Technology Mistakes

This question on the MACUL Ning space got me thinking (you may be wondering why I’m part of a Michigan edtech group when I live in VA- answer Ben Rimes). As a School Board Trustee in Lapeer Community Schools(6500 students) I am very excited about passing our first Bond in 34 years!!! With the passage were looking at $6,000,000 for technology. The big question now is…where do we spend the money and how do we get the biggest bang for our taxpayers hard earned dollars. Certainly we are involving the teachers, administration, students,etc…but I dont want to just dump computers and white boards in every class only to see them sitting in the corner not being used. Has anyone observed mistakes when purchasing technology, or have any success stories about implementing teachnology in their schools? So here’s my two cents based on my experience in Henrico county with our 1 to 1. It’s not exactly coherent or ordered but I think there’s some truth in there. Am I missing things? Too paranoid? Plain wrong? I think these concepts seem to get left behind or only partially implemented far too often. 1. Staff development– this isn’t just how to use the computer/white board etc. (although that is important) the focus should be on why you’d want to use it, ways to […]

A Future Intro

I made this so we could talk to our staff about the TIP Chart (our technology integration progress rubric- which is pretty good). It’d work well for parents as well. It’s pretty interactive and fun in the beginning with a number of pretty funny questions mocking our ability to predict the future. The intro slide sets the tone. I basically say “Where is my jet pack?” Then I try to get people talking about what they expected to have in the “future” that hasn’t materialized. I then pose this question and then invite guesses from the audience as to why this eminent scientist believed high speed train travel would be impossible. After a while I show them the answer. The key is that it gets people engaged at the beginning and it’s pretty funny- yet it is amazing how quickly things change. The presentation then segues into what’s going on now. Since we can’t predict the future very well, we might as well show the “futuristic” things going on now. I showed brief selections from a few TED videos that I thought were cool and relevant to the topic. We hit parts of – Do schools kill creativity? Hans Rosling on poverty – both to touch on globalization and to show how the data is presented Will Wright’s Spore It’d […]


Finally, a Planbook for the 21st Century Teacher (Update)

Let me say that as I write this, my wife is gleefully entering her first week into Planbook. Periodically, I hear an “oo” and am informed of another feature that simply makes sense for the modern teacher. Planbook is a digital lesson book. Actually, it is a digital organizer for teachers. Jeff Hellman was frustrated with the limitations of a paper planbook, so he created a program that includes document and link integration, lets you publish to the web with customizable themes, and will print your plans in a traditional format. I was using a blog as the information center for my English classes the last couple of years. It made managing my disorganized students a reasonable task. If they lost something, I told them to go to my blog and click on the link. If they missed a day, I sent them to the blog before arranging their makeup work. Planbook gives you the same opportunities but integrates it into your organizational system. That’s one less step each day in your routine. When it comes time to share your plans, you can publish them or print them. You choose the information you want published and tell Planbook to send it to your website, iWeb, or a folder. The publishable plans can be accessed through a master list or a […]


Wiki Testimony

As part of our parent training we’re having teachers and ITRTs speak about powerful ways they’ve been able to use technology in support of 21st century skills. This is Ken Kellner’s comments on how using a wiki changed his classroom (6th grade history). He does a good job and conveys a lot of excitement. If you see him jumping and twitching it’s because I edited like crazy to get the movie down to about a minute and a half. Deep breaths and dramatic pauses were not allowed. It’s in TeacherTube as well. Download Video: Posted by bionicteaching at TeacherTube.com.


Chat/Text Resources for Parents

Tom has been doing such an amazing job with an internet safety package that will be ready for parents and students this fall. I wanted to share these resources I found for deciphering chat/text speak (sometimes called l337). I tested out the decoder. It seems to be well stocked. The list from netlingo is a helpful quick reference, as well. Netlingo’s Top 20 Internet Acronyms Parents Should Know Teen Chat Decoder via MetaFilter

Millenial/Zombie Horde Mash Up

>>>>Edit- I added a page and fixed the spelling of millennials (doh!- thanks Greg) I’m working on an Internet safety overview for teachers in our county. I want it to be fun and entertaining but still get the message across. I also have to give a brief overview of the idea of millennials (which feels a little played out to me but that may be because I read too many edtech blogs). So I’m thinking of going the zombie route for the millennials intro. It kind of works if you think about it and I’ll redeem them in the end (I promise) but I thought it might be a fun way to go about this. Check out the quick intro below and let me know what you think. I’ve been known to go overboard. Is this too much? Click on the image for a large view. Click on the image for a large view.


IMSafer: Helping Responsible Parents

My wife and I were talking about personal responsibility last night. It was the age-old debate about who to blame for the state of the world. More specifically, the state of children (we are both teachers). We both recognized that there are companies actively marketing products, services, and entertainment to teenagers that is clearly inappropriate for their age. As most of these conversations go, we both agreed that in a free-market based economy, the people still have the power (whether they use it or not). We can always vote with our money and time. Parents have the added burden of keeping tabs on their children and the choice they make. I encountered IMSafer a couple weeks ago and, to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The site/software monitors chats and notifies you via email if something fishy seems to be going on. I worry about parents who keep such a tight grip on their children that the kids end up more deviant. IMSafer has the potential of being used in an abusive way. I suppose it would depend on how you went about using it. Looking at the product information, the site claims to have talked with law enforcement officials about how inappropriate relationships are initiated and maintained. The monitor can even pick up […]