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Intro to Theme Tweaking: Firebug has Magic Eyes

A couple of people at work were discussing how to make a good website for a school newspaper. I couldn’t help but point out the beauty that is The Collegian and mentioned it was based on WordPress with some theme tweaking. So one thing led to another and now a number of people are interested in learning how to do this type of thing. I’m the one-eyed guy1 who’s attempting to guide them. I’m no master of CSS, PHP or even WordPress but I have managed to do a few things over time- usually through trial and error. The movie below kind of talks about why CSS exists and then delves into using Firebug2 to explore website and learn how/what to change in the CSS to tweak themes. Firebug Introduction from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. 1 Too obscure a reference? 2 I find this plugin to be nearly magical and highly encourage you to use it for this and a variety of other purposes.

Another Stab at Making the 21st Century Classroom Concrete

We’re on revision 3 of our attempt to describe the 21st century classroom and to make it accessible and actionable for teachers. It’s really easy to say “21st Century Classroom,” it’s much harder to break it down and describe the components in a clear and concise way. We’ve taken three stabs at it and I think we’re getting pretty close. Figure it might be useful to someone. Round 1 was about 3 years ago. It was a good document but hampered by massive size and too much technology terminology. This hampered adoption pretty severely. Round 2 was last year and we swung pretty hard in the opposite direction. The focus was on leanness and the technology terminology was dropped. Technology was mentioned but it wasn’t very direct. Round 3 is embedded below. We kept it lean but added an individual statement about technology and changed the layout to better emphasize how a student’s role changes as the classroom progresses. We also dropped individual documents on assessment and organization believing that both elements are now covered in other components. These documents can serve several purposes. Our goal was to provide a place to codify our views on 21st century practice- to show the mix of pedagogical changes, 21st century themes and sound use of technology. This allowed for teachers to self-reflect […]

The Three Buckets of Staff Development

Disclaimer—- believe it or not this is really worth reading and thinking about if you have anything to do with staff dev or have been the victim of hit and run staff dev in the past. Arm yourself and be ready to counterattack in the future. 1 This idea is the brainchild of our director of staff development, Chris Corallo2. I believe that this structure has the potential to really change the conversation around staff development in schools. We are putting it out into the wild under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Which is a cool and good thing for him to authorize. So I’ve excerpted the document below. It’s available in full here. There are three types of staff development- experiences, training and professional growth. These simple buckets will help you have a conversation that gets you somewhere else. Most people want to provide professional growth but deliver experience or training. These buckets allow you to show people that and move towards staff dev that’s longer term and more focused on changing practice and impacting learning. Experience This is an opportunity to explore new learning without making any commitment to implementation or change in practice and/or with no expectation of impacting student learning. Training This type is typically required to carry out management or process tasks. There is […]

Forced Obsolescence

1 Phone- in use but hidden. Laptop- closed and visible. Filter . . . . . useless. 1 This was an unposed shot. I’m easily forgotten and happen to have a camera.

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Technology Integration for Teacher Mentors

Today’s agenda Finding Finding information quickly Google tips cheat sheet Wolfram Alpha Sharing/Organizing Social bookmarking in plain English Delicious My Delicious site Goochland County’s Delicious site Media Integration Library of Congress- Digital Collections Archive.org Flickr Commons– blocked? Try this or this. YouTube – blocked at school? Get it for later Observation Tools ISTE observation tool HCPS TIP Chart Lessons Technology integration lessons

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Nigerian EdTech Scam

Warn your CIO or technology director! Schools all over the country are getting taken by these Nigerian eLearning scams! It seems they’re selling technology at high rates and making outrageous promises of learning. Somehow educational institutions keep getting taken in! FORWARD THIS IMMEDIATELY!!!! VERIFIED AS TRUE ON SNOPES.COM _________________________________________________________ STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL Dear Esteem Beneficiary, Have you receive all promises from technology you bought? Or from any organization claiming that they have magic learning technology to sell you? We have been watching every transactions that you made from last year 2008 up till date and you have to know that we are also working to make sure that your great learning which is supposed to be delivered to students some days ago can be immediately be delivered to you without any further delay or any kind of excuses. The Federal Bureau of Education does not want any of our citizens to lose their magic eLearning technology and that is why we have been working every hour on our cyber watch department so you won’t get burnt by this scammers. We are aware of every payment you have made on the transaction you are into to make the transaction succeed, yet the results is still held down by the NCLB and the immigration officer at the airport. We want you to take […]

From Good to Outstanding-PD on Steroids

From Good to Outstanding Follow teachers as they work to improve their practice with a team of experts. Each teacher delivers an initial lesson, observed by school inspector Clare Gillies, then using her and other expert feedback, they fine-tune their skills and try deliver an outstanding second lesson a few weeks later. This is one of those things that makes me want to move to the UK. If you have anything to do with professional development at your school this should really get you thinking. So basically- the lesson is filmed and observed by a master teacher they post the raw class footage people can then offer suggestions etc. online the input from the master teacher and online suggestions is analyzed expert feedback is given the lesson is retaught a compiled version showing before, expert mentoring and the after lesson is posted I’m looking at it like this. Classroom visits– You want teachers seeing other teachers teach. The way they capture the raw footage and put it up on the site is awesome. If you’re doing this you’re building a library of visits for people to use whenever and wherever without the additional overhead of providing subs etc. Modeling classroom skills– Perfect, real-world demonstrations of skills teachers want to learn done with your population. The video may need additional aspects […]

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Laugh or cry

—Because I want to share the voices in my head with others Footnotes, italics, scare quotes and a few minor deletions by me . . . Original Article By Tyler Whitley _________________________________________________________________ Published: June 20, 2009 Bowing to pressure, the state superintendent of public instruction has abandoned her proposal to end the third-grade history and social studies Standards of Learning test. The proposal drew a bipartisan outcry from legislators and objections from parents, educational groups and textbook publishers. And after all, who should know better than these experts in education and parties without any financial interest in continued testing? Does the state superintendent of public instruction think she was put in place to decide what is best for students? Of course not, that’s what textbook publishers are for. Superintendent Patricia I. Wright said she made the proposal to save about $380,000 a year and because she thought third-graders were being tested too much. “Poppycock” sneered Ms. Stanflowski, a textbook lobbyist. ” Every study we’ve paid someone to do for us proves exactly what we’ve always said. It is impossible to give expensive multiple choice tests too early, or too often.” But superintendent Wright said yesterday that she will recommend, at the State Board of Education meeting next Saturday, proceeding with the test and that the board approve a timeline for […]

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New Blackboard Executive Starts Blog, Opts Not to Use BB’s “Blogging” Option

—Another mock Chronicle article – it’s probably getting tiresome but it’s entertaining me right now. original article here by JEFFREY R. YOUNG footnotes, italics, scare quotes on blog and a few minor deletions by me . . . ____________________________________________________________________ The new head of Blackboard Inc.‘s course-management-software division, Ray Henderson, started a “blog” this week, and he’s already facing tough questions from critics. Blackboard’s top management wanted to know just what the hell this “blog” thing was and if there was a way to charge people extra for it. Eager to prove that he plans to bring change to Blackboard, Mr. Henderson declared that his “blog” is a sign of more transparent times. “Me joining the company means we’re going to communicate more often and more openly,” he wrote in his opening post on Tuesday. “We are even considering responding to phone calls from clients who pay less than $500,000 a year in fees.” “I’m excited about having a spot where I can muse out loud about my take on various things in eLearning, and have other folks weigh in with theirs,” he added. “In particular, I’ve got lots to say on the whole openness, standards, interoperability question. It’ll be particularly nice because if I talk about this stuff on company grounds I’ll be fired.” He allows comments on the blog, […]