Showing posts from November, 2015

Curriculum Using Technology (CUT) Institute

"You really made me think of ways to use technology," the teacher had written in the online CUT journal. The author of the journal entry went on to say, "I felt inspired to go back to my classroom and use technology. We really need these kinds of inservices to keep me focused and renewed. " 

And, that's exactly what the Curriculum Using Technology (CUT) Institute was about--connecting with classroom teachers, reflect on what they're doing in their classrooms, and then helping them find ways to use technology in their classrooms. Sometimes, this can be a challenging, albeit necessary, experience for teachers.

The Curriculum Using Technology (CUT) Institute helped teachers to develop problem-based learning units that integrate technology. Revised many times, the CUT Institute is the result of planning sessions in which the facilitators of the CUT Institute sought to interweave several important strands:

Information problem-solving processes such as the Big6, FLI…

Two Wolf Tales

I'm sure you've read the old classic, Two Wolves (A Cherokee legend), story of the grandfather and his grandson, but if you haven't, I include it below again. It also inspired me to write my own wolf tale, so you'll find my tale right after it...maybe you'll suggest a title?
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil--he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good--he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevelence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you--and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute, then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
"The old Cherokee…

5 Steps to Fostering Technology in Schools

The slides flash up on the screen. The basic expectations for technology integration for K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 are outlined to students. I can’t help but smile as the words come out of my mouth. “Folks, these are the minimum expectations for using technology in your classroom.” 
As I pause for effect, I emphasize the following words, “Note that these are classroom-based expectations regardless of your content area, not something that happens only in the computer lab. These expectations exist whether you are a kindergarten teacher or a departmentalized fifth-grade teacher.” The information in the slides is based on a presentation done by Patsy "Mother of TA:TEKS" Lanclos in the 1990s at the Education Service Center, Region 20.  How tim has passed.
As I sat in a two-day academy on Problem-based Learning--a replication of the TCEA PBL Academy shared at the 2003 State Conference--and saw those same slides shared with teachers, I was astonished yet again at the fact that they regist…

MyNotes: Intro to #TPACK

These are MyNotes on the introduction to TPACK video that appears online.They are offered up as a way to help those participating in the ECISDLearners Weekly Voxer Chat.


Content Knowledge (CK) is about what teachers know (knowledge and expertise in your content/curricular area). It includes the following:factsconceptstheoriesPedagogical Knowledge (PK) is about how they teachers teach (expert knowledge about the art and science of teaching). It includes the following:Assessment StrategiesInstructional strategies - Approaches such as inquiry-based learning, Problem-based Learning, Think-Pair-Share, for example.Learning theoriesThe interaction between Pedagogical and Content and Pedagogical Knowledge (PCK) is "Teaching at it's best." 

[Miguel's Note: However, it's not enough to rely on traditional "teaching at it's best" at a time when technology is so prevalent in society and life. As such, we have to consider adding a third component--Technology…

Managing My Clouds: Unlimited Storage (Updated)

Update: I take back everything nice I said about Amazon Cloud Drive. Unfortunately, it's not ready for prime time. While you can store stuff there, it's difficult to interact with it in the same way you can with Dropbox or Google Drive. As a result, I've dumped Amazon Cloud Drive--what a terrible interface they have!--and switched back to GoogleDrive.
Earlier this month, I received a notice from Dropbox. It said, simply, that I was no longer going to have access to gigs of space (buying a Samsung phone had given me additional hours) I had over the last few years. Instead, access would be knocked down 48 gigs! Still, I had to prioritize content for removal from the cloud, and figure out a way to migrate it from one cloud storage solution to another.

At the time, I wished for a solution that would allow me unlimited storage and an easy way to blend my work scattered across various cloud storage solutions. Then, Amazon Cloud Drive--unlimited storage--for $5 for initial year c…

Hooked on Gaming: 5 Quick #Leadership Lessons from #ClashofClans

"Leadership and management skills required?" I gasped as I began to play this game on my iPad, then later load it on my Android, and even more recently, iPhone. "I just want some simple diversion, not to have to think while playing a game." Yet, I resisted the urge to delete the app. Something kept me hooked, and periodically, without realizing it, I found myself observing the valuable lessons in leadership and management the Game taught. May I share a few of these not so serious leadership lessons?

As a veteran Clash of Clans gamer, I have found myself reflecting on what powerful lessons this game teaches those who play it. It's only natural, of course, given the amount of time and discretionary funding I've spent. Of course, this wasn't my intent when I started playing, submitting to the incessant encouragement, exhortations and downright nagging of my son about a year ago. In no particular order, here are some leadership lessons:

Lesson #1 - Get invol…

Rethinking the Continuum: Teaching, Learning and Technology (Keywords: 4Cs framework LOTI)

A short time ago, after a conversation with a colleague, I imagined the following continuum:

Not being satisfied with that, I worked on it a little, and it ended up looking like this:

For fun, I dropped the SAMR model into the equation, even though it has become quite controversial. In truth, I wonder if such "complex" models can really do more than describe ideas and mayhem endemic to school districts. As a technology director, I see my role as facilitating the technical side of things, allowing curriculum to blend technology into their work. And, this approach would probably work except for the deleterious effects of high stakes testings and interventions mandated from on-high.

It may be that the role of Instructional Technology Specialist is an anachronism from a bygone era, but unfortunately, until curriculum folks aren't running around trying to meet TEA requirements that result in fascinating contortions, we may not see much progress without the hardy Instructional Te…

Safeguarding Your Darlin's - Email Archiving for School Admins

"Miguel," asked an administrator colleague at a school district, "How do I save my emails in GoogleApps forever? I was told they disappear forever after 30 days or something. Is that true?"

The question is one that will occur to any administrator who has had to deal with discovery or open records request on short notice. While many school districts take advantage of email archiving solutions like Google Vault (available at no cost for GoogleApps for Education districts) or DataCove-type options, individual admins may be a little nervous about what's archived. "Did the email archiving system get it all?"

Without what often involves superintendent approval--if not Human Resources Superintendent prior review--how do you safeguard your darlings?

Here are a few tips on how to archive your own email, most of which will certainly raise an eyebrow in light of email server hacking news stories:

1) Mozilla Thunderbird Offline Option or, if you have a Mac, use Ap…

Malware Protection


Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) Everywhere...Malware DetectionAttack ContinuumBefore: Discover, Enforce, Harden, Reputation Filtering is done on URLs beforeDuring - Detect, Block, Defend: Signature, AV, Spam scanning, URL scanning, File Reputation/AMP, sandboxing/AMPAfter - Scope, Contain, Remediate- Continuous RetrospectionOpenDNS UmbrellaCover your DNS blind spot for better security visibilityProtect devices on and off the network against malware and breachesExtends firepower/AMP intelligence and protection beyond the perimeterIdentify targeted attacks by comparing your activity versus the world'sinvestigate security incidents with global context and predictive intel
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

When You Don't Fit, Go Naked

Upon arriving in the small, inner city school district, I knew I didn't fit. The old saying, "No me hallo," [S panish] or "I don't find myself in these surroundings," I'd learned from a childhood maid while growing up in the Republic of Panama (Canal Zone) was on target. But what to do? Six months later, it didn't matter. I had migrated to a better place, committed to finding a place that appreciated me for who I was, realizing my present wasn't preparing me for the future I wanted.
"When one discovers what is right and begins to pursue it, the necessary people and resources turn up." Source: Gandhi I'd experienced the feeling before, a form of culture shock when I arrived from Panama in a beautiful neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas where I was afraid of being kidnapped, murdered, chased by gang of wannabe thugs too rich to venture away from their Atari consoles but once a day. In time, I came to make my home in San Antonio, but …

Easing Past Technology Provincialism

When my father took me to buy an Apple //e, I had no idea it would change my life. In fact, I imagined it would ruin it. My father, driven inexplicably to the Computer Solutions store, bought me technology that he would never use, never truly understand...but he dreamed I might.

I didn't feel that until my son played on his Xbox, and I found myself afflicted with only a mild curiosity. What would it be like to fight zombies, play with people around the world,  people I would never meet face to face? What would it be like to learn how to play an infinite variety of games by watching endless hours of YouTube videos? What would it be like to begin my homework on one device, switch to another, and another, mixing-n-matching (a.k.a. app-smashing), remixing information and creations?
...research shows that vilifying the devices’ place in family life may be misguided...My data revealed that parents could be roughly divided into three groups based on how they limit or guide their kids’ sc…

ClassroomTech: Puddles of Quivering Jelly #TPACK #TIM #edtech @diben

Like an after-thought in many districts, technology is dropped in when convenient, ignored when not. Too often teachers, administrators, leaders focus on the productivity aspects of technology, go "app crazy," or disregard it entirely.

And, it's not surprising to see instructional technology sacrificed on the altar of high stakes testing and test-prep...after all, if kids can't read and write well, let's not waste time on's a distraction.

Yet, as many Around the Corner readers know, any district should have, as a part of its core mission, a willingness to prepare students for life, a way to give them what they need to make their way in the world (that's money to live), and a way to use technology as a lever to improve their lot in life.

Just as life, learning and work are interconnected, we must embrace technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge and the relationship between each. 

The TPACK framework ( suggests that techno…