Friday, March 30, 2012

WebDAV integration with AD #edtech
We have been working to get WebDAV configured in our environment for a while now.  We determined at the end of last year that this was a critical need for our shared cart implementation with iPads.  Because the devices aren't 1:1 we can't rely on the mail app as the primary means to transfer content off of the iPads.  WebDAV is a solution that gives the users access to a Windows network drive where they can transfer content to and from their iPad.  Most of the iLife/iWork apps have native WebDAV integration now.  And you can also use apps like WebDAV Nav+ and GoodReader to access your WebDAV shares.

However, we have had a very difficult time making our WebDAV configuration work with AD.  We kept having a problem with folder permissions.  Either a user would get full access to every folder, or they wouldn't get any access to any folders.  Which is kind of a big problem.

We found that the key is to install and configure your WebDAV server on the file server that is housing the network drive you want to give access to.  When you set it up this way the WebDAV server can properly managing the permissions.  If it is on a separate server you will continue to run into the permission problems.

We actually plan to expand our WebDAV use outside the iOS application.  We are planning to use WebDAV to provide access to all user drives when they are away from the office, and do away with the need for VPN access.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Break the learning limits!
Recently, I was trying to purchase a belt and socks that would work for my son's t-ball uniform.  He is playing t-ball for the first time and is on the Red Sox team for his age group.  Now, I don't claim to know anything about baseball.  I've never really played baseball, and it is probably one of my least favorite sports to watch (unless I actually get to go to the stadium).  However, I want my son to try every sport he is interested in, and I plan to help encourage him wherever possible.  I don't want my knowledge of the sport to limit him from learning/enjoying it.

As I stood there with a light blue belt and a dark blue belt in my hand, I struggled to remember which color of blue are in the Red Sox uniforms.  I tried to Google it, but I couldn't get any great images on my phone that really told me for sure.  I decided to post a picture of both belts to twitter and see if my PLN could help me.  I quickly got a number of replies, and was told that the dark blue belt was the one to go with.

What as great about this, is that my limited knowledge of baseball did not limit my son's education/experience in baseball.  Even though I didn't know the correct colors, I was able to figure them out, and make sure he didn't end up looking like he was on Spiderman's team instead of the Boston Red Sox.
I think this draws an important parallel with education.  Just because I don't know the answer to a question, doesn't mean that should limit a student's education.  We now have the power of PLNs to rely on.  We all have Google in our pocket.  We can always find the answer!

There is no longer an excuse for education to be limited by an individual's knowledge!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Love the kids! #edtech #edchat

At the closing keynote for TCEA2012 Stacy Bess told an emotional story about loss, and love.  It pulled on our heart strings, yet at the same time it was inspiring.  I saw more than one person fighting back tears and for me this capped off an amazing and inspiring convention.
My favorite quote from Stacy Bess was: "Don't hide behind your credentials. Get down on the floor and be a human being."  I thought that was a great quote, and it really inspired me.  I think some times we do get caught up in what our title is.  Or maybe we just get caught up in all of the little things that we have to get done each and every day.  Either way I think we sometimes forget what our job really is.  Our job is to love children.  To care about them, motivate them, inspire them, and teach them.  In this day and age, there are so many things that can distract us from that job.  I wish we could get rid of some of our labels: GT, LEP, SpEd, ELL, etc.  Because I believe that some times those labels can also serve to prevent us from seeing the kids.  We must focus on the kids, and remember that they are kids, not labels.  The kids needs us.  They need us to see them, to know them.  They need us to understand them, and to motivate them.  They need us to inspire them.  And above all else, they need us to love them.  It might be the only love they get that day.

I had the pleasure of subbing in a 4th grade classroom a few weeks ago.  My goal was to live that quote from Stacy Bess.  I didn't want to hide behind my title.  I didn't want to just get through the day, and worry about all of my tech director duties.  I wanted to get down on the floor and connect with those kids.  One of the first things we did that day was a timed math quiz on multiplication tables.  One little girl told me "I don't want to take this test because I'm not good at math."  Before I started the timer I got down on my knees in front of her desk.  I told her she was amazing at math.  I told her she could do it.  I told her "I can't believe you don't know was 6 x 0 is!  Or what 6 x 1 is."  She said, "Well, of course I know those ones."  I quickly showed her how many times those appeared on the test and then urged her to do her best.  I started the timer and she got right to work.  When I collected her test, I gave her a high five.  I told her she did an amazing job!  The smile on her face told me that maybe, just maybe, she didn't think she was as bad at math as she did before the quiz.  For the rest of that day, I tried my best to inspire her and her classmates.  We ended up having a lot of fun learning together!  And I can't wait to go back!

Don't forget to the love the kids!