Showing posts from November, 2017

AL DíA: STEM Specialization?

I read an interesting statement today. Something along the lines of, "Forcing our kids to specialize in sports is bad for them." The reasons why it isn't good for youngsters are clear. But this logic doesn't apply to businesses or those trying to market their services to audience.

Every day, I'm amazed at all the awesome projects teacherpreneurs are engaged in. I can't say that I'm as motivated as they are in nurturing an online business (ok, I'm not motivated at all) or consultancy. But what is clear is that traditional companies and organizations (e.g. schools) need to change their approach.
The pace of change makes it dangerous to rely on best practices. Technology is so quickly shaping the future that using only your own personal and professional experience to inform your counsel will make you look behind the times. Advisors and leaders have to be ready to build business models that don’t necessarily have a precedent, and to imagine customer and e…

Apple TV Grumblings

When I first bought my Apple TV (approx $100), I remember being excited about the possibilities. It was the same kind of feeling I had when I bought a Chromecast for small portion of the price. Although the excitement hope-filled, it soon gave way to disillusionment. I'm not sure where my Apple TV ended up (maybe I took it to work and lost it there in the obsolescence bin), but I don't use it.

In fact, the Roku device I have is probably my best investment for home entertainment. I know others have been successful, but Roku was the easiest. Way to go, Roku!

Still, in spite of this experience and others in trying to support Apple TV, I was pleased to write a response to a question sent in. My favorite part of the blog entry, in addition to the list of examples for uses with links, is the alternatives section:
If your school or district has not yet invested in an Apple TV, you might consider a software solution instead. Here are three software alternatives that cost less money th…

AL DíA: YouTube Channels for Elem Math Students

My mom, a veteran math teacher, always said that learning the vocabulary was key to success in math class. If you agree with her perspective (and I wouldn't dream of disagreeing), you may want to check out these videos, especially Flocabulary. Introducing key vocabulary and making it understandable works.
As the students understood the language of math, their confidence, attitudes, and scores all began to improve. My research topic is the use of mathematical vocabulary and its implications in the classroom, namely improving understanding and scores. Source This shouldn't come as a surprise, but reading it online underscores my Mom's assertions:
There is a strong correlation between a student’s word knowledge and future academic success. Evidence shows that what students already know about a topic is a reliable predictor of how easy they will learn new information in that topic. Words are the tools students use to access background knowledge, to make necessary connections,…

Texas STEM News

Thanks to for a roundup of STEM projects schools are jumping into. Here's the list (click district title to access the source):

Bryan ISD:
Watch video

Crosby ISD:
Students from Charles R. Drew Elementary in Crosby ISD made the trek across the region to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) principles at iFLY in Katy.

Killeen ISD:
The STEM Academy is a program for sixth through eighth graders who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. See more

Little Elm ISD:
STEM should be available for kindergarteners through fifth-graders...after the first year of STEM in fourth and fifth grades, a review will take place in 2019-20.  Then in 2020-21, STEM would be implemented into second and third grades. After another year of review, STEM could be fully in place for kindergarten through fifth grade by 2022-23.
Temple ISD:
Temple ISD relies primarily on three models of blended learning to support its one to one Chromebook init…

AL DíA: Hot in the Server Kitchen

Ok, lest you think this blog entry is about cooking, heat in the kitchen affecting wait staff, let me set you straight. In school districts, relying on storage closets as homes for expensive district-wide equipment (e.g. routers, switches, domain servers, virtualized machines on storage area networks (SANs)) isn't uncommon. These rooms can grow quite hot. This blog entry shares one approach to gauging heat.

Also common is how often the heat mounts in these rooms that were never designed to house heat generating equipment. In an old school district I became acquainted with, they kept the small windowless room setup with a standing fan, the kind you buy at Walmart, to pump air into the heated room housing over $500,000 in equipment. When I first saw it, I had to laugh and ask one assistant superintendent, "Why do you have this much equipment stored in a room with inadequate air conditioning and fire sprinklers in the ceiling?" The cost for fire suppression, a new building …

MyNotes: Free eBook on #STEM #STEAM Learning

Wondering how to get started with STEM/STEAM? You may want to check out The Big Guide to STEM. This 16-page guide is available at no cost online.

Here is some info about it from their website (linked above):
A focus on STEM learning is necessary in order for students to be competitive in the future job market. STEM occupations are growing at a rate of 17%, compared to 9.8% in other professions.

It’s time to make STEM a priority for all students. In this guide, we dive into the many ways to incorporate STEM learning into the classroom. Download your copy today for: Best practices to engage students in STEM.Top 10 STEM resource lists to help you do everything from finding the perfect math app or funding opportunity to staying inspired with STEM blogs and online communities. A how-to guide for creating hands-on STEM lessons.And much more! Simply fill out the form to download the STEM guide!  The guide also contains a collection of top 10 STEM lists:
Top 10 STEM appsTop 10 STEM tech pro…

AL DíA: Here We Go Again (#databreach)

Data breach notices have become so common in my household, I find myself reaching for a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. How many different ways can a company tell me my data has been stolen?
"Hey, man, we're sorry. We've screwed up and let your personally identifiable information out into the wild. We're sorry we're so dumb, those hackers are so enthusiastic, and our salaried tech support couldn't stop them." Uber Breach
Take a look at the sincere pleading of Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, in light of their hidden from customers data breach. First, let's look at the extent of the breach:
The names and driver's license numbers of around 600,000 drivers in the United States were stolen in the breach, along with some personal information of57 million Uber users around the world which includes names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers. And here is Dara's response:
"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for…

DACA Hits at Bilingual Teachers

Did you know that Texas may lose 2,000 bilingual educators due to DACA end?
Texas stands to lose about 2,000 teachers who are in the DACA program, and as many as 20,000 such teachers would be affected nationwide. The clock is ticking, and without a legislative reprieve, within a few years it will be illegal for these teachers to  work in the U.S. Their loss would hit bilingual education, where there’s a constant dearth of educators, especially hard. Source: Dallas News  Even more interesting:
The number of educators who work in bilingual or ESL classes has plummeted over the past decade. The state [Texas] now has about one such teacher for every 48 students in need. The biggest challenge in finding bilingual teachers often isn’t pay, but getting would-be teachers interested in the profession. (Source)  Well, yes, it is interesting. Teachers are paid poorly as it stands now. Working as a bilingual educator is a tough job (yes, I worked as one in East Texas, Cotulla and San Anton…

Fight for #NetNeutrality

Protect #NetNeutrality by tweeting about itCall lawmakers: the FCCProtest at Verizon stores on Dec 7:

Open Culture website puts it succinctly:
By the end of December, net neutrality may be a thing of the past. We'll pay the price. You'll pay the price. Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will make out like bandits.

If you need a quick reminder of what net neutrality is, what benefits it brings and what you stand to lose, watch Vi Hart's 11-minute explainer above.

Support Net Neutrality.
Watch this video:

Learn more about Net Neutrality:

Net Neutrality and EducationWhy Teachers Are the Sleeping Giant in the Fight for Net NeutralityAmericans are spending Thanksgiving Fighting for Net Neutrality 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

Trust and Leadership

Don't you just love the quote highlighted in red? I found it on LinkedIn and took a quick snapshot of it on my phone.

We could easily amend that to say, "No person should be in a leadership position who does not trust his/her best people." 
WHEN I FAIL How often have you been in a leadership position where trust grew a bit shaky between you and your best people? I can think of a few situations where I failed to address eroding trust.... because I questioned someone's motives ("He's out to undermine the team and our goals") or competence ("I can't trust him/her to get the job done because she is unreliable, lacks sufficient training or has a different agenda") Trust is all important, isn't it? If we lack mutual trust and mutual respect, things go to heck awful quick. Worse, a history of disagreements, failed attempts at getting things done can result in too much baggage. I've seen leaders who have garnered so many disagreements, fail…

AL DíA: Story Frames

While preparing to present for a conference that was cancelled (sigh), I found myself wondering what Kurt Vonnegut would say about it. You see, I thought it might be fun to design my slide show based off of Kurt Vonnegut's story frame.

Here are some popular frames that appear in this LifeHacker article. I have to admit that I love the way Kurt Vonnegut speaks to this.

As you might guess, I've only had a little success at writing a fictional tale that matches one or all of these frames. Woohoo, I have to save something exciting for old age. I've always been fascinated with writing formulas and trying to write to formula.

What formulas do you see as underlying the writing you engage in every day?

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

AL DíA: Key to the Future

Do you see patterns in data? Can you solve scientific puzzles? Hmm...
...the key to the future is the ability to see mathematical or other patterns in data and in our world. This type of thinking is typically found in statistics, mathematics, and more broadly STEM education, where students learn how to creatively solve mathematical and scientific puzzles. we need in the classroom are people who have a joy in mathematical creativity and discovery who also want to teach, not the other way around.  Source Ok, that pretty much counts me out. I don't take joy in mathematical creativity or discovery. There, I said it. Unemployment, the are my new domain.

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

AL DíA: STEM Job Fact

The facts are startling. 

What does this mean for those of us who ushering youngsters into math, science?

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

My Dear Abby Column

Earlier this year, I had a brainstorm. Usually, they don't amount to much but this one has been so rewarding to write. I wondered if I could create a "Dear Abby" column but for educators, not for the love-lorn or relationship challenged (although one for CTOs might be a winner).

To that end, I started writing "TCEA Responds:" usually fictionalizing the author (to protect their identity) blog series. Do a quick search on "TCEA RESPONDS" and you will get immediately get relevant hits on a wide variety of topics.

Take a Look!
Pretty fantastic, huh? Here is a list of may find something interesting! Grants and Tech PlanningGoogle Certified AdminsRecording SpeakersPodcastingMembership RenewalMS ClassroomSaving High School Seniors' Digital WorkDigital Fax SolutionsSecuring Data in CloudVideo SurveillanceFuture Ready Library resourcesTechApps TEKSGet Current on Tech LearningNew Google Sites ePortfoliosTeaching Dgital MediaApple TV in the Classr…

AL DíA: Publishing Students' Research

Thanks to a blog entry on STEMmom's blog, I found out about several websites (online research journals) that publish high school students' research.

Here is a short list of journals that accept middle and/or high school students' research efforts:

The Journal of Emerging Investigators(JEI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing scientific literacy in middle and high school students. The mission of JEI is to teach students how to think clearly and creatively, training them to navigate scientific literature, and write about their experiments in context of their respective scientific fields.Journal of Experimental Secondary Science (JESS) is a professionally reviewed academic journal which exclusively publishes original research articles written by high school students. Submissions are reviewed by college professors and research scientists, who are chosen based on their expertise in the area of science that each article addresses. STEM Fellowship is a Canadian Sci…

Free At Last

On February 10, 2017, Adalgisa Guhlin de Gonzalez, died from a brain tumor. When she died, I found myself dealing sadness, relief, as well as a "blankness." I wrote about the experience of finding about her imminent death in this blog. Today would have been her birthday.

The Blankness
As each month has passed, the "blankness" that I see now as a comforting fog insulating me from grief has begun to slip away. You might say, it's peeling away like a scab that's no longer needed, leaving new pink skin beneath. But the truth is, it's a bit tougher than that.

My Mom and I never enjoyed a close relationship. Wait, that's not true. We enjoyed one when I was a youngster, while I remained dependent on her love and care, before I defied her high blood pressure, la rabia that seemed so common in the Gonzalez family. I spent most of my life dealing with an angry mother, who opposed much of what I hoped to do as an independent adult. I did it anyways, and learned…

Here There Be Dragons: Blogger as Explorer

As I peer into antiquity, I realize that my blog, Around the Corner, is old. Not just middle-aged but in its prime, but ancient in social media years. There are times when I doubt why I'm blogging, but then, when my fingers hit the keyboard to share my reflections, I realize why. I feel the same excitement and in a few moments, my doubts turn into wonder.

Blogging serves another purpose, as I often's my outboard brain. It allows me to recall facts and information that I otherwise would have let slip. There is another important purpose for blogging, though, that Angela Valenzuela (Blogging: My Take On This) nails:
...blogging presents itself as an ethical counter-weight to the commercialization of so much information today that masquerades as "knowledge."  This is so important to free, open, and democratic societies. As Angela points out above, commercialization is a concern. I'm not sure if it's something worth being demonized, except when it is…

AL DíA: Digital Flipbooks

Over the past few weeks, I've been having fun playing around with Animated GIFs. As a challenged artist (I'm still trying to draw stickmen well), animated GIFs seemed quite beyond me. Not the animation itself, but rather, animating some drawing that I had made. What joy to discover how to make tutorials.
An animated GIF is a series of sequential frames played in order with a delay between them to create the illusion of movement. Those frames are all contained within a single GIF file that holds all the still images along with instructions on how fast to go through them. It's a little digital flipbook. Source: Popular Mechanics
I've included a link to some of my animated GIF resources in my blog entry at TCEA.

My go to tools for creating animated GIFs, an excerpt of the ones I mention in the blog entry linked above, include: (Free): You can use this web-based tool to create animated GIFs. GIF Toaster (iOS; Free): You can take a series of photos (or screenshot…

Managing Multiple Accounts with Firefox Quantum Browser

Hoping that Mozilla Firefox browser had recaptured its mojo, providing a nice alternative from Google Chrome, I downloaded the new Firefox Quantum browser earlier this evening. I was prepared for a slow, clunky browser, barely able to limp along under the weight of taxing add-ons. One add-on that I promptly installed is the Multi-Account Containers add-on. It's a life-saver for those of us with multiple email accounts, striving to keep personal, work, whatever separate at the browser cookie level.

What about Firefox Quantum?
I am pleased to share that the new Firefox Quantum browser zips right along, at least as fast as Chrome. My perception on my Surfacebook was that it was faster than Chrome browser. Get it online for your platform of choice, including mobile. You can read it's main features on their website.

It's zippy and that's good enough for me. More importantly, the Multi-Account Containers add-on works great.

Multi-Account Containers
This awesome add-on makes i…

AL DíA: Ready to Unconference?

Are you ready to unconference your next faculty meeting or professional learning opportunity? I did it at a TCEA Innovative Learning Strategies Conference earlier this year, and WOW, was that an incredibly experience.

Learn more about the Power of Unconferences via this blog entry I wrote for TCEA(and access my curated resources):

Some research (2016) about unconferences, which are often termed "edcamps," (although not all unconferences are edcamps):

Edcamp unconferences: Educators' perspectives on an untraditional professional learning experienceAuthors: Jeffrey Paul Carpenter, Jayme Nixon Linton

Edcamps are a free, voluntary, and participant-driven form of unconference professional development. Many educators, scholars, and policy makers see professional development (PD) as key to the improvement of teaching, learning, and schools. Although research suggests that high-quality PD can improve instruction, traditiona…

AL DíA: Disaster Communication Apps

Remember the time when the power went out, the phone system went offline? That happened once a month in my old San Antonio school district. Somehow, AT&T couldn't get it's stuff together. AT&T's old equipment would often fail, leaving my school district offline at one campus or district-wide. Combine that with CPS power outages, I soon started longing for a communications app that we could use independent of POTS/VOIP. Learn more about my efforts here.

Recent events (e.g. hurricanes in Texas) forced me to take a fresh look at communication apps you may need in a pinch. I explore these in my TCEA Technotes blog entry, Communication Apps Districts Can't Live Without.

It certainly is worth reading hand-in-hand with yesterday's disaster recovery blog entry.
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

New Experiences, New Learning in #Makerspaces

Over at Blue Skunk Blog, my esteemed friend and inspiration, Doug Johnson shares this conclusion about how educators spend their money in K-12 schools. Part of the idea is that makerspaces may be a complete waste of funding if....
If the considered new technology, program, or method does not actually address a genuine need in the district nor does it align with the district's mission and strategic plan, why even mess with the other criteria?  As I concluded earlier "A dollar spent on a failure is one less dollar spent on something beneficial to our students. New initiatives need to based on more than good sales pitch."  It's a zero sum game, folks. Let's do our best to make each dollar count.  This kind of approach, "Let's make each dollar count," reminds me of the gunfighter's credo, "Make every bullet count." Unfortunately, this approach often sounds great but sells learners short.

In K-12 education, we are trying to create experienc…

Disaster Recovery Rears Its Head Again #cto #tecsig

Earlier this month, I shared part 1 of When Disaster Strikes, which is part one of a 2-part series on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity in K-12 school districts and organizations. I'm happy to share that Part 2 is now out and available for your viewing!

My favorite part of this article, which obviously includes much of what I put in place in my 10K student school district in San Antonio when I served as Director of Technology, appears at the end. It is a caution to K-12 school superintendents and leadership teams that are too cheap to put in systems that will safeguard day to day operations, all of which rely on technology:
“Our school district cannot function without technology. Not investing in disaster recovery and business continuity ceased to be an option a long time ago.”  How are you, as a school district leader, CTO/CIO safeguarding what your organization needs to be successful? I loved that quote from esteemed colleague, Dr. Kari Murphy in Deer Park ISD. If you…