Showing posts from December, 2013

Learning Activities in #Chromebook Classrooms

Earlier this month, Tim Holt challengedChris Lehmann's assertion that Chromebooks can do 90% of what students in K-12 public schools need a computing device to do. While I do not seek to become an apologist for any device, I would like to point out the following facts, much in the same way I did in response to iPad nay-sayers, Banishing the Winter of Digital Discontent.
Imagine a school where students don't learn programming.Imagine a school where no desktop publishing occurs.Imagine a school where advanced image editing is not taught.Imagine a school where video editing, manipulation, remixing has no place.Imagine a school where student digital products are limited to what an iPad can do. Imagine a school incapable of taking the STAAR or other test online.I'm a fan of BYOD and a fairly enthusiastic iPad user, but I don't want to lose the power of the desktop or laptop. We might go to portable labs if we can't afford 1:1, but don't take power computing out of t…

Plurality of Diversity @gcouros @timholt2007 #txeduchat #cpchat

"Why should we have computer labs anymore in schools?" The question had been put to me by a dear colleague. We were in my supervisor's meeting room. While I carefully considered the question, I felt a profound sadness at my agreement with the suggestion he was making. The sadness results because, frankly, we should be much further along this road of implementing the suggestion than we are, as a Nation of educators and learners.

His question suggested something that should be obvious in schools, but continues to elude those of us who work in Texas public schools--the complete blending of technology into classroom curriculum to the point that technology is no longer a special event. Simply, why does technology continue to be ignored when curriculum initiatives are implemented at the district, campus and classroom level?

"Why aren't these empanadas all that spicy?" I put the question to my daughter and her friend earlier this week, at mid-point of her empanada-…

Looking for Books

"I want to fill my room with books," shared a friend of my daughter. "Do you have any you want to get rid of?"
While my daughter's friend's desire is to fill his room with paper books, my goal is to get rid of them. I still have two bookshelves of books I have not yet acquired (purchased) in digital format. Some may never find their way into ebook format...but wouldn't it be neat if they did? My idea of minimalist office is what you often see on Star Trek (Captain Kirk's desire for print books notwithstanding).

A few days ago, I shared how much fun I'm having with my Nook SimpleTouch, which has made ebook reading a lot "speedier" compared to my 1st-gen Nook and "lighter" compared to my iPad.

Like anyone else, I'm always on the lookout for fresh content to consume, and I found this list from worth checking may as well!

Free eBooks - "This collection features free e-books, mostly classics, that…

Sending SMS Text Messages from Your Phone via Your Computer/Tablet

Thanks to Jeff Thomas (Tech The Plunge) for highlighting MySMS, an app that is free and available for now. In his blog entry--which features a video--he writes:
MySMS tablet and computer apps are FREE for a limited time! That’s right free!  I’ve just finished installing on my desktop, laptop and iPad and it works great! I usually use GoogleVoice to send my SMS messages, or if I have to send MANY messages, I use's free service.  When there is information I need to send to lots of folks, I use Bloove:
Bloove is an easy to use web-based mobile phone management system. Edit your contacts, send SMS messages or work with your bookmarks using your favorite browser. Back-up and restore your data and copy SMS messages and contacts between different phones. What are you using that enables you to send SMS/text messages from your phone via your computer or tablet?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not…

Resurrecting Old Macs with GNU/Linux #txed #txeduchat

Wondering what to do in your school district with old Intel Macs that can't be upgraded to Mac OS 10.9? I recently shared my thoughts on this in this email, but realize that older Intel Macs can be loaded with Linux and disposed of...more on that in a moment.

For now, here's the email:
Thank you for your attention to this email.This email reviews MacOS10.9 Maverick free upgrade for Macs and addresses which Macs are obsolete. As a result of Apple’s release of OS10.9 Maverick, and testing conducted by EC Technology Operations since that release, please be aware that all white MacBooks—with the exception of the few in-district white 2009 Macbook Model #A1342—remain obsolete. WHAT DOES OBSOLETE MEAN?Obsolete means that these Mac computers, while being able to get on the Internet and network, will be unable to securely access Internet web sites and may increasingly have problems connecting. Most Macs will still be able to run software purchased for them but be aware that Internet Bro…

3 Observations When Playing with the Nook SimpleTouch

Having played around with multiple ebook readers, I still found myself contemplating the least expensive ebook reader I could find at my favorite brick-n-mortar bookstore, Barnes and Noble. Since I've invested in ebooks--with my first generation Nook--I was looking to stay inside of the proprietary ebook world has built (uh, no).

My 1st-gen Nook has gotten a bit old, slow and what a pain to flip pages. Having two Kindles in the family, I decided that I didn't want to go Amazon, even though I love their online store environment. Why didn't I go with an Android tablet, like Nexus 7 or Samsung's? I thought about this...but again, I already have an iPad 3rd gen. Why invest in yet another tablet when I'm happy with the one I have now? There are lots of possible uses an Android tablet can be put to, but I'm interested in doing only one things on mine--reading.

While I tried reading on my Android phone (Samsung Exhibit), I found the screen print a bit small for…

Be the Best Fluff You Can Be - Chromebook in Schools

"If we're not seeing what technology blended into curriculum & instruction," shared a colleague one afternoon, "if it's not integral to the success of a lesson or learning activity, then technology is just so much fluff."
"Well, if we must be fluff, then let's be the best fluff out there!" I regret that this was not a fulfilling conversation for either party. When we talk of revolutionizing schools, reforming them, fundamentally transforming them, I'm left wondering what we're really saying.

As I've transitioned from my role as a Director of Instructional Technology to Technology Operations, I feel less pressure to advocate the "edtech perspective" which is undervalued in schools today. Simply, who the heck wants to keep evangelizing a perspective that has made such poor inroads into Curriculum & Instruction Departments in schools? Now, my focus is less that of preacher and more of Maytag repairman with a good pro…

In the Past - 3 Words to Avoid

"In the past," began my veteran secretary at my new job, "we would...." Of course, I listened attentively. After all, I've been told that is one thing I do well. But if you imagine that "In the past" is what we continued doing, well, that would be less than accurate. 
When I started a new position in a large urban school district, one of the phrases that people were fond of using was, "In the past." Almost every utterance that meant to forestall change began that way. As if "In the past" would actually have the power to stop impending change. 

My new boss, an assistant superintendent put in the position he was in so that he could be forgotten by the District (a mistake since he was/is a brilliant individual who made the best of a great situation), loathed the phrase, In the past. It was a personal affront to him. If you started a conversation with those words, you had to be prepared for a drawn-out discussion exploring why the past w…