Showing posts from March, 2010

DiigoNotes - State Leaders on Open Source

Source: State Leaders Weigh In on Open Source Assessment -- THE JournalState Leaders Weigh In on Open Source AssessmentBy Scott Aronowitz03/29/10 Open source assessments have great potential for cost savings, collaboration, and standards adoption, but there are also some perception barriers that stand in the way of wider adoption The report, entitled "A Report on Education Leaders' Perceptions of Online Testing in an Open Source Environment," From among the 43 state leaders interviewed, the company divided respondents into three usage categories: those from states with widespread online administration of annual accountability assessments; those from states that have experimented with online testing, with limited participation; and those from states with limited or no experience yet with online testing. The 38 organization leaders were categorized by the organizations they represented: associations, coalitions, and foundations; state and national policy organizations; busin…

TCEA Adopts GoogleApps for Education

Image Source:

More districts and organizations are embracing GoogleApps for Education for use by students and staff alike. Earlier today, I was thrilled to learn of the Texas Computer Education Association's (TCEA) adoption of GoogleApps for Education. Published Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) documents are well worth reviewing:

GoogleApps for Education K-12 FAQGoogleApps for Education Overview
In a short email exchange today, Lori Gracey (Executive Director, TCEA) shared the following:
We were running Microsoft Exchange 2003 on an outdated server and had started having problems with our email system hanging up every two or three days. So we knew that some change would have to be made. Matt investigated the options available to us, which pretty much boiled down, after some discussion, to upgrading the server and software to run the newest version of Exchange or going to Google. While we were very familiar and comfortable…

Kevin Honeycutt in Texas

Image Source:

TEC SIG Spring 2010 Meeting
With Featured Speaker Kevin Honeycutt
April 22 and 23

Registration Fee $50
Register onlinethrough April 19

Hilton Austin
500 E. 4th Street
Austin, TX 78701

The Hilton Austinis offering a discounted room rate of $129for participants through April1.

Make reservations online at the following link and use group code TEC.

Reservations can also be made by phone (512) 482-8000; use group code TEC.

AGENDA: (Draft as of 3/22/10)
THURSDAY General Session & Keynote: SALON C8:00 Breakfast and Networking8:30 Welcome and General Info9:00  Intro of Keynote Speaker: Kevin Honeycutt10:30-11:45 Breakout 1: Four Concurrent Sessions11:45 Lunch & Voting for New Officers: Salon C12:45 - 2:00 Breakout 2: Four Concurrent Sessions2:15 - 3:30 Breakout 3: Four Concurrent Sessions3:30 SALON C:  ClosingFRIDAY:8:00 Breakfast and …

DiigoNotes - Data Shows Lack of Technology in K-12 Classrooms

View Source
National Speak Up Study Released on Capitol Hill: Data Shows Lack of Technology in K-12 Classrooms Limits Access to Educational Resources & Discourages Student Engagement A national survey of more than 368,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers and administrators documents the increasingly significant digital disconnect between the values and aspirations of students about how technology can improve the learning process and student outcomes, and the practices of teachers and administrators who are less comfortable with using technology in the classroom.  The findings of the 2009 Speak Up Survey, conducted by Project Tomorrow In response to this digital disconnect, according to the report, “K-12 students are increasingly taking responsibility for their own learning, defining their own education path through alternative sources, and feeling not just a right but a responsibility for creating personalized learning experiences.” Significant findings illustrated within the researc…

DiigoNotes - Interesting Book on Teaching Writing

This is a book I need to read! I find the idea of frames instead of writing process intriguing. Unfortunately, I couldn't download the podcast so will have to make time to play it online...I tried last week and fell asleep, but it was late at night after a long day! (smile)

Looking forward to it!

Source: Texas in the house with Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast on doing digital make-overs - TTT186 -02.10.10
Posted by Paul Allison on February 28th, 2010
On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers we were excited to have a conversation with Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast about their new book, Using Technology to Improve Adolescent Writing: Digital Make-Overs for Writing Lessons.

Stephens and Ballast guide teachers in how to successfully implement technology for writing across the curriculum and create engaging lesson plans. They outline four frames of writing–inside writing, responsive writing, purposeful writing, and social action writing–and present student-centered and inquiry-based r…

DiigoNotes - NWP in Central Texas

It's amazing what's going on around one and still remaining clueless...sigh. Fascinating stuff.Rising Star Liz Stephens : Home : Texas State UniversityEvery summer, across the nation, teachers assemble on college campuses to learn the best ways to teach writing. These summer institutes are part of the National Writing Project, a professional development network of kindergarten through college teachers. For four weeks, these teachers demonstrate their classroom practices, stretch their own writing skills, and above all, learn from each other. “We all believe in the model of teachers teaching teachers,” says Dr. Liz Stephens, director of the Central Texas Writing Project on the Texas State campus, one of 12 writing project sites statewide and 200 nationwide. All are on college and university campuses and are funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. When Stephens started the Central Texas Writing Project, there were only four National Writing Project sites in T…

One Board at a Time

"Good fences make good neighbors," goes the old proverb and line out of Robert Frost's poem. I've never understood it.  Does it mean the privacy afforded by the fence enables neighbors to keep to their own devices, free from scrutiny? I've never found THAT to be true. My neighbors seem to know what's going on in my yard, as much as I know about their's, fence or no fence. Does it means that the act of rebuilding the fence builds for greater camraderie? Hmm...I don't care for my neighbor on the other side of the fence above. The family is too large, and there were roosters crowing one year until the Omniscient, Omnipotent Homeowner's Association swooped down like a chicken hawk.

My fence--pictured above--needs mending and if I had the money, I'd have the powers that be tear it down and put up a new one, perhaps twice as tall to keep those nosy neighbors and their 4 legged critters out of my yard. But, I suspect that replacing a fence that'…

Writing Workshop Videos

A few interesting videos on facilitating writing workshop...they are all from YouTube so be warned you may not have access to them if you're at work. I've included a complete list of video URLs, though, in case you need to go through one of the many youtube video grabbers (be aware of copyright).

Writing Workshop Videos URLs:
Creating Stamina - To Teach a Writing Workshop - to Start a Writing Class - Blogging as Writing Instruction -

Subscribe to Around the

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 - Exploring Inquiry as a Teaching Stance in the Writing Workshop

The following notes are made from an article--Exploring Inquiry as a Teaching Stance in the Writing Workshop authored by Katie Wood Ray--shared with me today by Angie Zapata at the Heart of Texas Writing Project Spring Conference. Ms. Zapata provided copies of the article to the folks present.

My notes on Ms. Ray's article:

Preparing to launch a study of op-ed writing in a fifth-grade writing workshop, a teacher goes through newspapers looking for op-ed pieces by columnists who explore topics she thought might interest her students.Instructional Frame for inquiry about writing:Gather Texts - Teachers and students pull together writing students will do.Set the Stage - Students are told they will be expected to finish a piece of writing that shows the influence of the study.Immersion - Teacher/students spend time reading and getting to know the texts they'll study, making notes of what they notice about how the texts are written, and reflecting about the process writers use to c…

Moodle Mayhem Podcast #1 - About #Moodle

Thanks to co-host Diana Benner, you can now find the Moodle Mayhem web site's first podcast online.

Have a listen and be sure to visit the web site at

Subscribe to Around the

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

Flights of Fantasy - Heart of Texas Writing Project

Image Source:

Today, I had the opportunity to listen to 3 presentations at the Heart of Texas Writing Project. Below are my notes for one of them entitled "Flights of Fantasy," excellently facilitated by Angie Zapata, a graduate student and 3rd grade bilingual teacher in her 13th year.

Angie's session was intriguing to me because it focused on a genre of writing that I often select from book store and library shelves for my own pleasure reading. Given the choice between reading fantasy or almost any other genre--with the exception of books about writing--I select fantasy. In fact, after returning to "home neighborhood" I made my way to the library and grabbed a few fantasy books off the shelf for reading!

Beginning the session with self reflection on the "What does Fantasy mean to you?" Angie certainly had me thinking about the elements of my favorite genre. The discussion moved on t…

Poetry Pass - Heart of Texas Writing Project

Today, I had the opportunity to listen to 3 presentations at the Heart of Texas Writing Project. Below are my notes for one of them entitled "Poetry Pass: Exploring Poetic Style," facilitated by Lynn Masterson (University of Texas at Austin) and Julia Haug (McNeil High School, Roundrock, Tx).

Since teaching poetry is fun, especially for early writers and English as a second language learners, I always would make sure to work it in early on, building up to longer narrative pieces over time. In the presentation I had the good fortune to attend today, Lynn and Julia introduced me to Amy Buckner's Notebook KnowHow: Strategies for the Writers Notebook.

Julia pointed out that it included real world application of how you make the transition from notebook writing to drafting to publication. The session facilitators were quick to point out that while colleagues have an idea about, or are in awe of, poetry, few know how to teach it. For struggling readers, writers working with po…

Subversive in Our Midst

Image Source:
There are days I wake up and wonder, "What if...." What if I had not been tapped on the shoulder to take the lead in campus, district and regional professional development opportunities in the use of technology in K-16 schools? What if, instead of using technology as a tool to transform teaching, learning and leading, I had chosen to pursue a career as a simple teacher of reading and writing in 5th grade and 6th grade classrooms?

In the last year, I have often reflected on my early choices and what to do as an educator. Today, I sat next to a young gentleman, perhaps a score of years younger than me, who was garnering ideas for teaching poetry in his 7th grade classroom. And, having taught poetry in middle school, I shared with him the wonder of Kenneth Koch's Wishes, Lies and Dreams as well as Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? He was grateful, b…

Digitizing the Writing Workshop

A short time ago, I took notes on Troy Hicks' Digital Tools book. However, reflecting on my own experiences today with writing workshop, colleague Diana Benner and I came up with a few thoughts about digitizing the writing workshop.

On April 10th, we'll be sharing our ruminations with the Heart of Texas Writing Conference participants--which, by the way, has its first part tomorrow in Austin, Tx.

Some of the ideas that came up in the conversation, and my apologies for poor handwriting and poorly designed images:

This image below is my way of getting at the difference between digital tools and how they are used by teachers/facilitators to manage the writing workshop vs how they are used by students/writers.

The following is a description of my understanding of a matrix of tools and how they fit into the 4 main components of writing workshop, for example, using a digital audio recorder as the tech tool.

We're also working on an article on the subject and the outline is here. H…

Moodle Mayhem Session at TxDLA 2010

Today, I had the opportunity to share inflict some Moodle Mayhem on folks from around Texas! While you can find all the neat stuff we--including Patricia Holub, Diana Benner, Tonya Mills, Molly Valdez and I-- shared online, I thought I'd immortalize the positive feedback!! Thanks to all the TxDLA 2010 Moodle Mayhem workshop participants!!

Title: Moodle Mayhem - Expanding Learning Opportunities in Urban DistrictsThe following questions were rated on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being 'Strongly Agree' and 1 being 'Strongly Disagree'.The session was very useful: 5Content was relevant and applicable to my needs: 5The examples provided were sufficent.: 5Appropriate media was used to illustrate the topic: 5The program description for this session was accurate: 5Speaker(s) was(were) knowledgeable about the topic: 5Time was used efficiently: 5Relevant supplemental materials were used: 5Questions were answered appropriately: 5This was an excellent session: 5
Sessions Strengths:Good …

Converting SWF on Mac

Image Source: Evom,

Converting SWFs on a Macintosh has usually been difficult. The need to do so is made clear by applications like JingProject that, in their free version, only allow one to generate a Flash SWF file, unlike the MP4 file for the $15 annual recurring fee.

While SWFs are easy to post, sometimes your favorite presentation program--Keynote, Powerpoint, OpenOffice--won't provide support for them. As a result, it's important to have some way to convert them. Thanks to a tweet from Wes Fryer regarding HIS favorite list of Mac software, I learned about Evom. Evom is described in this way:
Evom makes archiving your favourite internet videos as easy as pressing a bookmark.While allowing you to download YouTube videos does seem like an important feature, I thought I'd drop an SWF file on top of Evom and see what it did with that (I was hoping to embed my SWF video of a teacher bragging on how Moodle transformed h…


Below are my notes on Lamar Consolidated ISD's presentation on INTERACT - Integrating Technology Realistically Among Classroom Teachers October Smith, Lamar Consolidated ISD, Tx
Equip teachers to provide an engaging learning environment through technology.

We start with group collaboration...(Activity: Discuss with your neighbor staff development in your school/district. What is your most memorable training? What trainings are most effective? Do you receive follow-up for trainings? How often? Who is the presenter at your trainings? Where do you find the resources for the trainings?)

The most effective trainings are the ones that are hands-on.

Located south of Houston in Richmond/Rosenberg
21 elementary schools3 middle schools3 junior high schools3 high schools23,000+ students2000+ teachrsHow we got started:
Technology Director+Dell representative
Fall of 2007 - the superintendent put together a committee and INTERACT was born
No College classes

Academy Development:

Podcast - Implementing Moodle - Lessons Learned

From Left to Right: Yolanda Columbus and Amber Icke
Listen to Yolanda and Amber
At the TxDLA 2010 Conference, I had a chance to listen to Amber Icke and Yolanda Columbus (pictured above) from Texas A&M share some of their lessons learned regarding Moodle Implementation. While much of the presentation was spent sharing the growth of the Moodle initiative, and the challenges they faced, I really enjoyed some of the take-aways. While I encourage you to listen to the whole presentation, here are some of take-aways that I wrote down from their presentation:

As a university, they decided to move from online lectures (narrated powerpoints) with exams offered in face to face settings to Moodle, although the transition wasn't so direct (they used an intermediate product, SiteForum).They tried to use Blackboard but switched back to Moodle.They began with about 14 academic courses years ago and ended up with about 32 academic course in Spring 2010.Challenge they faced was integrating Mood…

Podcast - TxVSN It's All in the Details

Texas Virtual School Network staffers shared an update on the Texas Virtual School network. You can download a PDF of their presentation online. There is a lot of great information in this presentation, so I encourage you to listen to the preso, not just view the PDF of the slideshow.
Listen to Staffers

Subscribe to Around the

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

Podcast - The Teacher Network (

Panelists at TxDLA 2010 State Conference
Listen to Panelists on The Teacher Network
This is a podcast I recorded--although it ends abruptly since I had to step out--at TxDLA about an exciting new resource available to us all for online professional development.

At the TxDLA 2010, I found out about what may very well be an unknown resource in K-12 online professional development! The Teacher Network--a repository of hundreds of hours for faculty and staff--is....

The Network is an innovative way to connect to free, online professional development resources for career and technical education faculty, counselors and administrators. Search easily through hundreds of topics and teaching modules. It's all in one free, easy to use site created by a partnership of community college professionals from across the state.

I encourage you to explore the web site, as it provides a rich collection of resources from around the world. While this resource is FREE TO USE, it was not free to …

Podcast - Parent411 with Jenny Yim #moodle

Howdy! Just a quick note to mention that a new podcast featuring Jenny Yim (Northside ISD, San Antonio, Tx) and her discussion of Parent411 is featured online at Moodle Mayhem!

Subscribe to Around the

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

Podcast - Wikified Schools Author @ssandifer

Buy the Book
Earlier today, I had the opportunity to chat with Stephanie Sandifer, author of Wikified Schools (view the wiki). It had been awhile since I saw Stephanie, as she is now a "new" mom and stay-at-home online instructor!! Stephanie shares some of her insights regarding wikis in schools.

Listen to Stephanie Sandifer
Subscribe to Around the

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

Neural Forest for Administrators - Moodle

Image Source:
Over at Intended Consequences, Tim Holt invites us all to craft 5-minute basic technology tutorials for administrators. While such an approach may tend to emphasize tools, I can see where Tim is headed (at least, I think I do).
I started a site called the Neural Forest for Administratorsbecause I was noticing a distinct lack of knowledge by campus administrators on the basics of educational technology. The site is simply a series of blog entries that are designed to be very short, to the point, somewhere between Twitter and Blogs.  Here's what Tim writes by way of explaining the structure for the Neural Forest for Administrators:

Each entry has four parts:1.  What it is--essentially giving an overview of the topic. 2.  Why it is important--why do they need to know about it3.  How they can use it--How can a campus administrator use this technology on their campus?4.  Helpful links--links to further information, or the actual…