Sunday, December 31, 2006
1. I won local and regional spelling bees and went to the NJ State Spelling Bee when I was in 8th grade. I studied words that I could not pronounce (but could spell!) We got lost on the way to the spelling bee and I got there late, ran on the stage, and immediately was called to spell my word which was "superintendent." I was so rattled, I spelled it incorrectly...it still bothers me each time I have to write or type it even now!
2. I used to ride my motorcycle on back roads, well before I was old enough to have a license. I wired the horn button to be a "kill switch" in case we came across any authorities so I could shut off the engine quickly!
3. On the same subject, I spent most of high school (when not cheerleading or being an Eagle) in the garage re-building two motorcycles from the cardboard boxes I bought them in!
4. I was never absent a single day of high school. A couple of my friends even came to school on Senior Skip Day to keep me company!
5. I once got into real trouble for trespassing...the rest of this story will be shared over good food and in a relaxed atmosphere with you in person!
Okay, many of my close blogger friends have been tagged, but there are a few great ones who have (I hope!) not yet been invited! OK, consider yourself tagged!
Here are their names and blinks...
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I immediately bought the original iPod Mini when it came out in pink, and now have a new pink techno-toy in my collection-- the coral pink Nintendo DS Lite!(http://www.nintendo.com/channel/ds).
I knew it was meant to be mine when, stopping into the local Toys"R"Us store yesterday, just to look, there happened to be only one DS Lite available, and the 10-year old boy who was looking at it assured his mom he truly did not want the pink one. So it became mine! (Let me be clear that I am not a gamer...the last time I played a computer game it was Wolfenstein 3D on a Windows 3.1 machine!) I bought the Big Brain Academy brain-training cartridge and it is hard!
The technology is powerful, to say the least. The DS Lite has a microphone, which is used in some games (such as another brain-training game, Brain Age), one touch screen and one static screen, does WiFi with certain games, allows multiple players to play from a single cartridge for some games, and there has been a Web browser released in Japan and the UK, which should be coming to the US soon, which is the Opera browser ported to the DS Lite.
My Australian buddy, Judy Beal, brought two of these devices to the ACEC2006 Convention in Cairns in September. She has purchased a bunch for her classroom, and the students use the "edutainment" cartridges as well as the other very cool feature...the built-in PictoChat function which allows up to 16 Nintendo DS users to connect in real time. (However, she and Greg Gebhart simply chatted their way through my presentation!) The PictoChat instruction booklet even contains some educationally-related ways to use this technology. Because you can share drawings, students can "finish the picture" from a fellow student, copy and make changes to someone else's drawing, and even make a flip book animation project!
Here are some additional links for ideas on how these devices can be used to support teaching and learning.
So, if you see me at a conference, clutching my new pink technology, come take a look!Technorati tags:
Friday, December 29, 2006
Here is a free Web 2.0 database tool, Zoho Creator (http://creator.zoho.com) that does virtually the same thing! There will probably wind up being a subscription version, but the creators promise there will always be a free version available.
I created a test survey, located here...it is easy! You can even easily embed the database form into another Web or blog page.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
1. a Web link to a blog entry
1. to include a Web link to a blog entry on an Web page or in a print source; "The local high school blog was blinked in the local newspaper and on the state Department of Education Web site."
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Just was trying out the snap.com new image search function and came across this old holiday version of my schoolhouse, in the day. Ah, sweet memories of the early days of the Web!
I have been acccepted to present a Spotlight Session on Monday, June 25, 2007, from 12:30pm-1:30pm entitled "A Bright Idea: Shedding Light on Web 2.0 Applications." Mark your calendars and hope to see you there!
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The audio component is being re-done, but you can always use Skype for the audio portion. Give it a try with some colleagues or friends!
Happy Holidays to all!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
What is most useful to me is, when they send back the form (you can have up to 500 responses for each form/survey you distribute), it gets saved with all the rest of the responses and I can both see each complete form in a single PDF file and, most importantly to me, export the data from the forms as a CSV file and import it into a database for data analysis. It is SO cool!
There are other very educationally cool things about Acrobat 8, too, like the ability to embed dimensional images and media right into the PDF file...it is just too neat! I suggest your try the trial and explore the features you are interested in while thinking about ways it can enhance teaching and learning. (Trial download for PC or Mac)
For those of you running Windows (or those with an Intel Mac and running Bootcamp or Parallels), the new Microsoft Office 2007 is available for a two-month trial. You can download it here. It downloads easily and lives separately on your computer without overwriting previous versions of Office with one caveat-- if you use Outlook, it will overwrite your current version, so I suggest to NOT choose to include Outlook in your trial download if you currently use Outlook as your email/PIM client, until you decide to move over to Office 2007.
Although the vocabulary is the same, the interfaces of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access are different. They are not hard to get used to, but, for those of us who support teachers and administrators with these applications, it is important to become comfortable with the basic features. The interface of Publisher has been "modernized" but it does not seem to be fundamentally different in appearance or use.
Being the terminally left-brained learner, I am very menu-driven, and the first thing I noticed about the new suite of tools is the fact the menu bar is missing and the interface is primarily graphical. I was able to add my most-used icons (OPEN, NEW, PRINT) to a easy-to-access area without any trouble, though. On the plus side, some of the graphical functions are interactive, such as the slide designs and fonts in PowerPoint-- simply mouse-over the design and the current slide changes (temporarily) so you can see the design components. These type of features will be big time-savers and I am sure there are many such preview components in each of the programs.
I would suggest you give this one a whirl, too! Have fun, and let me know any cool things you find to support teaching and learning!
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
You can go into the wiki and add content.
There are related Web sites included from his bookmarks that he finds when researching on the Net.
Workplace of the Future
Cell phones are changing the culture-- think about all the men grocery shopping.
We have made a decision that we want communications carried with us.
Workplace will no longer have a desk phone
Most of what we publish is not on paper, but digital- get rid of the paper.
Much of our interaction is moving towards video interaction-- get rid of the chair.
We are going to want to carry our information technology with us-- get rid of the traditional workplace computer
"For the first time in history, our job as educators is to prepare our students for a future that we can not clearly describe."
Conclusion: We should stop integrating technology....instead integrate literacy. Teach kids how to teach themselves. Anyone that is literate within their information environment is ready to do anything.
It is important that students understand the place to look for the information based on the strength of the source-- sometimes Wikipedia, sometimes books, etc. (I still do not agree with this.)
Never assume the authority of the information. Teach students to prove the authoruty. (I do agree with this-- use Wikipedia as a source consulted but NOT as a source cited. Andy Carvin has a great lesson on this, which I have in a previous blog entry.)
(David uses the phrase "cool beans" all the time, just like I do...funny!)
For math literacy, use the numbers to tell the story. (Did a data important of earthquake data into a spreadsheet, plotted it, and saw the "story")
Processor information --> employ the information to answer a question. solve a problem, meet a goal (What is interesting now is that almost everything we use is digital and made up of numbers.)
Writing: we are going to be producing multimedia: how do we get our message through the storm of information
Stop integrating technology and instead, redifine literacy, and integrate that!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
He is presenting to a group of 7 of us, while the other 100 listen online...this is great and we are very lucky!
"The shape of information has changed. The whole information landscape has changed."
Interesting that he asked both who has READ the World is Flat and who has HEARD the World is flat, to include the audiobook listeners! I love it!
Globalization: A world that is learning to cooperate.
"What do we need to know to faciliate this kind of supply chain?"
Google: position of the information is based on the users. (Popularity with numbers of links to it helps determine page ranking.)
Information has changed in the last ten years: it has become more networked, more digital, and has become more overwhelming. As educators, these three elements are part of what makes up literacy. Expand the skill set.
Network: expose truth
Digital: employ information
Overwhelming: express ideas compellingly
How do I, as a teacher, get my message through this storm of information?
Technorati (blog search engine) allows you to tap into the "conversation" of the world
Blogosphere is doubling in size every six months
The digital conversation with each person talking from their own perspective is IMPORTANT!
We need to teach our kids the best place to look for information...Wikipedia, encyclopedia, etc. (I am not sure that I agree with this part, but I will give it some more thought.)
Teach them how to work the facts...teach them to add value to the facts...how to draw conclusions from the facts. (No longer a need to teach kids the fact--- operant word-- teach)
Richard Florida "The rise of the creative class"-- there will be many jobs in the creative arts of music, art, drama, creative arts-- to provide the content that runs on all the new technology
Classrooms have become flat...the conversation continues...
"Using the technology as a fast track to involving students to promote the student voice." The discussion needs to be at the system level and students can play a big part-- they have good ideas about learning in the digital age.
Nike shoe: instructional feedback unit to help you "learn"
Used a CPS system to poll the group from the NetDay SpeakUp Day session.
"Which of these statements best describes your feeling about using technology?"
24 entries and a histogram of the results was shown-- this room used it a lot.
From the student data (K-12), more of a middle of the road use, enjoy it but don't use it all of the time.
"Do you have a cell phone?"
Everyone in the room had one.
Student responses from 2004: about 50% did not have a cell phone
"How many email accounts do you have?"
Teachers in room: most 1-3, some 4-6
Student info: most 1-3, 2% had 10+
We are not leveraging this to the maximum in our schools.
How do you recognize when students have a voice? What does it look like?
Three part strategy (do each of these in a new way)
Ask with: use their techology to ask also what they are doing with tech outside of school; have students help you design questions to make sure you get the context
CULTURAL AND CURRICULAR REALMS
Think about existing mechanisms for gathering feedback from students
Think about undeveloped mechanisms for gathering feedback from students
How can we think about using technologies to ask questions about the curricular side
Listen with: give them a voice in their learning-- both content and process; give them a voice in their area; let them tell their stories; How do we listen in various realms? Curricular feedback usually through testing; perhaps think of other ways
Act with: get students to brainstorm and bring their projects to the classroom
Project-based learning, if it is systemic, and meaningful to students, is more common. Culturally, the tech groups in schools are happening. How do you "bleed" this out to other students to bring the cultural and curricular ideas of students forward
Choice and access are the two things that students say they have outside of the classroom, but they don't have it in the classroom. The teacher often decides when they get access and how they use it. How can we bring in choice?
CPS: Immigrant Status II
"Thinking about the other people at your work, do you consider yourself...(level of technology use)"
Most in the room are high level users.
The student responses: most said average users
Perhaps students perceive that there are higher levels, and you find this out in the conversation
"How often do you access the Internet?"
Everyone in the room: several times per day
Student responses: several times per day (41%), about once a day (24%); several times a week (22%)
"How many IM names do you have?"
In the room: 0 was a high percentage (non-users)
Students: many had 1-3 and 4-6
Help students understand how to make themselves more in control of the technology
Taking IT Global: more about students being who they ARE versus who they WANT to be
Want to manage their life by using a different name for study groups, family and friends, etc.
Taglet.org: suite of assessments that you use within a single district and correlate the data (Gates Foundation uses)
The Big Disconnect: access and choice are what transform the learning environment both curricular and culturally
Why should we care? 88% of kids who drop out have passing grades--> boredom
Technology is the highway to engaging student voice
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I like the images showing up at the bottom of the search results page!
Since SearchMash is in testing stage, certain features may come and go as you use it. I am hoping an advanced search page shows up sometime soon to allow more refined searches.
Remember to provide the developers with the simple feedback they are requesting on your search results page. It only takes a second...
Sunday, October 29, 2006
I have always said if each student had a device, like a handheld, they could do 80% of what they need to do on the device. We could then "bling out" the desktops to allow them to do any final production and creative work. By "bling out" I mean provide them with access to camcorders, digital cameras, scanners, audio and video-editing software, midi keyboards, and high-level software that requires a full computer. With devices like Intel's Classmate PC and OLPC's XO, I feel the 24x7 access to a device that is rugged and can perform the simple tasks without a huge learning curve, would be very beneficial for our students.
Intel's Classmate PC
One Laptop Per Child XO
OLPC Hardware Specs
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The description of the conference on the site reads:
"The “K12 Online Conference” is for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice."
I encourage you to follow the proceedings and I will "see" you there!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
What a wonderful experience, attending the ACEC Conference in Australia for the second time! Besides being among the nicest people in the world, the presenters and attendees at the conference were full of energy and ideas! There are so many great initiatives going on in Australia and many teachers willing to take a risk and try something different to impact teaching and learning using technology. (And I adopted a few things while I was there-- an addiction to their yogurt and Tim-Tams, and the phrase "No worries!"
They DO use more acronyms than we do (if that is possible!), but, by the second day I could follow along. The presentations, except for the keynotes, were 1/2 hour in length with 5 minutes between them, so it was very hard to process the material on-site. (And it was even harder for me to squish my presentation on Web 2.0 into that time slot!) I did have lots of travel time on the way home to process, and will be implementing some of the great ideas when I get back to school this week!
Some things to think about:
1. Lower the interactive whiteboards to "kid height" and set up a classroom computer and projector with the whiteboard as the monitor. This set-up allows students to easily work on group projects, and to work together on interactive learning objects and Java-based simulations.
2. The Learning Federation in Melbourne offers thousands of interactive learning objects for use by all teachers in Australia and New Zealand. I was able to see a few of them during the conference, as presenters showed how they use them in the classroom, and the creative ways in which they are used are great! I am going to make it a point to locate some similar items that we may have access to.
3. As part of the ISTE team, we were warmly welcomed by the ACEC Board and the attendees. Being the international visiting group was a different role for us, and we spread the word about the great things ISTE is doing for both the national and international communities as well as paired up our local ISTE Affiliate with an Australian ISTE Affiliate for joint student and collegial projects.
The closing keynote was given by a TV personality, Bernie Hobbs. She was great and has a wonderful science site here:
You can see the list of papers that were presented here:
And, if you are interested in my pictures, you can find them here or view the PhotoStory video version here.
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock / ACEC06
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning
PDF version of the above
Professional development tips:
On another note, sometimes people cannot get the sites that I link to...I check everything very carefully and, although links DO go bad, it is most probably something at your end-- a slow network, an older browser, etc., or something up with the server at their end.
Remember to try some problem-solving skills whenever you are trying to get to a URL that won't go. In this case, you have the authors' names and the titles of the articles, so you could try a Google search to see if you can find it on your own. You can right-click on the hypertext link, copy the URL, paste it into the browser address bar, and get rid of the last thing in the URL to see if you can get to the site at all.
Friday, September 01, 2006
Okay, it's been a week now, and I think I have narrowed it down to the use of a couple of technologies. The combination that seems to work the best is a quick message in Facebook telling him to read his personal email, and text messaging.
Now, since he and I both have a smartphone (Treo 650 and Motorola Q), I did not have to learn the double and triple button push, and can type my text messages on the smartphone's built-in QWERTY keyboard. However, I see people texting much faster than I using a regular cell phone keypad!
What I really like about the text message is that it tells you when it arrives at its destination, you know the recipient will get notification of it the next time they look at their phone, and it is unobtrusive when arriving-- a short tone or just a pop-up versus a loud ringer.
(If my son and I are texting in real-time, after the 4th or 5th text message, we often decide to call each other to speed up the conversation.)
However, I guess the other thing I like about texting is that it reminds me of nagging...something I will have to outgrow now that he is at college, but a very hard habit to break!!!
If you are going to text others, here are a few tips to remember:
1. Most every cell phone user, by default, can send/receive text messages, unless they have requested the option be blocked on their cell phone.
2. However, every cell phone user does not necessarily carry a subscription to x number of text messages, and will be charged a small fee both when they receive a text message and when they send one.
3. Even with a subscription to text messaging on your cell phone, be aware that your cell phone company may charge you extra for text messages sent to users who do not have the same cell phone provider as you. Sometimes the subscriptions do include x number of text messages to users outside of your provider's network. Read the fine print and ask your friends who their providers are to avoid any unforseen charges on both your bill and theirs.
4. Text messages can be sent from a computer as an email message, but these messages are considered out-of-network messages for the recipient. You will need to know the provider of the recipient in order to address the message.
5. There is a limit on the number of characters for a text message. (i.e. Verizon has a maximum length of 160 characters.) If you go over this number of characters, you wind up being "charged" for sending two or more text messages, and so does the recipient, or the characters after the limit is reached are just discarded.
The address to use for sending a text message from an email client may look like this (check with the provider's site for verification)
Verizon firstname.lastname@example.org (i.e. email@example.com)
Virgin USA firstname.lastname@example.org
In our school district, we found out during a major weather event last December, when all of the electricity was out and the cell phone towers were clogged, that we could still get text messages through via the cell phone, even though cell phone calls were impossible. We are considering asking all parents to provide us with both cell phone number and cell phone provider so we can exercise the use of text messaging if we have to use it in an emergency situation.
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock
Friday, August 25, 2006
However, as a adjunct professor this term, I had the ability to create a Facebook account. It is much easier to use, the interface is a million times better, and it there are many customizable options for allowing and dis-allowing access to parts of your own account. For instance, you can allow people who want to be your friends access to only your "demographic" data, while limiting access to your friends list, photos, and wall postings. It is easy to keep a small group of friends "in the know" without letting the whole universe know everything about you.
Since there is now a Facebook for high school students, I suggest working in some education on how to keep yourself "safe" at that level, too, using Facebook as the demo site. (We currently have MySpace education built into the middle school curriculum.)
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The posting directly from within Picasa2 to Blogger did not seem to work. Instead, I have uploaded some photos to PicasaWeb and have used their function to embed the pictures in a blog for this next test.
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock / Kathy Beck
Friday, August 11, 2006
LEGO Digital Designer 1.6
...a free virtual building system available for both the Windows and Mac OSX platform
...a powerful 3-D modeling program avaiable for Windows 2000 and better and Mac OS10.3.9 and better; can be used in conjunction with Google Earth or on its own
...an easy-to-use drawing program available for Windows and Mac OSX
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock / educational software
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The first, Storyboard Pro, is offered by Atomic Learning. It provides guidance and an easy interface for students developing video or hypermedia storyboards. It is available for Mac OS9, Mac OSX, and Windows here: http://www.atomiclearning.com/storyboardpro
The second software title comes from IKEA, the mega-homestore. They provide planners for different types of rooms (only for Windows computers however) that allow some powerful 2-D and 3-D viewing. These software planners could come in handy for student set design, math or technology ed planning projects, or for other creative uses you may come up with. They may be found here:
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock / storyboard / room design
Thursday, August 03, 2006
You can find them on this page, along with other critical evaluation instruments and links to works by others: http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/eval.html
If you know of any others on the Web, please let me know!
Technorati tags: Kathy Schrock / Web evaluation
Monday, July 31, 2006
Okay, it's summer vacation and I decided to take time to check out some of the interesting videos that have been "talked" about on the blogs and are available on the online video site of Google Video.
Sure there are many, many videos on those sites that I don't want to watch. However, some of these videos are just amazing things to show students who are interested in making videos that include many different video-taking and video-making techniques.
(For Google Video, you have to download the player to your computer (either platform) from this page to watch the videos in a normal-size window with good resolution, rather than the fuzzy resolution of the site. http://video.google.com/playerdownload/)
Some interesting ones:
Amazing Stop Motion Video
Amazing Rollerblade Rail Grind
Hall Pass (my favorite student-produced video of all time!)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
To see (and contribute to) the postings and pictures created by the attendees, simply click on the Technorati tag (blc06) below!
Technorati tags: blc06 / Kathy Schrock
Sunday, July 09, 2006
A Three-Hour Tour:
Navigating Primary Source Materials on the Internet
Here you will find links to the items talked about during the presentation, and the slide show itself in PDF, Picassa Album, and RSS feed formats.
We Interrupt this Broadcast: Using PSAs in the Classroom
Here you will find links the videos and lesson plans covered in the presentation.
Technorati tags: necc06 / Kathy Schrock / KathySchrock_06_Navigating
Saturday, July 08, 2006
In the SIGTC Breakfast Panel audience, looking very pensive.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Day three was a bit nerve-wracking for me, as the closing keynote. I kept muttering my script everywhere I went, and I noticed strangers moving farther away from me as I was muttering! Everyone was extremely supportive, and I felt it went pretty well!
I am sitting here in the airport reading the "reviews" from the bloggers in attendance (I feel like it is opening night for a stage event!) and it seems as if it was well-received. I mean, how could it not be, with the wonderful selection of student PSA's I had to chose from to demonstrate this useful and educational form of video production?
Okay, time to get on the red-eye and catch some shut-eye! Thanks to all who stopped me to say hi and, please, don't hesitate to write!
Technorati tags: necc06 / Kathy Schrock
Thursday, July 06, 2006
The opening keynote, DeWitt Jones, was inspiring with his wonderful photographs and lofty messages.
I got to practice my closing keynote presentation in the huge ballroom with only the tech support crew for an audience. Daunting, to say the least! Today I give my Spotlight Session presentation which now seems so easy!
The exhibit hall is huge, open, and full of great vendors, the educators attending are very gracious when I meet them and talk, and there are friends all around! Last evening, I attended the MassCUE/NHSTE/CECA joint reception, the MICCA Reception, gabbed with the friendly group from Alabama, and attended a very nicely presented Apple Reception. They had a vendor software showcase as well as good food, and it was nice to be invited to attend.
I am trying an experiment below. Blogger does not allow a user to "tag" their posts with keywords. These tags are searchable by the blog search engines to allow users to see related posts from many users all in one place. For this conference, the tag we are all using is necc06. Hopefully, this post will be added to the list, and you should be able to click on the tag below and read everyone else's NECC06 experiences!
For those of you who are Blogger users, I used this page (Technorati Tag Generator) to create the code that I simply pasted into the HTML view of this post in Blogger.
Technorati tags: necc06 / Kathy Schrock
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
For my first test, I used 111 JPEGS from last year's NECC presentation. The upload was speedy, and, when running the album as a slide show, it is almost as good as being there!
See the Web album.
You get 250mb of online storage space for free, and can purchase additional space if you need it!
Monday, June 19, 2006
It is great to have such a techno-literate son! He audioblogs from the field all day and then uploads summaries and photos when they get to a hotel in the evening. I can watch the progress throughout the week, and I really hope they get to see some tornadic activity! (The constant updates make me worry a bit less.)
If you would like to follow the adventure, the blog can be found here.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Here, in a nutshell, are the things I tell parents to think about and questions to answer before they begin the process of trying to buy a laptop.
Price: think about the most you want to spend before you begin the process
Portability: Will your child be taking the laptop to class, study group, and the library? Consider the fact the bigger the screen, the heavier the item and the less battery life (usually) the item will have. Large, wide-screen laptops are great as desktops, but toting a 10 pound laptop around campus can get old really fast! Consider getting a 17" LCD monitor for the student's dorm room desk that will give them more "screen real estate" when they connect the laptop to this monitor when they are at their desk. (Thanks to Alfred Thompson for this suggestion!)
Processor: Consider the area your child will be majoring in when looking at the processor types and speeds. A Celeron processor is not the best choice for an engineer, math major, or someone who is going to be using applications that take a lot of rendering or computation. You will also see laptops with Pentium M, Centrino, Centrino Duo, CoreDuo and AMD chipsets. Each type of processor has different functions, so investigate this if you feel it is important for your student.
Package: I do suggest customizing a laptop to allow for the best expandability in the future. For example, I recommend 1 gigabyte of RAM and suggest, if possible, this be on a single chip (to allow for expansion later to more RAM), since most laptops have two slots for RAM. I would suggest a DVD+-RW/CD-R drive since data files are getting so huge, a CD-R of 700 megabytes might soon not be large enough! I would also suggest, based on intended usage, that the hard drive be at least 80 megabytes in size. You might also take a look at a convertible TabletPC as one option for your child. It is not for everyone, but the price difference for the added functionality is not too great.
Ports: There are an array of ports available on laptops today. Noticeably absent is a parallel port and a serial port, so, if your child has legacy hardware that requires these type of ports, you will need to shop carefully. Most laptops have 2 or 3 USB 2.0 ports (for printers, a mouse, a scanner, a handheld computer, an portable audio player), a IEEE1394 (aka Firewire) port (for external large hard drives and video cameras), a modem jack, an Ethernet jack, an internal wireless (802.11 b/g) network card, and some have slots for secure digital or compact flash memory cards (found in cell phones, handhelds, and digital cameras.)
Pen Drive: Also known as flash drives, thumb drives, and USB drives, these devices are essential adjuncts to the use of the current day laptop. Sure students can load files up on the network to share with others, but the easiest way to transport files from one computer to another is the pen drive (the equivalent of the old floppy drive.) Don't skimp on the size-- get at least a 512 megabyte version.
Postscript: Students in K-16 have access to academic pricing for all types of software packages. Don't buy the Office suite at a retail store-- either take a look at the college bookstore or use one of the sites that allow for academic purchases (I use CampusTech.)
This is not intended to be the be-all, end-all laptop purchasing guide-- just some tips to help you help in the purchasing process!
Monday, May 15, 2006
My high school district, Morris Hills Regional School District in Rockaway, NJ, has created a Hall of Fame, and I am one of the first class of inductees. Because I had to scan some pictures to send to them for the banquet slide show, I figured I would create a little Hallmark Scrapbook Studio page of some of the K-5 and 9-12 pictures I sent in and share them with my blog readers. (No middle school pictures of me will EVER go public!)
However, when I start trying to explain these processes to fellow educators, I often get that glazed-over look from them that occurs when I get really excited about some technology phenomenon and they haven't a clue as to why they would even want to get more information sent to them and wonder how they would have the time to check an aggregator for new items.
So, in order to get teachers to read, and hopefully contribute, to some of the great dialogue going on in the blogs in the area of educational technology and education in general, I have stepped back one step and started an old-fashioned Web (1.0) page with links to some of the best, informative, controversial, and useful educational technology blogs. If you have any others that you feel I should evaluate for inclusion, send me a note!
Kathy Schrock's Educational Blog Listing
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I know the two platforms have gotten a lot closer in the past few years, and I even bought a little 12" iBook G4 last year to see if I was able to get over my trepidation. I still got frustrated using the iBook, but became a little better cross-platform user. I think the frustration had more to do with the little things that interrupted the work process for me-- different key commands, different navigation practices, etc.-- rather than the software available for each platform. However, there is some software that I require that is only available on the Windows side (Homesite for HTML coding for example.)
I DO realize it is not about platform, but choosing the best tool for job at hand (which I constantly preach!), so I wanted to get over my phobia. With the release of Bootcamp for the new Intel-based iMacs, I decided to take the plunge and try it out. I bought a 20" Intel-based iMac to replace my main machine at home. (Okay, I did not let the Windows desktop go too far, and have two other laptops in case everything failed miserably...I am left-brained, remember!)
You have to understand, as the Gadget Queen, I probably have more devices hanging off my PC than most of you (at last count, it was 14), so I really did not know if the transition would be as seamless as the newsgroups (and Walter Mossberg) were saying it would be.
Well, I would like to share that it was REALLY easy! The directions for the install of Bootcamp and Windows XP Pro are clear, and there are only two decisions to make-- what size you want each platform's drive size to be (I chose to divide it right down the middle at 125GB each) and whether to format the Windows side as FAT32 or NTFS (I had to choose NTFS which limited my ability to see the Mac side from within Windows, but allowed me to choose the large hard drive partition.)
Windows installed easily, and all of my many, many Windows programs work flawlessly (and fast!). All of the hardware, once I downloaded the drivers for both platforms, work like a charm-- HP multifunction device, stand-alone USB scanner, external Firewire hard drive, PocketPC Smartphone, Logitech Orbit camera (needed on the PC side since the iSight does not have Windows drivers, yet), USB mic, Microsoft wireless mouse, external NEC LCD monitor as a second monitor, Wacom drawing tablet, yadda, yadda.
Now, I feel I definitely have the best of all worlds-- a fast Windows machine, access to the Macintosh programs to learn more about them, and a beautiful, 20" wide-screen display!
Hum, I wonder when the dual-boot Apple OSX/Windows Tablet PC OS will be available?
From both sides of my brain,
Sunday, April 23, 2006
The online application is called Scrapblog and is easy and fun to use! It was a nice to take a break from other less creative (but equally as powerful!) Web 2.0 apps.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
My suggestions were met with both awe and discomfort, as I described my vision of what the public libary of 2026 might look like. When I left the meeting, I had some feelings of self-doubt. Was I way out of line with my ideas? When I got home, I did a little research on what others think, and I realized that I was not too brash in my statements.
I found a most interesting article, by Thomas Frey, the Director of the DaVinci Institute, that I would like to share. It certainly has caused me to think more deeply about this topic!
The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation
In addition, an NPR program, aired in February 2006, deals with some of the same issues.
"If a Library is Bookless, What's In It?"
Thoughts and comments?
Thursday, April 06, 2006
This may not sound too interesting to you, but it was a lot of fun! As you may know, I am a school district technology administrator. My good friend, Midge Frazel, is a technology consultant and also is in the throes of an online Master's program in educational technology.
I wanted to "pretend" we worked together in a traditional office setting, and that our cubicles were next to one another. In order to simulate this, we both kept the audio portion of Skype open all day long. As I took phone calls and people came into my office (I warned the visitors), Midge was treated to a "day in the life of a technology administrator." I, on the other hand, got a glimpse into the life of a busy graduate student taking courses online. We conversed at times, just like we would if we worked in neighboring cubicles, but, mostly, we really just went about our work.
(The downside is that we could not go to lunch together, nor could I watch Days of Our Lives while Midge was able to watch her soap.)
How cool would it be for professional people in the working world to give kids the same experience? Eavesdropping on a physicist or astronaut for a day would be quite the virtual experience and would give students a better understanding as to what goes on in all types of occupations and environments.
(Okay, I really do not feel so bad about chewing up the bandwidth now that I have come up with an educational excuse for doing so!)
Any takers to "work" in the next cubicle for a day?
Sunday, April 02, 2006
It is not the brightest projector on the market at 250 lux (more about that later), but is supposedly able to be used in a dimly lit room without a problem. It can even be used with batteries (with an optional 2.5 hour battery pack) for a truly portable experience!
According to the spec sheet, it can project at SVGA 800x600, and can project a 12" to 60" (diagonal) image.
Now to the technical stuff. Most projectors we have in schools are measured in lumens, not lux, so we are used to seeing really high numbers for the brightness capacity of the devices. Lux is defined as a measure of illumination, and here is a formula that describes the relationship between lumens and lux.
Light Output (Lumen) = Illumination (Lux) x Screen Surface (square meters)
I did find some information which stated that a bright office is about 400 lux, so, with a 250 lux projector, such as this one, it is evident the lights would have to be turned down low to use this device. In addition, here is a page that provides the average lux illuminations in school settings.
So, after all is said and done, is this device the "killer device" that gets video projectors into every classroom? Will it work with an interactive whiteboard? The price of $799 is higher than was originally published for this device, but, if one takes into consideration the ease of use (no wiating for warm-up or cool down), no replacement of expensive bulbs, and the fact it can throw a decent size image from a close distance, perhaps turning the lights down low is not the end of the world...
Audio file of this post from Talkr.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
This device, which runs an enhanced version of the TabletPC operating system, is estimated to be in the price range of $499-999US depending on the features included. An UMPC models launched yesterday are in the 2 pound range, have a 900mHz processer, have 30 or 40gb hard drives, a 7" screen, Bluetooth and wireless, and assorted USB and even a VGA port. The battery life is estimated at about 3 hours at this point. There are posts that state that the viewing of movies can occur without launching the entire operating system, but I have not verified that as of this point. There is a unique, software-based, thumb-usuable overlay keyboard on the screen of the device as well as enhanced menus and scroll bars that allow fingertip access. (This can only mean these devices have a passive digitizer screen which I have on my current TabletPC and it works very well, for those who are wondering.)
The impact for schools? At this price point (about 1/2 the price of the current small TabletPCs on the market), imagine a lab setting that only has keyboards, mice, and monitors...the students all have their own UMPC and simply hook it up as they come into the lab via the VGA and USB connections. They have the same set-up at home, and can easily have a full operating system...the great OS of the TabletPC, whereever they are!
Just my first thoughts on the subject?
Links to check out if you are interested:
Microsoft UMPC Site
Ultra-Mobile PC: Product page
CeBit News from the show
Added 3/30/06: Here is a link to a draft manual of the Samsung UMPC filed with the FCC.
Audio file of this post from Talkr.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Today I have put together a very simple introduction to podcasting. (I have not added sound, which obviously ignores the richness of the podcasting), but have created a online PPT presention, WMV movie, MOV movie, and PDF handout so everyone should be able to see it! Let me know what you think and any other resources you find useful for podcasting.
-Online PPT presentation
-PDF handout of presentation
-Quicktime (MOV) version (3.44 MB)
-Windows Media (WMV) version (1.07 MB)
Audio file of this post from Talkr.
Here are the questions and answers:
Four non-library jobs I have held:
Worked in the medical records department of a local hospital while in high school
Worked for the housing department while in college at Rutgers
Worked as a preservation microfilmer in a large public library in Morristown, NJ
My current job, as Administrator of Technology, does not specifically deal with libraries
Four authors, books, or series I read over and over again: (like Joyce, I do not re-read books so some current ones that I have read are:)
The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman)
The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture (John Battelle)
Good to Great and the Social Sectors (Jim Collins)
The Singularity is Near (Ray Kurweil) (Okay, this is a really BIG book and I am in the middle of reading it!)
Four movies I can watch over and over:
Four TV shows I love(d):
Days of Our Lives
I Love Lucy
Four places I have lived:
Crofton and College Park MD
Eastham MA (current)
Four sites I visit/use daily:
Google.com: advanced search page
XM Radio online.com
Four foods I yearn for:
Banana creme brulee oatmeal
Any bold, robust coffee flavor
(I don't yearn for many foods...)
Four inventions I am grateful for:
The Internet backbone and TCP/IP
Four musical choices for my personal soundtrack:
Any oldie song
The Saw Doctors
Any song from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Four nouns that describe me:
One EduBiblioBloggers I am Tagging (I mostly read technology blogs):
Thursday, February 16, 2006
One of the middle school guidance counselors came to see me and wants to set up an informational workshop for parents to let them know how these social networking sites work, and, more importantly, how much information about their child could potentially be being shared with the world. We have already drafted a letter to the middle school parents and sent it home, and are in the process of creating one for high school parents.
The parent education piece is not new for us. We have held instant-messaging workshops, to help parents keep their children safe, and also host a district safety page for parents.
The Hartford Courant has been covering the online social networking sites in a series of articles that are interesting, informative, and disturbing to read. As a parent and an educator, I applaud their efforts to educate the public. Here are links to a few of the articles:
Here is another good article from a Lehrer Newshour Special with students which aired this week.
Does anyone have any material they have developed for their school or district which they would like to share?
Audio file of this post from Talkr.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Who ever thought, when I was spending time in junior high on Friday nights watching my favorite television program, The Brady Bunch, that, thirty-six years later, I would be able to spend $1.99 and watch it on my computer? Ya gotta LOVE technology! This is my first try at using Google Video, and, although some of their programs run using Macromedia/Adobe Flash Player, some, like the Brady Bunch episode I downloaded, required an install of the Google Video Player.
My other favorite (and useful!) Google hack site is Cookin' With Google. Simply choose the type of recipe you want (General, Vegan, Crockpot, etc.), list the items you have in th cupboard, and you are presented with a recipe for dinner!
Audio file of this post from Talkr.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
After posting a link to my listserv that led to this blog, I was amazed (and saddened) at the number of school districts that block all of the blog sites.
I decided to move my blog "inside" to my own server, one of the options available from Blogger. After testing it with lots of teachers, this DOES allow the filtered sites to access it. In addition, the dreaded "next blog" tab should not work in those schools if the next blog was sitting on Blogger's server.
The new postings do not show up on the old blog, so, if you are going to do this, post a note about the move before you make the move. (Learn from my mistake!) The URL for the blog, from 1/18/06 on, is http://kathyschrock.net/blog/
Thursday, January 12, 2006
International Olympic Committee Web Site
…the official site of the 2006 Olympics
Official Visitor Site of the Torino Olympics
…information about tickets, venues, and facts about the Torino Olympics
Kids Village: Torino 2006
(click on the button to get the site in English, French, or Italian)
...an interactive site for younger students to learn more about the Olympic games
FactMonster: Winter Olympics
...all kinds of interesting Olympic information may be found here
Time for Kids: Getting Ready for the Winter Olympics
...easy-to-read information and news about the upcoming Torino games
History of the Olympics
...a beautifully-done site covering the history of the Olympics through the 2000 Summer Games
International Olympic Committee: History of the Olympics
...this official site provides information, facts, and figures from the modern games as well as information about the scheduled future games
Olympics Timeline from Infoplease
...an overview of both the ancient and modern games (lots of ads here which are distracting)
Factmonster: Winter Olympics Through the Years
...a well-done timeline of Winter Games information
Olympic Curriculum Guide
...super lesson plans, across the curriculum, to easily infuse Olympic study into the curriculum
An Educator’s Guide to the Olympics
...created for the 2002 Winter Games, there are all types of great lessons, ideas, and activities on this page
Olympic Winter Sports Lessons
...although some of the lesson ideas are specific to Utah, the information can easily be adapted for use with the Torino Olympics celebration
Olympic Classroom Lesson Plans
...lessons on integrating the Olympics across the curriculum, foreign currency, and many more are found in this collection
Catch Winter Olympics Fever
...a simple online collaborative project spearheaded by a first grade class
Trumbull County Educational Service Center:
Olympics Theme Page
...a super collection of Olympic sites with history, lesson plans, and much more!
Olympics Vocabulary List
Olympics Math Problems (primary grades)
Winter Olympics-Themed Math Pages
Alphabetical Order: The Summer Olympics
Word Search: Winter Olympics
(Thanks to Cheryl Carruthers from AEA 267, Cedar Lake, IA, for sharing some of her links with me!)
Friday, January 06, 2006
As educators, it is important that we keep up with these visions and new implementations of technology, so we can begin the conversation early as to how these changes can positively impact teaching and learning!
Monday, January 02, 2006
Interesting concept, eh? After looking at the honorees, I would say there might be some things on the list that guys might like, too! I am not sure what I think about this "special" category...kinda reminds me of these two books that I own: Girls' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties and Boys' Toys of the Fifties and Sixties or the Boys' Book of Electricity, copyright 1923, that I weeded out of my middle school library when I arrived in 1990.