I’m a little worried…

February 23, 2009 § 2 Comments

I just read a thread of conversations on TECSIG (a listserve for technology related folks in Texas schools) that was started with the simple question, “Do you allow personal laptops in your district?”

The answers, overwhelmingly, were NO. Judon ISD has plans to, and Westlake HS in Austin does, but other than those, the answer was flat out no.

Why? Is it because they pose such a serious threat to the network?  If the network is set up correctly and virus filtering is up to date, shouldn’t there be zero threat?  Can’t you just allow personal laptops on another portion of the network not connected to the main network? It makes me wonder whether the people answering these questions don’t know these things, or if they just don’t want to take the time to set them up.

I have worked on the techie side of things, and it seems to me that a lot of the time when a techie tells you it can’t be done, it just means that they don’t want to do it.

One of the people who contributed to the conversation even said that iPhones were a big problem  in their district.  How can an iPhone be a problem if it’s not even on your network?  It seems to me that it must only be a problem in that the network admin can’t control what students access on their iPhones.  Which is EXACTLY why we should be TEACHING students how to be good digital citizens instead of simply relying on a filter.

I think the iPhone is a tipping point.  It’s going to be a catalyst for us to start actually educating students on how to behave online because they’re bringing these devices that are connected to the world without the use of a school network. It’s going to cause us to rethink everything – CIPA, using phones and iPods in classrooms, wireless access in and around campuses – everything.

It’s about time our network admins got turned on their ears.


WordPress for iPod touch/iPhone – buggy, but gets the job done.

February 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

All of the sessions I blogged from TCEA over the past couple of days were done using my new iPod touch (thanks family and friends for the gift cards). I decided to try go to the conference sans laptop on Wednesday, with the backup plan being that I would bring it Thursday if I needed to.

The first session I went to, I used the notes application to take notes. By the second session, I thought it might be a better idea to blog the sessions, so I went to the app store on my ipod and searched for a wordpress app. Found it (free) installed it, configured it for my blog and was blogging within 5 minutes.

I learned quickly that I needed to save frequently, although in the very last session I went to, the “save” button didn’t show up even though I had made changes to the post.

I had a couple of times where I was notified that I had a recovered post, even though I had clearly saved it before I went to another application.

There were also several times when I went to click on a locally saved draft and the application kicked me out to the main screen.

Beyond those bugs, the application worked pretty well. I learned to type pretty fast on the iPod touch keyboard, and the auto correct, while frustrating at times (changing lcd to lee) worked pretty well.

I hope that you all were able to follow my rambling notes, and really, that’s all they were.  I just wanted someplace to keep my notes where they might help others.

TCEA 2009 – Thinkfinity

February 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

What is thinkfinity
Web based free lesson plans
Pre k, k12, adult learners
Partnership with Verizon

Contact Monica Martinez at TCEA to set up training

Lessons are all inclusive.

Nctm, ncte, all on board with thinkfinity
In the process of tying all lessons to state standards. Core lesson are already tied.

Long list of partners including Kennedy Center, Smithsonian, Nat’l Geo

Showcasing some of the interactive lessons

A lot of these would be great for the SMART board.

The lessons are at all different partner sites…so is thinkfinity just a repository/database for these lessons.

TCEA 2009 – the best things

February 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

Dave Phillips – Prairiland isd

Project based learning

Resources of a great teacher
Drive to learn

Technology ejournals
Technology and learning
The journal
Tech week

Thinkfinity – contact Monica Martinez at tcea

Attend workshops, webinars, online classes
Keep creative people around you
Keep a file of ideas (wiki, social or online bookmarks)

Know what you need and how you will use it.
Write justification on your PO or request.
Online apps – google docs, notebook, glide mobile.

Teachersdomain.com? Comment from audience – like united streaming

Free d/l – jing is like camtasia

Hybrid apps – google earth, worldwide telescope

Showing ning for classroom use – we are doing this on noodle, but it doesn’t have a lot of the tools ning has.

Photostory-digital photo essay

Quote of the day “all of the filters and firewalls in the world will not stop a smart, creative kid from going somewhere on the web that they really want to get to.”

Overall some cool tools on the web

TCEA 2009 – Microsoft onenote

February 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

One binder
Can have as many sections or tabs as you want, each section can have many pages

Virtual binder

Looked up online-cost is around $100.

Can insert pictures, audio, links
-seems like you might be able to do most of these things in a wiki. It also seems to mimick a lot of the features in Smart notebook

When you copy and paste a picture it automatically inserts the URL

Allows you to take screen shots/portions of screens

Left session early.

TCEA 2009 – TEA update:Texas Virtual School Network

February 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

Barbara Smith – region10

Course review-region 4
Central operations – region 10
Providers of professional development -education development center Inc, Esc 4, esc 11, Harris county dept of ed, a & m cdlr
Instructors must complete professional development prior to teaching a course

#1 reason students take virtual courses is that it is not offered in their district

Supplemental program

Funding and attendance rules to be established by TEA

Courses available for 9-12

LEA is course provider

Provider districts have onliNe instructors certified in course/grade level and completed prof dev

Course cost max $400 per student

Receiver district must have students with academic needs, provide site coordinator (can approve a course academically), provide funds, assign course completion

Course review process – Brent Bakken esc 4

Rigorous course review

Aligned with teks and blooms taxonomy application/evaluation level.

inacol – standards for online courses.
6 standards, 58 criteria

Courses that are reviewed, then rated before they are put in the network.
Approved with modifications
Not approved needs major modifications
Not approved

Central operations – Angela Clark
Help desk
Liaison between provider/receiver
Course catelog
Student eligibility-eligible to enroll in Texas public school
Instructor requirements-Texas certified in course and completed prof dev for teaching online course

Course catalog-looks likemany of the course are running about $250

Large chunk of BCIS courses

Reasons-schedule conflicts, course acceleration

To become a receiver district, must have a plan in place

Piloting dual credit courses in the fall

TCEA 2009 – ITS a moodle world

February 4, 2009 § Leave a comment

11 am posting from iPod touch
Session is pretty full..looks like online coursework might be the big thing this year.

A person in front of me has an Asus Eee. Wow that screen is tiny. Glad I didn’t get one.

Presenter came on a few minutes befpre they started – This is not a how to session, it is about the hardships and stumbling blocks leading up to implementation.

Jim Remington – carrolton farmers branch isd

Virtual campus for credit recovery, hybrid courses, online courses

Why Moodle?
Open source=free

Giving the history of Moodle

Easy to manage
Functional and flexible

Started small – 1-2 courses

Any digital content can be put into Moodle.

Directive came from CTO

Remotelearner.net – outsourced maintenance, help desk support, they put in modules, etc. Cost is about $2 per student.

Still using per built courses (licensed) until courses can be written in house.

Utilizing passthrough logins to licensed content

For not being a how to session, there a lot of how to questions.

question about credit earned course – for students who are not in a brick and mortar classroom. Health course is in development, used it for summer school course.

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