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Web 2.0 and School Administrators
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
I'm All Thumbs!
Topic: Emerging Technologies

I live on a small island. It’s important to know this because one of the limitations of living there is that my cell phone does not work when I am at home—simply no bars.

As a result, I am cell phone challenged. I have one because when I travel, it’s my lifeline to home and necessary for work that must be conducted when I travel. However, until my first grandbaby was born a year ago, I didn’t even have a camera in my phone. Why bother?

Having this baby in our lives has taught me two things (at least). I now ‘get’ Flickr and I’ve upgraded first my phone (a camera is needed when she does so many cute things) and now my service (I’ve tried everything I can to transfer those cute pics from my phone to my computer, to no avail).

So, at the ripe old age of 57, I’ve started to learn to text. So far, I’m having a pretty rough go. I’ve mastered entering the simple email address to send photos. However, sending an actual text message seems to take forever. My friend Ryan taught me a text acronym, but I can’t use it in front of friends, family, or clients.

My daughter showed me how to access the Word feature, but assured me I won’t be happy until I get yet another upgraded phone with a keyboard. She counsels patience, tells me that while texting takes more time than talking, it’s perfect for those times when you want to say just one thing.

I do not understand yet how kids do this under their desks. I do understand why several states have outlawed texting while driving. Good grief! How could anyone even think they could do both???

At this point, I’m looking for acronyms that I can use in polite company and tips from other digital immigrants who have come to grips with texting.

I suppose the phone upgrade isn’t far off, but I would like to avoid it for a while!

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 7:07 PM PST
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
NAEP will start measuring student technology skills
Topic: Leadership Issues
Back in 2005, the NAEP board decided that there would be a national test of student technology skills in place by 2012. Apparently they're moving ahead on this decision. WestEd has been awarded the contract to develop the test framework. No word yet on what it will look like or what grade level(s) will be tested. A little more info is available here.

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 4:34 PM PDT
Sunday, 19 October 2008
New Report on American Schools
Topic: Leadership Issues

Strong American Schools has just released a new report, A Stagnant Nation: Why American Students are Still at Risk. The executive summary and full report can be access here.

A Nation at Risk was published 25 years ago. Since that time relatively few-- some would say virtually none--of the reforms recommended in that report have been implemented. For example, the original report suggested a 7 hour school day and between 200 and 220 school days per year. Nationally, the average school week has increased by just 36 minutes.

See this new report for additional examples and discussion. 

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 3:47 PM PDT
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Student bloggers: to monitor or not to monitor...
Topic: Leadership Issues

Karen Fasimpaur has posted a question asking whether or not all student blogging should be moderated. I think she's asking about use of private blogs that are hosted in house and not available for public viewing.

I'm going to respond to that and then ask another question. But first, private blogs...

I do believe that educators can make productive use of private blogs when they are being used as a sort of 'sandbox' to help students learn about blogging in public. I'm not sure that I can get too worked up about whether or not these are 'real' blogs because if anyone else is reading the posts (including teachers, fellow students, parents) there is an audience beyond the individual writer. That's the point, right? And, most 'real' blogs have a very limited reading audience.

Educators should not stop there, however. At some point (I don't know if this is an age or grade level issue), kids should have the opportunity to post their ideas in public blogs. For example, look at the benefits reaped by Eric Langhorst's students during the Guerilla Season blog project each year. That wouldn't happen in a walled off environment.

Now for the next unasked question. Should student posts be moderated before being made public? I think so, but I know a lot of educators who believe this is an infringement of students' free speech rights. What do you think?

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 10:39 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 October 2008 10:55 AM PDT
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Google Reader in Plain English
Topic: Emerging Technologies

Lee at Common Craft has just posted a new Plain English video. This one explains Google Reader in just a couple of minutes. Great way to help staff grasp the concept!



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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 9:34 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2008 9:40 AM PDT
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Texting In Its Place
Topic: E-Communication

Last Sunday's newspapers contained two interesting stories about students and texting. The first, "Teen Texting Expert Insists on Being Perfect," appeared in the Washington Post. LG Electronics recently sponsored a national texting contest, and 14 year-old William Glass III was a finalist. Nothing remarkable about that until you learn that Glass refuses to use text-speak. He spells out every word and even uses proper punctuation!

Glass clinched a regional championship, but lost the national contest. That's okay. It's great to know that texting doesn't have to preclude spelling and punctuation. And--he had a great time!

The second article, THX 4 THE GR8 INTRVU! appeared in the Seattle Times. Apparently some of what we've taught kids about being polite has penetrated. High school and college students are remembering to send thank you notes after an interview. Unfortunately, instead of using traditional pen and ink, or even less traditional, but still acceptable formal email, interviewees are texting their appreciation and potential employers don't like it. Why? They say the practice "hints at immaturity and questionable judgment."

Employers also don't want to be 'friended' by interviewees. When one job candidate found the interviewer's personal Facebook page and invited her to be his friend, her reaction was extremely negative. "I'm not his friend. I'm not even his employer. I was somebody who just interviewed him. They call is social networking for a reason."

Seems to me both these articles would make a great foundation for life and career skills lessons on separating personal and professional use of technology.  


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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 10:55 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 August 2008 11:01 AM PDT
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
The World Is Flat- Free Audio Version (until 8/11/08)
Topic: Leadership Issues

If you've read The World Is Flat, you know how good it is and may be interested in a quick review. If you haven't read the book, now's the time. Between now and August 11, you can download a free audio copy of the book. Click on this link.

This is a book that every school administrator needs to read and share with staff, parents, and the community. 


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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 3:05 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 August 2008 3:15 PM PDT
Friday, 25 July 2008
Online Teaching--Increasing Coveted Positions
Topic: Emerging Technologies

Today's Washington Post includes an article about online teaching position. According to "The Odd World of E-School Teachers," interest is growing in online teaching jobs, particularly those where teachers can give up face-to-face teaching altogether. Most positions at this point are at the high school level.

Does this interest signal a shift in adult attitudes about the value of online courses? What kind of special training do online teachers need to be really effective? These questions and others are addressed. 

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 2:12 PM PDT
Updated: Friday, 25 July 2008 2:15 PM PDT
Monday, 30 June 2008
Refreshed Technology Standards for Teachers
Topic: Leadership Issues

ISTE released the refreshed NETS for Teachers this morning at NECC. The revised standards are aligned with the refreshed NETS for Students released last summer and focus more on how the technology is used and much less on how to use the technology. Learn more here.

This afternoon the last phase of this first NETS refresh cycle began with a meeting where attendees began looking at how to update the NETS for Administrators.Similar meetings will be held throughout the year at various conferences and events. You can learn more on the NETS Project page. 

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Posted by sjbrooks_young at 8:04 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 30 June 2008 8:07 PM PDT
Friday, 27 June 2008
HP Mini-Note
Topic: Emerging Technologies

I'm having trouble getting my Verizon USB modem to work well with the Mini-Note. One time it seems to be okay and the next it refuses to allow me to log in.

Also, I did a simple System Restore this morning in the Nashville Airport to remove something I'd installed. It took 45 minutes!!! My eeePC is looking better all the time! 

Posted by sjbrooks_young at 11:14 AM PDT

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