Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I spent most of my Saturday up at Houghton College for the FLL (First Lego League) Competition. This is put on by our CABOCES Student Programs and I was asked to be a referee...I know, keep the snickering down. I really enjoyed it (even though I had to bring my own whistle....Crandall!).

Sorry- cell phone pic

These 5th-8th graders were really getting into it and had some neat ideas to complete the "missions" that they had to choose from. My only exposure to Lego Robotics was what Jessie Perison showed at last summers' High School New Face. Because of Jessie, I knew about the NXT software and how you put the 'block' into your own lego designed machine to make it move. He mentioned the different sensors and all, but it was amazing to see in a competition format.

The day flew by, and I was amazed at the great sportmanship displayed by everyone. The students are empowered to do all of the talking during the competition. Then, after they complete their mission we explained all of the points they earned(great suggestion from my wonderful partner, Mary Morris). The students listened intently to make sure we all agreed, then they ran off to make changes to their program that would help them earn more points for the next round.

I can't wait to do it again next year. I wish all of our school luck, and especially to these three moving onto the next round in Rochester, NY on Sunday, December 6th:


Randolph (led by Jessie Perison)


I truly enjoyed watching these young individuals excited and working together as a team to problem solve and collaborate. It made me wonder about other programs that students could get into and I thought about Google Sketchup right away. How about students designing 3-D buildings from their area and sending them to Google Earth? Could you have a similar Google Sketchup competition where they design a few buildings, then have a timed competition? Dr. Mike Doyle and I talked about this awhile ago when talking about Fab Labs and the power of Google Sketchup. Just a thought, I'm sure there are plenty of competitions for Google Sketchup out there.

Anyways, great day, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

I know I did.

Friday, October 9, 2009

First trial with Google Wave

OK, now that the black banner is gone, I can actually use Google Wave (if I can find someone with an account!). I had one wave with @jenwagner and it was tough for me to keep up. There were only 2 of us! Maybe I'm getting old. I did go to bed at 8:30 last night.
It will take quite a bit for me to get used to. Plus, I think we both noticed a lag on our computers when we tried to go to email and on Twitter.
I did think about kids, though, and for them it would be engaging as things change instantly.
It will take some getting used to for me, but I like it and am excited to have a chance to get in and kick the tires a little.

Anyways, I added blog-wave@appspot.com as a Contact in Google Wave and want to see if I can post this to my blog. Well, the first thing I learned is that Bloggy isn't working, so I couldn't post this to my blog from Google Wave. We had to go to Cut and Paste!

I also added Tweety (I remember thinking they were going to call it Twave), but can't seem to refresh and get live updates. I did post a tweet from it to Twitter however. To add Tweety, add tweety-wave@appspot.com to your Contacts.

Of course, I found all of this on the Google Wave Forum and in particular, at this thread.

We'll see where this leads, as I build up contacts (hopefully, some of my invites will go through) it will be interesting. It seems pretty confusing right now and I know I'm only scratching the surface, but in a year, could it be second nature?

We'll see.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Google Wave e-mail Invite? Or was it?

I was incredibly excited to see an e-mail invite from wave-noreply yesterday.
I was out in a district, and I didn't open it up until the end of the day because I had tons of work that had to get done.
I didn't think I'd get one, and also thought it was a little odd that it was sent on Oct. 1st at 12:07am and not on Sept. 30th, but I thought, "maybe someone from Twitter invited me in".
Who cares, I got an invite!

My e-mail looked official:

I clicked on the link, but it wanted me to add the Google Chrome browser plug-in.
I did go and check and this seemed to be legit, so I did download it (Might've been my mistake right there!)
Then, when it was done and I got in, all I saw was this:
A tad bit frustrating, if you can't read the top black banner it says:
"Everything's shiny, Cap'n. Not to fret!" Unfortunately, you'll need to refresh.
Wanna tell Dr. Wave what happened?
With a submit box to go to "Dr. Wave".
Now, I felt like I got scammed and began thinking why did I use IE!

Then, I thought, why not try Firefox? NOPE. Same thing.
I went to refresh the page....for a second, it looks good.....then same black banner.
Try it on another computer - same thing.
Download Google Chrome! YES, that has to work! NOPE.
Try it on a Mac with Safari - No.
At home, on another computer - No.

I came back to work today, maybe? Maybe? NO.

If I go to My Account in Google, I see Wave listed under My Products.

I've posted to the Google Wave Forum and wasted a night trying to figure this out.

Did I do something wrong? Maybe it was the Google Chrome plugin?
Let's just say it's been a frustrating day.
Then again, I'm frustrated over a Beta product that's free.

Maybe it's trying to tell me that I have too many other things going on? I would like to try it out this weekend, though. Can anyone help?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Promethean Focus Group

I've been asked to help an area district next year with their Promethean Focus Group of teachers. There will be 20 teachers that will be getting a Promethean Board, and they'll have access to the ActivVote & ActivExpression voting devices, as well as ActiViews for the Science teachers- sometime down the road.

Photo taken from Promethean World and taken using Jing

My goal from the Superintendent is to lead them through this year with two summer kickoff dates (Aug. 12-13th) and then follow up sessions about every six weeks. The only stipulations he put on me was that I need to show them sound educational usages for these Boards, and that this style of group needs to be reproducible for next year (for a new group of teachers).
Initially, I thought to start up a Ning group, so I created one to use. Then, I thought since CA BOCES hosts Moodle for all of our teachers, couldn't I help promote that more?

Wait, just keep it simple.

I don't know how much technology these teacher really use in their classes already.
Keep it simple.
I'll do my best to help them learn the ActivInspire software and give them time to find resources that they can use on Promethean Planet or other sites online.
I'll use this Wikispace to put up an agenda and to give them a chance to not only get information, but to add content to as well.

The great Tech guy there walked me through the training rooms and showed me where some of the teacher rooms are in the building (these will be for breakout sessions since we'll all be in a lab w/ one ActivBoard). We talked about making sure we were on the same page with what the district's capabilities are, and also checked some of the sites their teachers have access to.
For instance, Google Earth and Adobe Connect.
I'm actually hoping to have someone come in on the 2nd day to talk a little about how they use Promethean through Adobe Connect (we'll see).

I'm looking for any other suggestions to show the
"Power of the Promethean Interactive Whiteboard"!

I've heard all summer about how IWB's just make the teacher more of the focus, but my hope is that it can make classes more student-centered? I hope to have students create their own content for a lesson (maybe upload it into their own wiki) and share that with the others in the class, maybe even around the world. Is that asking too much?
Maybe we'll get to Global Collaborations after school starts!?!?

Baby steps to start out.

I'm already asked for plenty of help, especially on Twitter and have gotten advice from @budtheteacher @activeducator ,http://twitter.com/activtweets and a host of others.

What do you think?
Photo taken from Promethean World and taken using Jing

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Initial Thoughts about NECC2009

Before I went to NECC this year in Washington, DC, I heard that they would be changing the Conference name to ISTE. If you don't know, ISTE is the organization that runs the conference. OK, big deal, who cares? What I cared about was getting to DC!
This trip was packed with info, from poster sessions, to the workshops and a variety of other learning opportunities. The most important thing to me, though, was meeting up with people that are in my Personal/Professional Learning Network. Mostly, those are people that I follow on Twitter.
The week started out by meeting Teryl Magee on Sunday at the Blogger's Cafe', and ended Wednesday night by FINALLY meeting up with Kelly Hines.
In between these two fine ladies were many others that I've been following, not just on Twitter, but on Plurk, some live streams, and in Ning groups. I was surprised how many people came up to introduce themself to me! I think it was a compliment, but quite a few remembered me by my little Twitter avatar.

The part of this conference that surprised me the most, however, was not the passionate debate with Gary Stager (I still need to go back and listen to that - I couldn't keep up!), nor was it one particular session, it was meeting Lois Smethurst.

Who's Lois Smethurst?
Well, to be honest, I forgot her name as well (I know, big shocker there).
After Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach & Will Richardson's session, Lois came up to introduce herself. I shoke her hand, at first thinking that she had me confused with someone else. She thanked me for the Voicethread Ning group that I started. Then, she explained that she was the one who shared the Reader's Theatre Voicethread!
I've posted this Voicethread a few times because I like how her students used Voicethread to tell the story of "Stellaluna" by Janell Cannon. This sharing of ideas is exactly what Colette Cassinelli and I were talking about at the Blogger's Cafe' (another person I was very excited to meet). Being able to see and hear what other teachers are doing in their classroom is exactly what I was hoping when I started that Ning group.
I now also follow Lois on Twitter, and hope to share projects and other ideas with her, like she did with us.
Oh yeah, did I mention I asked her why she had a Koala on her lanyard?
She was from Australia, shouldn't have taken a rocket scientist to figure that one out!
As a matter of fact, I met quite a few people from Australia, some from Canada, even some guy from Thailand!

I guess it never really put much thought into it before. This shouldn't be called NECC, this isn't a National Conference, this is an International Conference! It should be ISTE, that makes perfect sense, at least to me.

Now I need to digest all the rest from these past few days.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great Conference, hopefully, I'll see all of you and more in Denver!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Four more peeps

Disclaimer: This is the fourth part of my five part series leading up to NECC about who I'm hoping to meet. I apologize for those I left out and for any mistakes I make (please leave a comment to correct me).

Thursday: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach & Will Richardson,
The Jon Becker and Bud the Teacher

Trying to fit in a few people here so I chose two people I’ve met and two I haven’t met yet.
The main people who have helped me in my job are my colleagues: Tim Clarke and Rick Weinberg, as well as my BOCES ISS team. However, the two people who helped jump start my learning into hyperdrive were: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson.

I’m sure everyone out there knows about both of these National presenters, so I’ll give a brief overview:
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach bio from here blog- Doctoral candidate, President of 21st Century Collaborative, LLC (21stcenturycollaborative.com) and Co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, LLC (plpnetwork.com) with Will Richardson, and I'll throw in her incredible wiki full of resources in here as well: 21st Century Learning.

Will Richardson bio from his blog- “Learner in Chief” at Connective Learning and the author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms now in its 2nd Edition. Will is also a national advisory board member for the George Lucas Education Foundation, he writes a quarterly column called “Web 2.0″ for District Administration magazine, and he's a regular contributor to journals such as Educational Leadership, Edutopia, English Journal and others.
Now, some of what they've done for me. My first month on my new job with CA BOCES I started the WNY-PLP group. This introduced me to powerful education leaders in our area, classroom uses for wikis, this Ning thing (I now belong to 33 groups) and also how to conduct live Elluminate sessions. This is the wiki that we worked in for the WNY-PLP group, the Ning group is private so I can’t share it. However, we had a great culminating event and my team put together a nice little Voicethread with what they did.

Where would I be without their initial push? Still moving forward, but they have both connected me to not only some great ideas, but also to great Educational leaders on Twitter, through Skype and Elluminate.

How about Jon Becker?

My main Duke Twitter fellow! Jon seems to always be on Twitter when I am. With him you also get a full range of tweets. From deep pedagogical advice and views, to well.... “@kellyhines Chapel Hill. Booooo!!!”

Gotta love it.

Another thing about Mr. Becker is that he replies to almost everyone, even me!
Not only has he helped remind me about upcoming Duke Basketball games, but also views from the college level and trust me, he’s not afraid to share his opinion. Here is his blog.
Almost forgot his bio from his blog- An assistant professor at the Educational Leadership Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, he teaches courses in school law and educational research methods.

I appreciate all Jon has done from sharing good Cars knowledge from his son to his college DimDim Educational meetings.
I just hope he's not that great of a golfer, not only will I meet him Face 2 Face at NECC, but it looks like he's in the group ahead of me.

And my main question for Dr. Becker at VCU and proud Duke graduate….what did you think about 2007?

Bud the Teacher

aka: Bud Hunt

Bio from Bud's blog- Bud is an instructional technologist for the St. Vrain Valley School District in northern Colorado. He is a teacher-consultant with the Colorado State University Writing Project. Bud is a co-founder of Learning 2.0: A Colorado Conversation and has served as an Online Community Leader for the New Jersey Cohort of Powerful Learning Practice
Lately I’ve been watching for Promethean advice and tips on Twitter, however, I've always picked up great ideas from him. I know that he was always involved in K12 Online and NotK12 Online. I'm hoping after our trip to NECC I'll have even more to add here.

It's late and you know what, this blogging thing is kind of tough for me. But, I'm glad I'm doing this again. We'll see if I can keep it up.

For Friday? I'm going to try to hit a quick intro to a bunch of people in my Learning Network on Twitter.....good night.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chris Lehmann

Disclaimer: This is the third in my five part series about people I'm hoping to meet at NECC this year. I apologize for missing people in my PLN and if I have any incorrect information (please feel free to leave a comment and correct).

Wednesday: Chris Lehman and SLA

This one was an easy one for me to choose. Trying to write this blog post and what I’ve learned from Chris….not so easy.

Chris Lehman is the principal of the Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. To me, he seems 'Scary Smart'. You can read his bio on the SLA Faculty page.
OK, I admit, I didn’t realize all of the things that they do down there at SLA, and I still can't wrap my mind around most of them. What I do know is that it must be great! My guess to why we hear so much about SLA is the positive leadership from the top.
This last January I tried to watch the live streams from Educon 2.1 while also finishing up some plumbing in the Carls bathroom. It was amazing the talent they had there.
Seriously, look at the sessions in here! Wait, I want to make sure you get this:

There was the original Educon wiki to check out as well.

Now, I’m preparing to go to NECC in Washington, DC in a few days, but I remember back in January, after watching some of these Mogulus streams I decided I wanted Educon 2.2 to be the National Conference I went to in 2010!
Small problem with our travel ban for the next year ….. I’ll have to work that out.

All right, enough about me. Check out Chris’ blog.
You can tell right away what a caring leader he is from reading this, and his tweets on Twitter.
I was able to squeeze into his workshop last year at NECC in San Antonio. At this workshop he talked about creating sound pedagogical practices and shared stories about how creative they've been down at SLA with his students. It was engaging and you could tell he was passionate about his work there listening to stories like his students waiting on patents to help major companies! (I forgot for what or to check on where this stands) I'm sure there are tons of other great things conquered there this year.
The one article I recently read and like to see about Chris and SLA was about Project Based Learning, which I've bookmarked and shared with other colleagues.

What about the his SLA staff on Twitter. I follow: Tim Best - Science teacher, Marcie Hull - Digital Arts and Diane Laufenberg - History. Brief descriptions are giving on the SLA Faculty and Staff page. Tim, Marcie and Zac Hall are also presenting at NECC this year. Unfortunately, at the same time as Chris and a bunch of great people on Wednesday July 1st from 10:30 - 11:30am. To me, this seems like the best hour of sessions, I think I'll go to this one, though.

Who could I compare Chris to? In my life, another principal of a Charter School, John Hawk. We both went to Fredonia State, we both majored in Secondary Ed Math (he talked me into it), however, John was that 'Type A' person and was very driven. He almost had me out in Vegas with him! Between John and his beautiful wife, not only do they run Nevada State High School, but they always seem to conquering things. Right now, I believe they're looking to open another Charter School in Reno.

My point? Many people are intelligent, however, some can’t carry it forward to others. Incredible ideas bounce around upstairs, but if you're unable to convey those ideas to others, what good is it? That is why I compared Chris to my friend John Hawk. Both are engaging. Both have that other gear (I'm still looking for neutral!) And both find a way to get others inspired and rejuvenated.

When I see all that Chris has accomplished (at such a young age), it inspires me, and I’m sure others as well, to do better. To work harder. To be that positive influence.

Thank you.

Next up for Thursday! I need to fit in quite a few....not 100% sure. Could someone also add a few hours to the day so I can get this done?

Monday, June 22, 2009

US Invasion

Disclaimer: This is the second in a five part series. I hope to have all the information correct, please help out by leaving (or correcting) information. I know I'll miss some people, but will try to highlight many people in my PLN.

Tuesday: US Invasion

Originally I thought I'd make this blogpost about some of the Team Canada people that I follow on Twitter. I began thinking, however, that I'm not sure how many will be making the Southern Trek from 'O Canada' to NECC in Washington, DC. I'm sure there are quite a few I missed, please leave comments and my apologies.

After I realized from Twitter that Jeff Utecht was going to be there, I thought I'd go with these two:
Dean Shareski

and Jeff Utecht
These screen captures were done with Jing and the images came from Dean and Jeff's Twitter avatar as of June 22nd, 2009

Dean Shareski is a Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada and also a sessional lecturer for the University of Regina according to his blog.
Not only have I been able to see his Qik video updates, but I've also watched a few of his workshops and student presentations on Ustream!
I did meet Dean at last year’s NECC in San Antonio. I was walking away from Liz Kolb’s cellphone presentation because there was such a line, but he convinced Rick Weinberg and myself that it would be worth the wait. Rick and I turned around and we took front row seats (on the floor), and Dean was right, it was worth the wait. Liz gave us quite a bit of great information to use cellphones in the classroom and I know Rick has done quite a bit in our area since this presentation including his NYSCATE presentation in November (with some technical difficulties!)
I also remember talking to him briefly when he was carrying the head of Darren Kuropatwa to their dinner table! We were out for a stroll on the River Walk and Dean was meeting with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Wes Fryer about the K12Online Conference. Darren was calling in via Skype. You can read about it on Sheryl’s blog post about their K12 meeting.

I don't think he's going to make it, but anther member of the EdTech Posse with Dean is Dr. Alec Couros. I’ve wanted to meet Alec not just for Courosa radio, but for all he's shared the last two years on Twitter. Like Dean he shares many Ustream workshop videos and lately I've caught some of his Qik live streaming video as well (Maybe even a dance recital or two). Alec is a professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina and talks a great deal of creating Open Classrooms and "Harnessing the Power of Social Networking".
I try to catch as many of their workshops when streamed online as I can, or the occasional Tiny Chat! The last workshop I saw was with both of them at the TCEA Conference in Texas. Dean just blogged about here.

This screen capture was done with Jing and taken from: http://moodle.tcea.org/area7conference/

There are at least two other members of the EdTech Posse: Rob Wall and Rick Schweir (there are probably others). I'm not so sure if they're coming to NECC this year, but if so, I'd love to meet them as well.

OK, I've never had that much to say about Canada, eh?

Next on Deck:

Jeff Utecht lives in Bangkok, Thailand and he is currently the Technology and Learning Coordinator for the International School of Bangkok. I also know that he manages the Wikis in Education Wiki for Wetpaint. My problem is that Wetpaint is blocked by most of our districts!
I also know that Jeff is a baseball fan and a big Mariners fan from what I can gather from his tweets. I'm hoping he can join us at our NECC baseball trip that Paul R Wood is organizing. His blog The Thinking Stick was one of the first blogs that I became interested in. A little humor, some great tips and useful websites to use with teachers seemed to fill his pages.

I believe Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach showed me Jeff on Twitter. Just by responding to an occasional tweet or gathering ideas from his blog, I think Jeff helped me realize how small the world really is with technology nowadays. It is neat to hear from Jeff or Kim Cofino (@mscofino) when they are just waking up and are getting ready to start the day, while I’m getting ready to hit the sack.

Next up for Wednesday: Looking for a good Cheese Steak and a good education? You know where to go....

Deep in the heart of Texas

Disclaimer: This will be the first in a five part series. I hope to have all the information correct, please help out by leaving (or correcting) information. I know I'll miss some people, but will try to highlight many people in my PLN.
Monday: Deep in the heart of Texas

I thought I’d start off the week with my golf foursome!
First of all, I owe them, they have NO IDEA what they’re in for on Monday! Thank goodness I’ll get a round in this Thursday with friends, because the other 2 times I’ve played this year have been ugly!
Paul R. Wood

Let's begin with @paulrwood. I think I started following him after some tweets by Brian Smith. The proud Texan has been a very valuable part of my network since I started on Twitter. I saw Paul last year in San Antonio, but never introduced myself to him. Paul is the Director of Tech at Bishup Dunne High School in Texas.
When I first started playing with Ustream, I streamed Christmas morning (2007) and Paul was one of the visitors (my parents couldn’t believe someone from Texas took time out to watch the Carls Grandkids!). Since then, he’s added a great deal to my learning and probably the main person I’d like to meet face-to-face this year. I also hear he’s an amazing golfer!

Scott S. Floyd and Christine Voigt

@WOScholar and @clvoigt have both been great resources and I was able to connect to them through Paul’s influence on Twitter. Just two weeks ago I was able to watch the Area 7 TCEA Conference to be held in White Oak ISD put on by Scott and his crew at White Oak. Christine is the Instructional Tech Specialist at Bishup Dunne High School and has been another great addition.
And I must admit, I’m shaking that this crew will beat me in golf…..I’ve packed the foot wedge.

Photo courtesy of Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/courosa/3626583372/

Next up for Tuesday: Looking for others outside the country, eh?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What do you want to get out of NECC 2009?

I was thinking of this about a month ago, but never put aside the time to start these blog posts.
"What do I want to get out of NECC 2009?"

Screen capture using JingProject from: http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2009/

After being quite overwhelmed last year in San Antonio (I made it to quite a few workshops, but stayed pretty quiet) I'm hoping to meet more of my network. Even though I visited the Edublogger Cafe, I didn't introduce myself to many of the people I knew on Twitter and/or Plurk.

This year, my main goal is to make face-to-face connections with people that I communicate with on an almost daily basis. Hopefully, that will happen and I can thank all of them for their help, and the support they've given me this last year.
** However, all I've really planned (so far) are the golf and baseball outings**
By the way, I can't wait to see Camden Yards!

I'd like to know what others are looking forward to at NECC this year?
Is it to meet specific people? Seeing a certain speaker? Maybe it's the Vendors!

My plan is to try and blog the next 5 days about the people I'm hoping to meet this year. This could be difficult for me, since I've really let this blog sit over these last few months. Shhhhhh.

First up for Monday, here's a small hint.
Picture found using Google Images from http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/010481.html

Not the picture....here's the hint:

"The stars are bright...."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Educational Uses for Glogster?

Today on Twitter, Paula White sent a tweet to Andrew Connelly asking for a "140 word description of glogster, please :)"
The reason this caught my eye was because I've liked using Glogster to create an on-line poster or to spice up a wiki. I've also shown Glogster to a few teachers this year (at least one has the EDU account with her students and they use it quite a bit). I've also used it for my own wiki (for our daughter's 2nd Birthday part invite), and even as a colorful way to link to websites in our CA BOCES RtI wiki.
Here's a Glog I made from 'TweetShots' (Captured from Jing) that I recieved today:

I think Glogster is a neat visual way to spice things up like I said, however, just loading this page and getting back into edit have been difficult. I also know others (including one of the teachers I work with) have had it not save or upload pictures when a class full of kids were on the Glogster site.

Thanks to everyone who helped out today and to @paulawhite for distracting my from my paperwork!?!?

Actually, it was a great opportunity for me to see what others have done and HEY, I blogged again.
What do you know.

Any other ideas on how to use Glogs in the classroom (or personally)?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Twitter shout out

Working with teachers the last Wednesday before the break, we went over any of their SMART software questions, then in the afternoon started to look at other Web 2.0 tools that they could use.

  • Global Collaborations - Looked at a few Ning groups and at CAPSpace which I've used to connect a few techers.

  • File storage - They were all over the place, so we talked about Box.net and our BOCES storage, then I just shared my delicious links.

  • iPod help with iTunes and also using their voicerecorder.

  • Jing Project to get screen captures- Which I love and used for the screen captures below, plus, a host of other ideas. and websites.

The most interesting part for me was when I mentioned to these teachers that I was using Twitter to answer most of their questions. Quite a few had heard of it, and I tried to explain it......tried being the key word!

Then, I asked my Twitter network to say hello (which I've seen many times, but rarely done). Below was the results and they were floored....plus, thinking I was even geekier than before!

Thanks to everyone for helping show how I learn and the power of having a network.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Long stretch

Since I'm a 12 month employee, my family scheduled our vacation around my wife's school schedule. They get the two week break in April, so we scheduled our second vacation as a family of 4. This year to Florida! We have the tickets, are finalizing arrangements this weekend and fly out Tuesday!
We can't wait, to get to sunny Florida and stay at.......a retirement community! The Villages in Lady Lake, Florida. Mostly free room and board and some relaxation.
To get here, though, required a long winter stretch with no February break. In March, we actually had pretty decent weather.
Then, this morning.....SNOW on April 4th. Of course, I remember growing up, my father saying, "It ALWAYS snows in April", so I'm not too surprised. Oh yeah, snow again when we leave on Tuesday!
I will try to write another post about the busy week I had at work and some of the things I worked on with teachers.
The one reason I remembered to come back here was because of Rick Weinberg's Tech Tip this week about QR codes. He showed us how you can get a QR 2 Dimensional code for your webpage, text, phone number or SMS from Kaywa. Rick used Liz Kolb's blog post as reference to these codes. Then, after seeing a post on Twitter by Jo Fothergill (@dragonsinger57 from New Zealand) I went and grabbed one for this blog. You can see it underneath my Twitter feeds to the right.
Here is the link to the QR Code as well: http://tinyurl.com/cuqadm

I hope everyone gets some time off to fully recharge for the final stretch of the school year, and hopefully, I'll find more time to blog about some of the great things are teachers are doing out here.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Welcome to the Tweets of March #gr8t

Welcome to the tweets of March

Here's an idea that has picked up speed lately on Twitter.
During the month of March use the hashmark (#gr8t) to retweet (RT) your favorite tweet of the day.
Here's the wiki to explain: http://gr8tweets.wikispaces.com/about

There have been quite a few blogs about it:

Plenty of others, but those are a few who will explain it better than I.

Follow the TweetBird on Twitter or seach Twitter for #gr8t tag.

Maybe I should've titled this "Please share the Tweets of March"

... the tweets are coming, the tweets are coming.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Global Connections

Picture above is from: http://www.classroom20.com/groups/group/list?page=14

Here's the deal, I belong to all of these networks to create Global Connections with area teachers and since NECC 2008 down in San Antonio it has been a main goal of mine.

I belong to CAPSPACE and get daily e-mails for projects that have been created. Now, I need to try to get that info to teachers in our area. I have been able to establish one French Connection because of a very flexible teacher in a district I work at. They were able to connect with a Pennsylvannia school on a wiki and have met via DL.

After that connection, I tried to establish another one with a French class in Toronto, but times didn't work out for a DL connection there. They were able to use a Twitter connection to collaborate with another school.

There are plenty of elementary projects out there like: Flat Stanley - seems at least one a week, weather in your area, and some using Voicethreads with students.

I want to make teachers aware that it is very easy to take a project that you will be doing and just post it out there to see what you can get. This is one thing I'll try to work with.

I also want people to know there are plenty of other ways to connect, there are plenty of Ning groups: Classroom 2.0 and Flat Classroom,
plus other sites like ePals, Global School Net, Taking it Global ...

You know what, just go here's a better list from Donna Farren and Lauren Skolny and they NYSCATE workshop "Learning without Borders".

What are some of the Global Connections others have made out there? Looking for some motivation!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Social Networking decision

Loogix.com. Animated avatars.

The animation above is made from: http://www.loogix.com/

All of the photos are screen captures from: http://jingproject.com/

Still trying to figure out all this stuff about personal learning networks, professional learning networks and which I use where. I blur most of it together, but the social networks I use are Twitter, Delicious, Ning, Plurk and Facebook. Probably in that order.

I was first introduced to Twitter at my first Technology Conference in 2007: NYSCATE by Will Richardson, who also Ustreamed the session - another Web 2.0 tool I've used quite a bit. Then, I started to get into many other Social Networks including, MySpace, many Ning Groups, Facebook, Delicious, Diigo, Pownce (now gone), identi.ca, Twine, many Wiki sites, Twice, Teachers Connecting, Plurk......too many to mention and most with weird spellings of names!?!?

Delicious for me is a staple! Bookmark all your websites online so that you can access them anywhere and you can share them with others. The Gateway drug into Social Networking and where I tend to start when trying to explain Social Networking to teachers.

Twitter is again my favorite microblogging site. It's power is well documented a few times a week on CNN it seems. My most powerful network is there. I often still lurk around and listen in, often I ask questions and occasionally I try to add to my network.

Plurk was the one site I thought would replace Twitter for me. Your posts are contained in one thread so you can easily look back and see what others have added to anything you posted or responded to. My network is stronger on Twitter and I've had a hard time (probably finding time) to balance both. I still try to go onto Plurk, but have drastically dropped my usage in there.

Then comes Facebook. I still have no good reason why I don't use this more. Even my wife is on Facebook! And making friends with my co-workers and friends. As I posted on Facebook from George Costanza, "My worlds are colliding!". I think this is the one network I use for mostly personal use. It is amazing how many friends and/or people I barely knew growing up and going through college that I've connected with. With the pure numbers I really can't figure out why I don't use FB more? Maybe just because I want to improve at my job I stick with more professional networks, even though on all of those I do post about the recent bug going through the Carls house or what great new thing the kids have done.

That reminds me, I'm also a member of LinkedIn.

The battle I've seen is Twitter vs Plurk and even though a few months ago I was ready to write my "Dear John" letter to Twitter, I think for me Twitter gets me the info I need and the steady responses. I like the setup of Plurk more (even though I still think the timeline goes backwards), but Twitter is how I start my day. I find out what is new in the educational world and find great links, plus I usually get answers to questions I post.

The downside to Twitter, it does take a bit of time to build that network. @lizbdavis just posted this weekend 7 Twitter tips for new Twits tweeting to Twitter. If you followed all of that, then you are more of an expert than I.

Oh wait, then I got a tweet from @zmanrdz about the Top 10 tips for using Twitter and what is this? A Wetpaint wiki about using Twitter in the classroom!

What social networks work best for you?


Delicious and Twitter, then Ning Groups like the Voicethread for Educators Ning Group I've created, SMARTBoard Revolution Ning Group which just passed 1000 members and then Classroom 2.0. There are other Global Collaboration Groups I visit from time to time as well as long as groups for conferences like NYSCATE and NECC.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


How would you start to teach someone about Web 2.0?
I would use delicious.com
Everyone has a favorite website, most know how to save a bookmark on their computer. Why not share it worth the world? Or at least keep your bookmarks online for you to find from anywhere.
Still not big on Diigo. Delicious is simple and works great for me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Netbook trial with HPMini 2133

Trying out my first Netbook: HPMini 2133

HP Mini 2133 I was using.

First off, I'll state that I am not an expert at evaluating computers....by any means! However, I did want to write down some of my thoughts about the HP Mini 2133 that I've used lately from a friend. I will also state that I'm writing this blog post and the previous one on the HP Mini.

This HP Mini came with Vista as the operating system, Microsoft Office 2007, 1GB of RAM and VIA C7-M processor (1.2 ghz).

My original thoughts revolved around the difficulty of the smaller keyboard and just trying to acquire a wireless signal and move to my normal websites. It did take some time to get both under control. Just like anything, the keyboard takes a little getting used to, and to date, I've only erased one e-mail because of pudgy fingers. Actually, I think my biggest problem is the base of my thumb hitting the front of the keyboard = "I have chubby hands"

Once I got connected to my wireless, I noticed that is seemed very slow, I mean Dialup slow! It took quite a long time to get Lotus Notes to load. Then, as I tried to open up six tabs (not out of the ordinary for me), it definately ran slower. As I continued to use it with a wireless connection, the more I realized it did run slow (see Dialup comment above). And forget about YouTube or on-line videos. However, for now, I can deal with it because of the nice travel size. But, I couldn't use it for everyday unless that drastically improves.

After playing with this HP Mini, my other three biggest concerns are: the memory, the durability (I'm not dropping this to to find out), and why buy Vista now? It appears Windows7 will be replacing Vista in the near future, and there is always a Linux option that would keep the price down. Personally, I think the next few months will see a huge boom in netbooks and prices getting back to $200 with OpenSource components. As I was trying it out, I sent a tweet out to Twitter and got this response from @tomgrissom about a $200 netbook in development.

I think this is nice to use, but I'm not 100% sold. I've never used an Asus Eee PC used in the OLPC project, but I do think these netbooks will continue to improve: memory/speed as technology changes. Someday, you'll see a picture of me with my glasses and big HP laptop and laugh.....kind of like how I laugh at pictures of the first walkietalkies....I mean cellphones!

Photo courtesy of: http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/recycle/Cellphones.html

Thoughts and corrections, always welcome.