Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Google Suite

View a full screen version of this overview of the Google Suite of online applications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spreading the Word

A big thank you goes out to Will Richardson for the mention of The Tech Curve in his latest article in District Administration magazine.

The article entitled, "Now Playing: The Live Web" discusses how live interaction on the internet is changing the game.

"...more and more tools are allowing realtime
and interaction among global audiences."

Also a great big thank you goes to Cheryl Oakes who mentioned my students on the Tech Learning Blog referring to the interview they did on the latest WOW20 podcast.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"What does technology integration look like?"

A question had been circulating throughout the ACTEM list serv that I subscribe to. (ACTEM is the Maine technology educators group) and one member asked

"What does technology integration look like?"

Being a Technology Integrator myself I find this question really important and like David Jakes I realize that we should be well beyond the need for the term integration and the tech should be part of the daily life of a teacher. Because that is not yet the case, here are three rules of thumb I use for tech integration in the classroom:

#1) Replace, don't add on.
Nothing seems so trendy as education, and this is especially true when talking tech. I think the approach should be to replace an existing task teachers have rather than piling one more thing on. And if a task isn't going to be improved by using technology, don't force it!

#2) Honesty about the tech curve.
The 'Tech Curve' is that period of time it takes to learn anything new (not just tech) and how during that time your productivity actually will go down. Integrators must build enough trust that the teachers will take that initial effort to see their productivity go farther than they ever could have without the technology.

#3) Use the technology yourself, WITH STUDENTS!
I often read or hear suggestions about using this gadget or that website. But, unless the integrator has used the tech in a classroom setting with students I hold off passing it on. It's difficult to answer all the inevitable questions that will come up, usually it's the things you don't plan for, but could thwart a great idea. If you don't take the time, teachers will pay the price and you'll lose some of that trust you've built. (See #2)

This list doesn't cover everything, of course, but it seems to work for me as a rule of thumb when I'm looking a new projects to work on with teachers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Women of Web 2.0

Too cool for school!! Alice Barr and I were asked to bring some students with us to be interviewed on this weeks Women of Web 2.0 podcast.

You can find the audio here:

The kids did an amazing job, and I hope it starts something more - maybe a student led tech help show of some kind, much like The Tech Curve Show, we'll have to see . . .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Student Technology Showcase

The third Student Technology Showcase at Sebasticook Valley Middle School was a great success. Sebasticook students showed off many of the technology projects they've been working on this year. It was a real hands on day where students, parents, and friends were encouraged to participate in activities throughout the school.
These included, programming robots, racing boats or building a skateboard. Attendees commented on student weblogs, created songs with GarageBand, found satellite images of their homes with Google Earth, created programs using the language Scratch, watched animated stories from Mrs. Bickford's fifth grade class and much, much more.

There were a few contests going on as well. The People's Choice Award for skateboard design won a Zoo York board. The winner from those who completed the scavenger hunt drawing with over 100 entries also won an iPod. Be looking for another Technology Showcase at the end of the year at Somerset Valley Middle School. Please go to for more information.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Twitter Two-Step

Bob Sprankle recently posted about Twitter and it's something I've been thinking about with my own experience. (For a better explanation of what Twitter is than I could easily make, check out Common Craft's video below.)

So what happens is what I call the Twitter Two-Step. Someone follows me, then I receive an email asking to follow them. A quick scan of their page and I make the snap decision of whether to follow them or not. Talk about superficial. 99% of my how I lean is based on who they're following. Though I only have about 100 followers, (chump change compared to many) it still seems an odd way to develop a network.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Presentation Zen

I just finished the book Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds which carries the subtitle: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. If I had to sum it up in three words, 'Less is more.'
Not that it's surprising, but still a worthwhile reminder. Especially for anyone who has been stuck in front of The Powerpoint Presentation from H---

I think a great video that showcases how much design influences content, in done in an easily accessible way is this Youtube video which was actually created by some members of Microsoft.

"Microsoft Re-Designs the Ipod Packaging

Wednesday, March 05, 2008