"It’s important to note that none of this is about the technology. It’s all about providing teachers and students access to the resources that are taken for granted everywhere else in the modern world but in our classrooms. It’s about preparing districts for the 21st Century and Common Core. It’s about building schools and school cultures where students want to learn. It’s about empowering teachers through technology to become better teachers. It’s about preparing kids for their unknown futures and districts for the unknown challenges yet to come."
A podcast that I enjoy and learn from is Out of School, hosted by Fraser Speirs and Bradley Chambers. On a recent episode, Frasier talked with Don Orth of Hillbrook School. The conversation turned to learning spaces and a discussion about the research they are doing as they observe students and teachers interact and create a classroom space from what was once a computer lab. They speculated on possible software that could be used in that analysis. This morning I saw an interesting video over at the New York Times which highlighted and discussed similar software being used by retail businesses to track and anaylyse customer behavior. I hadn’t considered that businesses use the wi-fi signals from customers phones to track customers in the store. Have always wanted to do something like this to track my movements throughout the school during the course of a school day. Maybe something to look into. Of course I would first have to gain access to our access points.
I have been using a journaling app called Day One for a bit over a year (Mac and iOS.) Day One allows you to keep a journal on your Mac or iOS device. The entries are saved in iCloud so basically any entries you make on one device, appear on the others.
I have mainly been using it to jot down notes and reflections about my day at school. For example I might add a note during or after a phone conversation, or after a classroom visit, and I try to jot down each evening reflections on events and activities that have taken place at school. Over the course of the time I have been using it, it has undergone a number of upgrades that have really made it one of my favorite and most useful apps. Day One can grab meta data associated with the time and location of your entries. For example it can grab the location information associated with where you are at the time of the post, and also grab weather information for the time and location. One feature that is nice is that if you import an image into an entry, you are given the option of using the date and location data associated with that image as the date and location stamp on your entry. It also allows for tagging of entries.
Recently I have been experimenting with a tool called Slogger that integrates with my Day One journal. Slogger is an app devleoped by Brett Terpstrat (@ttscoff) that can pull data from various social media posts and makes entries in your Day One journal. For example it can be set up to pull images one has posted to sites such as Instagram or Flickr as entries into your Day One journal. In addition articles and posts saved on read later services such as Pocket and Instapaper can also be noted. Foursquare checkins, RSS feeds, and Twitter posts and favorites are also options.
Check the Slogger link for a list of services supported. Also note that the app runs in Terminal, so it involves getting under the hood a bit with the command line. Also note that for it to work properly, it needs to run once a day, every day. Brent explains how to do this in his very well detailed installation notes.
I am finding that I like being able to mix my social media posts along side of my journal posts. I also like having an archive of arranged by date.
PopClip is a Mac OS X extension that “appears when you select text with your mouse on your Mac.” You can then select from several options including copy & paste, and actions like search, spelling, dictionary from a little popup that appears over the selected text. It is kind of like what happens when you select text in iOS.
It is extendable and PopClip extensions have been created for many common tasks and services. For example select some text that has a URL and you will be presented with the option of opening that link you your browser.
There are many extensions already written to incorporate PopClip with many common apps and tools. There is also extensive documentation for those that wish to create their own extensions. For example I am thinking a nice summer project would be to create an extension that searches a specific Bento database. A use case might be to be able to select a student’s name from an email, then pull up the parent contact information from within a Bento database. Will see if I can get to playing with this this summer.
You can read an exensive write up of the tool over at AppStorm. I have been using it for a while and find it quite helpful.
Instagram now has an embed feature.
Lewis Family Dance - February 22, 2012, a set on Flickr.
Last night at Lewis Elementary our own 'Lonesome Teacher Trio and Friends' performed for students and families at our annual Lewis Family Dance and Sing-a-Long on February 22, 2013.
A big thank you to our PTA for their help with the event and to our Lonesome Teacher Trio (Mr. Jamesbarry, Mr. Colvin, and Mr. Marchyok) and their friends for making the event possible.
Over the Presidents Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend IntegrateED-PDX. This is the conference formerly known as ITSC (Instructional Technology Strategies Conference), which is put on by OETC. Again this year the organizers brought together a great group of facilitators and participants and it was a busy 3 days of learning and sharing.
This year I was happy to see what seemed to be an uptick in participation by school administrators. Bill Carozza, Principal of Harold Martin Elementary School in Hopkinton, NH, lead a workshop on Social Media for School Leaders. His was a great session and provided an opportunity for me to met and work with several principals that I have come to know through social media, but had not met face to face before the conference. This seems to be the case each year with this conference. Kind of like my Twitter stream come to life.
I also had the opportunity to co-focilitate a session with Tricia George, the topic being Supporting Technology Leadership in Schools. This was a follow up to some work we did last summer with administrators through the Oregon Virtual School District. This initiative provides an opportunity for a cadre of school leaders to come together to learn about using technology to help support teaching and learning in their schools.
Finally, at the closing session I had the opportunity to take part in what they call the Soirée of Slides, which is basically an Ignite session. I got to get up for 5 minutes and tell a story illustrated with some images. It was a lot of fun. I took this opportunity to create my slide deck using HaikuDeck, a free iPad app that allows you to create slide presentations, but without all the bells and whistles of traditional presentation software. It is based on design principles that suggest that less is more. It is great for creating little adhoc presentations on the fly and I enjoyed learning to use it for my little talk. Below, you can take a look.
I am looking forward to next year's event and the opportunity to continue to work and learn with folks I met this year.
Today I was visiting Mr. Marchyok's classroom and saw something that made more greatly appreciate what technology in our classrooms can do when we think about it differently. As I entered the room I noticed that his students were working on their Chromebooks. As I walked around the room, I noticed that the students were working on biographies. I noticed that Xavier was writing about Rock and Roll guitarist Jimi Hendrix. As I walked around the room I noticed that Mr. Marchyok was also working on his computer, and when I got close I could see that he had Xavier's Jimi Hendrix document open and was basically conducting a writing conference with him via the chat feature built into Google Docs. With Google Docs users can share documents and view and work on them in real time.
Using Google Docs and the Hapara Teacher Dashboard program Mr. Marchyok, and our other 4th and 5th grade teachers, are able to conduct writing conferences on the fly with students. In this example Mr. Marchyok was using the Teacher Dashboard to quickly view what students were working on and to open those documents and provide feedback and encouragement. Something different than collecting notebooks, shlepping them home, writing responses with a red pen, and then redistributing them to students the next day.
Moves is an iOS app that tracks your physical activity through the course of the day. It keeps track of mileage, steps, and the amount of time you are engaged in a particular activity. It can also determine the type of activity you are engaged in, for example distinguishing between running, walking or cycling. No need to turn it on say before a run or bike ride, it just runs in the background and figures out the type of activity you are engaged in and tracks it. If by chance it doesn't quite get it right, you have the option to change the type of activity logged.
I've been using it for a few weeks and am finding it useful to keep track of my activity and somewhat motivating too.
My Uncle Joe, my dad’s brother, passed away on Sunday morning. He lived a remarkable life. He and his family have always been welcoming and generous to me and to my family. Tonight I am posting a photograph from July of 2008. It is of my youngest daughter, Margarita, my mom, and my Uncle Joe. It was taken on our way back from a few days up at Lake St. Germain in northern Wisconsin, a place that he has visited with his family for the past 50 years. It is not a great picture of my Uncle Joe, (I wish I could of captured more of him) but I think it captures who he was. Someone who waited for others, someone who always held the door, and someone who always went out of his way to make others feel welcome… and someone who always tipped the busboy (that is a family joke). He took care of people. He made them feel special, and cared for them
On that trip my Uncle Joe and Aunt Pam shared many stories of their early life and how they met. I learned quite a bit about my family and was very happy to be able to share that trip with them and my daughter. I am thankful for the opportunity to spend that time with them.
I can’t be there on Wednesday for his service and to properly say goodbye to him, or to express to his family how much he means to me, but if I was there, I would thank his family for providing me with such a great man, such a thoughtful and caring man, to aspire to be like.
My thoughts tonight are with my Aunt Pam, my cousins, Bob, MaryJo, Thomas, and Margaret and their extended families. Joe was a great man, and these words don’t do justice to the mark he made on the world.
Thank you Uncle Joe…
The allure of a weather app is something that I never thought I'd be writing about, but the iOS app Dark Sky appeals to me. The main appeal is the promise of localized forecasts that predict precipitation. Currently the app attempts to do just one thing, predict precipitation within the next hour. As someone who gets to decide (based on the current weather conditions) if our students are going outside for lunch time recess, I find the promise of this app appealing.
The rain we get is mostly of the shower variety. Meaning that there are periods of rain that come and go. Because of this the call on inside or outside recess usually is made at the last minute. I usually check the Weather Underground map, and for the most part I get good information and can base my decision on interpreting their radar imagery. But there were quite a few times this past year that we decided to go out because the rain had stopped, only to have to call the children back in 5 minutes later because the rain had started again. I'm hoping that this iOS app can help me improve my rainy day recess decision making.
More about how it works can be found on the Dark Sky blog. I have a screen shot below. Since it is now summer in Oregon, (summer is beautiful out here…) I don't believe I'll be getting much use out of the app in the near future, but come the rains in the fall, I am looking forward to taking advantage of it.
[embed size=m]http://instagr.am/p/Hbt_0Gq_kv/[/embed] Woke up to some snow showers this morning...