Showing posts from February, 2010

Differing Perspective on Tech in Schools

Do you agree with Nina's comment that our students need to learn how to live in the real world with digital tools accessible there? Does blocking access to those tools in school hurt them in the long run?

I am one of those "Most Fortunate" teachers who have the freedom to pursue my passion of teaching this generation with the tools they understand because of the structure and support... I am not a veteran teacher, this being my fifth year as the technology teacher for the intermediate school, but I am a veteran parent. I have a nine year old that I am convinced would have been diagnosed as autistic at two years of age. My husband said something to me that I will never forget, and I think applies to the situation discussed in your blog. "He has got to LEARN to LIVE in the REAL WORLD."Our students live in the real world. It is my job, and I take it very seriously, to make sure they LEARN to live in the real world by teaching them how to be responsible with the pri…

DiigoNotes - Using Bond Money to go high-tech

Consider that if SBOE has their way, these kinds of actions by districts will disappear...just like....


GCCISD uses ’05 bond to go high-tech
GCCISD uses ’05 bond to go high-tech
By Luke Hales

Published February 11, 2010
The Goose Creek CISD will spend more than $1.5 million to help Baytown kids learn lessons with new high-tech gear.
School board members have approved the purchases of educational software and hardware to help students develop their capabilities for the future job market.

Some of the funds will go toward enhancing existing technology and providing educators with greater flexibility in teaching through multimedia.
Funding for the purchases comes from a $10 million instructional technology bond passed in 2005.

The school district will spend $175,840 to extend for another year the contract for an online curriculum management system. The system tracks student performance data and allows …

DiigoNotes - Netbooks for 8th Graders

Bandera ISD Goes Digital
Bandera ISD Goes DigitalPlan Calls For Netbooks For Eighth-GradersJohn Honore, KSAT 12 News Reporter
Bandera Independent School District officials recognize that the digital world is changing rapidly and if students there are going to keep up, traditional ways of teaching aren't going to make the grade.
"Are we doing the very best we can do to prepare students to be successful for college and the world of work?" asked Bandera ISD superintendent Dr. Kevin Dyes.

This spring, the district is implementing the One-to-One Technology Initiative, where every eighth-grader gets a Netbook.
"If you look at the world of work, they're going to be working in a digital environment, where they're not going to be using a lot of paper," Dyes said. "They're going to be communicating digitally through e-mail and all of the other digital media that's out there."
Dyes said the plan is to eventually have grades 8-12 almost totall…

DiigoNotes - At tech-savvy DFW districts, netbooks are joining textbooks

At tech-savvy DFW districts, netbooks are joining textbooks | Schools | News from Fort W...
At tech-savvy DFW districts, netbooks are joining textbooks
Educators and school boards in North Texas are racing to equip their students with the essential tool of the 21st-century learner: laptop computers.
"We're excited that other districts want to try this, because we feel this really is the wave of the future," said Alice E. Owen, Irving's executive director of technology. "If we all keep working on this, it will get better and better over time."
The teens can use their Dell Latitude 2100 to access assignments, software and the Internet, but a filter prevents them from using certain social-networking sites at school, including Facebook, officials said.
Birdville schools are exploring the possibility of providing Apple laptop computers to students in grades 9 to 12.
The scho…

DiigoNotes - Crowley school administrators single out job cuts

Crowley school administrators single out job cuts to close budget gap | Schools | News f...Crowley school administrators single out job cuts to close budget gap By SHIRLEY School administrators have identified staff reductions that will be made in response to a $6 million budget shortfall. At Thursday night's meeting, trustees formalized their declaration of financial exigency, announced last month, which allows them to lay off employees despite contracts. Staff cuts will include two central office coordinators and a special-education supervisor. Other cuts include 21 elementary teachers, two middle school teachers, 101/2 high school teaching positions, and 121/2 strategically based teacher positions. Also targeted are a dyslexia specialist, 11 instructional technology teachers in elementary grades, a diagnostician position, a student information systems coordinator, a math coordinator/secretary position, an elementary science coordinator and an ombu…

Letting Go - Servers Gone Wild

One of my favorite Librivox recordings is a sermon entitled "Absolute Surrender." I listened to it one summer as I was driving to and from work. While I don't remember much, I suppose I was captivated by the title of "absolute surrender." It is an attractive concept of surrendering to a higher power...and the idea of just letting go can be liberating. I like this example of absolute surrender:
I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing, and that pen must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly.Is the technology in today's schools "absolutely surrendered" to the work of teaching and learning? The problem we have is that technology in schools isn't absolutely surrendered to us for the purposes of teaching and learning. We have to deal with the consequences of preventing inappropriate use so that technology isn'…

Engaging Administrators with EdTech

Are you in Texas and trying to get administration to better understand how to use technology in instructional settings? Then, definitely consider participating in the LOTI Professional Administrator Program advertised below...having gone through it myself, I can highly recommend it!

Get printable PDF flyer or click on the images below to see them full-size.

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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

BlogNotes - Create Ripples not Splashes

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Thanks to Paul Cornies (Quoteflections) for sharing his insights at this blog entry.

quoteflections: Create Ripples not Splashes
Create Ripples not Splashes
Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation, (Everyone is Connected; Connect your Business to Everyone), emphasizes that "we are all a click (or a pixel) away from one another."
-Your brand is not what you say it's what Google says it is. Consequently take care how you develop your brand.
- Mass brands are being overtaken by personal brands which connect to very specific niche content and media.
- Embrace community as the new currency.
- The Five C's of Entrepreneurship 2.0...Connecting, Creating, Conversations, Community, Commerce
- Create ripples not splashes...
- In the rise of the personal brand be yourself,..find your voice...
- Embrace your digital footprint...
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

BlogNotes - Grabbing Great Ideas

Over the last year (maybe longer), I've been citing tons of content in "DiigoNotes," which is really a way for me to keep track of what I'm reading online. I can't tell you how many times I've re-read my DiigoNotes--called that because I use the Diigo highlighting tool--to find relevant ideas and information to some timely topic.

Now, while I often find that in Blog entries I read, I seldom have time to weave them into conversations. Usually when I'm skimming Google Reader, I'll see patterns in the blog entries that appear and can easily juxtapose those...but "easily" takes time. Sometimes, I just want to grab the ideas and run, then reflect later. Since my blog serves as a scrapbook of content, as well as a place to share what I'm learning, I'm launching a new approach which is entitled "BlogNotes."

Yes, this means I'll be using Di…

@TCEA TechEdge Editor Responds

TCEA TechEdge's Editor, Marisol Valdez, took the time to respond to my wild, out of the blue questions that appeared in this blog entry entitled,TCEA and TechEdge New Policy. I appreciate Lori Gracey (Executive Director) and Marisol Valdez (Communications Director) for giving this their attention!

Note that Marisol states that the new TCEA web site should be out later this week!!

I've included Marisol's response in its entirety below for your reading:

Hello Miguel:I hope this email finds you well.I have addressed the questions you sent Lori regarding the TechEdge. See below.Will TechEdge continue to feature writers from Texas, or will it pull a "Tech & Learning" approach and grab content from the web to fill the magazine? Currently there are no plans to pull content from the web to fill the magazine. We will continue to seek writers from Texas as well as across the US.. We want to reach out to other resources to provide our readers with different perspectives …

MoodleTip - Embedding AnimotoVideo in #Moodle

Problem: Does anyone have the steps or information on embedding animoto videos into Moodle? or can you do this with the free version? Thank you in advance for the information.Solution (includes video)

View Video Tutorial

Embedding content, especially video content, is pretty straightforward in Moodle. However, before getting started, you'll probably want to check a few things. Those things include:

Are your Moodle installation's Security->Site Policies set to allow Embedding of Code as displayed in the image below?
Are your Multimedia Filters turned on? While these aren't necessary for Animoto, they can be useful for other projects. Check the image below:
All that done, you're ready to embed the code from Animoto--which is available through their VideoToolbox--as shown in my rough-cut video below:

Below is an "old" MoodleTips on embedding's specific to other tools besides Animoto. I hope it's useful to you:

VoiceThread …

Erecting Instructional Roadblocks

At a training a year or so ago, teachers attending training on reading/writing notice that they were devoid of technology connections. When they shared the materials with me, I noticed something.

One of the books they're passing out in Reading/English Language Arts workshops is Nanci Atwell's The Reading Zone. This is one I hadn't read yet, even though I was an avid reader and practitioner of Atwell's In the Middle Reading/Writing Workshop in my own teaching. So, I cracked it open and stumbled across this paragraph.
In fact, a more useful lesson about the connections that story readers make, as we're reading, is one that helps students decide how to respond to them. I ask my kids, "When you're reading a story, do you ever bump yourself out of the zone because something in the book sparks a thought or memory?" and follow up with, "If so, how do you respond to the bump?". . .these occasions when we read like writers:we pay attention to the way…

DiigoNotes - The Writing Workshop (Part 1)

Here are my notes from The Writing Workshop by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi.

Most kids experience schools as a series of tasks, dittos, assignments, tests--things that are administered to them. Writing workshop turns the table and puts kids in charge...engage in responsive teaching rather than relying on present lesson plans.Writing workshop puts kids on the spot and makes them responsible for their learning."Flow": optimal learning condition for human beings according to Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is when an individual enters a "flow zone" in which s/he loses track of time and becomes totally engaged in the task...Create conditions that allow students to occupy the zone when they can work/play with language, and learn as they do it.Students need to have frequent, predictable time set aside for them to write. Minimum of 3 days, 1 hour each. 4-5 days is better.Conditions:Student choice is prevalent.Students decide when a piece of writing is fin…

DiigoNotes -The Case for Literature


Is Nanci Atwell, whose book In the Middle helped me structure my reading/writing workshops in my years as a writing teacher, living in fantasy land? That is, is Nanci's experience as a teacher dramatically different than what is actually happening in schools today?

Consider that in some school districts, the work of Nanci Atwell, Lucy Calkins, Donald Graves, Kirby and Liner, Kenneth Koch finds its way onto teacher shelves, but the ideas go unimplemented. In conversation with one school district language arts director in central Texas, the ideas espoused in the article below are completely unrelated to what is happening in classrooms today. The only idea that was recognizable in the miasma of monotonous teaching that is ongoing in language arts indoctrination centers was this:
Many teachers who recognize the power of stories to create readers are doing all they can to squeeze time for independent reading into mandat…

Awesome Highlighter...Not Yet Ready

Someone asked, is Awesome Highlighterthe same thing as Diigo Highlighter? In short, the answer is NO.

While it's nice, allowing you to highlight, you can't send items highlighted directly to your blog, GoogleChrome add-on isn't available (one for Firefox is, though), copy to clipboard didn't work for me (using Firefox).

And, here's what the output looks like:

Maybe they'll improve....

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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

San Antonio Writing Project Summer Institute 2010

Participate in the San Antonio Writing Project Summer Institute 2010...More information online.

We are pleased to announce the San Antonio Writing Project’s fourth Invitational Summer Institute, to be held on the campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The San Antonio Writing Project (SAWP), housed in the Graduate School of Education, is a collaborative program between the University of Texas at San Antonio, the National Writing Project, and San Antonio area schools. Not only will SAWP be a vital resource for teachers and area schools in the arena of writing, but it will also serve as a model of professional development and excellence, teacher leadership, and reform. The SAWP Invitational Summer Institute is at the heart of the project, and with the experience and guidance of the National Writing Project, we can be clear about its purposes: to identify successful teachers of writing across all curriculum areas in San Antonio area schools and colleges who will be effective teac…

DiigoNotes - HB 4294 Summary

HB 4294 Summary
House  Bill  4294  amends  the  Education  Code  to  require  each  school  district  and open-enrollment charter school to certify annually to the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the commissioner of education that, for each subject in the foundation curriculum and each grade level, the district provides each student with textbooks, electronic textbooks, or instructional materials that cover all elements of the essential knowledge and skills adopted by the SBOE for that subject and grade level. The bill authorizes the state textbook fund to be used to purchase technological equipment necessary to support the use of electronic textbooks or instructional material included on the adopted list or any textbook or material approved by the SBOE. The bill requires the commissioner to adopt a list of electronic textbooks and instructional material, including tools, models, and investigative materials designed for use in the foundation curriculum for science in kindergarten thr… Makes the Link

Thanks to for the link back--"linktribution"--regarding the report about Fort Worth ISD and financial exigency!

And, of course, I do encourage you to keep up with Texas education events by reading

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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

DiigoNotes - Mobile Broadband

Chairman Genachowski's Remarks,"Mobile Broadband: A 21st Century Plan for U.S. Competitiveness, Innovation and Job Creation"at the New America Foundation.

Prepared Remarks of
Chairman Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
New America Foundation
Washington, D.C.
February 24, 2010

"Mobile Broadband:
A 21st Century Plan for U.S. Competitiveness, Innovation and Job

The challenge is:  we are lagging behind when it comes to broadband.

Multiple studies have the U.S. ranked outside the top 10 when it comes
to broadband penetration and speed. While some people take exception
with those studies, few would suggest that we are leading the world in
broadband, or are even as close as we should be.

the rest of the world is not sitting around waiting for us to catch up.

Consider a study that Intel CEO Paul Ottelini described yesterday.  The
study ran…

Texas Board of Education Thwarts Bond Funding of Technology

Well, they haven't done it yet, but the work is in progress. The problem? Simply, school districts pass bonds to buy stuff. Sometimes, that stuff is technology. In fact, for many districts, this is the ONLY way they are able to bring in updated technology to their school districts. The timeline is cited as follows:
"The committee will likely continue discussing these and otherpossible changes to the bond-guarantee program at its monthlymeeting on Feb. 19 in preparation for presenting the full SBOEwith recommendations for a first reading vote in March. Finalreading would likely occur in May, with implementation of anyresulting new rules set for June." (Source: Email shared with Texas Technology Directors citing "Texas Education News")A Texas educator wrote the following; I've anonymized the email:

Please be aware that the State Board of Education is currently trying to pass an initiative that would limit the use of bond funds to only items that can be specific…

Teacher Breaks the Rules

Breaking the rules isn't all bad. However, what happens when a teacher does what Tami Brass says in this comment on my blog entry, "My Teacher Made Me Do It?" In that blog entry, I share the example of teachers who encourage students to sign up for email accounts or web services that they are under-age...without parent consent, as if that would make it any better. Tami writes:
I've struggled with this issue more than once. The arguments I get from teachers are "nobody reads the user agreements anyway", "kids do it all the time", "nobody actually checks this stuff", and "they all have Facebook pages before they're 13".... Drives me crazy. I spend a big chunk of time helping kids to get it and do training with parents a couple of times per year, but getting teachers and administrators to get it is another thing. It's somewhat comforting to know I'm not the only one facing the issue. In a follow-up tweet, Tami asks a qu…

DiigoNotes - Finances Cut to the Bone in Texas

Senate panel gets stark forecast on school finances | Texas Legislature | News from Fort...

Senate panel gets stark forecast on school finances
"Texas school districts are facing tough decisions unparalleled in my 20 years as a superintendent," said Richard Middleton, legislative chairman of the Texas Association of School Administrators, to members of the Senate Education Committee.
Escalating costs are leaving many districts with a growing budget shortfall, seriously impairing their ability to provide services.
"I know right now all our school districts are looking at cost-cutting measures," said Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, a member of the commitee.
Middleton, who is superintendent of the North East Independent School District in San Antonio, cited a litany of factors affecting costs that include rising utility and transportation expenses, expanding enrollments and state-mandated salary increases.
"I've got to make decisions on what to eliminate or what to…

DiigoNotes - Banning CellPhones

Thanks to Will Richardson and The Innovative Educator for sharing this info!

The Innovative Educator: The Three Important Lessons Banning Cell Phones Teaches Kids
In his post “I lost something very important to me” Will Richardson shares three important lessons that banning cells teaches kids. They are:
1-It teaches them that they don’t deserve to be empowered with technology the same way adults are.
2-Tools that adults use all the time in their everyday lives to communicate are not relevant to their own communication needs.
3-They can’t be trusted (or taught, for that matter) to use phones appropriately in school.
I recently had a cell phone enriched lesson plan shared with me (stay tuned, will be posted shortly) by a secondary teacher who is empowering students to harness the power of cell phones in their learning. And guess what happened when he did? They came up with their own list of appropriate use.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Solving Hard Drive Duplication Problem

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Ever wanted to duplicate a hard drive? A colleague in Oklahoma shared this hard drive duplication problem...

I have a technical problem I am sure one of you has run into:
I am attempting to clone a drive.  I have two identical drives.  I usedGhost 2003 to clone the drive.The drive is partitioned into 2 partitions.The 1st partition, Drive C is active.The 2nd partition, Drive D is not.It has a multi boot system: Win 98 and Win XP Pro.Win 98 boots fine.Win XP Pro will boot to the login screen and then immediately logs out.If I boot into safe mode, the same thing happens.Safe mode to a command prompt, same thing.When I use the repair option on my XP CD, it boots into the D: Drive wherethe windows files are.I can't use FDisk to set the D: drive active because it is NTFS.

And, while I offered the following as a possible solution, I'm not entirely positive it w…