Posts

Into Stink and Scandal: Government's Hit or Miss Strategies

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Image Source: Whose Knowledge?

In his blog entry, Government Initiatives, Terry Freedman points to past prognostication about government and edtech. With the opposite of the Midas touch, government's sink any initiative meant to assist into stink and scandal. Terry makes the point that what the government promised never arrived: On 12 October 2018 I wrote an article stating that I have grave doubts about governments getting involved in ed tech initiatives because, somehow, they usually mess them up, or at least the initiatives don’t work. The government nevertheless trumpets how successful they’ve been — I suspect the press releases are prepared in advance — and life goes on in much the same way as before. 
Here we are, two years later, and the government recently announced that laptops would be provided to disadvantaged kids. In spite of the best intentions, or perhaps because of them, governments fail to implement anything properly. One can only point to the COVID-19 pandemic'…

Trim Your Arbustos

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One of the consequences of hating to do your own lawn work? Unsolicited requests to provide assistance from lawn care professionals. During a time when I was traveling for work, my wife had to handle lawn care arrangements. The lawn care guy was from Mexico and preferred to speak Spanish. However, we both occasionally would lapse into English while explaining what work needed doing. 


An Unfortunate Choice of Words?"Can I come trim your bush?" My wife showed me the brief SMS/Text message she had received on her phone. When we saw who sent it, we both laughed until we had to sit down. The yard guy had been wanting to cut the front hedge. We had to smile at his attempt to poorly worded up-sell his lawn-mowing services. English was his second language, and it's possible his attempt to solicit business had been poorly worded. 
In this case, our problem was how to characterize the word "hedge." My Spanish language experience did not include lawns, nor do I remember l…

Design Short

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Get to the point. One of my favorite titles on writing is, How To Write Short. You could strip two words out of that title. The virtual book jacket at Amazon says:

...in this ever-changing Internet age, short-form writing has become an essential skill.
Clark covers how to write effective and powerful titles, headlines, essays, sales pitches, Tweets, letters, and even self-descriptions for online dating services. With examples from the long tradition of short-form writing in Western culture, How to Write Short guides writers to crafting brilliant prose, even in 140 characters. Who can argue with that? Write short. You know what, though? We need to do the same with online courses. Over the last few years, I've had a bit of an epiphany. Maybe, it was my patience snapping. 
Too many online courses get designed as long flowing ballads that involve reflection and online discussions behind a walled garden. Cut those courses down. Make them short.
Stephen Downes summarizes a 37-page PDF. Steph…

People Over Profit

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"Fund people over stuff," my mentor, Mark Gabehart, would often say. Of course, he may not have said it in such a blunt way. But that's definitely the message that came across. It affirmed that in education settings, if nowhere else, you put people above materialistic goals (e.g. making money). In schools, you always rank people over stuff. People come before technology. People come before pretty furniture.
The struggle to protect people continues. Even today, we see entire school districts, governments putting money and stuff first. That's why when I read about Austin teachers taking a stand, I had to applaud.
About 850 Austin district teachers have pledged not to return to their campuses Monday when school buildings reopen for learning. Concerned about the threat of the coronavirus to both their students and themselves, the educators said they remain committed to teaching their students, but will do so only in a virtual setting. Of the 925 teachers who requested medica…

Converting and Putting PDFs Into Animated GIF

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Need to batch convert hundreds, or thousands, of PDF files into GIFs that you can then assemble as ONE animated GIFs? If so, this is the blog entry for you. 
The problem? Combine a whole bunch of PDF files (certificates) into an animated GIF. Not a very elegant way to create a fast-moving slide show, but once you start down the rabbit hole, it's interesting to see what happens next.


Although there are a lot of solutions for combining images into an animated GIF, as well as converting PDF files into images, the online solutions can't handle the load. The software you load on your computer, well, that costs money.
Or at least, that's what I thought until I saw someone using IrfanView. I immediately kicked myself. I've used IrfanView for years and it's my go to on my home device.
For Windows users who want to do this...you'll need:1 - Batch Conversion from PDF to GIF Format

Irfanview32 bitIrfanView All Plugins (32 bit)GhostScript 32 bit
After installing all that, r…

Just-in-Time Learning

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In March, as I started Spring Break, I remember the frustration and tears of teachers, mainly one, that spurred me to ask, "How can I make this remote teaching journey a bit easier?" Combine that with a request from a school district, and several of us at work said, "Surely we can come up with something that will work for folks?" A few months later, and the answer is evident.
Yes.
One of my most rewarding opportunities in my job these past few months has been creating resources for fellow learners to use. As a writer, blogger, it's been so much fun to create content and resources others find useful or that speeds their learning. After all, it taps into what I've come to appreciate and learn how to do over many years.
The following is taken from an email TCEA sent out.

TCEA now offers online, self-paced courses in the most popular learning management systems,  including SchoologyCanvas, and Google Classroom in addition to our valuable Remote Learning Educator …

Job Posting: CAST Tech-Computer Science Teacher

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The Computer Science teacher is responsible for instruction and computer lab supervision in the HS classroom providing students with appropriate learning activities and experiences designed to fulfill their maximum potential for intellectual, emotional, physical, and social growth. Teachers will enable students to develop competencies and skills that will prepare them for success in higher education and careers.Click here for Job Description >>Contact Dr. Melissa Alcala, Principal, for more details: malcala1@saisd.net
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