Thursday, January 10, 2008

The gOS. Make your Business Administrator Happy with This One.

It's been a while since I posted about an app or a tech topic, but this one was too good...

I took one look at this the other day and thought immediately of the decrepit group of ThinkPads we have sitting around the Tech Department and how they could suddenly be revitalized as internet machines with some really great functionality.

Maybe I am jumping on the open source in education bandwagon a little late, but here's to those of you out there who are cranking out all of these fantastic applications and interfaces for the rest of us to marvel at and be productive.

We are installing it tonight, so I hopefully will have some reports on its functionality tomorrow.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, January 7, 2008

Open Professional Development

(a version of this is cross-posted at Tech Dossier)

Welcome back to what is commonly referred to as the second half of the school year, but in reality unevenly splits our academic year into two sections; regardless, I hope everyone had a restful holiday and is ready to begin the year anew, armed with resolutions that are bound to change the world, or at least your place in it.

One of the things that is high on my list this year is to begin transforming how we view professional development. PD's usual place in education is to sign up for a workshop, go to said workshop, learn, and then try as hard as we can to practice and apply those skills in the classroom. It's always an external process. What if if, instead of you going to the class, the class came to you?

Darren Draper, a Technology Integration Specialist from Salt Lake City, and Robin Ellis, an instructional technology specialist from Quakertown, PA, have decided to offer a second round of what is called Open PD. Every Wednesday night starting on January 23rd, from 6:30pm to 9:15pm, they will offer sessions live online using Skype and a screen-sharing program called Yugma (both free) to teach you about various social software applications and the possibilities for their use in the classroom.

The first cool thing about this? I dropped in for a bit of their last session, offered in the fall, not knowing what to expect; what I found was that not only was I connected to the class, but so were about 15 others from around the world and we all could talk and contribute, and especially ask questions when we weren't clear about something! It was like being in class without physically being there. At one point, I was out on my deck enjoying the sunset, and taking their class simultaneously.

The second cool thing? They are going to cover topics such as: wikis, Google applications,, flickr, blogging and social networking (facebook, ning, etc.) in a manner that is non-threatening and open, thus the name OpenPD.

If you have the time, this class is well worth your while regardless of your familiarity with the topics at hand. As Darren states in his post about the class, " the sum of our knowledge is what truly makes these new technologies so appealing."

Image Credit: "Learn" on amarola's photostream
Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, January 3, 2008

If you had your druthers

If you could create a class, perhaps one that exists in the schools you are all talking about at Clay's post, what it would be structured like?

I ask this for a very specific reason: we are creating new classes and we'd love to push the envelope a little and create them based on the ideas of the 21st Century Collaborative. We want this:

Our basic frames we are working with are the following:

  • Music Production using editing software
  • Internet marketing
  • Documentary film making
  • Graphics with an eye on Adobe CS3, but open to interpretation
  • Video analysis in science

Is anyone doing something similar, and if so, what works? Also, if you could do any or all of these, how would you do it?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,