Showing posts from September, 2010

Reflecting On Your Principles

George Couros asks some great questions in this blog entry. Here are the answers I aspire to in my head.

Miguel's Preferences
An organization with vision for a preferred futureA place where everyone is a leader because of the gifts they bring An environment that is flexible and realizes the gifts you bring as a personA job where you are trusted to do the job that you need to do A place where ideas are shared and common solutions are createdA work environment that is open and shares what they are doing with all stakeholders An environment where risks are seen as necessary to learning and successBut the reality is different. As a leader, here are the answers that reflect my inclination and I have to struggle to overcome:

An organization with vision for a preferred futurethere are a few managers based upon position. An environment that is flexible and realizes the gifts you bring as a personone where you are managed to do the job you need to do. one where all decisions lie in the hands …

MyNotes - Writing Project Professional Development Continues to Yield Gains in Student Writing Achievement

Just catching up...if this works, why aren't more doing something with it?

Writing Project Professional Development Continues to Yield Gains in Student Writing Achievement - National Writing Project

Date: July 15, 2010
Student results are strong and favorable in those aspects of writing that the NWP is best known for, such as development of ideas, organization, and stance.In the overall or holistic measure, in every case the improvement of students taught by teachers who participated in NWP programs exceeded that of students whose teachers were not participants.

In overall quality of writing (i.e., the holistic score), results consistently favor the NWP students in every single study. Click to enlarge chart.On seven measures of writing performance tested across the 16 studies, students of NWP teachers outperformed their non-NWP counterparts in 103 of 112 contrasts.

In 55% of these positive contrasts, the differences were so large as to be statistically significant.

These findings—t…


If you take a moment to read Dr. Scott McLeod's (Dangerously Irrelevant) "I misunderstood the technology" and Doug Johnson (Blue Skunk Blog), you may give up blogging altogether, if you even bothered to start. And, lots of folks don't even have a clue about their digital footprint, whatever that is.

Doug writes:
One hazard is the negative impact of a public voice on one's career. I'll maintain that if you are a boat-rocker, a change agent, a questioner, a rabble-rouser, a radical in your online writings about your profession, your chances of getting a job and advancing in your career is jeopardized. In education especially, the people doing the hiring are conservative*. They may want someone who can remodel their home; they don't want someone who will burn it down and rebuild it.I have often considered blogging as a learning conversation, sometimes with ot…

Securing Confidential Info - Laundry List of Privacy Tools

Update 05/28/2014 - TrueCrypt is now defunct
Update 01/3/2012: I now recommend the free, open sourceAESCryptin lieu of AxCrypt/NCrypt as a simple, easy to use cross-platform encryption tool.Find out more here.

 Image Source:
At a workshop today on "Securing Confidential Data," a colleague leaned over and asked, "Could we have a workshop on how to protect confidential data?" I immediately replied, "Yes, definitely!" thinking of all the neat tools I've learned to use over the last few years.

Image Source:
Secretly, of course, I wondered to myself, How much of this do people really want to know? Sure, I encrypt everything, one way or another. It's taken years to get into the habit...will others really think it's worthwhile? For me, it's a digital citizenship issue...if you don't know how to encryp…

Retool Your School with Google

Retool Your School is a book by Jim Lerman and Ronique Hicks. Check out this announcement from Jim Lerman....
Ronique Hicks and I are very pleased to invite all our friends and
colleagues in the NY-Northern NJ area to a gala book signing at the
Borders bookstore in the Garden State Mall in Paramus, NJ on Sat. Oct. 9 from 3:30-5:00. There will be fun and door prizes! We'll be featuring our new book "RETOOL YOUR SCHOOL: THE EDUCATOR'S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GOOGLE'S FREE POWER APPS".
More info is here:
Anyone read this book and can offer comments/feedback on it?
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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

Not Segregated Anymore, Texas?

In a memo entitled "Order on Civil Action 5281," Commissioner of Education Robert Scott points out the following:
The federal court with jurisdiction over the statewide desegregation order (usually called “Civil Action 5281”) has entered an order removing virtually all Texas school districts from the scope of the order. Since 1971, all districts have operated under certain restrictions on accepting student transfers, requirements for property deeds and other reporting requirements....

From September 27, 2010, all districts, except the original nine school districts that were party to the case, are no longer subject to the order. Except for those districts1, there is no longer any obligation to report student transfers or submit real property conveyances for approval. The agency will no longer monitor district boundary changes, transportation, extra-curricular activities, or staff and student assignment for purposes of the order. There is no action required of …

Editing GoogleDocs on iPad

"Necessity is the mother of invention," Plato quipped a long time ago (well, maybe he didn't say it quite that way). Editing GoogleDocs with an iPad is a necessity for some, if not desperation! So much so that there's a Facebook Fan page petitioning Google. Whether it's really Google's fault or Apple's for making a Mobile Safari that isn't as full-featured as desktop Safari browser, well, that's up for discussion!

While I don't have an iPad (prefer a netbook any day of the week), I do have to admit to some curiosity about a device that has trouble editing GoogleDocs, which provides ubiquitous access to word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing and other tools.

Kevin McLaughlin recently shared his discovery of how to edit GoogleDocs, albeit not directly, using the Twitter client. Normally, you'd have to pay for a product like QuickOffice or Office 2 Pro ($8 app) to get the job done. Others are using apps like LogMeIn …

Responding to GoogleApps Domain Setup Questions

Some of the GoogleApps for Education questions that come up involve setting up domains or subdomains. Apparently, if you don't set these up right, it's difficult for students and teachers to collaborate with each other.

This is an issue of Multiple Domains, I think (that means, i don't know for sure). This passage seems relevant:
Education Edition customers can associate multiple Internet domains with their Google Apps accounts, as long as they own the domain names. Each domain remains an independent entity, but Google Apps recognizes that the domains are part of a single organization. For example, each domain has its own set of user accounts, but users can share calendars or documents with users in any domain that is part of the organization. Gmail treats mail between users in different domains as if it were intradomain traffic. You manage all of the domains using the same Google Apps administrator control panel.
Would you happen to know the answers to these ques…

Provide Student Email Passwords to Parents? #googleapps

A colleague recently sent me this question and I've been remiss in not responding sooner:
I am still thinking about this issue of providing our parents with their student's google apps username password.  I would like to provide it for them, but I am struggling with a way to provide it to them.  How would you provide them for your district'sparents (if you would, or do)?
What are your password policies for students?  How do you link different services that require student passwords and manage them?  Who has access to manage them when a student forgets them.
All this is making re-think our entire process for student passwords, and that would be a pretty massive undertaking at this point.
I wondering if it wouldn't just be easier to say: "Contact us and we can reset your child's password and give it to you".  It would be nice to be more proactive than that though.

As I read this, there are several questions which I'm going to summarize below:

MyNotes - Texas Schools Get Bad Finance News

If you had any doubts that Texas education may be facing troubles, be sure to read the complete news article from Abilene Reporter-News, salient points excerpted below.
What are my suggestions for saving money in Texas schools? Here's the short, albeit biased, list: Implement GoogleApps for Education and dump all the programs you're buying now to get that job done. Give out free copies of OpenOffice/LibreOffice suite to everyone if they feel they need to have something loaded on their computer.Eliminate expensive software few use to its full extent, such as Microsoft Windows OS and Office, Inspiration/Kidspiration, Adobe Photoshop, expensive drill-n-kill tutorial softwareSubstitute interactive digital projectors and/or IWB alternatives instead of expensive fixed interactive whiteboardsFollow State of Indiana's lead in using Free, Open Source software on the desktop. Like them, Texans won't notice much change. Put UbuntuLinux on all computers.Stop buying print textbooks, …

The Copyright WebQuest

Back in 2005, I had the opportunity to develop The Copyright WebQuest. It was a consulting project that earned me significant amount of money at the time and came at the time I was saving funds to buy a house. It also caught me as I was transitioning from one position to another, so I am VERY grateful to the Education Service Center who aimed me in the direction of that consulting project.

Admittedly, The Copyright WebQuest quickly became one of the most popular web sites on copyright back in pre-Web 2.0 days and you can still find descendants (a.k.a. derivative works) online. Eventually though, due to space issues at my hosting provider, I had to take the Copyright WebQuest down. Although I had a backup somewhere, I lost track of the original files and thought they had been lost forever.

Cleaning out old CDs, I was surprised to stumble upon The Copyright WebQuest and have reposted it. Yes, please do feel free to modify it as you see fit and use it (Creative Commons Copyright ShareAl…

Faith and Government - Should they mix? San Antonio 10/16/2010 Event

The Texas Freedom Network is proud to join with the San Antonio Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State to sponsor a conference on October 16:
My Faith and My Government:
When Should They Mix?
~ Featuring ~ Rev. Barry Lynn, National Director
Americans United for Separation of Church and State Saturday, October 16
1:00 - 8:00 p.m.TriPoint

(3233 N. St. Mary's -- at US 281) TFN staff will be on hand to conduct a workshop on religion and public schools, which will include an update on the latest from the State Board of Education.

To learn more about this conference -- and to register -- click here. (Note: TFN members are entitled to the special "Participating Organization" rate of $15.)

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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

MyNotes - GoogleApps Facilitates Class Collaboration

The following includes excerpts from Colorado news on schools using GoogleApps for Education. I like the idea of GoogleApps for Education being used for eportfolio solution; allowing any student assignment to become a collaborative one as needed; and the systematic use of something across the District because it's free and available. Systematic use of technology across public school districts is often a pipe dream, and it's rare to see it.

Source: | Colorado's Online News Leader | New Internet tools create class collaboration:

In Alison Saylor's technology class, she teaches her students more than just computers. In fact, she says they're learning things that just might revolutionize the classroom....
Saylor is using Google Apps for Education to create a virtual domain for her students. They can use word processors, spread sheets and graphic tools to create projects which are done entirely online.
For example, eighth-grader Alex Brown created his ow…

MyNotes - Dead LA Teacher's Profile Still Available Online

The LA Times allows you to search teachers online and see what the graph looks like representing your "effectiveness" as a teacher. It's unbelievable that Rigoberto Ruelas'--who committed suicide--profile is still found in the database. You can see it online here.
"Student test scores are not reliable indicators of teacher effectiveness, according to a new Economic Policy Institute report, Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers.Is this what public education has in store for teachers who choose to remain in spite of the politicking going on? In spite of the research that says test scores ARE NOT the final word?

Source: LA teacher who killed himself recalled as caring | Top AP Stories | - Houston Chronicle:
SOUTH GATE, Calif. — Rigoberto Ruelas Jr. was considered much more than a fifth-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School — he was a mentor to youth tempted to join gangs and a tireless booster that kids could make it …

Power of Literacy Conference in San Antonio, Texas

The Texas State Reading Association is hosting three regional reading institutes this Fall instead of the annual conference in November.

The Reading Institutes have a full day of general session speakers, keynote speakers, and concurrent break-out sessions that will be second to none in quality for professional development.

Go on line to to register for the San Antonio regional institute or download the registration form to register by mail or fax.

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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

MyNotes - Who's That Texting Your Kids in Class 66% of the Time? Parents | Fast Company

Who's That Texting Your Kids in Class 66% of the Time? Parents | Fast Company
BY Austin Carr
Wed Sep 8, 2010

According to a new survey by app developer textPlus, which surveyed more than 600 of its users aged 13 to 17, texting is more rampant than ever in the classroom.

A whopping 42.5% of teens admit to texting during class, and more than half of those say they text sometimes or constantly.

...nearly 80% of students say they've never gotten in trouble for texting during class, suggesting the eyes-down, cell-under-the-desk method is slipping past even your most yard-stick taunting school teachers.

Roughly 74% of students don't believe it's wrong to text during school time, a mindset which permeates not just learning but homework too: About one in three teens admit to using text lingo (e.g. 'u' or '4' or 'imho') in written school assignments. How do we change this? Perhaps we start with the parents:

A shocking 66% of teens report that they've…

GoogleApps Walkthrough and Observation Forms (Update: Tech Support Forms)

As I highlighted in this blog entry--it's possible to use GoogleApps for Education Forms to conduct walkthroughs and observations. This can save Districts money...right?

In that blog entry I suggested the following:
Imagine a GoogleApps workbook that would allow a form per worksheet. Now, imagine that such a workbook contained worksheets--with accompanying forms--from every principal in a school district, or for every teacher in a school. Since the data was already in one workbook, it would be a simple matter of aggregating results, running summaries with pretty graphs of the data that would represent District needs.
Although I'm not aware if that's possible, others are sharing how they are using GoogleApps for Education Forms to save money while they do something that most campus administrators do every day--observe teachers via walkthroughs.

If you combine the idea of self-grading GoogleForms, you get an entirely different possibility. Check out this tutorial and vid…

MyNotes - Daily Walkthroughs with GoogleApps and the iPad

Over the last few years, I've had the opportunity to experiment and implement several handheld assessments, including ones for appraisals of teachers and walkthroughs of teachers' classrooms. While I've been generally pleased with the solutions offered, the cost has always presented an implementation problem. It didn't matter if a solution was plain awesome--such as Media-X's eWalk or PDAS assessment tools built to order--or mediocre (no, I won't mention the vendor's name), the fact remains that walkthroughs are critical.

In my own work, there is a clear concern to develop walkthroughs to gather data on how learning is progressing in classrooms across the school district. This data-collection is valuable to the District as a whole, but also to classroom teachers because it's not about appraisal but about reflecting on practice and how instruction is managed in the District. Speaking generally, if more C&I folks saw how their curriculum scope-n-seque…

Hunting Mammoth - Feedback on TA:TEKS Comments

When I first reviewed the revisions (K-2; 3-5; 6-8) to the Technology Applications:Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TA:TEKS), I immediately sent a copy of my favorite revisions to the TA:TEKS teachers I had the good fortune to work with. After all, it's important to keep these changes in mind when looking at the future. It is easy to feel jaded or depressed when considering the course of technology in Texas continues to be, as Tim points out, an after-thought, something school leaders do when it garners positive press.

Technology is, at best, a caged beast, dangerous to unleash, valuable to possess...not for what it does, but for what it is.

Tim Holt recently shared his opinion quite succinctly:
The TA-TEKS need to be woven into the fabric of the core curricular TEKS, not laid on top like an afterthought. He detailed his specific suggestions in a long blog entry about it. From that long entry, the following resonated with me:
The TA-TEKS are separated completely f…