Friday, December 21, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
- Teachers register at: www.pearsonschool.com/access_request (underscore between access and request), is Option 3
- Teachers will receive access codes for the teachers and students within 72 school hours with directions enclosed
- Students will register after the teacher has registered at: www.pearsonschool.com/access
- Teachers go to www.pearsonsuccessnet.com
- Teachers register with code sent in mail with order; or from account representative
- Teachers set-up class with class code
- Teachers provide students with class code
- Students register at: www.pearsonsuccessnet.com
- Teachers register at: www.successnetplus.com
- Teachers enter school code using look-up tool, or provided by account representative
- Teachers or IT department uploads student roster using template. User names and passwords are assigned.
- Students login immediately at www.successnetplus.com using assigned user names and passwords.
- Teachers register at: www.pearsonschool.com/mobileandetext
- Teachers register for a new account
- Teachers use school code using look-up tool or provided by account representative
- Teachers upload student user name and passwords
- Teachers and students download free app, “Pearson eText for School”
- Teachers and students login using user name and password
Monday, October 1, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
Internet connectivity is criticalInternet bandwidth is critical for every school. Teachers depend on videos and files that they find, store, and share on the Internet. When the Internet goes down, the school begins to grind to a halt. The technology people in every district must maintain that connection to the outside world, and they must increase the amount of bandwidth on a regular basis.
What is driving demand?
How much is enough?
Our bandwidth over the last four years
Monday, September 3, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Cell phone users were especially frustrated by the guest network, though. The Internet provided by your cell phone company is completely unfiltered, which lets you access Facebook among other things. People would rather be on their own Internet rather than the guest network for this reason. Unfortunately, our high schools were built before cell phones were invented, and there are many places in our buildings where there is simply no cell phone reception. You could see students and staff alike cringe as they walked deeper into the school, not because of their upcoming class but because they knew their cell phone would lose reception... right about... here (draw an imaginary line on the ground right now).
This year, the district has created a new wireless network called StaffNet which fixes the problem by allowing you to have better, faster Internet on any device you own. Your Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, Mac laptop, iPad, and of course your cell phone will now be filtered less and will have faster speeds on the Internet.
Choose StaffNet from the list of wireless connections, then open up an Internet browser. You will be asked to "Login for Web Authentication", which is the nerdy way of saying, "What's the username and password you use when you log on to your school computer or email?" Enter the correct information and you will have the same Internet access that you currently have on your district-owned computer.
And it's okay to bring in that Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and Mac laptop all at once. This summer we added new access points that can handle 7,000 more devices across the district. The bandwidth was also increased from 240mbps to 340 mbps and next summer it is expected to rise to over 500mbps.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
So if Flash is part of the past, then what is the future of videos on the Internet? It is called HTML5, and there is no doubt that it will be the format developers use moving forward. Apple, Microsoft, Google, and just about everybody else is supporting this standard.
But when will HTML5 actually arrive? It is available right now, but it has not been fully embraced yet. The first television broadcasting station started in 1928, but televisions weren't really popular until the 1950s. Blu-ray officially arrived in 2006, but DVDs still outsell Blu-ray six years later. The claim that Flash is "dead" isn't entirely accurate considering Flash use still far exceeds HTML5 use. Flash is a goner, I agree, but not yet.
Until HTML5 becomes part of the mainstream, should we worry that the iPad will not be the amazing product it could be until it that day? Gartner reported that HTML5 will not be officially adopted as a standard until 2014, and that it could take between 5 and 10 years from now until it is fully embraced (like the television and Blu-ray examples above). I don't believe it will take ten years or even five. I do believe it will take three years, though, which means the freshman walking into school today will not truly take advantage of their iPads until they are seniors. That worries me.
Until those old videos run on the iPad then we will continue to be frustrated. I know no one at Apple will change their mind about using Flash, and I also know that HTML5 is on the way. The future is coming... eventually. I am really hoping that until we see full adoption of HTML5 that better apps arrive to run Flash videos on an iPad, and I hope that developers are willing to work backwards to convert their web pages to HTML5 as quickly as possible.
First, choose a Learning Management System (LMS). Blackboard is what you probably think of when you hear "LMS", but there are many other choices that have many of the same features, are easier to use, and are also free. Schoology is my personal favorite because it has some of the best communication features like wall posts (similar to Facebook), text messages, and a classroom calendar. It also contains offers a well-organized classroom environment to place your assignments, videos, discussion boards, and presentations. Schoology also integrates with Google Docs and Khan Academy. Other very good LMS choices include Edmodo, CourseSites, OpenClass, and Haiku.
Second, get all of your current classroom materials online. For most people, this will mean scanning all of their documents into PDF format and posting them on their LMS, which is fine for your first year of going towards a digital environment. The PDF format is great for viewing a document because you can view it on a PC, Mac, tablet, iPad, or cell phone. The drawback is that most users will not be able to type or write on it without some form of conversion or software. At some point you are going to have to answer a very serious question - are you ready to convert all your documents to something else like Google Docs? Until you are ready to ask that question of yourself, just get your things online so your students can access them.
Third, find the best resources to supplement and expand your instruction. The fact is, everything you teach is being taught by someone else, and they can probably say it or explain it better than you. Find videos, lessons, activities and games created by others that support what you teach. Khan Academy has thousands of videos but they focus mainly on math and science. YouTube has excellent videos if you can sort through the clutter of baby videos, pet videos, rambling video blogs, and 10,000 renditions of Gotye's Someone That I Used To Know. A new site to consider is Sophia which has instructional modules for students and also for teachers' professional development.
Fourth, decide if you are going to use a textbook as the main source of information, as a supplemental resource, or not at all. Once you make that decision you will be able to decide how much of your students' reading will be online. Start by contacting the textbook company and see if they are willing to provide you with an electronic version of your current book. Some of them will do so for free. If you are looking for a new textbook, consider sources such as CK12 which creates actual classroom textbooks for free in a digital format. Another option is browsing the iTunes U catalog to see if another teacher has created a book or a course that your students could use.
Fifth, choose sites, materials, and software that are free, Internet-based, and work on multiple devices. Evernote is an example of this. It is a powerful online notebook that can be used with your computer, tablet, or cell phone. Free materials and apps allows your classroom to become a model for other teachers, and choosing resources that can be used on most devices allows all students regardless of location or income to access your lessons. What is the importance of being accessible on multiple devices? Well, look at what you currently own. I use a computer at work, a tablet on the couch, and a cell phone on the go. We own different devices, and nothing is more frustrating than having access to data on one device but not another. Also, you have no control over what your students will bring to school. Students will bring every device ever made, and you have a responsibility to make sure your materials and assignments are available to the widest audience possible.
Sixth, expect to tear your site apart and start over next year. For every assignment posted on your site, you need to ask yourself, "Is this really what I want my students to do with their time?" The answer is usually, "no." You will slowly get away from worksheets and readings and move more towards discussions, videos, and collaborative assignments where students create new bodies of information and share it with the world. You might even move towards a flipped classroom model (search flipped classroom, Jon Bergmann, or Ramsay Musallam). A traditional classroom involves a teacher providing instruction during class time, and then students practice their work at home without the benefit of a teacher to guide them. A flipped classroom involves providing as much instruction as possible online through videos and other means which allows you to use classroom time for guided practice.
Your students are going to love your new classroom, but it takes time. A lot of time. Today is the day you should get started.
Whenever possible, choose free apps when working with your students. There are thousands of free educational apps, and many of them are VERY good. They might not be perfect, but they should be close enough - and aren't the free app still better than what your class was using a year ago?
Paid apps become a barrier for many students, teachers, and school districts. There are three inter-related reasons you should try to use only free apps: access, example, and finances.
Your online classroom should be available to all students - your students sitting in your class, other students in your school who are not fortunate enough to have you as your teacher, the students across the country who have Internet access but do not have teachers who place any of their materials online, and every kid throughout the world who can find your site when they search on Google. You are not teaching 25 students - you are teaching all students. Those kids need access to your classroom, your materials and your assignments. Paid apps prevent access if a student cannot pay for them.
Free apps are available to anyone and any school district. By eliminating cost you allow other teachers to mimic what you do in class regardless of their school's budget and allows your classroom to be an example for other teachers to follow. At the district level, creating a one-to-one program that only uses free apps allows other districts to follow your example and move to a one-to-one environment.
Your school district might be able to buy apps for your students this year, but what is the long-term cost of purchased apps? We have over 3,000 incoming freshman in our district. If we spent just $10 per student on apps, we would have to pay $30,000 annually just in apps. Yes, you can probably save money elsewhere like lower printing costs or reduced textbook purchases. But those savings went towards purchasing the devices - not the apps. It is important for teachers to help protect the finances of the district, especially when trying to create a cost-neutral one-to-one program.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Passwords will be a minimum length of seven characters
New passwords cannot be the same as any of your last four passwords
Passwords will require three out of the following four complexity conditions:
Upper case alphabetic character
Lower case alphabetic character
Special character [@,*,#,$,!,%,&,^,_,+,-]
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
- Consider your learning goals - your focus needs to be on improving instruction
- Figure out your digital curriculum strategy - teachers need to build their curriculum first before a device is chosen
- Pick your management style - determine if or how or who you will manage the devices
- Set your price point and refresh cycle - know from the start how many computers you will buy each year
- Choose your top features - each device has different features; know what you need before you choose
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
coaches eye was one that i think could be of great use to the coaches at d211.
Another piece of technology that could be useful is apple TV. The presenter mentioned that you can mirror the teacher IPAD through apple tv. this could be useful in the classroom.
Evernote appears to be an awesome way students can create interactive notes.
Bottom line, there are several apps available for the ipad that can be integrated into the classroom in several ways. I was especially intrigue by the apps that allow the user to integrate sound and video seamlessly together.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I started to have the same feelings - that the blog had passed its prime. I recently began using Twitter as a communication and professional development tool, and soon I will use it to get kids to participate in discussions on the one to one program in our district. I have a Google+ account which I use for creating communication groups for my various committees. I contribute to wikis, save web sites to Delicious, post videos on YouTube, and use Google Hangouts and Skype for video chats. And of course, I have a Facebook account for my personal use (sorry, but there's no way I am bringing my work life and my semi-dormant Rock Band obsession together into the same location). With all of this going on, why would I ever return to blogging?
The answer is simple: a blog is the only place to lay out a fully-formed thought in one space that is easy to find, easy to search, and easy to manage. It is easy to spit out fragments of ideas or to retweet someone else's post. If Snooki can do it, so can I, right? It takes time to write a blog, and it takes time to read a blog just like it also takes time to comprehend an idea and it takes time to form your own opinion. Tweeting takes a minute to write and a minute to read - and it takes one minute before you move on to the next thing.
Besides, blogging is not dead. It has evolved and gotten better. Are you posting photos with captions on Tumblr? That's blogging. Are you publishing a web site on WordPress? That's blogging. Twitter is even technically a form of blogging in the short form - it reaches more people but contains less content.
Blogging is a lot like Facebook if you think of it. They both give you the ability to post several sentences coupled with photos, videos, and URL links. The difference is what surrounds your writing. On most blogs, your posts are surrounded by links back to your other posts. Your blog does one thing - highlights your writing. In Facebook your posts are surrounded by photos from your grandma's birthday, offers for better cellular service, and your friend's latest high score on Bejeweled Blitz. Yes, I know you are good at Words With Friends, but do you really need to post your score every day? Some of these things are good, others are a distraction, and some simply don't make sense. Here are the posts my friends sent out today:
- A video of Darth Vader wearing a kilt, playing the bagpipes and riding a unicycle
- The score from the Celtics game
- A photo of my friend with his arm around a guy dressed like a Subway sandwich
- Green Day announcing their latest tour dates
- Harvard's latest video called, "On the cutting edge of history - Innovation at Harvard"
There is something simple about using a blog. I think its simplicity makes it powerful. Write. Write every day. Write something meaningful. Write something worthwhile. If people like it, they will keep coming back for the words you write and not for any other reason. Keep using Twitter, Facebook or any other social media form to send out your blog articles to your friends and colleagues. But don't give up on blogs. They're not dead yet.
Friday, March 9, 2012
We are still responsible for choosing the BEST overall device. At the end of the day, everyone involved in the one to one program will have to stand up and say that we made teaching and learning better and that we spent millions of dollars responsibly.
My personal opinion is that teachers should be able to choose the device their students use next year. What better way to test a device's compatibility with ALL the web sites, electronic books, videos, learning management systems, interactive activities, and virtual science labs that we use in ALL of our classes than to put them to the test with actual students for an entire year? We know we will get some Chromebook users and some (i.e. MANY) iPad users, and whichever device that is not chosen in the long run won't go to waste. There are plenty of other uses for Chromebooks or iPads in the library, in check-out carts, or in classrooms that are not yet part of the one to one program.
Stop Consuming and Start Creating
presented by Katie Seveska, Becky Labbe, and Courtland Funke
The description stated that the session would focus on generating teacher created contend and student created work, and it certainly lived up to expectations. While the presenting team works at the elementary level, the concepts of simplicity and efficiently generating content apply to any level. The session used some simple apps for the iPad, along with the hardware, to help students create projects quickly and with minimal intervention. Some apps were also discussed that facilitated this creation.
The first app presented was Sonic Pics. This is a slideshow program that allows simple voiceovers. Simplicity is the name of the game, and this app fulfills that both in its ease of use and its compatibility with other computers. Students could take pictures of what they are doing, whether it is a field trip, group project, or homework, and then report on it using the voiceover feature. The second app, Moodboard, worked on a similar principle, but uses still images to build a bulletin board type story. Not as useful, in my opinion.
Photosync was the key to many of their successes. It is a program that allows the Photo Gallery to sync with a computer on the same network. With the push of 3 buttons, student’s projects were uploaded to the classroom workstation. Any app that would not export a finished product was put onto their Do Not Use list, and so every project that a student wanted to make can be uploaded. This program is similar to Dropbox, but does not use the cloud. It can, but it is faster and safer to skip this step. The only caveat was that they found the device and computer had to be on the same network, and they had split their network between devices and computers (they quickly changed this back).
Other programs such as Skype and Facetime were discussed, and you can find out more about these by watching the quicktime video. As a Choir director, this presentation sparked some thoughts about advantages and disadvantages of the iPad in a choir setting. These included: Sound Isolating qualities are excellent – students recorded voiceovers in Sonic Pics while on a Bus, and you can barely hear any road noise. Recording quality is very good – Little to no distortion, as there is on a smaller device with a small mic packed in. Record portions of class for home practice – Post videos online, then have students practice with them. Students can even record their practice sessions on the iPad to turn in at a later date. Section leaders are trainers – teach other students how to record class for posting. Voiceover for the assignments – no typing necessary for the teacher, simply speak in the directions.
This was an excellent presentation done by two middle school teachers in Kenilworth.
I have thought about doing this in the past, but after seeing the presentation, I am certain that this is something I will do.
Things they use:
Screencast -- video hosting site
They emphasized an the considerable amount of increased instruction time and measurable increases in student performance. Their own videos are posted on screencast and encourage the use of other educational instructional videos such as Khan Academy or some others. The advantage is that students can play the videos at their own pace, pause, fast forward, or rewind to view again.
The presenters discussed that from time to time students do not have time or the ability to watch the videos at home. They said the students go the to the library before school or during thier lunch or study hall to view them.
Next week, I will experiment with this in my AP Government Class. I will record a powerpoint lecture -- both audio and video -- post the video to Edmodo, and then do more applications in class.