Sunday, December 12, 2010

Using quicktime to create screencasts

Screencasts can be such a great way to provide training. You can't beat showing a user what their screen should actually look like.

I was recently shown that you can easily create screencasts using Quicktime. You can do this in both OS X and Windows (in Windows you need the pro version of Quicktime though). In either environment you have the ability to easily record audio along with your screen which is quite handy.

To get started you go to the file menu and select 'new screen recording'. You can also use the built in webcam (on your mac) to create a video or just the microphone to create an audio recording.

I've been using this tool to create screencasts of my prezis that I can then sync up to the audio recording of an actual presentation.

It is so easy! And free (on the Apple side)!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tell Congress to Preserve EETT Funding in the FY11 Budget

Spread the word:
Tell Congress to Preserve EETT Funding in the FY11 Budget
The fate of FY11 funding for the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program may be determined as early as next week. When Congress returns to work on November 15th for a very short Lame Duck Session, they will attempt to complete work on all FY11 Appropriations bills, including the bill that funds Department of Education programs and EETT. Even though the House and Senate draft versions of FY11 education spending bills provided $100 million for EETT, the same level as in FY10, these upcoming negotiations on a final bill may result in cuts to EETT or even its outright elimination. We can't let that happen!

It is critical that we maintain funding for EETT! Failure to fund EETT will undermine investments in school infrastructure and teacher training already made through EETT and hinder efforts to prepare our students to compete in the academic and employment arenas. Email your Congressional members today and ask them to provide EETT with at least $100 million in FY11.

ETAN updates are brought to you by the Consortium for School Networking and the International Society for Technology in Education.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google's Big News: Google Instant #google #googleinstant

If you missed Google's big announcement today, they unveiled their new search feature - Google Instant. They are rolling this out to the US today, and the UK next week. They are also planning to roll this out to mobile devices later this fall.

What is Google Instant? It is an interactive feature that is designed to get you to your desired results more quickly. There are three main aspects:
  1. Dynamic Results
  2. Predictions
  3. Scroll to search
You can find out more details straight from the horse's mouth here on Google's blog:

This is great for when you want to get a quick answer. But how will this affect student research? Will it hurt by requiring even less effort to find results? Or will it help to more easily find higher quality results?

What do you think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jailbreak your #iPad and use DisplayOut

Do you wish you could show more than just the Keynote or Photos app through your projector cable on your iPad? I did!

We recently had an iPad training session and I really wanted to be able to show the live iPad screen on the projector instead of just showing them screen shots. I heard you could show the live screen if you jailbroke your iPad. So a couple of weeks ago I started looking into the possibility.

I started by talking to a few of the iPhone fans I know. They suggested trying this jailbreak:
A quick note: This jailbreak will only work on iOS 3.2.1 and older. The iOS 3.2.2 update patches the PDF flaw that this jailbreak uses.

If you go to the above link from your iPad browser, it will give you the option to jailbreak it right over the web. No fancy tricks, or downloading software and messing with iTunes. It just asks you to swipe on the screen and then it starts the jailbreak. It took me about 2 minutes while it downloaded and ran the jailbreak. Then it asked me to restart my iPad. I got the little Apple logo, and some rainbow colored dots on one edge of the screen. When it restarted everything looked normal but now the Cydia app was installed. Cydia is an app store that you can download (and buy) apps from for your jailbroken device. Don't worry, you can still download/buy them from iTunes as well!

In order to get your live iPad screen to show over the projector you will also need to install an app that will make it possible. We know that iTunes doesn't have an app for that. So you have to look in Cydia. I tried three different apps. The one that worked was $1.99 and is called DisplayOut. You don't actually get an app on your home screen, it just puts a new section into your settings. You can turn the display out on or off, and change a few basic settings. You can see an image of what it looks like here:

This worked out great for me, and our training session was awesome! Have Fun!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

EETT Funding Restored in House and Senate Bills at $100 Million

Got this email this morning:

EETT Funding Restored in House and Senate Bills at $100 Million

Earlier this summer we reached out to you about the zeroing out of the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program in President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget. To save the program, we asked you to contact your Representatives and Senators to let them know how important the program was to your school and district. And you answered that call!

Since then, over 1,700 people have sent more than 5,200 letters to their Congressional representatives highlighting the importance of the EETT program. Additionally, on Tweet for Ed Tech day in May, 700 educators sent 1,550 messages demanding that Congress fund EETT.

Because of your efforts, last week the House and Senate approved appropriations bills that continued funding the EETT program at $100 million in FY11. Although this does not mean that funding for the program is certain (both bills must still be reconciled in conference), it does mean that it is likely that the EETT program will not be zeroed out next year. In a time when many programs have been dealt funding cuts, maintaining funding for the EETT program at this stage is a big success. Thank you for your efforts!!

ETAN updates are brought to you by the Consortium for School Networking and the International Society for Technology in Education.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Digital Learning Farm - Alan November #ISTE10

I had the opportunity to attend one of Alan November's sessions at ISTE2010. The session was entitled: Digital Learning Farm (Students as contributors). This was my first opportunity to hear Alan November, and I thought he was a great presenter with a great message. My main take aways from his presentation were:
  1. Because the majority of students will ask their friends for help before they ask their teachers, their success is somewhat dependent on who their friends are.
  2. Giving grades over time puts creativity in decline, as students will begin to do only what is required to get an A.
  3. Assign students jobs in your classroom. Always have at least one official researcher for the day. He/She is in charge of finding the worlds best resources for the content that is being covered. This way at least one student is learning great research skills every day!
  4. The teacher's knowledge shouldn't be the limit for a student's learning.
This was a great presentation that has left me with much to think about. He also talked about doing purposeful work, and tied this into Daniel Pink's new book Drive. Since the presentation I have also found two great videos that you can watch to get some more information.

Alan November - Myths and Opportunities

Daniel Pink - Drive Animated

And finally, here are my notes from the presentation:

How to triple boot a MacBook Air

Here is the guide I followed in order to triple boot my new MacBook Air. It is a great guide from Lifehacker. It uses rEFIt as the boot manager which works great! However, I did run into a few problems. My ultimate goal was to have OS X, Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), and Windows 7. I have had all three running on my MacBook successfully and here is what I learned:
  1. If you are installing XP (either instead of 7 or before you upgrade to 7) you can't have another partition after the XP partition. Either leave the space for the linux partition unallocated, or create it ahead of the XP partition. Otherwise XP won't boot.
  2. The first time you successfully boot into Windows make sure you install the bootcamp drivers. I joined my Windows 7 install to a domain and then couldn't ctrl-alt-del to login because of the Mac keyboard not supporting that key combo.
  3. I had some unresolved issues with my Ubuntu install not shutting down correctly. Sometimes it would just hang at a black screen with a blinking cursor after going through the shutdown tasks. I'm not sure how to solve this yet.
  4. Make sure you follow the instructions in the guide about installing the grub boot loader to the Ubuntu partition and not to the master boot record of the drive. The second time I loaded Ubuntu I forgot to do this and it has been a headache. Luckily one of our techs was able to reload the master boot record and I can get back into Windows 7 now, but we had to delete the Ubuntu partition during the process.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reflection on Closing Keynote for #iste10

The closing keynote for ISTE2010 was Jeff Piontek. Jeff is the head of the Hawaii Technology Academy. I thought his keynote was far and away the best of the three ISTE keynotes. He knew his audience, and he knew his presentation even better.

I thought his most powerful idea was that of re-tooling the age old idea of S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math) in education. His recommendation is to change it to S.T.E.A.M. = Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math. Anyone who is familiar with Daniel Pink's 'A Whole New Mind' understands the need to reinforce the arts in our students' education. However, Jeff has come up with a handy way to remind ourselves of it by simply adding one letter to a term all educators are familiar with.

How creative are the students in your district/school/classroom? Are you building an environment that allows creativity to develop? Many of our schools stifle creativity in the elementary years. As our students get older, we begin to focus more and more on high stakes testing and teaching to those tests. Yet, in doing so we neglect some of the most important aspects of our students needs: creativity, critical thinking, and analytical skills. The closing keynote for the TCEA2010 conference this year was by Erik Wahl. His entire keynote was focused on the lack of creativity in schools today. Erik is an amazing artist, yet in elementary school he was told he was wasting his time drawing and so he put down his crayon. He didn't pick up another crayon until he was in his twenties. One comment from one teacher cost him upwards of twenty years worth of art. How many students have this happen every day?

We must encourage creativity! Not stifle it. We must embrace the arts and make sure we are teaching S.T.E.A.M. not just S.T.E.M. Make sure you keep a box of crayons handy. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Notes - Google Workshop for Educators #iste10 #gweiste10

The Google Workshop for Educators at ISTE2010 was a great workshop. I want to thank Mark Wagner and all the google certified teachers that presented. I thought I knew a lot about Google tools, but by the end of the day I realized that I really didn't know that much at all. I was most amazed by Google Search. Yeah, I thought I wasn't even going to pay attention to that part of the workshop. How much could there be that I don't know about Google Search? Well, as it turns out, there was a lot that I didn't know. :)

Here is the link to the workshop resources:

Below are some of the highlights that I pulled out of my notes as I reviewed them:

Google Search
  • Search Features - Every student should know about this. It is a list of Google search tools that are specific to certain types of content.
  • Want to narrow down your search results? Down on the lower left hand side of your there are two options to check out: Wonder Wheel and Timeline. These two options allow you to quickly narrow down your results.
  • Google Squared - This is a google labs feature. You can do a google search and it will create a spreadsheet of the results. It is great for comparisons!
  • Custom Google Search - You can build your own search engine. Your create the URL, and you select the domains it has access to pull data from. It could help if you are worried about students finding inappropriate results. Or you could have students create them to collaboratively build a set of the best resources for a subject.
Google Docs
  • You can now create templates for documents. There is also a whole section of Education templates already built
  • Use the map gadget in Spreadsheets to build a custom google map based on the select data.
Google Maps
  • Panoramio - You can take a picture of something, geo tag it and upload it to Panoramio. Google reviews the pictures for content and then if approved they will become part of the photos layer in google maps
  • Collaborative Maps - You can use your Google account to create your own custom map. You can then share the map with other users and build a collaborative map. Right now this option is not available for Google Apps users. It should be available by the end of the year.
  • Google Lit Trips - This website is a great resource for doing webquest type activities with your students.
Google Sites
  • Create templates for your teachers to use when starting out.
  • Picasa - Use Picasa to create a web album that can be turned into an embedded slide show in your website.
  • Use Google Analytics to track your site usage statistics.
Even More

Sunday, June 27, 2010

iPad: Is it a 1:1 device? #ebc10

We made it to the final session of EduBloggerCon2010 yesterday and sat in on a discussion about whether or not the iPad is a good fit for 1:1 initiatives. It was a great discussion with most of the group commenting on reasons why it was not a good fit. Some of the reasons:
No enterprise management
Consumption only (no way to create)
Closed system

I have to agree There are many reasons why it isn't a good fit if it is the only device available to students. However, I don't think this was necessarily the right discussion. In this day and age with all the devices that are available, should we still be looking for one device that can do everything? Is that cost effective? Shouldn't we be looking for ways to give our students experience on as many different devices as possible? Shouldn't we be teaching them to pick the right tool for the job?

I think we must begin to support many devices and many platforms. We need to give our students the opportunity to experience as much as possible and not lock them into one platform, or one device. This will enable them to be better prepared for whatever is thrown at them when they get into their chosen industry.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Google Chrome Beta 5

Google released Chrome Beta 5 on May 10th. They also released a new youtube video to show exactly how fast the new Chrome Beta is:

Kevin Honeycutt at TCEA TECSIG 2010 Spring Meeting

I had the pleasure of hearing Kevin Honeycutt ( and @kevinhoneycutt) share his ideas at the TCEA TECSIG Spring meeting this year. I have to say, he was a wonderful presenter. He was the keynote speaker and he also did a break out session.

It was reassuring to hear him talk about working with students, and the lengths he would do to try to help them be successful. He talked a lot about technology and how it has changed the way our students learn. He also played a few wicked guitar solos! :) You can see a uStream of his keynote below.

Keynote -

Here is a great you tube video he made:

Here is a uStream of his breakout session. It is audio only and I think it was recorded from an iPhone in the back of the room so the audio isn't that great.

I thought the breakout session was really good. One of the key points he made was that administrators must protect innovation. He also talked about the importance of project based learning. He cautioned that these projects can't be driven by one personality. In order to achieve long term success they must be driven by the system.

He also gave a demonstration of a very cool tool called AR media. This is an amazing plugin for Google Sketchup that allows users to visualize their 3-D models using augmented reality. You can get more information at their website:
I can see this being used for so many things in the classroom. I can't wait to spend some time testing it. You can see a demo below:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How to add a footer to blogger

ant to add a footer to your blog? Here's how to do it:
  1. Go to the dashboard
  2. Select the layout option for the blog you want to add the footer to
  3. Click the edit HTML tab
  4. In the HTML editor box, scroll all the way to the bottom
  5. Look for this line:
  6. Underneath that line add in the text for your footer
  7. Click the preview button to verify the text is in the right location
  8. Close the preview window
  9. Click save template
The code for the footer on this blog looks like this:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to change the max upload size for Moodle

These instructions will depend on your OS, and moodle version.

Our Moodle installation:
Cent OS 5.4
Apache v2.2.3
MySQL v5.0.77
PHP v5.1
Moodle v1.9.8

In order to change our max upload size we had to change 2 variables in our php.ini file. The php.ini file is located in the /etc directory. I use the nano editor to edit the file.
Here are the steps:
  1. cd etc
  2. nano php.ini (opens the php.ini file in the nano editor)
  3. look for the post_max_size variable and change it as follows
  4. post_max_size = 30M (change the 30 to whatever size you want)
  5. look for the upload_max_filesize variable and change it as follows
  6. upload_max_filesize = 30M (change the 30 to the same size as the post_max_size variable)
  7. ctrl-x (to exit the nano editor)
  8. Y (to save the file)
  9. Restart your box
That should do it. When the server comes back up you will be able to upload and post up-to 30MB files.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A balloon

At the TECSIG 2010 Spring meeting I had the pleasure of listening to Kevin Honeycutt speak. He made many thought provoking comments, but this one stood out:

"If you push on a balloon, when you let go it goes back to the way it was."

This idea and the conversation surrounding it made me start thinking. He was talking about systemic change. The idea being that if only one person is pushing on the balloon (fighting the status quo), you are in big trouble when they leave. How do we get the system to push on the balloon? If not the system there must at least be a core group of people who are responsible for being change agents. Otherwise there will never be any real change.

I thought this was a great piece of imagery, and a wonderful topic for discussion. I hope to use it in future presentations myself!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Google Alerts?

Who knew about google alerts? Not me. This sounds like the greatest idea ever...

Just head over to and fill out the form. You basically setup a search query, and Google will email (or send as a feed to your feed reader) any time that query returns new results. Talk about training the information to come to you!

Possible uses:
Following a news story
Keeping tabs on what people are saying about you
Following certain sports or sporting events
Keeping up with technology

You can set it up to email you in three different modes:
  1. As it happens
  2. Daily
  3. Weekly
You have the ability to chose how many results you want to see in each alert. In addition you can focus the query in on certain types of media, like just blogs or videos.

I can't wait to start setting up alerts!

Google Apps for Education - New Features!

On April 15th Google rolled out some new features for Google Docs. You can read about these new features here. Or you can watch the video below.

I was curious if these new features would be available in Google Apps for Education. After a little digging I found out that they are! You just have to enable them for your domain. You can follow the directions below to do this.
  1. Login as an administrator for your account
  2. From the administrative dashboard click on domain settings
  3. About half way down check the option to enable pre-release settings
Now each user in your domain will have the option to turn the new features on. The steps to do this are listed below.

To turn on the new document editor:
  1. Login to your Google Apps for Education docs account
  2. Click on settings up at the top right
  3. Click on the editing tab
  4. Select new version of google documents
To turn on the new features for spreadsheets:
  1. Login to your Google Apps for Education docs account
  2. Create a spreadsheet
  3. Click on new version up at the top right