The End of My Rope

At the EdTech conference this year the theme was “A High Tech Adventure!” Some of the conference staff were wearing camo, and camping gear made up most of the floor displays. The vendors always give away some freebies – usually pens and pencils, with a T-shirt being the high end of the spectrum. This year … Continue reading The End of My Rope

Back to School 2012

Aviary google-com Picture 1

And so it begins again. Students return on Monday. Our teachers were back last Monday. The summer is over and we’re getting back to the business of educating kids.

Not that summer has been a vacation for me. I’ve long ago left the cycle of having summers off. In fact, summer is typically my busiest time as we try to do upgrades on our systems. This summer was particularly busy because we tried to change/upgrade just about every technology system we have. It’s been a crazy time with late evenings, working on days that I would normally have off, and trying to conduct a three ring circus of vendors working on frantic deadlines to get everything ready before August 15.

Here’s a list of our projects this summer… Continue reading “Back to School 2012”

Going Google

We’ve done it.  This week I flipped the switch to transition our school district to Google Apps, with GMail as our primary e-mail system. We had been a Novell/Groupwise shop every since I’ve been in the district.  Novell had been a reliable, rock-solid product.  However, their latest version was on a linux-based platform, and it … Continue reading Going Google

UTC12 Retrospective

This past week I participated in the Upstate Technology Conference, put on by the Greenville County School District.  UTC has been going on for many years now, but this is the first time I’ve participated.  This is time of year I’m either taking a vacation, or heading to the ISTE conference, or I’m swamped with computer upgrades.  This year I made a point of attending by submitting several proposals for presentations.

Actually, I submitted proposals for four topics – Google Earth,, Google Apps, and one on Making Music on Your iPad.  I figured they would select one or two.  They picked all four, and even had me doing the music session twice.  I was a bit surprised.  I would be presenting in five out of the eight available concurrent sessions – one on Tuesday and four on Wednesday.  I wasn’t going to have time to visit any of the other sessions.

The conference was held at Wade Hampton High School, just a hop and a skip from my house.  I arrived early Tuesday to check in and scout out my room.  I had the first session open, so I sat in on Cathy Jo Nelson’s presentation on using and manipulating images.  She had some great ideas, as usual. Continue reading “UTC12 Retrospective”

Research Tools in Google Docs

I really miss Google Notebook. Combined with the Firefox plugin, it was one of the most useful tools for online research. I was very disappointed when Google decided to discontinue the service. At least they copied all of my notes into my Google Docs account when they ended the service.

So, I’ve been trying to use Google Docs when I do research for this blog. It’s not quite as elegant, but it gets the job done. Now Google has released a new tool for Google Docs. While it doesn’t completely replace Notebook, it does have potential as a great research tool. Continue reading “Research Tools in Google Docs”

Sock Saga Update

Last week I mentioned that I had received one sock in the mail. The idea was that if i wanted the sock’s mate, i’d need to visit their booth on the vendor floor at EdTech. One of my colleagues, Jay Lindler, reads this blog, and and stopped by their booth. He pulled up RandomConnections and … Continue reading Sock Saga Update

Media Literacy and Tasteless Advertising

Back in the 1980s I used to teach a unit on propaganda techniques to my seventh grade students. We would study Edward Filene’s seven techniques of propaganda, then analyze print and television ads to see how these were used. The students would then try to write their own ads using these techniques. Today this would now fall under the standards for Media Literacy, but essentially it was the same thing.

Over the holidays we watched more junk TV than we usually do, and there seemed to be lots of ads for products from the National Collectors’ Mint. This company specializes in private minting of commemorative coins, and their ads are so over the top that they seemed like a perfect candidate for one of these propaganda technique lessons. In particular, I kept seeing ads for this 9-11 commemorative coin…

10th Anniversary September 11th Commemorative Gold Proof  Collector

I’ll say up front that I think this is a tasteless scam. It plays upon emotions and tries to get people to invest in something that is relatively worthless. I think that anyone that falls for this is an idiot, and I find it appalling that there are some many of these advertisements on television – TV Spam. That aside, though, let’s take a look at some of the specific techniques this advertisement uses. Continue reading “Media Literacy and Tasteless Advertising”

Three Collaborative Google Earth Projects

Google Earth

I had wanted to entitle this post “Cool Google Earth Lesson Plans That Don’t Really Use Google Earth”, but I figure that would be a bit wordy. The idea was taken from my “Creating Media Rich Lessons with Google Earth” presentations that I’ve been doing lately. One of the strategies in that presentation is to embed content from other sources into Google Earth. As I was giving some examples to the workshop participants, it occurred to me that you could do a collaborative project in Google Earth where kids do most of their work in some other application, bringing these together at the last minute in Google Earth. Here are a few of those ideas, and the applications needed. Continue reading “Three Collaborative Google Earth Projects”

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