Showing posts from May, 2010

BlogRadio - Convert RSS to Audio

BlogRadio is an interesting concept. It simply involves converting RSS feeds to audio files. You have a variety of voices read the RSS feed, which makes it usable for quite a few different uses in education. Although it came with pre-populated list of RSS feeds, you can delete them and add your own, as shown below:
and do...

It takes about 8 hours to process the blog entries. Once the conversion of RSS feed items is complete, you can run the Adobe Air application "Desktop Manager" to listen to the audio.

The audio is understandable and I love how some of the entries sound in it. Give it a try!

via MakeUseOf

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

BlogNotes - Web 2.0: Pedagogical Evidence and Brain Research

Very much appreciated the research references here in support of online learning...considering this in terms of online courses.Source: Web 2.0: Pedagogical Evidence and Brain Research | We Teach We Learntags: no_tagWeb 2.0: Pedagogical Evidence and Brain Research May 28th, 2010 By Jeffery Ayer, the reinforcing research is thorough enough to justify using wikis,blogs, podcasts, Flickr, Moodle, and online writing technologies that I feel can significantly improve students’ writing, and perhaps more importantly, prepare them for digital citizenship. “Because many new technologies are interactive, it is now easier to create environments in which students can learn by doing, receive feedback, and continually refine their understanding and build new knowledge” (Bransford, 2000, p. 208). always allow sufficient time in class and extended deadlines for certain types of online work that allow students enough flexibility to participate successfully, even if they don’t have access to the web after sc…

BlogNotes - Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media In the Classroom

SOURCE: The Innovative Educator: Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media In the Classroom
Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media In the Classroom
Educators interested in using social media to enrich learning will enjoy these ideas for using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype in the classroom from Online Universities. The post includes real examples of educators using social media in their classrooms. Here are some ideas for K-12 classrooms.
Make literature real. Have students create a Facebook page for a character from literature you are studying like this class did.
Follow famous people. Many famous people are on Twitter.
Twitter treasure hunt. Use GPS treasure hunting to send students in search of educational clues as one teacher did. (Skip to number 22 in the slide show.)
Learn probability. This elementary teacher uses Twitter to teach the concept of probability.
Study geography. Use a combination of Twitter and Google Earth to help teach geography-based lessons. This t…

MyNotes - District sued for ‘illegal’ search of student’s cell phone

District sued for ‘illegal’ search of student’s cell phone | Litigation |

District sued for ‘illegal’ search of student’s cell phoneLawsuit returns Pennsylvania district at the center of a recent 'sexting' flap to the spotlight

Tunkhannock Area High School Principal Gregory Ellsworth illegally searched the 17-year-old’s phone in January 2009, even though she intended the racy photos to be “seen only herself and, perhaps, her long-time boyfriend,” according to the federal lawsuit.

“I was absolutely horrified and humiliated to learn that school officials, men in [the] DA’s office, and police had seen naked pictures of me,” said the plaintiff, now 19 and identified in court documents only by the initials N.N. She graduated in 2009.
“Those pictures were extremely private and not meant for anyone else’s eyes. What they did is the equivalent of spying on me through my bedroom window,” she said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania…

MyNotes - 7 Skills Schools Should be Teaching Them

What would these 7 skills matched to leadership in Texas schools look like? Are our leadership/management styles aligned to these 7 skills? When you watch a video about WolframAlpha--like this one--it's pretty scary. I'd bet most of the questions are students are asking can be answered by this search engine...why aren't we teaching them better? I suggest because we aren't leading our schools to accomplish this.

Seven Skills as I understood them:
Critical thinking and problem-solving: To accomplish this, we need more problem-based learning.Collaborative leadership: How do you work together to solve problems and innovate at a distance? How do you "win friends and influence people" over the network? There is definitely a need to know how to do this.Adaptability and learning: Not only do you have to be flexible and adapt (isn't that humanity's claim to fame, being adaptable in harsh environments?), you have to be able to learn quickly. This doesn't sou…

Dis-Spelling Never Never Land - A Fool's Action

So come with me,  where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, Forever, in Never Never Land. ~Peter Pan
This morning, this Buzz bugged me like a gnat on a hot summer day (and, in Texas, that's not too far off!):

Dr. McLeod has a wonderful reputation for generating controversy by moving people's cheese. This buzz from Scott, though, highlights another one of those "feel-good," easy to share messages about leadership.  The article is entitled Leading from Wherever You Are in an Organization: Your Professional Responsibility. It is brief hurrah article about John Maxwell's book, The 360 degree Leader. Check out this Powerpoint slide show to see what Maxwell was highlighting in more detail.
While no one can fault a positive attitude, thinking happy thoughts and all that, there's some serious risk in trying to lead from the middle, especially when you consider the diagram below.
Here is an excerpt from the a…

Inexorable Reputation Creation

Everytime I listen to a keynote speaker, there is an air of inevitability conveyed. You know, it usually is along the lines of Sylvia Martinez' words at GenYes Blog, "This is a floodgate well and truly open, whether or not you declare it closed." Not unlike those speakers, I also find myself sending a message similar to the ones's worth reflecting on the implications of expressing such an air of inevitability:
"No, parents don't have a choice. Technology is coming and you better quit trying to close the door on it."
"No, teachers don't have a choice. Technology is coming and you better work in like yeast into the bread of everyday instruction."
"No, administrators don't have a choice. Technology is coming and you better use it for data collection, reporting, disaggregation and analysis to improve student achievement."
"No, students, you don't have a choice. As your parent, I bought you this mobile phone or…

Passionate Learner - Pages 1-45

Image Source:,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-

"We wouldn't exist, as a human race, unless we had evolved as the most effective lifelong learners in the history of the planet." One of my favorite quotes so far!

I've been snatching a few pages here and there from Robert L. Fried's book, "The Passionate Learner." Here are a few quotes from that jumped out at me...for fun, I titled each of the quotes...sort of like what you might see in Bible quotes. I won't provide chapter and verse, though (or even page #). You'll find all these quotes in pages 1-45, though.

The loneliness of the solitary educator and the isolated parent, the school cut off from a vital connection to its neighborhood, the home and classroom that feel like totally other worlds to the child--these things must change if we are to raise a generation of passionate le…

Podcast: Free Computer Reimaging Alternative


Find out more about the open source imaging solution, F.O.G. TECSIG and SOSSIG members, Mark Cockrell and Shawn Kibel, recently interviewed the developers of F.O.G. for an episode of their podcast, The Tightwad Tech. There is a lot of good information on this product as well as their latest version, which was released on 5/25/10. If interested, you can find the podcast here: or search "The Tightwad Tech" on iTunes.
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

Got GoogleApps?

Image Source:
One of the common obstacles--although not a significant one--that some school districts have shared in moving to cloud computing, especially GoogleApps for Education for email, calendars, and a rich variety of other tools useful for students, teachers, and administrators is that of switching systems. After all, if you've built your house of cards in MS Exchange, it's hard to imagine making the transition. Anything Google can do to make the transition easier is important. One day, you can hope for 1-click transition from MS Exchange to GoogleApps for Education.

Recently, Google came a lot closer to achieving that with this announcement:

Businesses and schools are moving to Google Apps in droves, and they're able to switch more seamlessly with the help of tools to move old email, contacts and calendar data from legacy solutions to Google’s cloud. We have administrator-managed migration utilities …

Web 2.0 Candy Store

Image Source:

Like gluttonous kids in a candy store, exploring with toothy excitement the depths of the shiny candies in the jar at eye level, educators are rallying around a simple message - "ALL THE CANDY YOU CAN PULL OUT OF THE JAR--FREE!" Yet, the sad truth is that the candy jar of Web 2.0 tools has a narrow mouth a full hand can't fit through, and someone has to pay the bill for the candy devoured...even if it is the "parents" (or network admins) who must "foot the bill" for clean-up and cavity eradication.

The biggest draw in the Candy Jar? Cloud Computing a la "absolute good," which in the minds of those starving for real food, is quite simply not good--or bad--at all. No thought is given to the lack of security in cloud computing solutions, solutions colleges and universities (like Yale) have cast aside as junk. Consider their perspective:

“People were mainly interested in tech…

Sidestepping the Rules in Beijing

Image Source:
A colleague at work called me up today, asking for guidance on how to best access the Internet in China. Not having been to China (hint to anyone who'd like to foot the bill), I scrambled while I had him on the phone to provide him with some solutions.

Fortunately, I recalled Wes Fryer's travailsin China and googled that. Some of the solutions that came up--which will surely get this blog banned by school districts, so enjoy it while you can--included the following:

Virtual Private Network
Important for protecting logins and passwords you enter in while using public WiFi hotspots (not a bad thing to do anywhere you happen to be with "sniffers" out there ready to grab your info):

Hamachi.ccPublicVPN.comHotSpotVPN.comUltraReach.comFreeGateAnonymizer.comGhostSurfInvisible Browsing
Accessing Content and you can read the tutorial hereTOR ParkAccess FlickrCGIProx…

Feeding Multiple Twitter Accounts into Facebook

My head of school wants to know if it's possible to have Twitter feeds from two different accounts send updates to a Facebook page and if so how this can be accomplished. If this isn't possible, is there a quick and easy way for him to switch the feeds from different accounts off and on?UPDATED BLOG ENTRY
Each Twitter account has what is called an RSS feed. This feed can be re-routed easily and multiple feeds posted to Facebook. Here's how you can do it:

Let's say you have 3 Twitter feeds, maybe one for your superintendent/principal, technology director, and/or Communications Director. To accomplish that, you will follow these steps:

1) Create the multiple twitter accounts. For purposes of this example, let's say they are:
2) Create a or account. These services will allow you to re-direct your content from multiple Twitter accounts to your Facebook account. You will need to know the RSS feed address for you…

Your Smudged Digital Footprint

image source:

Nancy Willard shared this piece of information earlier today:

DUE TO ONLINE INFORMATIONSeventy percent of hiring managers say they’ve decided not to hire an applicant because of information they have found online, according to a survey commissioned by Microsoft of 1,200 human relations managers and consumers. While most of those surveyed stated they research candidates online and think they are justified in doing so, only seven percent of consumers believed that recruiters check out potential candidates online when making hiring decisions. Over one-half of managers surveyed agreed that data on lifestyle, inappropriate written text and inappropriate photos were types of information that could result in rejecting a candidate. An overview of the findings from the survey can be accessed at
Ever wondered if having a digital footprint at …

Conceding Everything - Revel in Irrelevance


Cracking open "The Passionate Learner," (by Robert L. Fried) I was struck by the following quote and its relevance to a conversation going on over at Dangerously Irrelevant:
The true challenge for any teacher is to make caring the threshold for student work in any subject where thoughtfulness, imagination, analysis, reflection are important aspects of the knowledge and skills. When teachers focus solely on performance or compliance, we get the typical range of responses...But if we first ask, "Does the student care about what she is doing?" we open the door to a more engaging dialogue, leading to a more satisfying and productive teaching/learning relationship.It would be easy to read Dr. Green's guest blog entry at Dangerously Irrelevant entitled "Should We Get Rid of Technology Directors?" and walk away with the following conclusions:
Sch… - My New Best Friend (Updated 5/23/2010)

The Way It Works Now

The Way I Wish It Worked

Although I hate to say goodbye to FriendFeed, what was driving me nuts was not able to post to Plurk directly. In fact, I want to just say something ONCE and have it go to all my favorite networks without duplication. You social media network to rule them all. Unfortunately, no one tool does it all in terms of publishing content. I have to rely on 1) and then 2) either or (read more about RSS to publishing) will allow you to post your RSS feed for your blog, and then post it to Twitter. For me, this falls short since I want it to go to and then to everything else indicated in the image above. will post RSS feed content--such as from your blog--straight to and once that happens, my content will go to all the networks indicated in the image above. I was hoping this would be THE solution, but apparently, not so...I keep getting an error (Upda…

Just Educate Reform Campaign

from the web site... To prepare our kids for the 21st century, I insist that:Politicians stop dragging our children’s schools into the “culture wars”Decisions about what students learn are based on sound scholarship and the work of real experts in every subjectClassroom teachers and professors in our state’s world-class colleges and universities – not politicians promoting personal agendas – guide the adoption of curriculum standards and textbooksOur kids deserve better. Our future depends on it.
Sign the petition.
From the email one receives on signing the petition: What can you do?1. Write to the board and express your concerns. (Read some background information here on problems with the social studies revisions.) E-mail the SBOE by clicking here.2. Call your local legislator, and tell her or him that you are dissatisfied with the board's actions. Remind your representative that the Texas Legislature has the authority to reform this board and the process by which they adopt curricul…