Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Web Search Strategies in Plain English from The Common Craft Show!

Another basic, yet great explanation, not to mention timely. I just had a teacher asking about this very topic the other day so I hope she'll find this useful for her lesson.

Web Search Strategies in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Follow up to CoSN CTO Session

My battery died, but I was able to take notes of the 2nd presenter on my Blackberry. In Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, they are doing some interesting things regarding the re-distribution of equipment and changes to their AUP policy to allow for student-owned devices.

Here are the notes that I took unedited (mostly).

They have a desire to "extend" the school day.

Direct efforts more toward the safety of the network and away from the tools they will be using.

Students don't need our wifi access b/c they have their own on their phones for the most part.

Saturate the classroom with access and let students desire for the use of technology in instruction drive the change for instruction. Peer pressure almost. They are doing it in Mrs.X's classroom, why not in here?

Leverage student owned resources to allow use in school. Changed their AUP.

Rolled out wifi.

Separate VLAN for student devices with filtering to access district resources/Internet.

How do we provide for students without their own devices?

They have notebooks available for checkout to some during the daytime. 3 year refresh cycle on technology and give away old ones after they are refreshed and wiped clean. Loaded with Opensource software.

Thin client access to get to school resources from home.

Using web based resources as well. Dropping MS office and going to Open Office. Student don't have access to office at home so went open source this past school year with refresh.

Asus EEE and classmate PC they are looking at these types of laptops, but won't go with until battery life is addressed.

New notebooks have limited use but focuses on what we want teachers to use in the classrooms, away from canned software.

Seamless was important to them regarding putting students on their own network with their own devices.

Citrix clients not available for all of the devices that they would see students using such as the iPhone, Blackberry.

Remote access to gateway. They aren't providing support for it. They have few problems with students mostly with adults not knowing how to connect.

Changed AUP, but it has not been promoted yet. They are watching as kids bring in their own devices to see what problems might arise.

Greater potential to make learning more engaging than to worry about them being off task. Risk, but learning potential might be worth it.

Teacher and admin management of the students using devices will be up to the schools so far.

Question / Answer Time:

Q: They lease computers. How did they get around tax payers receiving school goods?

A: Cost of ownership goes up and better for students if they took it. Bid process? No. Board approved, local funds, surplus. Put out an RFP to a company who wiped them clean, put Open Office on them and gave 60 day warranty. That company was only allowed to sell the PC's back to who Forsyth County specified.

Q: Bandwidth Impact from student laptops /devices?

A: Not enough of devices out there to see any kind of a bandwidth impact right now. Gig fiber to each school.

Q: How many PC's were refreshed with OpenSource software?

A: Refreshed 5000 PC's with open office

Q: What are the connections like in school (wireless)?

A: Public ssid for visitors like in hotel

Student connection goes straight to citrix page but some devices so not have citrix client so they will need to investigate

CoSN CTO Clinic : Web 2.0 Technologies to Create Ubiquitous Learning Enviornments with Steve Hargadon

Friday, September 19, 2008

Announcing Diigo Educator Accounts!

For the past several weeks, existing Diigo users who are educators have been piloting the Teacher Console. So what is this? In short, it allows teachers to create students accounts without the need for email, something that is typically a stumbling block for many Web 2.0 sites given that many younger students do not have email addresses.

"Students on Diigo? Isn't that a social networking site?"

Yes, it is, but safegaurds have been put in place with the student accounts that limit the social aspects of the program. First, student accounts are automatically placed in a private class group with the teacher everyone in the group is automatically "friended" as well. The Diigo messaging system will allow students to communicate, however students are only allowed to message withing their class. Also, student profiles are only viewable by other students in the group and by the teacher, so their exposure to other Diigo users is limited.

So, how do you get a Diigo Educator Account? First, you'll need to apply here if you are an exsiting Diigo user. Once approved, the accounts will work as follows:

  • A teacher can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)
  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • To protect the privacy of students, student accounts have special settings which only allow their teachers and classmates to contact them and access their personal profile information.
  • Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.
For more information about the Diigo Educator accounts, please visit any of the following links:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

K12 Online Conference is coming!!

Save the dates!!
October 20 - 24 and October 27 - 31, 2008

Your PC!

Want more information? Check out the flyer below for the conference information or go to the K12 Online Conference 2008 website.

Don't miss this exciting professional learning opportunity available right at the click of your mouse.

Read this document on Scribd: K12 Online Conference Flyer

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Harnessing The Power of My PLN : Part I

This summer, I made the decision to submit a proposal to present at my state's educational technology conference, which is something I have never done before. In truth, I never felt as though I had anything to offer. However, after attending GAETC last year and sitting through a less than accurate session about wikis and blogs, I felt almost obligated to present. I have learned a great deal about many different Web 2.0 tools, so the question wasn't "Will I?" but "What will I present on?".

I have become a fan of wikis in the past year, Wikispaces in particular, so much so that our district purchased a Private Label license for Wikispaces. Even though I am huge proponent of the technology, there are others out there, such as Vicki Davis, who I feel are much more versed on using wikis than I am. Also, I am not in the classroom and I feel the ones who can best speak on the classroom uses of wikis are those who use it with their students. So, perhaps after another year of using wikis in my district with my teachers, I might take up that topic an co-present with a panel.

Then there is social bookmarking. I have used (now simply Delicious) for years until Diigo came onto the scene. Could I speak on Diigo for an entire hour? Sure. Do I want to bore them to death? No.

Then I thought about Twitter and Plurk, the latter of which I discovered this summer during the NECC conference as Twitter took a complete nosedive due to the high volume of traffic. Both are microblogging platforms, however each platform is a bit different. Could I talk about both of these for an hour? Yes. Did I really want to?

However, what all of these had in common for me, plus a few other Web 2.0 sites, was that I use all of them as a part of my PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network). When I created my it, I had NO idea what I was doing or how to foster its development, much less how to get started. It all kind of happened at random and had there been a "guide", I might have been able to gain so much more from my PLN earlier than I did.

So, that settled it for me. I was going to do a presentation on Professional Learning Networks and how powerful of a resource they could be. With that resolved, I turned to my own PLN for assistance, which is what I'll talk about in Part II of Harnessing The Power of My PLN.

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Wikispaces Celebrates 100,000 Free Teacher Wikis

Wikispaces just announced that they have reached their goal of giving away 100,000 wikis to teachers! How are they celebrating? By giving away 250,000 MORE wikis!

Also in their announcement they have promised free online live events that will,

share Wikispaces news, give short tutorials on how best to use Wikispaces in the classroom, hear success stories and best practices from educators like you, answer your questions, and connect people so we can all share and learn from each other.
I would like to applaud their support of educators and ask that more Web 2.0 developers follow their example and that of sites like Animoto and Voicethread, too.