I really hate these kinds of “weekend update” types of posts, and only do them as a last resort. I feel that little blurbs about my day-to-day activities are best left to Twitter, Facebook and the like, where I would deeper explorations here.
Regardless, the last week of July is always a nightmare, and I haven’t had much of a chance to catch my breath, much less write a long blog post. Here, then are a few things that have happened recently, for those that might be remotely interested…
SCETV puts on a series of technology workshops twice a year – once in July and once in March or April. Usually I go down and do my Google Earth workshops, but the past couple of times I hadn’t been able to make it. This time the schedule was just as crazy, but I was determined not to miss out.
In addition to my Google Earth workshops, I also did two sessions on Google Docs. All of the sessions were well-received, and everything went smoothly…for the most part. There were a few initial technical glitches and I was glad I had taken my own projector and could connect to the Internet with my phone. However, all of that got straightened out. Also, I only had two participants on Day 2 for the first session, and 5 for the second, despite the fact that everything had filled up within 24 hours of opening the workshops for registration. I guess it’s just like our own summer workshops – teachers sign up, but don’t attend.
My workshops are always hands-on, so I like do to them in a lab or somewhere that the teachers have access to computers. This time they did things a bit differently. There were a few laptops, but for the most part it was assumed that teachers would be bringing their own laptops, etc. While BYOT (bring your own technology) is good in theory, there were a couple of problems. First, Google Earth requires that the program be installed on the participants’ computers. There was a delay while that was downloaded and installed. In some cases the teachers were using district laptops that had been locked down so that you couldn’t install any new programs. It was a pain. Secondly, there were always connection issues, and someone forgetting to bring a laptop, then none being available. It mean that in those workshops that were at (or over) capacity, some couldn’t really participate.
I guess the lessons I learned were that for the next set of workshops I’m going to include instructions on exactly what needs to be installed and what they need to be able to access in order to participate with their own computers. I’ll do that the next time I submit my workshop descriptions.
These problems were relatively minor, though, and I think overall everything went exceedingly well. I’ve gotten to be good friends with the folks down at SCETV. Debbie Jarrett and Donna Thompson always do an outstanding job with the workshops. They are always well-organized, and well worth the time for teachers if they can attend.
We weren’t able to catch the latest Harry Potter on opening night since we were in Denver. However, we did finally get to see it last week. There were lots of loose ends left open that had been resolved in the novel, but on the whole Deathly Hallows Pt 2 was a very good movie. It’s been interesting to watch the actors age along with their characters over the past decade, and I hope that we will see them in other projects soon.
Friday afternoon we went to see Captain America. I was surprised that Laura enjoyed the movie, since it’s based on a superhero in a war, and she hasn’t cared for Iron Man or the other movies in the Avenger series. It was so comically over-the-top that it worked. We both commented that it had the same feel as The Rocketeer. As it turns out, Joe Johnston directed both. It was also interesting to see how many connections there were between this movie, the Iron Man movies, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk.
Traveling as much as we have this summer leaves little time for home upkeep and maintenance, so this past weekend we also tackled a few projects. Laura did some pressure washing. I cut our jungle of a yard, and we tried to do some house cleaning.
One project I tackled this weekend was to straighten out our bizarre home network. We had been using a system that uses the house’s electrical wiring to transmit data. It worked OK, but could be slow as Christmas, depending on how many lights we had turned on and the rest of the electrical load. On Sunday I upgraded our wireless components so that they could provide faster, more complete coverage of the entire house, and we wouldn’t have to use the electrical wiring. Seems to be working so far, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
…and that wraps it up for the homefront update. I promise a better post next time.