Make Your Own Widgets!!!

If you use a Mac it is now really easy to make your own custom widgets. Dashcode (beta- so no promises) is a neat little WYSIWYG that makes widget construction quick and easy. You can make all of the default widgets above or make your own from scratch. It’s free to download once you join the Apple Developer’s Connection (which is free but requires you to give some information). Not a bad deal. Educationally, it’d be a fun way to do a number of things. An easy intro to RSS for staff and/or students but with you in control Countdown timers for Spring Break, exams etc. An upcoming events widget for your school with sports, meetings etc. A staffdev feed of recommended articles and posts I realize these are all things you could do easily other ways (and in some cases with greater ease and flexibility).  The thing is widgets will often succeed where you would fail utterly with a less “cool” or “fun” option. Our school has widget mania so I’m going to try to tap in. If you’d like a widget for BionicTeaching’s rss feed click here. Yeah, I know it’s probably useless for the majority of you but like I said- It’s all about the widgets baby.


1:1 Programs and Expectations

Mr. Guhlin asked “How have laptop programs helped?” and the responses depressed me. Maybe, I’m over analyzing but quote like “Imagine anything one could do on an overhead projector. You can do the same on a tablet if you have an LCD.” brought me close to tears. Clearly, replacing an overhead and pen with several thousands of dollars worth of equipment to do “the same” is not a cost efficient trade. Other quotes that made me wince: my laptop/tablet has replaced a paper notebook during meetings. Have students do grammar exercises. Math teachers do the same. Not exactly what you’d want to hear if you’re paying for those laptops. Now, I also realize these are quick reports but I don’t see anything in there about students doing anything they couldn’t do with paper for far less money.  The whole point of a 1:1 is to get students producing with laptops and to have no comment on that worries me. Don’t get me wrong- I’m for 1:1 initiatives and that’s why I’m concerned. I work in a district going on the 6th year of a 1:1 initiative and I worry that some teachers might give similar “proof” that our program is working. So here’s how our 1:1 has helped students in our school- everyone now has a computer no matter their […]


AppleScript for Instant File Uploads and URLs

Let me preface this with the fact that I am not a programmer (knowing laughs from anyone who is) and I managed to write this using AppleScript. It is a little scary looking but really isn’t that bad. If you’ve got a Mac, give it a shot! The Issue It is always a hassle for me to stop in the middle of writing a post to log on to a server and upload files that I need to link to. I also have server space in several locations so remembering that ~ in one or that I’m woodward_t in the other was a hassle. So . . . Here’s a little AppleScript I wrote to help myself out. It’s a droplet (you drag files onto it to make it work) that I leave on my desktop. It uploads the file to the server (I have three, one for each server) and puts the URL to that file on my clipboard so I can then paste directly into the post. Stuff to keep in mind- I tried to comment (denoted by –) it up so you could see clearly what was going on. All things you’ll have to change are in all caps. It’ll handle multiple files but it’d only give you the URL of the last one that uploads. If […]

Hey!Watch Is A Seriously Cool Online Video Converter

Tom posted on a great webapp VIXY that captures flash-based video. I have used this app a dozen times since he showed it to me. I found a variation the theme with Hey!Watch. Hey!Watch lets users upload video and encode it for devices that range from iPods and Zunes to NintendoDS and PocketPCs. It also has a list of formats that will accommodate most of your needs. You are free to transfer video from flash-based sites like YouTube, as well. They provide additional options if you subscribe, but the free service seems worth exploring. If I am reading the site info correctly, they will even let you automatically transfer video from an established podcast. The interface is simple enough that your average tech-minded teacher could upload raw video and have it converted to a format for display/distribution with ease. via techcrunch

Year-end Top 10 List Roundup

As I was trolling through my bloglines subscription a couple weeks ago, I found a series of Top 10 lists that might interest you… Top Ten Astronomy Images of 2006 There are some beautiful photos of comets, galaxies, and planets. There’s even an amazing picture of the shuttle and the space station shadowed in the sun. What a beautiful universe we live in… via /. Top Ten Creepy Fossils This two-headed reptile is one of the highlights of ten really interesting fossils that bring to mind a head full of questions. via BoingBoing Time’s Top Ten videogames (+other game goodies) It looks like a good year for videogames. Anyone notice something odd about this list? No football, no basketball or hockey. Bowling, Table Tennis, Electric Guitar. Fastinating… via Wonderland Oh, and here is a list of indie games. It’s good to see indie games of such quality. I remember the days of this: Holla if you King’s Quest-ed! via /.

10 links added

We are finding more possibilities than we can feature with a certain measure of reflection, so you will find a new “Recent Links” section on our sidebar. We’ll include a line or two regarding where our thoughts were going when we encountered the link. The rest is up to you. As always, we hope this helps.

Apple Strikes Again

I know this is useless and will probably be blogged to death but it’s just so pretty I couldn’t resist. Check out the iPhone in all its glory. . . and then get several jobs and start saving your nickels.



In my district we have 12 middle school people who focus on tech integration (one at each school). We all create lessons and share resources with our teachers but have not until now worked together very consistently/effectively. So at our meeting on Friday we hammered out an idea to what is outlined below. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and while I do fear I am being naive in some ways I have high hopes for what this might become. There’s only one lesson there right now- but it’s been a busy weekend for me :). The current incarnation- ITRT Plans a blog for posting good lesson plans in a semi-structured manner including documents (rubrics, instructions, notes, whatever) samples of student work from the lesson a little reflection on how things went, ways to improve or how to change things I’m using a lot of images if possible and installed the preview script. Visuals are often a deciding factor for me and I imagine the same will be true of others. if someone uses or adapts the lesson I’m hoping they’ll add their experiences and how they changed things Lessons will be grouped according to subject and tagged according to VA SOL and keywords. a group account since a number of us have our […]

Nightmare (guard your passwords)

An educational technology blog I followed out of Georgia (SEGA Tech) seems to have been abducted by a porn site. It’s possible the author has turned to the porn business but I kind of doubt it. A not so nice reminder to keep your passwords secure and your software/apps updated. That’d be quite a nightmare. It’d be all some people would need to outlaw school blogging forever or get you fired. I’d suggest going the passphrase route if at all possible. I’ve been using pass phrases when possible after reading this article. It’s kind of long but I’ve cut out the relevant chunk below. So here’s the deal – I don’t want you to use passwords, I want you to use pass-PHRASES. What is a pass-phrase you ask? Let’s take a look at some of my recent pass-phrases that I’ve used inside Microsoft for my ‘password’. “If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane“ (Jimmy Buffet rules) “Send the pain below!“ (I like Chevell too) “Mean people suck!“ (it’s true) So why are these pass-phrases so great? 1. They meet all password complexity requirements due to the use of upper / lowercase letters and punctuation (you don’t HAVE to use numbers to meet password complexity requirements) 2. They are so freaking easy for me to remember it’s not even […]

Mozart’s Complete Works Offered Free Online

If you missed this a couple weeks back, all of Mozart’s works are now available online, free of charge. This may be an “in” with your music teachers if you’re having trouble getting them to begin using computers in their classroom.