Showing posts from February, 2012

Providing Quality Service with Technology

"I'm off to a campus!" Those are words that either signal great trust among central office support staff, or cause apprehension.

PROBLEM This all came to a head about two years ago for a mid-size district (in another state, not Texas!) whose schools were spread all over the county, it seemed. A friend who works in that school district shared a new initiative implemented in her district--walkie-talkie phones with GPS for staff. The problem, she pointed out, was that several technology specialists were checking in every morning, then disappearing for the day. The concern among top administrators was that these specialists were going home, running errands across town, which in a large urban center can take hours. 
THEIR SOLUTION? The solution, they decided, was to issue these push to talk phones to address the gap from what was happening to what should be happening. Though the problem wasn't rampant, morale was low among the specialists who knew what was going on but fel…

Fit In - The Kundalini Equation in #EdTech

Note: This is one in a series of blog entries exploring the role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Director of Technology. Please be sure toread the whole series!

Why doesn't technology fit in better with curriculum and instruction? It's a question that I've pondered often over the last 20 years, often wondering if it shouldn't be the other way around. Why doesn't curriculum and instruction fit in more with technology? But, then, I remember my experience driving the highway one day and ask, Is fitting in the right way to look at it? Or, do we need to focus on dynamic tension, the synergy between the 3?

Do you remember when "fitting in" was a good thing? You know, you go to school, and the advice your parents gave you was, "Don't worry, you'll fit in." You start a new job, and the boss says to you, "Don't worry, you'll fit in soon enough!" That's a death knell, right? Does fitting in mean you're going to a…

Short-handed and Resource Rich

Note: This is one in a series of blog entries exploring the role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Director of Technology. Please be sure toread the whole series!
"How many people on your staff?" I'd struck up a conversation with a technology director at the TCEA 2012 Conference. She was riding herd on Google Academy flyers and sign-in sheets, an exciting job that made her look like a shepherd without a flock since they'd all gone to attend workshops. "I'm the only one," she responded, "chief cook and bottlewasher."
"You mean you do the networking and the instructional stuff," I inquired incredulously, "all by your lonesome?" "Yes," she replied. Her hard smile spoke of grim determination and commitment to a job well done. Of course, given there was no one else to complain about, no other staff members whose unhappiness kept them from getting the job done well, Louis L'Amour's quote in the mouth of his …

Cheap is Beautiful - Linux, RaspberryPi and Scratch

Update 05/28/2014 - TrueCrypt is now defunct

Back in January, 2012 I experimented with Crunchbang Linux and then promptly replaced it with LubuntuLinux. Last night, a bit bored and while reading some dry material, after upgrading LubuntuLinux to 12.04, I decided I didn't like the look-n-feel. So, I found myself installing Crunchbang, using it without problems, and realizing that my first impression was slightly was probably my first experience with Openbox GUI interface (as opposed to GNOME or, yuck, KDE).

The Debian Squeeze-based system seems to be working well, and I only had to make some minor modifications, all handled via GUI menu that's built-in. And, it's hard to convey, but the system is fast on this Dell Latitude E6410!! It will be some time before I decide if I like it better than LubuntuLinux, or PeppermintTwo, which I still have installed on my Macbook. For now, Crunchbang is working smoothly and I only made a few modifications such as add repositories,…

The Classroom Teacher's Technology Survival Guide

The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide,descCd-buy.htmlA comprehensive guide for integrating educational technology in the K-12 classroomThis is a must-have resource for all K-12 teachers and administrators who want to really make the best use of available technologies. Written by Doug Johnson, an expert in educational technology, The Classroom Teacher's Technology Survival Guide is replete with practical tips teachers can easily use to engage their students and make their classrooms places where both students and teachers will enjoy learning.
Covers the most up-to-date technologies and how they can best be used in the classroomIncludes advice on upgrading time-tested educational strategies using technologyTalks about managing "disruptive technologies" in the classroomIncludes a wealth of illustrative examples, helpful suggestions, and practical tips This timely book provides a commonsense approach to …

Slash and Burn - Leadership in the Field

Note: This is one in a series of blog entries exploring the role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Director of Technology. Please be sure toread the whole series!

Do you remember reading your grade school social studies textbook, looking at a picture a field with brown figures depicting Native Americans engaged in slash-n-burn on their fields? I do. The idea of slash-n-burn approach to getting a field ready for use has stayed with me and it pops into my head when I consider leadership approaches that many of us encounter in real life, even in K-12 education. Slash-and-burn is an agricultural technique which involves cutting and burning of forests or woodlands to create fields. It is subsistence agriculture that typically uses little technology or other tools. It is typically part of shifting cultivation agriculture, and of transhumance livestock herding.[1] (Source: Wikipedia) What I like about juxtaposing slash-and-bun with leadership styles is the concept of subsistence agricu…