Showing posts from August, 2014

Embrace the Torrent: 9 Ways to Become A #DigitalNomad

A colleague, upon listening to a presentation by another Twitter Illuminati, said sarcastically, and perhaps unfairly, "Spare me another presentation on how twitter has changed his life." I promptly ignored him and tuned in to what Dean Shareski was saying...sometimes, even when you know the destination, the experience of getting there can be fun.
And, isn't that what learning today is about? A collection of hyper-connected experiences that help deepen and widen our understanding of our own learning? This blog entry explores how you can embrace the torrent of learning, offering 9 ways to become a digital nomad.

Over at A Principal's Reflections, Eric S makes the following assertion in his blog entry, The Limits of Being a Disconnected Nomad:
Being a disconnected nomad limited my ability to lead and learn.  We fear what we don't know or understand.  When this happens we make excuses not to do something and in education we resort to blocking, banning, or pretending…

Same Old, Same Old

"What do you mean technology in schools won't work?" I was having a discussion with a college professor 12 years ago one summer day. His cynicism, for that's what I perceived it as, marred his leadership and humor. For him, the research clearly showed that technology integration was a failed strategy.  I certainly believed that technology could transform teaching, learning and leading.

And, when I read about Twitterbees swarming around new ideas, the concepts of PLNs, etc., it's clear that for many, technology CAN shift how each of us learns and collaborates. That aside though, school systems resist change. Although new technologies find their way into schools, they don't necessarily result in the desired change:
Individual change resistance is the refusal of a social agent (a single person, organization, corporation, etc) to fully support or adopt new behavior. Systemic change resistance is the tendency for a system as a whole to reject an attempted change, e…

Built for Schools: How efficacious are digital textbooks?

Yes, that is an important question. Many school organizations are moving to digital textbooks, but the question remains, how efficacious are digital textbooks?

In a lunch conversation with a retired Air Force Colonel, we briefly exchanged stories about our reading preferences. While I have no problems reading fiction content in digital format, reading non-fiction is problem-rich:
I find I can't remember key ideas, instead have to write them down or blog them to remember.It's difficult to highlight content and share it (unless I'm reading on Amazon Kindle, but even then, I don't care for it since I end up re-formatting the content in Evernote).Simply, the non-fiction info seems more...abstract.The "concrete" or tactile experience of reading non-fiction is preferred. In the audio book arena, only non-fiction works for me. Somehow, I remember more when I hear non-fiction. With fiction, I want to see the words on the page, digital or print. Sure enough, the Colonel…

Digital Textbooks and eBooks in Schools

Thanks to the Texas School Business journal for highlighting a San Antonio area school district in their September, 2014 cover article. The article (page 12), written by Shelley Seale (@shelleyseale), spotlights a picture of Jeff Johnson (, high school teacher, who was in Cohort 1 of the East Central ISD EC3 Initiative (which happens to use iPads).

As Texas school districts jump into Math Textbook Adoptions--with Houghton-Mifflin and/or Pearson--there is a clear need to provide students increased access to digital devices. Getting the paper copies of the textbooks is cost-prohibitive for many districts since the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) is perceived by some to be "under-funded." You simply don't have enough funding to buy textbooks or technology, which was the original intent.

Kudos to the ECISD Instructional Technology team--Mary Ray, Marguerite Lowak and Jacob Ortega--for their hard work on EC3 Program, which has enjo…

Selecting a Virtual Private Network (VPN) Provider - #PrivateInternetAccess @buyvpnservice

As my daughter went off to college, she remarked that she'd have free WiFi in her apartment.
"Really?" I asked. "Is it encrypted?"
"No," she replied. "Does it need to be?"
Data theft occurs at several different levels online. First, your data can be stolen by hacking into your social network and email accounts. Secondly, your data can be phished using emails that appear to be from valid sources. Finally, your data can also be stolen by wiretapping/eavesdropping on your internet connection both via wire and wireless connections.
ETHEREAL and WIRESHARK provide criminals access to your network traffic whether on wired or wireless connections. These softwares are free and available for anyone to use and download with minimal computer knowledge. Source: Data Theft, Private Internet AccessOf course, that kicked off a whole discussion on the issues with using unencrypted WiFi that you find offered free...well...everywhere. Although I've always had …

Free Tutorials for MS Office, OpenOffice and GoogleDocs #inpictures

As technology changes at an astounding rate, and given how many people are making how-to tutorials in video and print, making how-to tutorials has fallen by the wayside. Why bother making a tutorial for teachers if you can just find them online in infinite variety and languages?

Thanks to inpictures, these tutorials are available for free to educators:
My company creates illustration-based computer tutorials that are free for any teacher or student to use. Around the Corner readers might appreciate knowing about them.
The tutorials are available at They were developed through a research study funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education.
We've recently created many new tutorials, several on Google Drive applications. Considering the rapid adoption of Google Apps in schools, this might be of interest to readers of your blog.  That aside, you may want to check these tutorials out. Although MS Office and OpenOffice tutorials are available, you can also find some for:

Sharing Ideas with Freshmen Students via @postachio @evernote #PostachioEd

Image Source: In response to my education-focused series--featuring over 13 articles--on the use of Evernote and, Professor Michael Flowers writes the following: The posting describing this process is very helpful to me. I am used to snapping the class whiteboard, emailing the snapshots to myself, and then adding them to a section of my course website-a process that delays availability for students...and sometimes leads to forgetting (or getting behind on) that final "get it on the web" step. Going the route of will be so much quicker. Also, I will be teaching two sections of a freshman course and the immediate posting process will help me avoid confusing work from the two classes.

I am really pleased that you are putting so much energy into the project. You efforts will benefit many (and give a leg up as well). Although I am a long time Mac user, my wife and I have had cell pho…

Make Your Own Book Study eBook! @evernote @postachio #PostachioEd

Earlier this week, a colleague in Texas asked, Does anyone have suggestions for a book study that includes tech integration, instructional practices and is research based? The study is geared for teachers and administrators. Image Source: Someone asked me what I thought and here’s my brainstorm in 3 steps: STEP 1 - Figuring out a Delivery Method 1) You could focus on ONE blog and just freak the blogger out. Someone that would be good for that would be the Connected PrincipalsDangerously IrrelevantSchool Admin Virtual Mentor Program (SAVMP)Michael Fullan articles, etc. This could involve reflections about what is being written (or has been written), reflections on the audio/video podcasts (especially when you consider SAVMP’s content) and more.
Since blogs are more like conversations, why not let the blogger know what is going on? It might result in some interesting collaborations and conversations.
2) Create a…

A Baker's Dozen of Education Tips Using @evernote and @postachio #PostachioEd @arguhlin

Over the last 2-3 weeks, I've shared a variety of articles focusing on the use of Evernote and in education to impact teaching, learning and leading. Although the series has come to an end, in this blog entry, you'll find a recap of 16 relevant blog entries. There's also some links to university student using Evernote and Postachio, as well as some bonus blog entries. You can also see my content curation efforts with Evernote at or view it on Evernote.

Consider reading one per month for this school year to keep you learning and growing!

In case you missed it, here's the #PostachioEd series (Update: most recent articles first):
Make Your Own Book Study eBook: This article explores how you can create your own eBooks, but also take advantage of Evernote and to facilitate book studies.Go Digital: Teaching Non-Fiction Writing with Postachio: This article explores how Evernote Notebooks and are a winning combinatio…