network Services Engineer April 15, 2013
The position of Network Services Engineer will be available immediately.  Employees of the district may apply in writing to the Personnel office.  Others who are interested in this position may submit an application online at www.ecisd.net and then contact the Personnel Office at 648-7861.  The deadline for submitting an application is 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2013 or until position is filled.
Primary Purpose:  Coordinate Network Services, as well as perform on-site technical work to install and maintain computer equipment, network and software applications throughout the district.  
Duties and Responsibilities:
Install network hardware (including wireless network), as well as recommend changes in computer hardware and software system to effect improvements, reduce costs, and improve efficiency on a district-wide basis.Responsible for the direction, management, maintenance and support of Virtual Private Networks (VPN), VOIP endpoints, DHCP scopes, TCP/IP Addressing and subnetting, virtualized servers (e.g. VMWare, VSphere), and Storage Area Network (SAN) in a Cisco-based solution environment.Responsible for enterprise wide server, client, and gateway antivirus (e.g. Sophos) and anti-malware security.Familiar with network monitoring (e.g. SolarWinds), email archiving (e.g. DataCove), data backup (e.g. BackupExec), network bandwidth shaping (e.g. Exinda), network security (e.g. Fortinet), video surveillance (e.g. Video-Insight), content filtering (e.g. Trustwave).Supervise Network Services Support staff, including full-time, part-time, vendors, and contracted consultants.Participate in eRate planning and deployments.Oversee district technology budget appropriate to job functions, including acquisition of vendor quotes.Support services from Region 20 mainframe system.Perform tasks related to basic network connectivity including: running cables, termination of cat 5E jacks, tracing network connections, and troubleshooting and replacing nonfunctional connections.Advise and assist District staff in the application of new and emerging network technology.Perform other duties as assigned.
Minimum Qualifications:
High school graduate or equivalent, Bachelor's degree preferred.Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) or equivalent (e.g. CompTIA Network+, Security+), preferred.Cisco Certified Network Assistant (CCNA) or equivalent experience.At least 3 year’s experience in setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting Cisco network and other peripherals, router/switch configuration.Experience with Active Directory, and Open Directory preferred.Experience with Linux, Windows and Mac OS Desktops and Laptops, as well as mobile devices (e.g. iOS, Android).Possess and retain a valid state of Texas driver’s License and be acceptable to the East Central School District insurance issuing authority for the operations of school district vehicles in the performance of assigned duties.
Equipment used:  Computer, service tools, motor vehicle, telephone.
Working Conditions: Mental Demands/Physical Demands/Environmental Factors:  Climbing, stooping, bending, heavy lifting, and kneeling; frequent use of small hand tools and electronic test equipment; frequent district-wide travel between schools.  Occasional prolonged and irregular hours, including nights and weekends as needed.  Normal classroom/office environments, and work around electrical energy.
Period of Employment:  260 days
Salary:  As per district salary schedule
Gary Patterson Superintendent of Schools
*An Equal Opportunity Employer*



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Incremental Bits of Conversations #pln

2013-04-12 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Image Source: http://goo.gl/gdhN4Over the last few weeks, I've had the opportunity to learn from a campus leadership team. I share what little I know about Twitter, PLNs, etc. and they recharge me with their enthusiasm and energy. Hanging out with campus folks makes me feel like the Green Lantern, recharging his ring.

People often introduce me to others with the words, "...and he writes this awesome blog!" Of course, you and I know the truth. The blog isn't all that awesome, but when they look at it, they see the aggregate work of thousands of blog entries over several years. For them, it's awesome because it represents incremental contributions that amount to a massive collection of unrelated parts, a cacophony of connections, that's unimaginable for them. But give them a year, and they are beyond me, on to more glittering constellations and conversations.

Twitter conversations sometimes have this feel for me. The conversations, the curated content, the shared bits of ideas, information, and insight ("I cubed") can be insignificant are individually...unimportant. But collectively, they are a powerful connection of daily goodness and learning that affirm that learning is in the connections.

Of course, people already have experienced this goodness. Coming at it from a writer's perspective, blogs and twitter are no big deal for me (well, they aren't as much as they once were (yawn)). But from a socially inept person like myself, who wants to speak only when he has something valuable to say, this is a liberating experience. For me, I blog and tweet even when I don't have something valuable to contribute, even though that digital utterance is insignificant, it is a small step down the road.

Small steps. Baby steps. Just like a conversation that happens face to face. Sitting with that campus leadership team, I have re-discovered the value of conversation, of contributing small bits of insignificance that the group amasses, reshapes, and makes into something significant of worth to all. I am beyond grateful for that work that has found value in our conversation. That they listened, then responded has enhanced my thinking and perceptions.
Source: http://goo.gl/FJTxg
That's a profound insight for me, even if it's not for you. It means that I may speak, offering my imperfect noises with the hope that the group will harmonize all the contributions...or learn that the discordant chime is essential and worthwhile.

I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. But if you don't, that's ok. This is but a small, insignificant bit of conversation that allows me find value.












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The Irrepressible Mole - Leadership Short of Awesome

2013-04-12 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Ok, I wish I were in this kind of shape."What the heck is in my way?" It's a question I've been asking myself almost constantly over the last year as I strive for awesome leadership and find myself falling short. What's success for me?

Absolutely awesome commitment and investment by folks I support to achieve organizational objectives they are responsible for.
But then, I have to stop and ask myself, am I demonstrating absolutely awesome commitment and investment? Who am I to judge?

 What is getting in the way of ensuring awesome teaching, learning and leading possibilities for the people I serve? Is there anything to that 212 degree book?
People muddle along trying to improve, not knowing how close they are to being truly excellent and achieving breakthrough, but they are at 211 degrees. Often they don’t realize that 212 degrees, and massive state change, is just around the corner. If they would push just a little bit more, they would achieve true excellence.The implication being that these people who came in second were on the very brink of excellence, but they didn’t give that last one degree to get there. Read more on this idea.
That blog entry makes a lot of sense. When I look around, I ask myself, "Why aren't we doing awesome things? Why am I not able to empower myself and/or others to do more awesomeness?"
The answer is disappointing. Maybe, I don't want "it" bad enough.

Are you up to digging deeper? Is school reform destined to fail because, frankly, staff don't want to dig any deeper? After all, it's exhausting work.

Are you an irrepressible mole willing to dig deeper?Or, pick one of these:

IS IT YOU OR IS IT ME?
For a very short time, I thought, wow, maybe it's the other guy. Maybe, it's the other guy's fault that we're not doing absolutely awesome. Then, I spent some time thinking, what if they're awesome but I'm in their way, stopping them from being awesome?

I don't think it's either. It's probably both of us or neither. Maybe they're waiting for permission to be awesome, and I'm low on sleep and energy reserves.

IS IT THE SYSTEM?
I love Peter Senge's observation that once you get too successful, the system plays whac-a-mole with you (actually, he said something like the system pushes back but I'd rather be the ever-present, irrepressible mole, wouldn't you?). Maybe, we're being held back by some invisible organizational crab pincer that's dragging us back down into the bucket.
Source: http://goo.gl/4EtEH
IS IT A POORLY DEFINED VISION OF AWESOME?
Maybe, it's a poorly defined vision of awesome that's making it hard to be successful. What the heck IS awesome in using technology in a K-12 environment? Is it what some are doing with iPads? Chromebooks? Instructional activities that students are truly engaged with?
Source: http://goo.gl/okY8k
I DON'T KNOW!!
So, I don't know the answer. I'm clueless and it's driving me crazy. Maybe, I need to do more research and do more book studies with the teams I am a part of.

ACHIEVING GROUP CONSENSUS
Maybe, I'm a terrible conversationalist. I can't engage others well enough in conversation that results in change. Somehow, whatever comes out of my mouth confuses the heck out of everyone else, and they don't have a clue what I'm talking about. We end up fighting about stuff we agree with, and agreeing to disagree on the rest. How does that work for you?

Ok, enough of those...got them out of my system, for now.

That's why, when I sat in a campus leadership meeting today, and Shannon (@skfuller) shared this diagram, Factors for Sustained Institutionalization of Schoolwide Initiatives (ain't that a mouthful), I realized how far off I was about it all.

Seeing a diagram like this is like getting a roadmap to how things should be. It makes me want to rip our current initiatives apart, and then put them back together with this framework in mind. Maybe, these boxes boil down to critical questions:

Vision - Why do we want to accomplish that and what will it look like?School Improvement Plan - How are we going to get there, who's going to be responsible, how are we going to evaluate success.Skills - This is the easiest. What do we need to know to get it done?Resources - What is available to help the job(s) get done?Motivators - What needs are being met and how do these align with our why?Fidelity of Program Implementation - Are we doing what we said we'd do or have we deviated?Sustained Implementation - Are we prepared to stay the course?This puts a whole different perspective on trying to get things done. Take a look around your learning organization...is 7 your lucky number or are you struggling with the consequences of less than seven?
Maybe playing whac-a-mole is fun, but I'd like to get some experience with a successful mole take over!




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#iPad, #GAFE and Google Drive @readdle @explainevrythng (Updated)

2013-04-12 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Over the last two to three weeks, I've noticed a problem with GoogleDrive integration on the iPad. While regular Gmail accounts were working, GoogleApps for Education (GAFE) accounts were not authenticating. Essentially, the problem appears with apps that integrate with GoogleDrive, such as Readdle Documents and Explain Everything for a GAFE account. I started working with the Readdle folks to see if they could solve the issue, but wasn't getting anywhere, although I definitely appreciate their support over several emails!

I shared my story in response to Elizabeth Bagish on the GCT email list, who also mentioned the problem with Explain Everything and Google Drive:

Thanks for sharing your story. Recently, I've encountered the same problem with GAFE accounts with Readdle Documents app (free, awesome appworth checking out).  I've been connecting with them about the issue, sent them logs and stuff. 
While regular Gmail account works, GAFE accounts are NOT working with Documents. I'm disappointed to hear that issues may have arisen with Explain Everything, which is one of our favorite apps on the iPad, for creating tutorials, demos, etc. I can confirm that it's not working on GAFE, but works fine with regular Drive accounts. That's weird because prior to a week or so ago, neither Documents or Explain Everything had a problem interacting with GAFE account.
Elizabeth had some better connections than I since she knew Reshan Richards, co-creator of Explain Everything.
Update: Actually, Elizabeth points out, it was Vinnie Vrotny who put Reshan (pictured below) in touch with her.Lisa @techchef4u Johnson and Reshan Richards (Explain Everything)
Elizabeth provided Reshan with a GoogleApps for Education (GAFE) account (so did my district), and they went to work trying to figure it out.
Earlier this week, Elizabeth shared the answer:
After some terrific help from Explain Everything's support team, here was the very simple fix.
Go to the domain dashboard>settings>Drive
Scroll down and select Allow users to install Google Drive apps.
Worked like a charm.  Now our staff and students can use GAFE with Explain Everything...  So excited!
So, I logged into our GoogleApps for Education Domain and went to the spot indicated...you can see the checkmark below:

Click on SAVE changes and that should resolve the issue for GoogleApps for Education users who want to take advantage of cloud storage using GoogleDrive through Readdle Documents and Explain Everything (as well as lots of other apps!).
Thanks to Liz and the Explain Everything crew!






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#CTO Tips and 9 Sources of Self-Paced PD @educatoral @drrios

2013-04-09 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Thanks to Tech&Learning.com eNews for April 9, 2013 for featuring something I wrote in their eNewsletter, as well as Dr. Roland Rios (@drrios) bringing it to my attention:


In case you can't read it, the blog quote of the day reads as follows:

The truth is that managing a technology department isn't about knowing the technology; it's about better leadership on the part of the director. It's not just a little about leadership...it's ALL leadership. - Miguel Guhlin, CIO Advisor
Now, just like a preacher can give a great talk but fall short and have to ask for forgiveness, I can say that it's ALL about the leadership but know that I fall short. That's the beauty of leadership, though. When you fall short, you pray that your team will catch you, and, in rare cases, lift you up.

That bit of vain glory aside, I appreciate the placement of that quote next to Alfonso's (@educatoral) tweet about Professional Development On Your Time, Your Way. The reason why is that the blog post he shared provides a nice round-up resources for free, professional learning:

Simple K12 Webinar Series (http://simplek12.com/webinars) Classroom 2.0 Live! (http://live.classroom20.com/) Bam Radio Network (http://www.bamradionetwork.com/School Leadership Summit Recordings (http://admin20.org/page/summit-recordings) TED Talks (http://www.ted.com/Open Courses (Various) From MIT Open Courseware to edX  Twitter Hashtags (http://bit.ly/hashtagsedu
However, I'd add two more links to this great list!

K-12 Online Conference (http://k12onlineconference.org/) - This is a phenomenal resource that features an archive of past conferences going back to 2006! Absolutely great!Global Education Conference (http://www.globaleducationconference.com/) - Another great source of free conference materials.
One of the neat aspects of online conferences that keep their archives up after the conference is over can be a bit mind-boggling. Simply, these sources of professional learning keep on providing educators with access to learning opportunities that endure. This is a point that Wes Fryer makes in this blog entry:
While we can count number of attendees in a face-to-face conference session, we can count the number of video views for an online conference. While those numbers don’t tell us how many people stayed for an entire session or watched an entire video, nor do they tell us how many people “did something different” or even “had their teaching practice transformed” by things they learned in a particular session, these numbers can provide a little insight into the impact of different events on attendees / participants.
Based on a Blip.tv report inclusive of video views from October 1, 2012 through January 14, 2013:
Our videos (hosted by Blip) were watched 10,143 times in allOur videos (hosted by Blip) were watched an average of 100 times per day (98.48 times per day, to be more exact)These statistics are available as a shared Google Spreadsheet, if you’d like to look at them in more detail.
As Wes points out, it’s interesting to note how video views peaked during the actual weeks of the conference but have remained fairly steady (although lower in quantity) since then. 

There are also many regional or state-wide conferences that are increasingly available in Texas. I feature a few in this blog post, and here is an upcoming virtual conference hosted in Texas, Speaks Voices.







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Just Coggle.it Together!

2013-04-05 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



Concept maps, graphic organizers are so yesterday, so it's fun to find a new approach to an old topic. Earlier this week, I had a chance to play around with Coggle.it, a newcomer on the web-based graphic organizer scene. In addition to working on your computer, Coggle.it also is iPad, Android, and Windows 8 friendly.

Since I had a moment (sheesh, those have been hard to find) and the email announcement caught me at that instance, I had a chance to play with Coggle.it. Here are my main take-aways:


Easy to use interface on desktop computer (haven't tried it on iPad)Colored strands for ideas (thinner lines might be fun for sub-concepts)Drag-n-drop of diagramPNG/PDF download of diagramEasy sharing to Facebook, although I'd make the Sharing button the universal icon for that and allow sharing to Twitter (a whole community of educators there), Google+, ReadItLater (Pocket now), Evernote (lots of educators use this). Update: They made this change!Clean designSince I had the Coggle.it folks on the hook so to speak, I also shared what I would like to see:

Can't put sub-topic items directly linked from the middle of the main topic. They have to be right or left.Would love to see thinner strands on topics two levels deep, different colors as well.Collaboration aspect appears to be missing (multiple-editors)Easy saving of PNG/PDF files to GoogleDrive, Dropbox, Evernote (maybe put these under Sharing icon)Change 'Share" word to "Collaborate" since sharing is under the "f" icon (which is the one I was referring to replace).No way to insert images available
In response to my concerns listed above, the Coggle.it folks sent me this note:

Thanks Miguel! A few of those things are actually available (they're a little bit hidden though!):
Colour can be changed for subtopics by clicking on the strand itself (should bring up a colour picker): http://blog.coggle.it/get-the-colour-right/ 
Strands get thinner as you get further out, but maybe it should happen faster?  
Collaboration is there, multiple people can edit at the same time no problem! http://blog.coggle.it/how-to-invite-people-to-collaborate/ 
Images can be dragged from the desktop: http://blog.coggle.it/add-images-to-a-coggle/ 
You're right, we need to look at our sharing / collaboration terminology and introduce a section dedicated to social media sharing - direct sharing to twitter is something we're definitely going to add very soon! 
Another hidden feature you might like is the ability to add maths formulas (via Latex): https://coggle.it/diagram/5127f00c1088ecf326000009/5c6df4e2460d9fc4c6696286e121c86633580a17774620db11958aec2d79fd82 
Thanks for your input - it's really valuable to hear what people think and we take it all into account when planning the next features to implement : ) Any more questions or feedback then just shout!
They also sent out this update on the features:

Who made those changes?You can find out who made changes to your Coggle using the new history feature. Simply drag the slider to look through all the changes to your diagrams!
Read more
Complete the picture!A highly requested feature that we’re happy to say is now supported. Drag images into your Coggle to fill in that missing detail, after all a picture is worth a thousand words!
Read more
Get the colour right...Make sure your Coggles are always beautiful - the new colour picker lets you take control of getting the right colour for your topics.
Read more
Stuck on something?Some of you may have already found the tutorial videos we added recently - we hope they’re useful!
Is there a particular topic you’d like to see a video on? Let us know!
View them now!



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Embracing Bring Your Own Technology #byotchat #byod @mysa @ectechhornet

2013-04-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

News Source: The following was re-shared with permission from the ECISD Technology Department blog at http://bit.ly/ecto








In classrooms at East Central High School over the past month, students enhanced learning through the use of their personal, mobile devices with the encouragement of classroom teachers and campus leadership!

For senior Erin Bay (an alias), the new policy known as Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) sends a message that the District has embraced mobile learning.

"I use my iPhone all the time, and it's great to be able to use it as part of what I'm learning in class," she said. "My favorite lesson during the first week was one my teacher did where we could use our own tech." Several hundred students are connecting to the District's wireless network--engineered for BYOT--using one of the recommended devices on the ECISD BYOT Mobile Device Chart (http://bit.ly/ecbyot).

After revamping it's Responsible Use Agreement, enhancing wireless infrastructure, crafting a BYOT Mobile Learning certification program for 70+ teachers and administrators, and conducting town hall meetings with parents and students, the East Central ISD has turbo-charged classroom learning--students can now bring their mobile devices and use them. The rollout will continue in the Fall, 2013 at the two Middle School campuses.
High school students over the last month have had over 450 mobile devices on campus. “Parents and students have made a big investment in mobile devices,” points out ECHS Principal Roland Toscano, “whether it’s a smartphone, a laptop/netbook, Chromebook, iPodTouch, or tablet. Here at ECHS we are going to allow students to use their own devices to increase technology usage to enhance instruction.”
East Central ISD follows in the steps of other school districts in Texas. The BYOT initiative capitalizes on available student devices, and models responsible academic use of these devices. It also builds on the work of a 1100+ iPad initiative at elementary and middle school campuses known as EC3. The 3 Cs represent "Connected Collaborative Critical Thinking" and are more about transforming teaching and learning than technology.
East Central ISD Superintendent Gary Patterson said the Bring Your Own Technology initiative takes advantage of the ubiquity of technology available in student hands, and looks to changing how classroom teachers approach teaching a hyper-connected learning environment.
“We need to support learning in classrooms that goes beyond the way we learned how to read, write, and reason.” Patterson said. "Technology can accelerate our movement from good to great only when teachers make big changes in the small things they do. For example, establishing virtual classrooms using tools like Edmodo and GoogleApps for Education."
High school English teacher Lauren Hickey  highlights the higher level of engagement as students prepare digital products.
"I have been amazed at how engaged my students have been with this assignment. I have several classes that are high Spec. Ed and even my lowest students, who I struggle to engage on most days," notes Hickey, "have been working hard and are engaged in the project."
Suzette Arriola, assistant principal, points out that teachers have received special training in using mobile devices. Each teacher must post a "BYOT Certified" sign on their door to let students and visitors know that mobile technology may be found in their classrooms. Specialized training focuses on creating safe, online learning environments through the use of no-cost tools such as GoogleApps for Education and Edmodo.com. These tools work on a wide variety of mobile devices, making them versatile additions to the teacher's toolkit. "Teaching with these tools," points out Patterson, "isn't an option. We can help our students be successful now so that they may build on those triumphs in the future."
In preparing to launch BYOT at the High School, the District Technology Operations team worked collaboratively with high school, teaming to ensure a smooth launch. While there were certainly some roadblocks, detours were quickly constructed by the multi-faceted team of instructional technology, campus faculty and technical staff.
"The ECISD School board," shares Patterson, "has provided us with phenomenal support as we transform how we approach changing how we approach everything from the mundane to instructional processes."




Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
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Need #Moodle Support? Inexpensive Support Available for K-16 Organizations!

2013-04-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Yes, this is an advertisement.

Looking for Moodle support on your Windows or, preferably, Linux server for your school district, small college or university? Don't want to pay outrageous prices?

Have you considered hiring an inexpensive, independent consultant who has years of Moodle server experience, currently remote-managing multiple Moodle sites for an online professional development company (references available)? Then look no further than...

Miguel Guhlintwitter: @mguhlinDrop me a quick tweet with your contact info!
Services Provided include:UbuntuLinux server setup and installation of Moodle (latest version)Regular MySQL/MariaDB database backup and restorationsKeeping Your Moodle installation in tip-top conditionFacilitating your setup of user accounts through a variety of methodsLots more, just ask!





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Break a Few Eggs - Stepping Away from Google

2013-04-02 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


What would happen if I stepped back from my reliance on Google? It's a mind-boggling thought. I have purchased Google storage, and made it THE hub of my online world. A quick inventory of the services I've relied on Google for:

BloggerGmailGoogleDocs/DriveGoogleSitesGoogle ReaderPicasaWebGoogleVideoGoogleNotebookGoogleListenOf those, only four remain. So, I asked myself, what if I decided that Google wasn't going to be THE basket I put all my online eggs in? Have I followed my own advice and gotten my exit strategy ready?
Yes, but I'm not sure. Here we go:
Blogger - I'm using Wordpress.com to backup Around the Corner Blog. It is backed up to http://jmguhlin.wordpress.comGmail emails have all been cleaned out. Inbox zero! (I archived data on Evernote.com and dumped the rest of those emails...who needs to keep 8 gigs of emails anyways?)GoogleDocs/Drive - Only 5 gigs of data here, so not too bad! This has been backed up offline to multiple hard drives.  I currently enjoy 16gigs free on Dropbox (help me get more!).GoogleSites - I hate to admit it but I really will miss Google Sites. That said, Wikispaces.com has always been there for me as an educator and I heartily recommend them. Since I last checked them out, they've added some new, nice features! (http://mguhlin.wikispaces.com). Transitioning content over there will take a bit.PicasaWeb - Oh, this one really makes me hopping mad (think comically so, Yosemite Sam). I moved my library of 2000+ photos to PicasaWeb because Google's PicasaWeb was going to be my long-time home. Where did I move them from? Flickr. Where am I moving 9+ gigs back of photos to? Flickr.com. Sheesh.Let's see how much this is going to cost...Wordpress.com - Free and it's a cinch to import entries from Blogger to Wordpress.Flickr.com - $40 for two year accountEmail - Keep the Gmail account but keep it empty and just forward stuff to Evernote ($50 annually but I use it for a whole bunch more).Dropbox.com - I currently enjoy 16gigs free (help me get more!). If I want to really kick it up, like up to 100gigs, I would pay $99. Might be cheaper to keep the 16 and just move stuff I need online.Wikispaces.com - Wikispaces is free for educators. Thank you!!!What's another approach? I wonder if Rackspace.com would have a custom solution? That custom solution would enable me to...Run 4-5 email accounts ($120 is what the price looks like)Have MariaDB (in lieu of MySQL), PHP, ApacheRun my own wiki solutionRun OwnCloud.org (dropbox alternative, free)Run Wordpress installation (Wordpress.org)Use Gallery2 for image gallery (forsaking Flickr)Something to think about...








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3 Steps to Enhancing Campus Communications with Your #iPad

2013-04-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: Whac-A-Mole
In a funny analogy to the whac-a-mole game, Steven Weber recounts 6 "moles" principals must whack in their jobs in this ASCD article. In this article, learn how to leverage your iPad to facilitate enhanced communications in a way that solves the 3 problems Steven highlights.

Howdy! Help me out! Always have your stuff when you need it with @Dropbox. Sign up for free! t.co/1t8euau878


THE MOLES OF LEADERSHIP
"About twenty seconds into the game," Steven Weber points out, 'the moles start popping up three at a time and when you smash a mole with the mallet it may pop up again." Here's a quick list of the moles Steven refers to in his article:Family ConcernsInstructional RoundsStudent DisciplineEmailProfessional DevelopmentCommunicationThis last "mole" that principals have to deal with, Communication, can be "whacked" pretty effectively through the use of various iPad apps. Here's what Steven writes about the importance of communication:
Communication is an important responsibility and it cannot be ignored.  Principals need to communicate through the school website, email, newsletters, video, blogs, face-to-face meetings, PTA meetings, Coffee Hour, phone calls, and informal meetings in the parking lot.  Principals need to be intentional about communication.  Principals need to communicate with classroom teachers through classroom observations, email, blog, faculty meetings, notes, and informal meetings.  A principal could spend his or her entire day developing communication documents or preparing a speech for the next meeting.  It is important to see communication as a mole that you ‘whac’, but also as something you plan for.  If you are not communicating and marketing the great things about your school, then who is marketing your school?  You cannot afford to let the ‘communication mole’ pop its head up too many times.
Consider that highlighted section above. There are three "problems to solve" in that highlighted section that the right iPad apps can be a solution to. Let's examine those:
TIME - As administrators, while we'd love to spend hours and hours fine-tuning our communication, because there are other things going on (look at the other moles on Steven's list!), we can't spend so much time crafting and polishing the message. At what point do you say, "Good enough!" The challenge is minimizing the time you spend preparing communications while maximizing the output.PLANNING COMMUNICATIONS - As administrators, planning communications may be limited to a once a week newsletter to staff or parents. Compiling newsletters can be time-consuming because you have to plan them out, write the articles that address a particular theme, and then figure out a way to disseminate the information.  Plan short, to the point communications rather than long newsletters of articles. Given the choice, as a parent, I'd rather know what's happening as it's happening in short bursts, than longer communications I have to spend a chunk of time working through.SHARING GREAT STORIES - As administrators, this is the key challenge. As a parent, I wish my children's schools had shared more information about what they were doing in school. As a principal, or teacher, what tremendous opportunities you have to capture with technology what children are learning and doing, then share that with your school community.In light of those 3 problems, let's take a look at some iPad apps that can be strategically used to minimize the time you spend on planning and sharing great stories.  As an administrator--or a teacher--how do you know what apps will help you be your most productive, and facilitate communication?
LEVERAGING YOUR IPAD - APPS TO INSTALLHere is the list of apps you should learn as an administrator and a teacher, avoiding the pitfall of pointless app acquisition. Don't worry, you can add these apps one at a time to your repertoire as you work your way through the 3 Steps to Enhancing Campus Communications. The beauty of these apps--most of them are free--is that you can create content in the Level 1 apps, then remix into the Level 2 apps, then shared. That is, you can take what you made in one, publish it to your Camera Roll, then use it as fodder for your next creation!
App Price: Unless otherwise indicated in parenthetical comment after the name of the app, these apps below are available at no-cost.
Level 1 - Photo/Video Creation AppsNote: There are a multitude of apps that allow you to create. These are a few that are easy to get started and get you going.Camera Roll - This is an app that comes pre-loaded on your iPad. You have probably already used it to snap pictures on your iPad.Skitch - This app makes it easy to add comments, circle or draw arrows, as well as blur student faces, in photos you've taken with your iPad. You can also save the marked-up photo--without losing the original--back to your Camera Roll, then import the annotated image into other apps like those below.30Hands - Take a collection of photos, organize them as slides in any order you want, then add audio narration. Include pictures of your Haiku Deck presentation. If you need to do some quick annotations on them, consider Haiku Deck (in lieu of Keynote) - stunningly beautiful images, text and chart preso maker. With this app, you can quickly create a slideshow using free images (copyright-friendly) on the web or from your own camera roll. You can easily export this slideshow as a Powerpoint via email or view it on the web via the Haiku Deck web site.Optional: Strip Designer ($2.99) - lets you create comic strips using photos from your Camera Roll. You can build your comic, then save it as a picture into your camera roll. Once a comic is in your camera roll, you can import into 30Hands, Explain Everything, Book Creator, or iMovie for further fun.Level 2 - Narrating Your WorkNote: You can "remix" anything you've created at Level 1 with the apps below. Unfortunately, these apps cost money.Explain Everything ($2.99) - Capture pictures and and video, then annotate and narrate them using this app. You can also use this to share your finished product to GoogleDrive, Dropbox, and many other places. All the products from Level 1 apps can be "remixed" to create something new in Explain Everything.Book Creator ($4.99) - Create your own ePub books with embedded video, audio, text.iMovie ($4.99) - Inexpensive movie creation tool. I prefer Pinnacle Studio, but iMovie will do for most.Level 3 - Sharing Your CreationsReaddle Documents - Less of a creation app, more of a viewing app,this is an app that makes it easy to share your content with others, as well as copy your final product to Google Drive, Dropbox, and other cloud storage locations.
If you are just getting started, then consider Level 1 apps to be the easiest to get started with! The workflow for using these apps can be quite simple and I encourage you to try them.
3 Steps to Enhancing Campus CommunicationsStep 1 - Come up with a schedule of sharing activitiesSharing a schedule with teachers and parents can be a powerful incentive for you as a principal to actually get it done. Be on guard for various "sharing opportunities" you can take advantage of. To get you started, consider these sharing opportunities:
a) Teacher or Student Highlight In this highlight piece, snap a picture of the teacher, their classroom, or both, then put that picture into a sequence in the 30Hands app (works on your iPhone). You can do that practically standing in a corner of the classroom (practice, of course, and watch the tutorial), and then ask them to share what today's learning activity is about. If recording audio isn't possible at that time, you can come back at a later time and record audio for an individual slide. For 5 pictures of teachers, you could have 5 different audio narratives with each picture. I like to use Haiku Deck to create the title (e.g. Teacher Highlights at Your Campus) and transition slides, snap a picture of them on my iPad by holding down the Power and Home buttons simultaneously, then inserting those into the appropriate location in the sequences of images. You can also capture video walking around to teachers and asking, What are some successes you experienced this week?
b) Classroom WalkthroughsIn this sharing activity, capture pictures and video on your daily campus and classroom walks using your iPad's Camera Roll. As you walk through your school, take your iPad with you. When you see something you like, want to celebrate, and/or share with your school community, snap a photo or do a quick video interview. You can create a slideshow of audio narrated photos with 30Hands app or a comic strip featuring students reflections with Strip Designer.
c) Capturing Learning as It HappensWhen doing a video interview, don't spend a lot of time prepping before the interview for it. Simply ask 4 questions that will help the person you're interviewing overcome their shyness at being on camera:
a) What's your name and job title?b) What are you doing and c) Why are you so excited about it?d) What have you learned?
These four simple questions will get people sharing, probably more than you want. Make sure to arrange a signal to let them know when the interview starts and ends.
Photo InterviewIf a video interview is not appropriate, then consider taking a photo of what you are seeing, making a mental or written note that answers the questions above. You can later assemble the photos into a narrated slideshow that will convey a powerful message about what is happening at your campus.
When video recording or photographing students, make sure that you have collected permission forms for sharing that content online.
Step 2 - Decide where and with whom you will share your communications.Now that you have been collecting content, you need to take a moment to ask yourself, How can I make this content available? You'll want to pick some online space that you can easily update and share. You can host your video creations online via YouTube, then link to them (or use the embed code) from your campus web site. If you're not sure how to get started, you'll want to connect with your district/campus' Instructional Technology team members. I would recommend you setup a blog or Google Sites wiki for yourself, then you can post your updates as announcements. Once you have your Sites developed, share with everyone and on any memos or written communications sent home. Announce the web site at parent-teacher gatherings as an easy way to share what students and staff are doing.
Step 3 - Cultivate a Culture of SharingOnce you start sharing, it will automatically encourage students, parents and staff. You can nurture this culture of sharing by encouraging students and staff to create their own "great stories" to share with the world. Once students and staff embrace the concept that they are storytellers as well, you can begin to switch back to your role of campus administrator, manager and leader.
ConclusionWhac-A-Mole is one of my favorite games. I suspect that if you whac-a-mole like Communication with your iPad and the tips suggested in this article, you will find yourself spending less time focusing on negative interactions, and more on positive ones. That's worth the up-front effort of learning a new mole-whacking tool, don't you think?
;-)

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#Nexus 7 #Android File Transfers via #FTP

2013-04-01 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

My daughter, who is now on her second Nexus 7 after her first one met with an untimely end (yes, I offered to get her an iPad but she turned it down...she loves her Nexus 7!), recently wrote me with this question:

Nexus is officially up and running! The SIM card transfer worked great! Except I'm missing some files...but that's where I do FTP transfer right?
The short answer is, "Yes," if you're not going to use a solution like AirDroid. I prefer FTP transfers myself since they are so easy these days. Below is my response to her query:
Here's a quick overview:http://www.mguhlin.org/2013/01/copy-files-to-your-android-phone-or.html 

This is the FTP Server you want to run on your old Nexus (it should be installed):
http://goo.gl/dSyAy 

This is the FTP Client you want to use on your new Nexus:
http://goo.gl/gT7jK 
Turn on FTP Server on your OLD Nexus. Make note of the Server IP address (e.g. 192.42.33.101) and then type that into your FTP Client on your NEW Nexus.
Note: After you're done, you can always make sure to install FTP Server on your New Nexus so that you can transfer files from any device, such as your computer, to your Nexus 7.
Pretty easy process, huh? It must be because a few minutes after sending that response, I received this heartwarming one:
YES! K, got it all Daddy, thank you!

:-)






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Protecting Data is Still YOUR Responsibility

2013-03-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: http://goo.gl/LsO12

Love this data about identity theft and K-12 schools...folks, we are failing on this and we need to do something about it.

Data breaches leave people six times more likely to become victims of identity theft, according to a survey this year by Javelin Research. Schools warn parents to monitor their children's credit after a data breach. But credit reports only turn up 1 percent of fraud on children's credit histories because thieves pair children's Social Security numbers with new names and birth dates, according to a study by Debix, which sells identity protection services...more than 18,000 child identity theft complaints were reported to the Federal Trade Commission, compared with about 6,500 cases in 2003. 
Only half of K-12 schools use encryption to scramble sensitive data in case it falls into the wrong hands, according to a February survey of more than 100 IT employees at K-12 schools nationwide.  School districts in 26 states now ask for students' Social Security numbers. One of those states is Texas, where education officials need those numbers to connect K-12 records to higher education and workforce data, according to Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.
Ratcliffe said the agency takes pains to protect sensitive student information, storing data behind firewalls and using other identifying information in most data sets. But last year, the agency asked eight Texas school districts to send confidential student information, including Social Security numbers, through the mail on unencrypted CDs for research purposes. (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/students-identity-theft_n_1140119.html)
Why am I bringing this up? Earlier this week, a colleague shared this question:
How does your District share confidential documents via email?  We are looking at ways to potentially email SpEd, Finance, HR data etc.  
Ideally we'd like to find a way to attach secure documents within Google Apps.
I promptly shared a proposal a colleague and I had put together and that goes for review next week. That information elicited this response:
Can you not upload the documents to Drive and then share with the intended audience?
My response included the following epistle typed on my mobile phone:

Yes, however data remains unencrypted and now is stored that way in the cloud. Some prefer data to be encrypted before it leaves your computer so that in case of a breach, you are protected by safe harbor...in that case, you dont have to report loss of unencrypted data. 
Encrypted = safe harbor
Unencrypted = pay for identity theft protection, public scandal 
Boxcryptor.com is an interesting cross device tool to use that is designed for encryption implementation in cloud storage, including Drive, box.net, Dropbox, etc. It wont work for emailing files but adds security when storing confidential data in cloud. Free for personal use, available on android, iOS, win, mac. 
You can also 7zip compress files with AES-256 encryption turned on. 7zip.org for windows, Keka for mac are two tools to use. 
My preference is encrypt confidential data before storing it in the cloud when possible. AESCRYPT.COM is an easy cross platform way to do that...linux, mac, windows...not chromebook 
For chromebook, i use Mailvelope app. Works great to encrypt on screen content, although it uses public/private key encryption which can be confusing for newbies.
Neither boxcryptor or mailvelope would work well in a larger org IMHO. Solid personal tools, though.

Of course, I've mentioned these tools before here at Around the Corner. The response to this message was:
Somehow I don't expect to see this in my lifetime, but doesn't this point to the shortcomings of using attachments to emails as a way of disseminating sensitive information?  I must admit I am personally finding it very hard to kick the habit of nearly thirty years, but attaching files to then send to different places would seem crazy if it were invented today...
And here's my long response:


Thanks for the opportunity to share. To respond to your point quite simply: Yes, attachments are antiquated and people still do it. You know, that answer works for weight loss, too. :-)
For fun, some other thoughts:
Email is firmly entrenched in K-12 education among administrators, clerical staff, as THE way to share information. We have many options available to us, from network drives (in some places), intranet servers, WEBDav solutions like OwnCloud.org or just plain Windows Server-based, etc. But people keep coming back--in spite of professional learning--to the old standby. That's why entrenched IT directors (read old type) avoid switching to cloud-based email for core users; encrypted emails in a district-hosted Exchange server is their preference (yuck!). Fortunately, they're wrong about security or we'd all still be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for MS Exchange or figuring out how to do SquirrelMail.
Another problem is that the users who have the most access to confidential data are the ones who still use MS Excel--because it "allows you to do more with data than Google Sheets"--and they'd rather not switch. So, in crafting a confidential data protection plan, this is the type of user you're dealing with...the one who slaps a password on their MS Excel spreadsheet then emails it to the people who need it.
The question of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliance was raised during most sessions. Session attendees appeared to be comfortable with the typical subsequent discussion pointing out that FERPA compliance is more a task of user behavior rather than infrastructure, and that the features within Google Apps allow FERPA compliance. (Source: http://edtechlife.com/?p=2236)
And, we're increasingly mobile. People still lose USB flash drives, even when they are driving just from one campus to another, walking out the door. Laptops still disappear, lost or stolen. Data encryption needs are on the rise, whether the data is attached to email, uploaded to intranet/internet/cloud storage, saved on a USB flash or external hard drive, or at home on someone's laptop. The loss of confidential data still has the same consequences.
K-12 educators and support staff are largely unaware of the threats and vulnerabilities associated with the information systems they use.  For example, private student data can be stolen, lost, and/or exposed to the public. This threat is especially pertinent as educators and support staff are obligated to protect sensitive information such as Student Test Numbers under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, which is one of the nation’s strongest privacy protection laws.  These individuals need opportunities to learn about the threats and countermeasures associated with information protection. (Source: Purdue University - Data Security in K-12)

The other issue that's frustrating, as you know, is the low-tech level of end users. Even as the technology gets easier--speeding the dissemination of confidential data onto various mobile devices--to use, end-user effort to learn how to protect that data remains easier. That's why "enterprise level encryption" in K-12 is an option that's difficult to implement.
As for putting confidential data into GoogleDrive, let's remember that the FERPA responsibility is the District's, not Google's. If we screw up--we post unencrypted confidential data into GoogleDrive--then that's a decision and responsibility that falls on the District staff that took that step.
If my reasoning is faulty in this, please point it out. 





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Tools of Choice @budtheteacher @dlaufenberg @jeffmason

2013-03-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



Which should be your tool of choice in schools for the majority of students? Should it be a low-cost laptop, an iPad, a Chromebook, what?

In truth, I've thought this over for the last year, wrestled with my biases and prejudices, and come to the realization that the iPad is the best tool for K-12. By providing students iPads, we're enabling them to become incredible content creators (yes, they can program), as well as consumers. In reviewing my usage of the iPad for the last year--prior to that year, I did not appreciate iPads as I do now--I realized that this device is used daily, multiple times, in preference to all my other computing devices, including laptops at home and work, Android tablet and phones. Why is that?

The easiest reason is that I can create text-enhanced, multimedia-rich content quite easily using my iPad. Now, let's set individual user preferences aside.

What about management? These are a pain in the rear to manage. Chromebooks offer a better management system, and you know your tech staff would prefer Windows computers to manage to iPads. But in the final analysis, it's not about the techies, is it? It's about the users and getting them to use the iPad to create, collaborate, connect, and use tech as a catalyst for awesome teaching, learning and leading.

Will we still have devices with keyboards attached and more powerful processors? Sure, why not? Or, put Chromebooks out there (darn that pesky Pearson's high stakes testing expectation for java which is non-existent on Chromebooks).





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Playing with #iPad Apps - 7 Favorites

2013-03-29 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Over the last few Fridays, I've been fortunate to visit a campus that's intent on building it's PLN via Twitter. It all started quite innocently at TCEA when I received a tweet from the principal in question. I encouraged others to start tweeting back at her, and the flow of ideas and information began.

Last week, I shared with them some of my favorite creation apps on the iPad. I created this video for them to summarize our meeting:


By the way, I have to do a shout out to Calvin Orsak and Mike Harber for making district-hosted youtube-like video hosting a reality with the no-cost PHPMotion. Great job guys!

And gave them a homework assignment. Here's one of the products that was absolutely delightful to receive back from a campus leadership team:
Watch videoHere's a quick list of iPad apps--apps are no-cost unless otherwise indicated--we've decided to standardize on in our iPad rollout. We're standardizing because it's so easy to get caught up in app-mania rather than focus on a few apps and what you can create with them.

Haiku Deck (in lieu of Keynote) - stunningly beautiful images, text and chart preso maker.Explain Everything - absolutely awesome.30Hands - Some have suggested this in lieu of SonicPics ($2.99) (which I love) so you may want to try this.Readdle Documents - A phenomenal ebook reader, video viewer, document sharing tool that replaces many other costly apps.Book Creator ($4.99) - Create your own ePub books with embedded video, audio, text.iMovie ($4.99) - Inexpensive movie creation tool. I prefer Pinnacle Studio, but iMovie will do for most.Strip Designer ($2.99) - lets you create comic strips using photos from your Camera Roll.
To be honest, MY essential favorites as a professional include Haiku Deck  Explain Everything  Keynote, Pinnacle Studio, and Readdle Documents  AudioNote, Evernote, Feedly, Gmail, Pocket, Zite, Facebook, Hootsuite, GoogleDrive, FlickrStackr are a few others. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably just buy these and then see what I could do.





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#Texas #Google Summit

2013-03-27 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

http://goo.gl/hYtPb

http://goo.gl/hYtPb





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San Antonio Writing Project

2013-03-27 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Alas, I'd love to attend an institute like this one but work keeps me engaged in awesome projects, and funding is an impediment. I often wish we could have an edcampSAWP or multi-day conference that was completely free.

Source: http://sanantoniowritingproject.org/summer.html

Summer Institute 2013 Information
Online Application

UTSA Grad School
Application

Print Brochure
Flier(Applications due by April 2, 2013)
Dates:   June 10, 2013 – July 3, 2013Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.Where: 
The University of Texas at San Antonio 1604 campus
Graduate School Enrollment: 
Those chosen to participate enroll in and pay for two graduate classes for the Summer Institute.
Summer Fellowship:
SAWP pays for 50% of the cost for 6 hours of graduate credit (including tuition and fees).
Estimated cost after Fellowship: $1250We are pleased to announce the San Antonio Writing Project’s seventh Invitational Summer Institute, to be held on the campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Participation in the Summer Institute will comprise of two graduate classes, gaining participants six hours of graduate credit.
The San Antonio Writing Project (SAWP), housed in the Graduate School of Education, is a collaborative program between the University of Texas at San Antonio, the National Writing Project, and San Antonio area schools. Not only will SAWP be a vital resource for teachers and area schools in the arena of writing, but it will also serve as a model of professional development and excellence, teacher leadership, and reform.
The SAWP Invitational Summer Institute is at the heart of the project, and with the experience and guidance of the National Writing Project, we can be clear about its purposes:to identify successful teachers of writing across all curriculum areas in San Antonio area schools and colleges who will be effective teachers of other teachersto identify approaches to the teaching of writing and the uses of writing-to-learn in all subject areas that have been successful in real classrooms, and that add to the profession’s knowledgeto involve teachers in their own writing so that they can better help their studentsto examine basic issues of equity and access as they affect student learningto make current research in the field available to teachersThrough the Summer Institute, SAWP will build its corps of Teacher Consultants, expand its collective knowledge, and increase its capacity to address complex issues and concerns regarding literacy in San Antonio area schools.
This year we are able to invite 15 teachers, kindergarten through university level, to the University of Texas at San Antonio campus to participate as SAWP Summer Fellows in the Invitational Summer Institute. We are also pleased to announce that we are able to cover the cost for three of the six graduate hours that participants are enrolled in: participants will be responsible for paying for the other three graduate hours. At the end of the summer program, Fellows will be SAWP Teacher Consultants, an expanding network of exemplary San Antonio area educators.
As a SAWP Teacher Consultant, you will become part of the SAWP community--a lively, collegial network which offers resources and programs for deepening your knowledge about the teaching of writing and literacy issues, opportunities to grow as a writer, and ongoing support to realize new projects and initiatives. You will also have the opportunities to expand your role as a leader. SAWP Teacher Consultants shape and carry out all of SAWP’s work: professional development in schools, summer programs for teachers, Young Writers’ Camps, teacher research programs, Saturday Seminar sessions, special interest groups, and more.
We are seeking strong classroom teachers, school principals, and other educators who are helping students become better writers, who promote equity for all students, especially for English language learners, and who are interested in taking on leadership in the ongoing work of the San Antonio Writing Project.
We invite you to apply for the Summer Institute. Please complete the online application for the Summer Institute (see above) and by April 2, 2013 at the latest. SAWP staff will review the applications, and select a group of candidates for interviews which will take place on selected Saturdays throughout the Spring. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or the person who nominated you.
You must also apply online to the UTSA Graduate School as a Special Graduate Student no later than April 2, 2013. Please apply as soon as possible, you do not have to wait for the deadline! The application, required materials for submission and other information can be found online at: http://www.graduateschool.utsa.edu/prospective_students/detail/graduate_admissions_process_and_requirements/. If you have questions, please feel free to contact one of us, or the Graduate School at (210) 458-2330.
Cost for Participation:
Participants must enroll for six hours of Graduate credit with UTSA. A SAWP Fellowship pays 50% of the total cost for tuition and fees. The participant will pay for the remaining amount. Estimated cost: $1250. A limited number of additional Fellowships exist to cover the entire tuition. Contact the Director for more information.As the San Antonio Writing Project enters this new year, we are delighted to have teachers such as yourself nominated for SAWP’s Invitational Summer Institute. We look forward to receiving your application.
Sincerely,Dr. Roxanne Henkin, Director                                     
(210) 458-5427  





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TechFiesta 2013 Reminder

2013-03-26 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



Thursday, April 18 – Friday, April 19, 2013
Are you registered?Go to http://www.esc20.net/techfiesta for complete details.
I'll be presenting at TechFiesta, as will many others.Check out the list of presenters!


Here are my presentations, and when you can attend them:

Collect Student Work Easily: Set Your iPad up as a Server Thursday, April 18, 2013 01:45PM 02:45PM Miguel GuhlinFriday, April 19, 2013 01:45PM 02:45PM Miguel GuhlinDrinking from the Internet FireHose - Content Curation Tools What is content curation? It's a way of managing the firehose of information slamming into use from every device we own, from computer to smart phone. This workshop will introduce you to some of the ways you can better manage a world of content, not just online but offline as well. If you are always trying to keep track of web sites, bookmarks, information, then this session will help you get a handle on it all! Of course, you may have a tiger by the tail!Thursday, April 18, 2013 09:15AM 09:45AM Miguel GuhlinFriday, April 19, 2013 09:15AM 09:45AM Miguel GuhlinSitting Around the Virtual Fire: Sharing Campus Stories with your iPad Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:00AM 11:00AM Miguel GuhlinFriday, April 19, 2013 10:00AM 11:00AM Miguel GuhlinTransforming Social Storytelling with the iPad Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:45AM 12:15PM Miguel GuhlinFriday, April 19, 2013 11:45AM 12:15PM Miguel GuhlinI'll be placing my workshop materials--as I develop them--online at http://bit.ly/mglearns on the TechFiesta2013 page !

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Guest Post - Jim Klein on Netbooks vs iPads

2013-03-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Jim Klein was kind enough to respond to my blog entry yesterday, Only Human - #Ubermix = Yesterday's Solution? in two comprehensive comments. So, rather than make you read them there, I'm going to post them as a separate blog entry. My only edits have been to break up the comments into more paragraphs for easier reading.

Jim writes:

Hey Miguel, thanks for your thoughts here. To sum them up, it seems like your argument is "the iPad is going to win, so we should give up" with a heavy emphasis on "the way we do things now", however I'm not sure that this reflects reality, partially because you seem to be focusing on netbooks alone in your comparisons, and partially because I know for a fact that an iPad is not your (or anyone else's) primary computing device. So let's break those two down:

On the netbook front, while the category "netbook" as it is understood to mean a 10" laptop is dead, they have simply been replaced by more powerful and slightly larger 11.6 inch notebooks at the same price points (See Acer V5, Asus X201E, etc.) But even with that knowledge, let's be fair and compare Apples to Apples with an equally priced notebook running ubermix. That Core i3+ notebook will process your aforementioned video and audio at least twice as fast as your iPad, and the applications will bring with them greater capabilities and sophistication than the overly simplistic, touch-based interfaces of the iPad allow. But beyond that, the real computing device also offers far greater potential in terms of complex, sophisticated applications for making, like Blender, Alice, Scratch, LibreCAD, and Eclipse, as well as access to the wide array of web apps that simply don't work or work poorly on an iPad (Flash, Java, and other plugins are still quite prominent, despite what Apple fans might like you to believe). I could go on here, but I think you know what I'm getting at. 


Choosing to do less in the name of simplicity, opting for an activity-centric approach that emphasizes "doing" rather than "making" in the name of fitting technology in without disrupting outdated structures and practices, and submitting yourself to a degree of vendor lock-in never before experienced in computing is, quite simply, a terrible idea that will ultimately hurt everyone involved.

On the primary computing device front, let's get real here: no one you know or I know uses an iPad as their primary device, for many of the reasons I listed above - and more. Knowing that, why on earth would we then think it's OK to give students iPads and only iPads to compute on? The answer is simple: because we make all of our decisions based on what we perceive the capacities of our teachers to be, rather than on what we believe the potential of students to be. This, perhaps, is the saddest trend of all. 


What will it take for us to believe in kids? To honor their expertise? To accept that we don't have to know everything about technology for our students to use it effectively? When will we understand that our students don't need a list of steps, a stupid template, a wizard, or someone else's idea of design to build something great? I, for one, don't want to see 30 copies of the same (perfect, by someone else's standards) thing as evidence of mastery. I'm not impressed by the beatifully designed whatever that a student used a canned app to create. I'm far more impressed by the ugly thing that mostly works, but was created from scratch with a healthy dose of critical thinking and problem solving. 

I fear that giving in to the Borg (Apple and similar corporations), building dependency on other people's software and "ecosystems", and limiting our kids in the name of not being disruptive is leading us down the same path we have gone with skilled labor. We barely think about plumbing, carpentry, metalworking, and shop in schools today, finding ourselves content to simply leave a check for the plumber/carpenter/mechanic when we need something done. 

And yet we are facing a shortage of skilled labor the likes of which we have never experienced in this country, which is driving costs of some of the most basic needs higher and higher. The same will soon be true with computing. The number of computer science students continues to decline, yet demand for computing resources continues to increase. 

If current trends are any indication, we are building a generation of takers, rather than makers, who rely on someone else to provide them with the tools they need to get things done, placing their future in the hands of profiteers who wish to control something that was meant to be free. Programs are like math, and if you have to go to the math store to purchase ever more math when you want to design something, then what you design is based entirely on how much math you can afford. 

Let's not set our kids up to succeed or fail based on how much they can afford. Let's give them the world and anticipate the amazing things they might do with it.

My Response:

Jim, thanks so much for sharing these points. I don't disagree with any of them. And, I've probably made these points, although less eloquently, over time. Against this barrage of facts, sentiments, and hard-won experience stands one incontrovertible fact--Americans in public, private, charter, and home schools have made their decision about the type of technology they want to see in their children's hands. I can't imagine a Special Education child interacting with a netbook in the same way they do with an iPad.

That choice is not the one you or I might have made, but rather, the iPad. It's almost like watching an enslaved nation, yearning to slip the chains of traditional computing (no matter how wonderful in the eyes of the elite experts), rise up and choose simplicity rather than complexity in their devices...sometimes, not everyone wants to be a maker in your own image. And, the iPad allows creation, collaboration, in varied ways from what's been done in the past.  





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Living Like a Nomad

2013-03-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Source: Egyptian NomadIn spite of my resolve to not write about the end of Google Reader, here it is. Sheesh.

I'm not exactly sure why the demise of Google Reader left a bad taste in my mouth...maybe if it had just been Reader, I wouldn't have felt anything. After all, I immediately switched over to Feedly.com (Web/Mobile) and Liferea (Linux) without a hitch. As others have pointed out, change is inevitable especially when it comes to technology. Losing Reader isn't the problem...it's just that feeling that since Google is always on the move, changing it's services and constantly updating its offerings, I feel like a nomad moving from service to service. Maybe I'm getting a bit curmudgeony or something.

Still, I couldn't help but feel--irrational as that feeling may be--that something is off. This comment about a new Evernote competitor service from Google (known as Keep) best captured the fleeting feeling:

Great, so Google targets yet another thriving area, puts everyone else out of business with their "free" service, then 3 years later decides they're bored and discontinues it leaving everybody in the lurch.
Note to google: at least give users a couple of week to forget about Reader before "leaking" the next area you plan to do it to.
That remark was spot on. Is Google out to put Evernote out of business, then when it gets bored with the service it provides, shifts its resources, and there we go again.

Harold Jarche also made a remark in his post, Open as in commons, not garden, that I agree with:
This week Google announced that it will close down Google Reader, an RSS aggregator that I have found useful, after Bloglines went offline and then changed its operating model. Reader is a very important part of my PKM process, especially the “Seek” part. I have just switched to Feedly and will see how it works. At this stage I am more inclined to find paid services than free ones. As they say on the web, if you’re not paying for it, you are the product. For more commentary on Google Reader see Stephen Downes’ posts.
The problem with Google isn't just Reader. It's the other popular services that are being sucked into other places (e.g. Google +). For example, PicasaWeb, which I switched to from Flickr when Yahoo acquired it and seem to let it lie un-developed, has provided easy storage for my images. Since I pay for additional storage, I'm not that worried about losing the images. As a paying customer, as insignificant as that payment may be to Google's billions, it bothers me that when I tried to log in to PicasaWeb, I was re-directed to Google +.

I'm not the only one frustrated with this change, as one google certified teacher put it:
I'm getting frustrated with the confusion between PicasaWeb and Google+ Photos.  (I saw the resources shared on the Google Group here...thanks for sharing).  Would more so just love a definite answer on whether or not PicasaWeb is fully going away so we can start planning for that.  Here are a few of my concerns:
Love the ability to email photos to an album. I use this daily. There does not appear to be anything in the Google+ Settings for this.  Anyone seen anything on this or a way to make this work?  (I don't mean just me emailing to my own album b/c I know Instant Upload would take care of that...I mean, I love having an album that OTHERS can email a photo to. We use this to collect photos for events, our school, our yearbook, our district)I don't see way in Google+ photos to 'embed a slideshow' of pictures on a site like Google Sites or any other site. Am I missing something?  Doesn't appear to be a way from Google+ to send the photos to a store/service for printing?No way to EDIT the photos in Google+ yet, is there?Would love it if anyone has any advice on this or if we can just get a definitive answer on if PicasaWeb is going away so I stop showing it to staff and figure out another tool to use in it's place...
Maybe, we just need to stop pushing one set of tools. Ok, this isn't all that original. Let's review the lessons for web users:

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.Keep your data nimble.Pay for services that you want to use over the long-term, although that's no guarantee.Expect that you'll be exploited so avoid sharing content that can't be monetized by the vendor.
I suppose, it's just a faint sense of disappointment, unease. I'd gotten comfortable not storing all my email on one computer, having to worry about backing up gigabytes of data, etc. How much is that Rackspace server account again?







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Value for Tomorrow's Learners

2013-03-20 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Image Source: http://goo.gl/wYeLQ

Earlier today, I received the following email regarding a book review--Achieving Transformational Leadership--I'd written about Stephanie Sandifer's book, Wikis for School Leaders.

Folks often ask me, what are the benefits of writing and sharing online via a blog? Well, to be honest, getting exposure to fresh ideas, and getting emails like this one that let you know that yesterday's learning continues to provide value for tomorrow's learners.



Dear Miguel My name is Fiona de Villiers and I am the editor of Independent Education, the official quarterly magazine of the Independent Schools’ Association of Southern Africa (ISASA), and the leading South African Education magazine. I invite you to view the online version of our latest issues: http://www.isasa.org/books/Autumn2013/http://www.isasa.org/books/Summer2012/http://www.isasa.org/books/Spring2012/ You can also learn more about us at: www.ieducation.co.za andwww.isasa.org. This year one of our aims for our very popular magazine is to question the role of technology in the classroom and I thought your review entitledAchieving Transformational Leadership - Wikis for School Leaders would provide fascinating perspectives on the issue for our readership, which extends across the entire education sector in southern Africa and beyond.
 I would therefore like to ask for your permission to reprint the piece in our forthcoming issue. We will happily include all requested acknowledgements. Please could you let me know as soon as possible?Kind regards 










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Only Human - #Ubermix = Yesterday's Solution? @wfryer @urkomasse

2013-03-19 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Earlier today, Wes Fryer (Moving at the Speed of Creativity) sent me a tweet and I quickly responded. In my response, I assert that Linux is a solution for schools but that it is yesterday's solution on the desktop. Some of the problems our children face CAN be solved with Linux netbooks, but those kinds of questions are old ones. If Linux is the answer to old questions, what are the new ones? Same questions, different answers appropriate for now rather than yesterday.

To be blunt, no one wants computer labs, netbook carts anymore. They'd rather have an iPad. That's not to say other technologies aren't necessary, useful, worth having. Only that they are a solution to yesterday's computing problems. New problems, new solutions. You know...you don't pour new wine into old wineskins.

Let me be up front about a few things:

I automatically load GNU/Linux on all my laptops, desktops, netbooks. If it doesn't have Linux on it, then it soon will have. When friends bring me their computer and complain that it has a problem, I load Linux on it to give them an oasis of stability.Linux is a great, no cost operating system with a suite of phenomenal software maintained by a global community of developers and supporters.I love Android and the Nexus 7 is a wonderful tablet, albeit no where near as robust as the iPad or iPad Mini. Given the choice between an Android and an iPad, I'd recommend iPad because it enables you to do more. For schools, it's a no-brainer.Although Apple, Microsoft, Google will undoubtedly sell you down the river because they want you to buy their product or what they're selling, the Linux community will continue to innovate because they enjoy a level of freedom.That said, Linux on the Desktops of school computers is a solution that's come too late. Yes, I know that Linux can save districts millions of dollars. You may remember, I wrote about that here, Unicorns, iPads and Mystical Math. I'll save you the long read, here's the short version:

Scenario #1 - Total iPad Cost: $13,000,340.00Scenario #2 - Total Computer+Netbook Cost with Windows: $8,965,750.00Scenario #3 - Total Computer+Netbook Cost with Linux: $7,663,750.00
Yep, that's right...Scenario #3 involves using Linux on Netbooks and costs $7.7 million. Other solutions cost a lot more.
The problem is that while Linux has compelling numbers, it's too late. When Wes asked me if I knew about Ubermix (yes, I know about it...read this, this and this), the answer was, "Of course." But the real answer was, "Yes, I know about it, I know how successful it is, but give a kid an iPad, and he's can create more, collaborate more, do more--think video, audio,etc.--with an iPad than an Ubermix netbook." At this moment in time, the iPad trumps the Chromebook, the netbook (which are dead anyways since they aren't being manufactured anymore). I like the way this author put it:
One should always use the best tool for the task at hand.Our tasks, in terms of computing needs, however, have changed. Legacy application suites are getting replaced by a seemingly never-ending stream of smartphone and tablet applications. Cloud services for productivity and storage are the new Microsoft Office and hard drive. Touch computing is becoming the norm, not the exception, and mobile operating systems are optimized for it. Simply put: Netbooks are just another example of old-school computing, and world is moving on. Farewell, netbooks; it was fun while it lasted.
Ubermix is a great solution...but we don't do computing that way as much anymore. And, if you do, you are part of a club that may be shrinking, at least, in K-12 education. Linux remains the solution that never took off except in special cases (e.g. Indiana, SUSD, and lots of other places who had tinkerers).
Please, don't forget...Linux is the last bastion of freedom. I say that as I type this blog entry on a laptop with Lubuntu on it, where I do some of my work when at home. Richard Stallman, as eccentric as he is, has a valid point:
"Any government that tells people to teach proprietary software is essentially delivering the country into the hands of a company."
The choices are bleak--Apple which makes you pay for everything, Microsoft which tries to lock you in to recurring license agreements, and Google which gives and takes without regard to your needs.

The only sane choice IS Linux. 
But we're only human, aren't we?



Other stuff worth reading in this vein:

The March of the Penguins on the Student DesktopLinux in Texas SchoolsThe Mark of the Apple iPadSabrina Joy Stevens Writes it So I Don't Have ToUpdate: Jim Klein responds in the comments. Read those in a guest blog post here along with my response.




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Exploring BYOD Success - Threshold of Your Mind

2013-03-17 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Image Source: http://goo.gl/7lh5bA colleague recently shared these two questions (in bold) with me...I invite you to leave YOUR responses in the comments or on your own blog, then provide a link in the comments.

What will it entail for a BYOD program to become successful in teaching and learning?

This is a difficult question, and one I've spent some time reflecting on, as I'm in the midst of facilitating a BYOD program. While you can see the efforts undertaken online, I'd like to point out 3 key elements I see as incredibly important:

Enthusiasm. As the old saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson goes, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." I hope it's not trite to cite that quote, but the truth is, educators are generally challenged to roll out new programs and initiatives periodically. What will distinguish one from the other? Enthusiasm (for leaders and teachers) and fidelity to the program. Of the two, I'll take enthusiasm any day. Having been a young teacher facilitating writing/reading workshop with 5th graders--and using technology--I found that while the veteran teacher may know exactly when/how/what to teach at the right moment, there was a lot to be said for the young fool that plunged right in and invited his students to join him. I'm grateful for having had that opportunity, and as I get older, enthusiasm burns as brightly as a shooting star. Better someone on fire than frozen into immobility by the craft.PLN. After 20+ years of working with teachers, administrators and anyone who'd bother to listen, I've decided I can't reach everyone. For one, this blog isn't as widely read as I'd hoped for, I can't crank out as many articles, and I get bored easily. However, there is a world of educators who are sharing ideas, one at a time and who are passionate, engaged about something. What that something is doesn't matter to me all the time, but it will matter to someone else on a campus or in a district who needs to see that engagement and passion. We seriously need to dump our current approach to professional learning and focus on PLNs and let people learn and connect with others, then bring it back to the table. PLNs accelerate teacher learning and change perspectives faster than traditional professional development (no, I don't have a study to cite).Virtual classroom tools and approaches. One of the wisest points a colleague made in regards to BYOD and 1 to 1, etc. was that they empowered teachers to build virtual spaces and explore online creativity/collaboration tools as much as two years in advance of allowing students to jump into BYOD. So that when students started bringing their own devices, the teachers already knew how they would tap into those devices...tools like Edmodo, Moodle, GoogleApps for Education all empower students and teachers to connect and collaborate, not only teacher to student but student to student.
Although there are many other elements that are relevant to BYOD, I'm leaning towards these 3 as the most important.

What do you think would make teachers use BYOD in classroom instruction? in student engagement?

Student engagement is a funny thing, but I've yet to find any human being--child or adult--that doesn't get excited about what they've created. So, the most important thing to do is to transition from research to curation, from consumption to creation, from individual contribution to collaborative connections. How do you accomplish that? There are a million approaches, and you don't have to do all of that in one learning activity...but you do have to do something, take one step.

Consider this first step by one high school teacher:

In my sophomore classroom we are working on a persuasion unit. Instead of asking students to look at a prompt and write an essay we have embarked on developing arguments for a Town Hall Debate. Students picked their own topics using a collaborative brainstorming organizer online. They then have been working in groups gathering articles in order to prepare for the opening argument, points, counterpoints, rebuttal, and closing statement.  
I have been amazed at how engaged my students have been with this assignment. I have several classes that are high Spec. Ed and even my lowest students, who I struggle to engage on most days, have been working hard and are engaged in the project. We introduced Google Docs, which presented some initial confusion, but they quickly got the hang of it. Students have been collaborating daily and have produced some powerful writing that they are passionate about. They are all excited to come back from Spring Break to start the digital ad component.

I also like this story from a third grade bilingual teacher. It's not that the tech usage was high, but that this was a first step, a new effort. It's great to share this as a beginning step.

If you can help change your own perspectives in these 3 areas--using tech for more than research, consumption, contribution--then you will have fundamentally transformed how learning happens in a BYOD classroom.

Do I have any examples of that? Well, no I don't. But why limit yourself to what *I* know? There's a world of educators who already do this--content curation, creation, and collaborative connections--on a daily basis with their students...perhaps, more importantly, there are students who do this on a daily basis with each other and their teachers.

If there's anything that's become more true is that, as human beings, we must be invited to change what we do. Again, I'm reminded of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet:
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. 
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither. 
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man. 
And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

BYOD, like anything else, must be about helping each learner find and cross the threshold of one's own mind. Success, or failure, is measured by our ability to bring about these changes in ourselves and others, not unlike a mid-wife facilitating a birth.






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PowerBot for Gmail - Send Your Email to Evernote

2013-03-17 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)



One of my favorite tools--which is priced wonderfully well--is PowerBot for Gmail, a Chrome/Firefox extension that makes it easy to send your email from Gmail to Evernote. What's more, you can also embed content from Evernote! I featured PowerBot previously in this blog entry.

Watch the video for more info:




They are coming out of beta and charging $14.99 per year for PowerBot for Gmail. That's a great price. While you can do somethings with the Evernote Web Clipper, Powerbot for Gmail works very well! I highly recommend it.





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The Magic is Fading - Create RSS Feeds from Twitter @dwarlick

2013-03-15 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)


Update 04/04/2013: This trick no longer works. For whatever the reason, Icerocket no longer displays the RSS link, which is a sad thing. An alternate approach is to use IFTTT.com to capture Twitter favorites into an Evernote Notebook. Evernote does provide an RSS feed for its notebooks, so there you go. However, canned searches will not auto-feed via RSS like the old days.

Is the magic fading from the world? That's a question that's kicked off many a Fantasy tale, but these days, it's all about the end of Real Simple Syndication (RSS). David Warlick (2cents) shares these insights:
...a long time ago, Twitter stopped offering RSS feeds for Twitter searches – and other search engines that did offer feeds either disappeared, extinguished the feature (like Twitter.com) or started charging – which is the case with Topsey, the service I’ve been using, demonstrating and wrote about in â€œCultivating Your Personal Learning Network“.
However, that's not exactly accurate. One search engine I know of DOES offer RSS feeds for Twitter searches--IceRocket.com.

For example, an RSS feed for a Twitter search on a user's name--or hashtag if you prefer--appears like this:

Here's the link: http://www.icerocket.com/search?tab=twitter&q=mguhlin&rss=1

Pretty nifty, huh? You can take that RSS feed from IceRocket and drop it into IFTTT.com. Once there, you can re-direct Twitter-based, IceRocket generated RSS feeds to EverNote or a million other places that IFTTT supports.

Here are some Evernote notebooks generated from Twitter hashtags delivered via RSS using IFTTT.com:

#byotchat#edchat#satchatec
I like to do this because I may not always be able to participate "live" in a chat, but at least, I can archive the conversation and then pick through it at my leisure.

Give it a shot, it's not as hard as you might think!

In the meantime, I hope David will see this post and find it an easier process for generating RSS feeds from Twitter. Thanks, IceRocket!!





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Mom and I: 5 Tips for Providing #Care for an #Elderly Parent (Updated)

2013-03-12 :: noreply@blogger.com (Miguel Guhlin)

Mom and IWhen my Dad (retired Army, Vietnam War and Korean Conflict) died of complications from lung cancer (tobacco smoker from age 17) on October 7, 2006, my Mom and I were left without the "heart of the family."

In every family unit, there's always the person who can keep things light-hearted and fun...and that was my Dad. His smile, humor and storytelling often left me giggling as a child, and smiling or laughing as an adult. His death started my Mom and I (not to mention my family) on a journey. That journey has been, at times, difficult. And, like any other journey, there comes a point when travelling down the road is no longer all there is. You begin to encounter "tests" to your character, integrity, spirit, and ingenuity.  Simply, situations that you pray you can do well at, make decisions that don't leave you full of regrets.

In response to the journey I undertook, I only wish I'd known then what I know now about how to care for an elderly parent. I don't pretend to have made all the right decisions, only that I have few regrets about what I did decide. In that process, I've learned a few things. In the hope that my experiences will save someone else heartache and trouble, I share these tips with you.

Tip #1 - It's not too early to move a parent into independent living/assisted living if their spouse has died.
For the last few years, I've encouraged my Mom to move into independent living or assisted living. In fact, her doctors told her, "Do it now, sweetie." That came from her oncology doctor, who re-assured her with the story that, "My mom is at an independent living and she loves it!" My Mom would refuse, and I supported her independence. After all, if she felt independent, she should enjoy as much of it as possible. But I always warned her that I would step in when the time came.

This past November, 2012, things started to go downhill fast. From multiple falls to broken ribs--which she didn't tell me about for a few days, until I rushed her to a med clinic where they confirmed my fears--to severe arthritis that made her incontinent and painful to walk, I started to feel like I'd sat down in a roller coaster ride that was just getting started. As we moved into December, the ride was moving at full speed. We were on a collision course with a swiftly approaching reality that she could not live alone.

Tip #2 - Take advantage of services like HomeInstead.com. 
"How can I get my Mom to her doctors' appointments, as many as two per day, and not end up losing a lot of work time?" Often, these doctor's visits were check-ups, not "We're going to make a decision and need your input" kinds of visits. After several absences, I had reached the end of my available vacation days. Desperation was starting to set in, then I remembered an email I'd received earlier that week.

The email came from my wife's co-teacher at Sunday School. He offered several alternatives, mainly HomeInstead.com and another. I promptly wrote to all of them via email and HomeInstead.com was the only one who responded in a timely manner, indicative of their high level of service!

HomeInstead.com has been a godsend that I'm extremely grateful for. Jodi White and Ruth in the San Antonio branch of HomeInstead visited my Mom and I before a care giver was assigned. They listened to her, and as they spoke, I realized that the isolation stemming from my father's death had resulted in depression. This companionship is important for elderly folks because they easily make friends with others who may not have their best interests at heart.

I still remember listening to National Public Radio's story on this topic the same week HomeInstead folks visited my Mom and I. It was a fortuitous broadcast because that same week, I realized my Mom was in such a situation despite my cautions. In her home country of Panama, the way elderly are cared for is that 24/7 maids are hired to provide support. In the United States, hiring a housekeeper, especially one off the street, can present many trust issues. Preying on the elderly is a growing problem:

When we age, strength and memory decline and we depend more on others, who don't always do right by us. What's new is that reports of abuse of senior citizens are increasing, and "abuse" has come to include theft.
Read more: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Preying-on-elderly-An-age-old-problem-worsens-325420.php#ixzz2NQw0xt3u

Unfortunately, it seems the elderly are "wired" to be more trustworthy and ignore the cues that once would have let them know things weren't quite right.
"The older adults rated the trustworthy faces and the neutral faces exactly the same as the younger adults did, but when it got to the cues of untrustworthiness, they didn't process those cues as well," she says. "They rated those people as much more trustworthy than the younger adults did." (Source: NPR's Why it's easier to scam the elderly, 12/6/2012)
A part of this problem is that the elderly need the social engagement, no matter who provides it. The social connections with others, no longer available because of my Mom's medical incidents in the last few months kept her from bingo games, were clearly needed. In December, 2012, without HomeInstead.com's involvement, I honestly think I would have lost my new job with excessive absences. HomeInstead filled in for me, driving my Mom to to the Doctors' visits.

HomeInstead staff also provided moral support and advice during one crisis that had me up late at  night, and they periodically