Sunday, July 29, 2012

Goodbye #Moodle Mayhem!

Over the last few years, I've tried to consolidate all my resources for Moodle in one place--MoodleMayhem.org (domain expired). Unfortunately, I haven't made time to keep those resources up to date and they've ended up getting a bit stale and old.

As a result, I've decided to stop paying for the MoodleMayhem.org domain name. Note that you can still get to the web site by going to http://bit.ly/moodlemayhem

Do I still think Moodle is the best tool for the job? The answer depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

These days, I'd rather encourage classroom teachers and campus/district admins to consider something like Edmodo for creating online virtual spaces where teachers and students can interact. Simply, it appears easier and many folks are adopting it as a solution that your school district doesn't have to maintain for lots of users. The feature set isn't as rich as Moodle, of course.

I still recommend Moodle as a tool for use for in-house professional learning. There simply are no competitors available at the same cost as Moodle that can provide this service and you have lots of control over content delivery.

Please remember you can still find the resources online at http://bit.ly/moodlemayhem, access the MoodleMayhem email list, and join the Facebook Group for MoodleMayhem!

Goodbye, MoodleMayhem!




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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review - Scourge of the Betrayer @jeffsalyards


"A writer without curiosity is like a bird without feathers" has to be one of my most favorite lines ever, and it appears in Jeff Salyard's debut novel, The Scourge of the Betrayer, a sword-n-sorcery tale featuring as protagonist, a boy scribe. The young writer journeys with soldiers on a mission, his job is simple -- chronicle the journey, a trek that poses questions at every turn, leaving the reader hungry for more at the last page...check it out on Amazon.
Author Jeff Salyards - Catch him on Twitter @jeffsalyards

When I picked this hardback off the shelf at the library--my niece was checking out the big books in the children's area under supervision--my hope was that it would entertain for a short time, not commit a compelling cast of characters to memory and leave me anxious for a sequel.

Here's the source of Jeff's inspiration:

I’ve always been fascinated by embedded journalists. Chronicling a military campaign right in the middle of the action rather than second- or third-hand, at a safe remove. It’s hard to get more visceral than that—dust in the face, grit in the teeth, adrenaline thumping, shadows jumping, blood splattering immediacy, all while trying to just stay alive long enough to somehow give what happened some kind of coherency.
Whether book or article, writing is often a solitary, quiet affair, but writing front and center on a military endeavor changes the whole ball game.


Being a self-professed geek (at least 12th level), I naturally take observations like this and start plugging them into a fantasy scenario. How would this play out with a quill and ink on a different world, and how could I complicate it to make such a chronicler’s life even more hellish than anything your modern embedded journalist might endure?


I highly recommend the book!

Cross-posted to Amazon.com


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Dwell in Possibility #txtia12

The following was my keynote slidedeck for the LoneStar TIA 2012 Conference held earlier this week:



Relevant Links
  1. "I dwell in possibilities" - Emily Dickinson and analysis
  2. InfoGraphic: Are We Wired for Mobile Learning?
  3. 5 Ways Twitter Has Changed Education
  4. Humans are Social Animals
  5. InfoGraphics: 
    1. Leveraging Technology for K-12 Education
    2. Students Like Social Media
  6. Relationships Matter: Miguel's Take-Aways from David Truss
  7. The Burning Bush - Flammable Education Policy
  8. This is not about YouTube - United Breaks Guitars
  9. What the Future Holds (Bill Rust, Gartner Group)
  10. Straight from the DOE - Children's Internet Protection Act
  11. Content Curation
    1. Content Curation - Beth Kanter
    2. Top 5 Content Curation Tools (Miguel Guhlin)
    3. Share Evernote Notebooks to Twitter, Facebook, etc. via RSS
    4. Content Curation on the iPad
    5. When Educators Become Curators - Catspyjamas
  12. Content Consumption
    1. Flipboard Intro Video by Wes Fryer (SpeedofCreativity.org)
  13. New Research on Rigorous PBL


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JobPosting - Instructional Tech Coordinator - Closes 7/26/2012

TIME-SENSITIVE - JULY 26, 2012
Dallas ISD has posted: Instructional Technology Coordinator position (posting closes 7/26/2012)
You can access the information online at http://goo.gl/W5qAU.
A copy of the information is listed below: 
QUALIFICATIONS
Bachelor's Degree (Master's Degree in Educational Technology preferred) from an accredited university; valid Texas teaching certification
Technology Applications certification preferred
Seven years of directly related experience
Exemplary strategic and operational planning skills
Ability to meet the communication diversity of the community, district staff members and the public
Ability to provide leadership
Knowledgeable of district initiatives and current trends in research, planning and teaching strategies
Expertise in the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluating of projects and programs
 
BASIC FUNCTIONS
Assist principal(s) and campus committees with planning of technology training, implementation of technology plans, and selection of technology equipment and software
Share effective technical and instructional strategies with teachers for the effective use of technology in the classroom
Provide training opportunities, both online and face to face, for all campus and district staff
Oversee development of curriculum for all secondary technology application courses
Oversee development and alignment of technology applications ACPs
Encourage collaboration in the secondary technology applications through SIG meetings
Serve as liaison to outside vendors that provide support for technology equipment and materials
Prepare periodic status reports related to assigned functions
Keep abreast of technical, legislative, and professional trends and developments related to educational technology
Perform all other tasks and duties as assigned
 
Minimum      Midpoint     Maximum 
 $44,000        $59,842        $75,684


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Job Posting - District Technical Specialist

Find out more online about the District Technical Specialist position in Friendswood ISD
Major Responsibilities and Duties: 

1. Install, maintain, upgrade, troubleshoot, and repair laptops, desktops, servers, peripherals, and application software. 


2. Install, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair wired and wireless network components. 

3. Manage Directory Objectives 

4. Manage call reporting by interaction with help-desk management application. 

5. Facilitate relocation of one to several systems within the district. 

6. Support staff with setup of peripherals, including educational technology devices (Interactive 
Whiteboards, projectors, etc.)
 
7. Assist with technology related purchases



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Managing Mobile #iPad #BYOT #BYOD

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to share the following presentation with conference participants at the LoneStar Technology Integration Academy:



Resources
  1. Learning with the iPad (what it looks like in a school district)
  2. 5 Awesome Examples of How Students Can Use iBooks Author for Learning
  3. Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) Criteria for Success
  4. BYOD/T Roundup of Resources (including Responsible Use Agreements and/or Policies)
  5. iPad Cornucopia - Podcast Wisdom from 4 Texas School Districts on Mobile Device Management
  6. Figuring It Out: BYOD Leadership
  7. Banishing the Winter of Digital Discontent - Addressing Common Concerns about iPads as Computer Lab Replacements
  8. Responding to 20 iPad Implementation Questions
  9. Connect your Apple TV to Anything
  10. Content Curation on the iPad
  11. iPad Internet Browser Comparison
  12. Do It YourSelf iPad Sync/Charge Cart
  13. Embracing Heresy - iPads vs Computer Labs
  14. Part 1 - iPad Deployment - Do Over.
  15. Part 2 - Carts, Cases, and Peripherals, Oh My!
  16. 3 Tips on Flipping Your Classroom with iPads
  17. 5 Tips to Protect Data on iPad and Android Devices


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Get Progressive

Source: http://i1.allaboutvision.com/i/progressive-lens-zones-2-324x184.jpg

These past few months, I've had entirely no fun switching between my "see far" pair of glasses and my "reading" glasses. In fact, it's been a pain, especially in multiple meetings I participate in. When the eye-doctor asked me, "Would you like Progressives?" I immediately said, "No." I answered out of ignorance and preconceived notions.

Examining that decision a few months later, I asked myself, "Why?" Why was I so quick to say no? Here's my list of my preconceived notions...why I decided to stick with two pairs of glasses--one for reading, the other for far away:
  1. I'd been working with two pairs of glasses for the previous two years and 2-pairs just worked for me. When I was doing close-up work, I'd wear the reading glasses. If I was driving, I'd wear the far-away glasses.
  2. I was comfortable with the way things were working.
  3. I didn't think the progressive lenses would work all that well with 3 different types of viewing available in each lens--far away, medium range, and close-up.
  4. I thought my prescription change wouldn't be that big of a change...in other words, my eyes hadn't changed all that much.
  5. I didn't ask the eye-doctor to explain the benefits of progressives over what I was doing, but I admit that his question, "Are you sure?" continued to nag me. I simply didn't know better.
As I reflect on this list of worthless reasons for NOT getting progressive lenses--which I'm wearing now and delighting in, having finally given into the nagging--I can't help but make connections between my failure to embrace a new technology because I was comfortable with the old, not realizing that the requirements had switched so subtly over time.

Subtle changes over time necessitate new technologies. What other changes have crept up on me that require new technologies? Hmm....




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Stuck Behind a Turtle - Breathe Life into Winter


Are you "stuck behind a turtle?" It's a quaint phrase that observes that innovative minds may often get bogged down, stuck behind a slow moving organization. When I reflect on much of the frustration in my professional career, I realize that it involves organizations that are slow to change, moving like turtles when they need to be a bit more nimble and quick. Another reason is some times I'm not as innovative as I need to be!
Turtle Creation Myth from the Iroquois (Image Source)

Of course, this comparison brings to mind the Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare. But these are sufficiently different ideas. While I love turtle stories, including the turtle creation myth and the Aesop's fable, I find the concept of being stuck behind a turtle to be an apt analogy for technology educators stuck in slow-changing K-16 schools.

"Everyone knew you were always 'stuck behind a turtle,'" shared a colleague earlier this week when I remarked I'd embraced a new job. When I reflect on this, another insight hits me--when you're stuck behind a turtle, how do you react? And, if you're reacting, how do you regain the initiative?

In the Iroquois Turtle Creation Myth, one of the Sky People--a woman--is cast down (because she was going to have twins) to Earth, where two birds catch her and the animals make a home for her and all of creation on the back of a turtle. She has two sons, Sapling and Flint. The former is "good," creating life that was helpful to humans. The other son, Flint, is "bad," trying to undo the good things his brother has done. Sapling gives life even to those things that are bad, so that they can find another way (such as giving life to Winter so it can move and become Spring).

As I reflect on my past experiences being stuck behind a turtle, I wonder how I could have been more of a Sapling--perhaps less a "sap" haha--than a Flint? It may be too late to change the facts, but there's always tomorrow. The duality in this Creation Myth reminds me of Dick Westley's Redemptive Intimacy and his view of the two stories of creation we find in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

In the first (Adam I), humans are out to dominate and control. In the second (Adam II), the focus is on nurturing and embracing our differences within the context of community. How we interact with others often seems the subject for human creation stories, explaining why we act the way we do. Often, these choices break down to one or the other, an either/or that leaves one the hero or the villain.

As human beings, we have many choices available to us...in the future, I hope that when I'm stuck behind the turtle, I'll find a way to transcend being a hero or villain...and, display the kind of innovation schools need to succeed.
Image Source: http://www.knowonder.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/innovation-turtle-on-wheels.jpg



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JobPosting - Eduphoria Support Person in Conroe ISD


Conroe is hiring an additional Eduphoria support person to do end-user support and training.  See the job posting online at:
https://jobs.conroeisd.net/jobs/Jobpost.exe



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JobPosting - Coordinator of Instructional Technology



Irving ISD immediate opening - Coordinator of Instructional Technology:
Click here for more info and online application.

REPORTS TO:  Program Director,             PAY GRADE:  Salary Schedule E
                            Instructional Technology                              (230 Days)

DEPARTMENT:  Teaching & Learning   WAGE/HOUR STATUS:  Exempt


PRIMARY PURPOSE:  Coordinate instructional technology-related products and processes for campuses in the district. Support, train, and provide staff development for the campus Instructional Technology Specialists. Provide support for and facilitate instructional technology initiatives at the administrative level.

QUALIFICATIONS:

Minimum Education/Certification: 
  •  Master’s degree
  • Valid Texas Teacher Certificate
Special Knowledge/Skills
  • Proficiency in Technology Applications standards
  • Online and Blended learning
  • Data Management
  • Fluency in curriculum and online assessment systems
  • Knowledge of integration of technology into curriculum, including LoTi framework
  • Excellent communication, public relations, and organizational skills
  • Ability to train adult learners
  • Ability to pick up new technology skills quickly
 Minimum Experience
  • Minimum of three (3) years of successful experience as a classroom teacher
  • Experience in staff development with adult computer users required
  • One (1) year experience as an Instructional Technology Specialist preferred
 MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:

 Instructional Management:
1.      Support the campus Instructional Technology Specialists and campus needs
         in relation to instructional technology
2.      Implement, train, and support instructional technology applications
3.      Support teachers by modeling best practices and coaching them through
        implementation processes

School/Organizational Climate:
4.      Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with campus and
        department personnel to promote the effective use of technology
5.      Identify problems with district or campus-wide problems in data reporting and
        essential systems and move to resolve as quickly as possible

School/Organizational Improvement:
6.       Plan and provide district-wide staff development, working collaboratively with
         content area coordinators and Staff Development
7.      Monitor and maintain Online Content and Applications 
8.       Assist in managing online assessments
9.       Coordinate technology integration into TEKS curriculum
10.    Coordinate implementation of  technology application TEKS
11.    View and evaluate new products or services as requested

Personnel Management:
12.    Identify Instructional Technology Specialists in need of assistance and provide
        support through campus visits and individual instruction
13.    Identify and encourage teachers who have the skills to provide staff
        development for instructional technology applications and/or who could
        potentially assume leadership roles as Instructional Technology Specialists

Student Management:
14.   Provide assistance to campus staff as may be requested in developing
       guidelines for student use of technology

School/Community Relations:
15.  Work with vendors or database administrators to quickly resolve issues with
        technology that may arise
16.   Plan and implement annual projects such as Technology Media Fair
17.   Serve on District Committees as required or requested.

Professional Growth and Development:
18.   Keep informed of current technologies and of possible instructional
        implications for evolving technologies

SUPERVISORY RESPONSBILITIES: 
Assist with supervision and evaluation of the following professionals and paraprofessionals:
  • Instructional Technology Specialists

WORKING CONDITIONS:

Mental Demands/Physical Demands/Environmental Factors:   Must maintain emotional control and exercise reasoning and problem solving skills while under stress. Must demonstrate ability to communicate effectively (verbal and written). Should be able to interpret procedures and analyze data for decision-making. Occasional prolonged and irregular hours.

Safety:  Perform all duties in a safe and responsible manner.  Observe all safety precautions.

The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and foregoing statements describe the general purpose and responsibilities assigned to this job and are not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills that may be required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.



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Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure