Discovery Education MediaShare

The citizens of South Carolina really have some wonderful online resources available to them. For ten years now the State Library has made available a wealth of research and reference materials through the DISCUS project. This is available in all schools, libraries, and colleges, and available at home if you obtain a free password from one of those sources. Then there’s and all of the other amazing resources from SCETV. One of the best of these is the Discovery Education video clips available from StreamlineSC. Like DISCUS, this is available free to all schools in the state through a special licensing arrangement with Discovery. At the SCETV conference this week I learned about a new feature that Discovery is promoting called MediaShare. This new service looks really cool, and looks like it will be another great resource for teachers.

As the name suggests, MediaShare allows users to share files of various types – PowerPoint slide shows, Smart and Promethean files, podcasts, and video clips. The idea is that these types of files often take up more space on servers than some districts allow, so Discovery has created this place to host the files. MediaShare is monitored for appropriateness of content, and districts can also set approval levels for files uploaded by their users.


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SCETV Summer Workshops


This week SCETV is holding its summer technology workshops. Normally I’m so busy building new schools and putting in computers that I can’t take part in the summer workshops. This summer, however, I decided I would try to make it. I figured that during summer there would be better participation than there might during the school year.

Last spring I did three sessions each day, which meant that I had no down time nor opportunity to visit any other sessions. This time I cut one of my presentations, so I would only be doing two workshops each day – Basic Google Earth and Creating Interactive Lessons with Google Earth. I had also been asked to conduct a geocaching activity one of the afternoons. Continue reading “SCETV Summer Workshops”

A Portrait of the Parents

Mom and Dad on Peak Bridge

This past week Dad had been in the hospital to have his pacemaker replaced. Full of new energy, he wanted to get out and about when I came down for a visit on Friday. So, we loaded up the car with cameras and road out into the countryside around the town of Prosperity.

Our drive took us past places I had visited recently, so I narrated. I gave both Mom and Dad a point-n-shoot camera so they could take a few snaps along the way, too. We stopped at the new Palmetto Trail Bridge over the Broad River near Peak, drove past the Old Brick Church near Jenkinsville, drove through the Anderson Quarry area where they mine the Winnesboro Blue granite, then along the shores of Lake Monticello up to the little community of Monticello. It was a good ride.

While at the Peak Bridge the parents posed for the portrait that you see at the top of this post. As I was processing the image, I thought it might be time for a quick Photoshop tutorial on adjusting exposure within a single shot.
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Paddling Up Cedar Creek

Lots of Green

Bob D. was up for a paddling trip, and we both wanted to do something besides the Green River or the Tuckaseegee. I suggested Cedar Creek in Congaree National Park, and Bob agreed.

The last time I paddled Cedar Creek it turned into an uphill death march, as we had paddled our canoes downstream, then tried to paddle back upstream to get to our cars. I was determined not to repeat that mistake. Initially we were going to take two vehicles and do a point-to-point paddle from Bannister Bridge to Cedar Creek Road, which would be about eight miles downstream. However, since it was a fairly long drive down there and there were just two of us, we decided to put in at Cedar Creek Road, paddle upstream for awhile, then paddle downstream with the current while we were tired. Made more sense to me. Continue reading “Paddling Up Cedar Creek”

New Camera – Fujifilm Z33WP


I was not able to find the perfect point-n-shoot camera. However, I was able to find an adequate camera. After a bit of back and forth and research, I purchased a Fujifilm Z33 waterproof camera today.

It was a trick to balance feature set and price. I knew that I wanted something waterproof, but there were several possibilities. I started off looking at the Canon D10, which looked like it was going to be a great camera, but the cost was higher than I wanted to go. It also looked a bit clunky and bulky to me. On the opposite end was the Vivitar 6200W. It was certainly cheap enough, but that came at too high a cost in lost features – no optical zoom, AA batteries, only 6 mp, and a long list of other deficiencies. That narrowed it down to the Olympus waterproof series, the Panasonic waterproof cameras, and Fujifilm cameras rounding out the middle tiers.

I had two distinct criteria for this particular purchase. First, it had to be available locally. I have a paddling trip to Congaree National Park coming up this weekend, so I didn’t want to wait for an online order. I wanted instant gratification, and that ruled out the Panasonic cameras. Secondly, the price had to fall within a reasonable range of a couple of gift cards I had gotten for speaking and singing engagements. That ruled out the Canon and the upper end Olympus waterproofs. It finally came down to a battle between two cameras – the Z33 and the Olympus Stylus 550 waterproof camera. Continue reading “New Camera – Fujifilm Z33WP”

Summer Malaise

During the summers we work a modified schedule in order to save energy costs. Monday-Thursday we work extended hours and our office is closed on Friday. Sounds like a fantastic idea. However, those long days can get to be really long, especially since I usually get up at 5:00 am to make it to work. … Continue reading Summer Malaise