Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Really Cool (and Free) Resources on the Web


I attended a TCEA Webinar during lunch today and learned about some free educational resources you might want to check out (if you don’t already know about them):
 
Gravity Assist Simulator
http://messenger-education.org/Interactives/ANIMATIONS/grav_assist/gravity_assist.html
Note: good for science classes

RadioLab
www.radiolab.org
Note: good for all classes but topics seem to blend science, philosophy, and human experience (my kind of thing)

Why Do Americans Vote on Tuesdays?
http://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-do-americans-vote-on-tuesdays
Note: good current event topic and good example of the TEDed content that classes can benefit from)

If you like the above resources, then check out more from “TCEA’s Lunch and Learn” site:
https://sites.google.com/a/tcea.org/tcea-s-web-tools/home
Note: be sure to check out the last three items: 6-12 Tools, Links, Resources (you will be glad you did!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tip: Lock your screen when you step away


Did you know you can lock your computer screen rather than leave it unattended when you need to leave your classroom or office for a few minutes?  Simply press the Windows logo and L keys at the same time.

When you return you simply type your password and everything on the screen displays as before (including any open programs and files).

Using screen lock anytime you step away from your computer is especially helpful if you have sensitive documents and student-related records on the screen.  I sometimes see unattended computers with Skyward open and though this easy-to-learn tip would be helpful (especially if you have students still in the classroom or nearby with easy access).  Turning off your monitor or waiting for the screensaver to come on in 10 minutes is not secure enough in some scenarios.

By the way, I understand today is “Mole Day” (at least from 6:02 AM and 6:02 PM).  While it is an unofficial holiday popular among chemistry teachers and students, I always thought a better name would be “Molemorial Day” (sorry, couldn’t resist…ha!).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Video Projector Tips

Each year around mid-September I receive lots of projector-related tickets. The reason is typically weather-related and over half can be resolve with a simple procedure.

Below are two tips to help teachers reset their projector and extend lamp life:

Tip #1: Reset projector
As we experience cooler mornings, you may come in one school morning and discover that your video projector will not turn on.  Often, a quick fix is simply unplugging the projector from the ceiling mount and plugging it back in (works as a reset).  I had three calls this morning relating to this problem and performing this simple procedure allowed 2 of 3 to work immediately.  If you try this and your projector still will not turn on, then the lamp or projector may need replacement (which will require a help ticket).

Tip #2: Extend lamp life
As I walk around the campus, I often see projectors on during conference and lunch periods.  This will lead to premature lamp replacement (which cost several hundred dollars).  I don’t suggest turning off your projector during short breaks (since this also negatively affects lamp life), but turning it off during 30-minute conference and lunch breaks will save lamp life and electricity.  You can leave your computer files loaded and ready to go for next class since they will not be affected when the projector is off.  Most projectors will come on within a minute so little preparation is required to be in ready mode.

I hope this helps!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back-to-School "Tech-Connect" Update

Quick update.  I have most of the classroom-related computers hooked up after the summer floor cleaning schedule.  Jesse and his crew did a great job putting everything back where they belong…which made it easier for me to go around and hook up all the computers (and related technologies) again.  All of G-Wing and D-Wing should be done (except for content mastery and inclusion rooms).  I do have several classrooms to finish in A-Wing, F-Wing, and E-Wing and plan to finish those by the end of the week.  If your room was accidently skipped or if you are experiencing a technology-related problem, please submit a Helpdesk Ticket (click the web link below my signature for convenience).  While I don’t mind creating help tickets via proxy in your behalf (as you email or text me about tech issues), it will help me during this busy time of year if you can place them when possible.  This will also ensure I don’t forget about those requests you mention to me as we pass each other in the hall.

I look forward to seeing everyone next week and hearing about your summer fun!  If you are a new teacher and need help with logins or need a “quick start” lesson on a piece of technology, then let me know and we can schedule time that works for both of us.

Monday, July 2, 2012

How Teens View Their Digital Life

I just read an interesting report from CommonSense Media about how teens view their digital life. I recommend that you take a look at it to gain some insights to their perceptions and habits in the digital world.

The research study provides a snapshot of how U.S. teens experience the role of social media in their social and emotional lives. Using survey data from a nationally representative, probability-based sample of 13- to 17-year-olds, the study addresses the following questions:
  • How often are teens texting and using Facebook and Twitter?
  • What are teenagers’ favorite ways to communicate with their friends and family?
  • How do teens think these new communications tools are affecting their friendships and family relations, if at all?
  • How does social networking make most teens feel about themselves and their relationships with their peers? Does it make them feel more connected or more isolated? Better about themselves, or more depressed and lonely?
  • How do the heaviest social media users compare to other teens in terms of their social and emotional well-being?
To read the full report, click the following web link:
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/social-media-social-life#.T_G23xKrWLw.twitter

Below is a sampling of some of the survey results:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Want a Free Flash Drive from Kerrville ISD Tech?

pic.twitter.com/huEswwwrNeed a flash drive? In an effort to ensure all Kerrville ISD staff members, who use a district computer, understand basic computing and practice good storage procedures, we are giving away 2GB flash drives to the first 100 people who complete the "Basic Computing: What Every Staff Member Should Know" eCourse in Eduphoria's School Objects. The flash drives are going quick so hurry!



If you are new to Kerrville ISD, following these instructions:

Step 1: Go to the Kerrville ISD website

Step 2: Click on "Staff" tab, then click on "eduphoria's School Objects" link (right side)

Step 3: Login (kisd user & pw), click on "workshop" link, then click on "eCourses"

Step 4: Select "Basic Computing: What Every Staff Member Should Know"

Step 5: Be sure to click the "Register" link next to a green plus graphic

Step 6: Watch slides, complete eCourse, and incorporate training into habits

Step 7: Remember to click the "Request Credit" (under My Portfolio)

Enjoy and good luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

QR Codes: The What & Why for Educators


Kerrville teachers learn about QR codes @ Techpalooza 2.0
Many educators think the jury is still out to whether QR codes are more than a current educational fad. Others think it is a very useful tech tool that will be engaging students in classroom learning activities for years to come. Regardless of current opinions, there are plenty of teachers who are somewhat clueless about QR codes so if this includes you then be in the dark no more! Even if you decide not to use QR codes with your students, you will at least be better informed and able to share the 411 with others when the topic comes up (and it will).

So, what is a QR Code? The term is an abbreviation for "Quick Response Code" (which gives you a hint). QR codes are similar to barcodes and have been around since 1994. They were used as a way to track vehicles during manufacturing. If you want to know more of its history, click on the hyperlinked term in the previous sentence. Otherwise, keep reading and find out why teachers are jazzed about using QR codes in the classroom.

At last week's Techpalooza 2.0, teachers in Kerrville ISD had a chance to learn more about QR codes. A self-guided tour was setup in a classroom so teachers could experience for themselves how QR codes work rather than just hear about it (another brilliant idea by Joel Adkins). The photo above represents the discovery process and I had fun watching teachers figure it out. It made for some creative discussion afterwards.

If you missed out on Techpalooza 2.0 or didn't get a chance to visit the QR Code Room because you attended other sessions, then use the following step-by-step instructions to find out for yourself what QR Codes are about and how you might use them in your classroom. Sometimes you just have to experience it before you can understand it. Once you have the "ah-ha"moment, you can rush down to the resource web links at the bottom of this post post to learn more.

A Techpalooza 2.0 Session Brought to You!


Step 1: Install a QR Code Reader on to your mobile device. There are free apps available for most smartphones and tablets. Go to your mobile device's app store and search for "qr code reader" and install one of the apps that received good reviews.  For example, here are a few to consider:
  • iOS: QR Code Scanner, i-Nigma 4, QR Scanner, QRReader
  • Android: QR Code Scanner, Barcode Reader, QRdroid
  • Blackberry: QR Code Scanner. Barcode Reader
Step 2: Open your QR Code Reader app and scan your first code.  Below are two codes to get you started and give you an idea how it all works. You need to hold your smartphone or iPad camera at the right distance (depends on code size) for it to scan automatically. After a couple tries you will be scanning and learning in no time!
 
Example #1: A Special Message 


Example #2: A Cool Blog



Learn How Other Teachers Use QR Codes in the Classroom:

QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide (by Cool Cat Teacher)

QR Codes in the Classroom (by Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything)

10 Ways To Use QR Codes in the Classroom (by Classroom in the Cloud)

QR Codes Explained and Ideas for Classroom Use (by Free Tech 4 Teachers)


Learn How to Create Codes with QR Code Generators:

Qurify (a free web-based QR Code Generator)

Quikqr (another free web-based QR Code Generator)

Tip: There are also mobile apps that will allow you to generate QR codes. Search for them the same way you did for a reader except type "qr code generator" (some of these are not free so happy hunting for the free apps).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Youblisher - Jazz Up Those PDF files!

I recently came across a pretty cool web-based tool that converts your PDF files into nice flippable pages. This is nice when you want to jazz up your reports and presentations.

Since the site will store your publications, you can easily have a place to store them in the cloud and use the urls to share with others. It works very smooth but the upload process may seem a bit slow. I suspect it is the conversion process. One more thing...no ads to deal with as a free product (let's hope this is true in future).

To learn more, click web link below:
http://www.youblisher.com/

Friday, June 1, 2012

Don't forget about Techpalooza this Monday!

Techpalooza photo napkin


 
Techpalooza 2.0 - Mark your calendars!

When: Monday, June 4, 2012

Time: 9:00a - 4:00p

Where: Hal Peterson Middle School

 
Techpalooza 2.0 will be lots of fun so don't miss it!
For more info, visit the official techpalooza site:
http://www.techpalooza.net/

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Classroom Check List for Teachers Before Summer Break


Teachers, it's time to store and secure classroom-related technologies for the summer!


The end of a school year is an exciting time for teachers (especially as you anticipate that much deserved summer break).  I know you have lots of things to do before you leave campus next week.  We, at the Technology Center, want to help you get your room ready for summer cleaning as best as possible so please use the following check list:
  1. Check to see if your room is used for summer staff development or summer school.  If so, please leave your computer, your remotes and your SMART Markers out for whoever uses your room.  I plan to be in the loop throughout the summer so I will keep an eye on things for you (in case that makes you feel better).  I will unplug your computer and related equipment when the time comes to have your room cleaned.  Talk to me if you have specific instructions or concerns regarding technology items.
  2. If your room is NOT being used for summer staff development or summer school, lock up your “easy to walk away items” like projector remotes, SMART Markers, SMART eraser, Document cameras, iPods/iPads.  Put these in a desk drawer or file cabinet and lock them up.  It is also a good idea to place a small piece of scotch tape over each of the pen sensors of your SMART Board to keep the dust out during the summer.  If possible, please unplug your power strip (with cables still plugged in) and place them over your desk.  This will make it easy to plug everything back in after your room is cleaned.  This means that you do not need to disconnect every cable like the past (exceptions are cables running to equipment not on your desk).  If ac adapters are unique to specific equipment, label them so you don’t have to “experiment” in August and risk damaging equipment.
  3. Planning to move classrooms?  If so, DO NOT MOVE equipment.  If you are changing rooms, make sure you have put in a Tech Request letting us know if you need items moved.  Moving them yourself may cause problems down the line.  Keep your computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse out on your desk.  This helps us with summer updates since we anticipate hooking everything back up once the floors are cleaned.
  4. Don’t forget to save your files!  Save anything you have on your desktop to your Z:Drive (the drive with your name on it).  This will be a backed-up copy of what you have on your computer.
  5. Eject any CDs in your computer.  We usually have calls each summer to help someone get their Neil Diamond or Boston CD out of a computer CD/DVD-ROM drive.  We would rather use our time for other dire emergencies (but we understand good road trip music is important)!
  6. Do you have broken or unused technology equipment in your classroom?  If so, let me know and I will arrange for items to be removed.  Be sure to label what works or doesn’t work to make it easy on your favorite campus technology coordinator (yes, I know I am the only one but it sounded good anyway!).
  7. Last, but not least: Have a great summer!  Do something fun every week and be prepared to share the highlights in August!
 - Eddie

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is your purpose for using visual resources?

All educators know the value of using visuals in the teaching-learning process. Sometimes finding the right visuals require some effort. Save some time and take a look at the below image and consider some visual-based tools organized by specific purposes (click on the image to enlarge it):



Download the PDF and click on the hyperlinks to see actual resources:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2iTca63pmHmZ2ZSSmVCQTdhblU


Resource found on the TCEA Community web site:

http://tcea.mymemberfuse.com/

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Can Google Translate Be Used in the Classroom?


Google Translate is a free automatic language translator. It works without the intervention of human translators, using state-of-the-art technology instead. Google Translate currently supports translation for 57 languages. You can use Google Translate to translate words and phrases in the web-based interface but also translate entire documents or web pages.

Keep in mind that this tool (or any like it) is not designed to replace formal classroom learning or promote student laziness with foreign language homework assignments. If used for insights and special projects across subject matters, then it can be a welcomed tool in the classroom (and outside of it).

Personally, I have used Google Translate when reading and sharing on technology-based message boards that have posts written in non-English. In the process of copying and pasting texts, I noticed my choice of English words and phrases affect the translation and meaning. Observing this has increased my awareness on the matter and encouraged me to think about word selection more carefully. From a 21st century skill stand point, I think this is important as more adult workers need tools and language skills to communicate with clients spread over the globe.

What are your thoughts or ideas?

Web Link to Google Translate: http://translate.google.com/

Download PDF of a Crib Sheet for Classroom Use:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2iTca63pmHmeW0xZVFfeFhfV1E

What to learn more about how Google Translate works?:
http://translate.google.com/about/intl/en_ALL/


Friday, May 18, 2012

Google's New Knowledge Graph

A Brief Description of Google's Knowledge Graph

When you search, you’re not just looking for a webpage. You’re looking to get answers, understand concepts and explore.

The next frontier in search is to understand real-world things and the relationships among them. Google's Knowledge Graph is a huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they're connected to one another. For example, it will be able to tell if your search for “mercury” refers to the planet or the chemical element which will jump start your discovery.

Check out the introductory video:

Friday, May 11, 2012

"What is Twitter exactly?"




A common question these days as I walk down school halls, help teachers in the classroom, or pickup mail in the copy room is "Eddie, what is Twitter exactly? Please explain to me what it is."

Below are three ways I have explained Twitter to others. Hopefully, one or more of these explanations will help you to "get it" and even motivate you to try it:

1) Basically, Twitter is a micro-blog that allows you to communicate with those "following" you with short statements (almost headline-like since you are limited to 140 characters). This description often leads to more questions like, "So, why would I want to do that?" So, let's move on...

2) Metaphorically, Twitter comments ("tweets") are like water-cooler discussions that tend to be a mix of small talk, FYIs, and social networking. While the water cooler metaphor is helpful it is also limited since it suggests that Twitter is mosty a feed of random and mundane comments. Obviously, Twitter is far more beneficial than that or it would not be so popular. So, let's try again...

3) Potentially, Twitter is a "personal learning network" (PLN). While some tweets may be social ramblings or random acts of sharing, there are quite a few nuggets too -- and some of these are loaded with the potential to inspire, motivate, and engage you in meaningful discussions and learning experiences. This is the lure of Twitter and why I use it. It is what you make it so choose who and what you follow wisely and you will be rewarded in the end.

OK, I know there is one more question that is often asked (and you may have been thinking about it while reading the above): "What is the difference between Facebook and Twitter?" Well, that's a fair question. I use to think that Twitter was simply a scaled down version of Facebook and only offered something similar to Facebook's "wall" of streaming comments which is based on the posts from your friends list. Yes, there are similarities but I learned that Twitter is still unique in concept and doesn't require choosing one tool over the other. In the end, I discovered that I have two separate needs when it comes to social networking tools. Facebook is primarily my social networking tool to stay in touch with family and friends (allowing me to learn about the events of their lives from a comfortable distance and in return share slices of my world with them). Twitter is primarily my learning community tool to network with professional peers and like-minded persons who share my interests and passions (allowing me to learn from their insightful/inspiring comments and in return share my thoughts and perspectives with them). Of course, the above is my personal strategy with these tools.

Well, I started this blog post in an effort to describe Twitter to those who don't have an account (or rarely use it). I can't help but feel that my effort is like explaining to non-swimmers what swimming is like. While I think about refreshing currents and overall benefits, others may think about dangerous waters and risk of drowning. Sometimes you simply have to jump in and figure it out. So, in the words of the popular 80s song by Van Halen: "Jump!" You will be swimming in Twitter-friendly waters in no time!

In case you missed it, below is a web link for yesterday's post: "Twitter Chats for Educators"
http://tivytech.blogspot.com/2012/05/twitter-chats-for-educators.html?spref=tw

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Twitter Chats for Educators


If you don't use Twitter, you are missing out on many opportunities to connect and share ideas with other educators. For about two years I rarely logged into Twitter because I had a hard time seeing the need for one more social networking tool in my daily schedule. That all changed last year when I connected with other technology leaders at Tech Forum in Austin (thanks to Joel Adkins who sent me there). Now I stay connected with other educational technology leaders, learn how other ISDs are using technology, exchange ideas and experiences in education-based discussions, and keep up-to-date to what's happening in the world of instructional technology and e-learning. The beauty of Twitter is that you decide what the TwitterSphere will look like since you decide who and what to follow.

Below are seven Twitter chats to help you connect to other educators and learn more about areas within education as it pertains to you. A brief description and the chat times (based on CST) are provided for convenience but you don't have to wait to use these hash tags in day-to-day tweet ops.

#edchat – Discuss education-based topics every Tuesday @ 11:00 a.m. & 6:00 p.m.

#spedchat – Discuss special education issues every Tuesday @ 7:30 p.m.

#ntchat – New teachers can learn more about teaching every Wednesday @ 7 p.m.

#ptchat – Connect with parents & educators every Wednesday @ 8 p.m.

#teachchat – Connect with teachers every other Wednesday @ 8 p.m. during school year.

#lrnchat – Connect with educators & discuss learning every Thursday @ 7:30-9:00 p.m.

#gtchat – Discuss Gifted & Talented education every Friday @ 11:00 a.m. & 6 p.m.

Note: There are many other Twitter chats specific to your teaching area. Go find them and share them with others in your department.

Bonus Tip for New Twitter users:
Twitter user names begin with "@" (example: @egmathews is my Twitter name)
Twitter topics begin with "#" (hash tags make it easy to search for topics and trends)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Techpalooza 2.0 - June 4


Techpalooza photo napkin
Techpalooza 2.0 - Mark your calendars!

When: Monday, June 4, 2012

Time: 9:00a - 4:00p

Where: Hal Peterson Middle School

Be sure to register soon!



Techpalooza 2.0 is in full swing and the date is set for Monday, June 4 at Hal Peterson Middle School. Same old (blank) schedule. Same thrill and excitement. But different in ways that can only make it better. Ask someone who went last year what they thought about it.

For more info, visit the official techpalooza site:
http://www.techpalooza.net/

To quickly register, click the following:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE1hSmc1Q19zblREQmloVU5vUTBrekE6MQ#gid=0

Saturday, April 14, 2012

edTech 2012 Conference - Saturday, April 28th


The Educational Technology Graduate Program at Texas State University-San Marcos invites you to attend the free Fourth Annual EdTech Conference “21st Century Education for Global Learners” on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Educators representing all academic disciplines and levels in the educational system and all phases of technology education are invited to attend this FREE one-day conference.





 EdTech 2012 Conference: 21st Century Education for Global Learners

date | time
Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM


location
Texas State University-San Marcos, Education Building, 600 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666
Opening Session will be held in Room #1007 (see map)


online access
Can't make it to the conference? Join us online! Go to the online conference site for more information.

cost
Free/No Registration RequiredfoodWe will be taking up lunch orders. Please bring $CASH. Snack machines available or bring your own lunch if preferred. There will be a lunch room with tables and chairs.

For more info, click the following web link:

https://sites.google.com/a/tcea.org/edtech2012/

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

iBoss Content Filter: A Perspective Based on Recent Observations

Since we switched to iBoss (our district's content filtering solution) a few months ago, I have heard some frustrations from both teachers and students. I will be the first to admit that change is often inconvenient.  So, I thought I would share three perception issues that I frequently have to explain in emails or during hallway meetings regarding iBoss.  Hopefully it will shed some light for others too.

1) Perception Problem #1: “iBoss is worse than the old filter!”  False.  The new content filter, iBoss, actually does a better job of blocking problem websites and filtering problem web content; and there lies our problem – teachers and students miss the old days when less was blocked.  Unfortunately, due to growing problems with old content filter we had to make a change.

2) Perception Problem #2: “Everything is blocked!”  False.  I think the highly visible yellow triangle (that shows up when an image is blocked) adds to the perception that “everything is blocked.”  I hear this often but rarely see a case when more is blocked than permitted.  In fact, I have yet to see a situation when a student is completely unsuccessful in finding data or images for their projects.  I will agree that it may take longer than the past since fewer images are available – and fewer display on the screen at once.  Also, it may require some trial and error to work around some problems.
Suggestion #1: Find a web site in advance that contains a good deal of the desired content (topics, images, etc.), ensure that the site is unblocked before going to the computer lab, and then point students to it when they go to the lab.  This suggestion is particularly good for classes dealing with topics like drugs and sexuality since the filter will block many of these key word searches.
Suggestion #2: Instruct students to pull some reference books off the shelf in the library.  I suspect books still offer relevant content but not as easy to find as a web browser.
Suggestion #3: Have students research their topic on a home computer where web filtering is usually non-existent.

3) Perception Problem #3: “The tech guys (or technology) are too controlling!”  False.  I hear this occasionally from frustrated students (less from staff since they know better).  Student attitude towards filtering is part of the problem…AND it affects their motivation to do what it takes to be successful.  Teacher frustration can add to this so we need to watch out for that.  I have walked into labs and felt the tension as a room full of people complaint about the yellow triangles.  If I could change anything about iBoss it would be removing the yellow triangle and replacing it with a gray x (anything that doesn’t shout louder than the content that is visible on the web page).  To be clear, the content filter is set according to campus level; meaning that Tivy is set for high school content.   We consistently adjust the filter as we hear about problems and needs.  We need your help to improve it!  If there are web sites that have educational value and don't violate district policies, then let technology know about it.  Simply use the iBoss dialog box to request a site to be unblocked or use the Help Desk if you don't see the request box on a web page.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sir Ken Robinson's View of Modern Education

Watch the following video to better understand why modern education needs some retooling...then share what you think about it.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Digital textbooks: Are they a solution or a distraction?

With Apple's late January announcement of iBooks 2 (an application where students can access interactive digital textbooks) and Amazon's Kindle devices declining rapidly in price, the days of long lines, expensive textbooks, and back pains might soon be over.  But are digital textbooks really the best direction for education to be going? 



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Speaker from Apple - February 29

On Wednesday, February 29 from 4:30 to 6:30pm, at the Cailloux Theater (downtown), we have a guest speaker from Apple to come share about how mobile technology is changing how our students learn in and out of the classroom. This topic is one our AEC: Technology group has been discussing all year and we want to invite others to participate in this conversation.

We have Maria Henderson (on Twitter @iTeachDigital) from Apple coming to share. She has been an educator for over 20 years and is currently working in Apple’s Education and Field Marketing department. She speaks all over the state and helps teachers with professional development in implementing mobile devices in the classroom.

The event is free and is really for anyone who wants to participate in open dialogue about mobile education. We are encouraging attendees to bring their own devices (Apple or non-Apple) as there may be some tips you pick up along the way or share with others.

We have not opened this up to the entire community but we have invited partners in Kerrville who may help us develop a new vision for these types of devices in schools. We also have attendees from other area districts coming in.

The event is first-come, first seat. Flyers are available and should be posted in your mail or workrooms. If you have select groups of students you think would enjoy this, invite them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

If you were a web browser, which one would you be?

Popular Web Browsers

Web browsers have become part of daily life for nearly everybody working with computers or technology. Once used to occasionally check information on static websites, the introduction of web apps, software as a service, social media and fully interactive sites has meant that the browser is our window to nearly everything.
With this flourishing of the modern web we have seen strong and healthy competition in the browser space, sparking browser wars and a growing deeper connection with the tool that puts us online. Certain browsers have certain personalities, and as with teachers we all have our favorites. So… Which browser are you?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA/PIPA Bills

Several staff and a good many students have been asking me about the SOPA/PIPA bills.  Some wondered if this week’s content filter changes were tied together in some way (which is not the case…just odd timing).

In case you would like to view an excellent non-technical teaching video made by Khan Academy (11-minutes long), click on the following web link: http://www.cleanvideosearch.com/media/action/yt/watch?videoId=tzqMoOk9NWc

Tip for Government and Career Tech teachers: this might be a good current event for class discussion. Hint. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Projector Tip: Getting a "Projector Overheating" Message?

After returning from the Christmas break I have received several calls regarding "Projector Overheating" messages from teachers. In some cases, this might be the result of a lamp about to go out.  For most, it is due to heat build-up.

Here is why: During the winter heat rises to the ceiling and causes the projectors to overheat.  Consider switching your ceiling fans to winter mode and allow heat to distribute to help resolve the overheating messages.  I am in the process of blowing out the dust one wing at a time. If your projector has the replace lamp on and you have already unplugged it and plugged it back in to reset, and then let me know when it starts shutting off on its own and I will schedule a time to replace lamp.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Technology Assessment for Kerrville ISD Teachers

I believe you should have received an email from Joel Adkins during the break with the details of the Tech Assessment.  For your inconvenience, here are the basic instructions of the overall process (in case you no longer have the original email):

1.    Go to Learning.com – http://www.learning.com
2.    On the right in the box, type your firstname.lastname – just like you do each morning at work.
3.    For password, enter the word “tech”
4.    And for district, type EXACTLY: Kerrville ISD – with the K and ISD in capital letters, and a space after the e in Kerrville ISD
5.    The window opens with your name at the top and Assessment tab open. Click START to go through a series of instructions on how to navigate the online testing window.
6.    Once you go through each instructional step, you may BEGIN your assessment.

If you need more time, you can simply close out of the program and it will save your progress. When completed, submit your test. You will not receive a grade at the end of the assessment. Your score will be sent to you AFTER the testing window ends on January 31. We have to calculate the average scores and district data before we can send you an individual score.

Thanks for participating!  The results will help with professional development and long-term planning.