Showing posts from November, 2013

The Power of With

"Why isn't this initiative working out?" That's a question that I've encountered many a time in my career. I can remember so many times that I began a project or initiative with a simple hope--that people would see what was being done, what the goal was, and support the initiative. In many cases, that was true. After all, I have the good fortune to work with many dedicated educators, people who are committed to success of initiatives that benefit their work and, perhaps more importantly, students.
I still remember when I saw the Factors for Sustained Institutionalization of Schoolwide Initiatives. It was a shock. I felt like a failure, which isn't a good feeling to have when you've stepped into middle-age. The feeling soon faded because I now had a way of planning new initiatives. 
Then, as other projects arose, I promptly set the chart aside. Fortunately, I had left a copy in my iPad and while cleaning out my 64gig iPad 3rd gen, I found it nestled betwe…

Take-Aways from Writing

Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want, and Getting It
When you care enough to write down your goals, stand back. Wonderful things are about to happen.  Source:

"Write It Down, Make It Happen." That's the title of one of my favorite book ideas that someone else wrote. It's a fun book to read because it takes the idea that if you write something down, that has the power to make it happen...somehow, YOU change because you wrote a goal down.

As this LifeHacker article asserts, "writing things down can change your life." Some of my take-aways from this article include the following (in no particular order):

write down every task, activity, and project you need to addressenables you to make a list of tasks that can be crossed off, yielding a sense of accomplishmentwriting allows us to work through inner conflict or process your feelings around a particular situationreading your past writing can build c…

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Watch Out for that Tree! Android Tablets in Schools #byotchat

As Bring Your Own Device/Technology initiatives expand, not to mention the ability of campus/district administrators to divert funding from a variety of sources (e.g. PTA, grants), it's important to provide some suggestions on what you should buy or not buy.
For example, one question that should be ever present is, Will this Android operating system work in an "enterprise network environment (WPA2 Enterprise 802.1x EAPnetwork)?"
It's easy to jump for inexpensive tablets, but will these devices intended for a home network market actually work in schools?

I learned this the hard way with Walmart Android tablets. Not that I bought them but that others did and I had to deliver the bad news--this won'twork on our network. It raises important questions in regards to how these made-for-home devices will actually work on school/enterprise networks.

One of the points I never considered with BYOT was whether or not low-end devices--like the Android Ice Cream Sandwich tabl…

7 Tips for Surviving Leadership in Transition (Edited)

"Miguel," a dear friend and colleague asked me, "have you read the new superintendent's book?" At my blank stare, she pointed to the purple book in her hand entitled, 5 Temptations of a CEO.
"Oh," I responded, "Yes, I have. But have you read the other 5 books he's proposed the Cabinet read?" "No," she replied. "There's more?"
Unfortunately, there was. While I wasn't asked to read the books, I read them. In the end, it didn't matter because while my friend and I were ready to adhere to the principles of the books, no one else--including new leadership--was. The end result? Hypocrisy.  The books were great and would have brought about great changes in the organization, if the leaders who read them had bothered to put them into practice. In time, I learned that too many leaders read whole series of books with their teams but nothing sticks. Each leader ends up with a hodge-podge of self-help leadership advice…

Speeding Up to Slow Down

Feel like life is moving too fast? When I moved to a small East Texas town (Mt. Pleasant) from a large urban city (San Antonio), I felt like my wife and I were at least 10 minutes ahead of everyone else.
We've lost touch with the longer, more leisurely rhythms of nature and have become obsessed with the manmade increments of time that we've imposed in order to give ourselves the illusion of control. Source: Bamboo Project Blog As a technology director, I like to see things a bit different. Look around, and there is much work to do. Work, that if left undone, can only multiply and consume our time, death by a thousand cuts, later. Let us work hard now so that tomorrow, we might find new ways to innovate and save time. The goal is to eliminate your to-do list so you can have your hands free to grab new projects.

After all, leisure at work can yield unexpected, positive results.

Here are some ideas for eliminating your to-do list:

1) Keep a team list of due dates and projects that…

Share More

A few days ago, a colleague shared what a tough time she had blogging about what she'd learned. She'd just finished an email exchange with an iPad app vendor, providing feedback to the vendor on a feature that she needed fixed. I encouraged her to write about her experience, as well as that of working with iPads and management issues. "Share one thing a day," I remarked, "and your blog will soon have avid readers!"

"I have to overcome my fear of putting my thoughts out there," she replied. Further discussion revealed her to be a perfectionist, someone for whom writing is a sacred act, a missive to the gods, so to speak, that must not be sent forth unless expertly crafted. Alas, I remember this feeling well. I am so grateful that I've forsaken my quest for excellence in writing, instead grateful for the relaxation of writing, not for publication, but shared learning and to heighten collaborative opportunities.

Does that make writing in a blog …

Downloading Flickr Sets on GNU/Linux

Looking to download your Flickr images on GNU/Linux? I was able to use this solution to download my images as sets (images were placed in folders). Per the blog author, Andrea Grandi:
I simply had no time to write an application by myself, so I started searching on Google to see if there was something available to do this simple task. At the beginning I only found abandoned tools (closed source, the API was expired ecc...), paid tools, Windows only tools ecc... but finally I found this post is a Python script that automatically downloads all your Flickr pictures getting the highest resolution available, you can download the script from here usage is very simple? 1 2

Exploring Failure - Getting Large Videos Off Your #iPad

Wondering how to get all that student work or long videos (30+ minutes) off your 16gig iPad? That's a question I spent 3 hours on yesterday, and fellow teammate Mary Ray also spent her share of time.

Believe it or not, about 9gigs of video content on a 16gig iPad doesn't leave much space...we could only load one app at a time in addition to the stock Apple apps. Mary was kind enough to write up an email to teachers (included below) who use iPads as their new video cameras--and why not, they work great in classroom environments?--offering tips and tricks.

However, the one tip Mary didn't share was the one that actually worked--Using BitTorrent Sync ("btsync" for short) to make a backup of all images/videos in the Camera Roll on your iPad to your computer (the option also exists to send files to another device running BTSync).

Here's what Mary shared, all of which are great options that didn't work because we were using a supervised iPad (e.g. mobile device…