Today, I am encouraged

December 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

It has been a very busy couple of days around here, which beats the alternative.

Each Tuesday, I schedule myself to be on campus at both of our high schools.  I started this little experiment with one of the high schools at the end of the year last year, spending the entire day at the campus, and it was a huge success.  I felt a little bad about scaling back the time I spent there, but I didn’t know how else to be fair and still have time to be in the office.  So this year, I’ve been spending all day on Tuesdays at both campuses, alternating between mornings and afternoons.  Morning at Steele, afternoon at Clemens this week,  morning at Clemens, afternoon at Steele next week, etc.

I send an email out to the campuses each week as a reminder that I’m coming, and this week I added that Tuesdays weren’t the only time I could come to the campus, just the only day I was actually scheduled to be there without having something else to do.

I happened to be at Steele in the afternoon yesterday, but had three teachers with monrning conference periods who wanted to meet, so I set up appointments with them today.

Of the three, one of them is interested in conducting portions of her class online, and another was inquiring about podcasting.

I sat with the teacher who wanted to do online courses and showed her our Moodle system, and how she could set up a course.  She was very excited about it and said she would play with it over the break, and launch it with one of her classes in January.

The teacher that was interested in podcasting is a Spanish teacher and wanted his students to do some things online.  I showed him Gabcast and how easy it was to record an episode over the phone.  He was very excited about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love helping out the teachers who have a problem with their printer too, but it’s nice to be able to talk about the things I really get excited about and get other people excited and willing to use them in their classrooms too.

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And another thing (part II)

December 9, 2008 § Leave a comment

A quick note to those people whose blogs I read in Google Reader…please stop posting videos that start automatically. Especially when you’re putting up 10 posts a day. It’s really annoying to have to scroll through all of your posts to find the video that’s playing and interrupting my music.

That is all.

And another thing…

December 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

I’d really love it if WordPress would quit screwing around with their user interface.  It seems like every time I come back here, a button is moved, or a different color, or something.  I just got used to the last layout change!  STOP IT!

Ending before it begins

December 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

I decided last week that I’d give twitter another shot.  I keep reading about it, and keep seeing people using it, so I figured that maybe I wasn’t fair to it before, and I’d try it again.

I started following ed tech folks, figuring that I’d learn a little more, and maybe get to know them a little better.

It took me two days to find the spot in twitter where I would receive updates on my phone, and that was the main feature I wanted.  I figured, microblogging…it’s got to be a great thing for the phone.

But here’s the thing.  It’s not great for the phone.  Maybe the iPhone, or a Blackberry, but I have a regular old phone, with one of those stripped down web browsers, so even when people I was following posted links, it didn’t do me any good to click on them because I ended up with garbage.

Tweeting from my phone is fine, but how often do I do that?  If I’m not sitting in front of a computer, following is rough.  And let me tell you, some of the 9 people I’m following are posting some really uninteresting stuff.

Here’s another thing…one of the people I’m following posted 5 updates within 2 minutes.  How is that microblogging?  Why didn’t that person just put together an actual blog post?

It was entirely too much buzzing of my phone, so two days after finding the phone notification feature, I turned it off.

Now, maybe after a few more days, I’ll figure out how to get the RSS feed to work (it requires a password, so it doesn’t load properly in Google Reader or the Firefox toolbar), but for now, I’m overly frustrated with a tool that is supposed to be the “it” thing right now.

Or maybe I’ll just let it fall off the RADAR again.

Digital Storytelling, two year old style.

December 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

My daughter has been on the internet since she was born.  I posted video of her to my personal blog the week after she was born.  I really want to start sitting down with her and talking to her, and posting that to my blog so that she can go back as she gets older and listen to her progression, but it’s hard to keep a 2 year old focused.  I managed to get her talking about pictures of her (which she loves to look at) back in September, but I need to do something again soon.  I was listening to this video today and amazed at how much progress she’s made in her speech in just three months.

On meeting teachers where they are

December 2, 2008 § 1 Comment

Sometimes, we just need a reality check.

There are an awful lot of us in the edu-techie-blogosphere that like to gush on and on about the latest thing, and how easy it would be for a classroom teacher to just pick it up, if only they’d give it a chance and stop being so darn stubborn.

But here is the harsh reality: some of our teachers are stubborn; all of our teachers are busy, and an awful lot just don’t have the motivation, time, or both to learn something new.

Case and point.  I helped a teacher learn PowerPoint last week.  She needed to learn it for a class she was taking.  Good for her.  I didn’t talk down to her, or try to show her any more than she wanted to learn because I wanted her to come back to me when she wanted to learn more.  So what if it’s taken her this long to learn PowerPoint?  She had finally found her motivation, and now that she’s learned it, she’s ready to start using it with her students.

Here’s my point.  If I had tried to coax this teacher into learning a more ‘web 2.0’ tool, I might have hooked her, but I might have lost her forever.  She told me what she wanted to learn, and I showed her.  Now that I’ve got her attention and trust, I can show her other things.  But she needs to ask first.

Yes, there are teachers who flat out refuse to learn new things.  There are also plenty of teachers who just haven’t found their motivation, or the time in their busy lives to learn something new.

Even though, as technology folks, we’re miles ahead of those teachers, every once in a while we need to stop and wait for the back of the pack to catch up with us, and help them run at their own pace.

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