Showing posts from October, 2008

On the Precipice of Change: 3 Obstacles to Technology Use in K-12

“Let’s talk about 3 obstacles,” shared one executive director in a conversation that I had the opportunity to participate in, “that keep you from doing what you want to accomplish in Instructional Technology.” What a great opener for a conversation about district-level initiatives! We are often stopped by obstacles that we perceive. Warren Greshes’ shares that for most people, there are 3 obstacles that they just cannot get around (Source: Read More) . Those obstacles include 1) Fear of failure; 2) Other People telling you that it can’t be done; and 3) Old habits that keep us back. As I reflect on the question, and Warren Greshes’ 3 obstacles, I had to ask myself, what are some perceptions that stop the bulk of Texas educators from integrating technology into their work? We all know that there are individual successes, but what about the rest? Greshes shares that fear of failure is the “single biggest obstacle to our success.” In Instructional Technology, it may very well be defined a…

Best of Both Worlds

Are you a brand new Intel Mac user? I am. After using Windows and GNU/Linux exclusively for the last five years, I was persuaded to buy one of the new Intel-based Macbooks. Like teachers and students in Ysleta ISD who are experiencing the “best of both worlds” with their new dual-platform Macbooks, I am exploring the possibilities. This installment of Download a la Mode focuses on experiencing the best of both worlds, and recommends Macintosh specific software for first-time users. With one $15 exception, all of it is free, open source or freeware you can use. In addition to programs listed in response to the questions below, I have also added a bonus list of must-have applications for Mac users in the sidebar, Must-Have Mac Apps. QuestionsSome of the specific questions addressed in this issue include the following: How do I run Windows XP (or GNU/Linux) on my Macbook? How do I get my Mac to play proprietary audio formats? How do I convert WMA audio files to MP3 format? How do I get r…

Mac Software Worth Buying

As I walked the streets of a small Latin American town this summer, street vendors sold Spanish translations of movies such as the recently released Pirates of the Caribbean 3—not to mention John Wayne’s The Commancheros. Each item on display in Santiago, Panama cost only $1. As I walked on, staring incredulously at the CDs arrayed on the cheap wood table, I noticed that audio CDs were also available. While uniformed police stood in the shadows, passers-by stepped up and paid their one dollar and picked up a plastic sleeve encased CD labelled with a permanent marker. As I watched the street sellers display their “warez,” I had to wonder how these sellers decided on which items would be ripped and sold in public streets. Would their selection system be based on the quality and cost of the software or other factors? What software would I choose to share if I were one of these street sellers? How would I choose what was worthy of being stolen? Or, rather to give it a positive spin, what …

Crafting Digital Tales and More with Web-based Tools

Introduction“What if creating, sharing, and getting feedback,” I asked, “on your digital stories was free, easy, and didn’t require loading software on your computer?” Technology Applications:TEKS (TA:TEKS) teachers attending an August workshop on middle technology applications were some of the first teachers to find out in my school district. These teachers had a chance to see and use online digital storytelling tools. We threw out the curriculum, not because it wasn’t good, but because it’s important to find ways that engage our children using multiple forms of media—text, audio, video, etc. However, finding the right tools to use on older computers—ranging from Windows 98 to Windows XP—is a significant obstacles. Even though you can find digital storytelling—or creation—tools for every platform, it’s important to revisit old questions. For example, here are some of the no-cost tools that folks are using for digital storytelling on various computers: Windows 98: Memories on the Web …

Diigo the Web for Education - From TeleGatherer to TelePlanter with Diigo

This email floated in one day last week. Once again I come to you with a grave concern. During this revamp of our current curriculum, we are trying to encourage both students and teachers to read, reflect, and write. I am trying to find and share resources on Greek mythology for my teachers. Is there an easy way to do that? The answer is a definite YES that does not involve creating a single web page, wiki, blog or anything like that. You can use a no-cost social bookmarking tool known as Diigo to get the job done. This article shares how you can use the Diigo social bookmarking tool in education. This article is organized in 3 sections: How to become a global tele-gatherer with Diigo. 10 ways to Diigo the Web for Education Share Your Daily Gathering Let’s start diigo-ing! Hunters and GatherersWith the advent of Web 2.0, hundreds of tools are available. But you only need one to get started annotating and sharing resources you find on the Web. As Dr. Judi Harris shared long ago (http:/…