Tech Director Chat #019 – Live Long and Prosper

Mar 3, 2015 by

This Friday we’re going to have 300 fourth graders participating in a day long “tech camp” for kids. Led by the fourth grade teachers and some tech-savvy colleagues from our county-wide instructional technology group, the students will have a chance to explore applications, create digital stories, and “play with a purpose” with a lot of the technology we have in our district. Special thanks to Matt Karsten for having the idea to give it a try, and leading us all through the experience. To be fair, there’s a lot of nervous energy floating through the elementary building that will play host to the event, as we’ve never tried to tackle something like this before. It’s positive nervous energy, and we’re hoping the students and the teachers all come away with some good experiences. Personally, I’m hoping that it will serve as a catalyst for conversation surrounding technology in the building, and...

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Tech Director Chat #016 – Fellowship of the Gmail

Feb 3, 2015 by

I try to answer questions about technology in education as directly as possible. That can be a challenge, as often some of the issues surrounding technology decision making are affected by a number of issues; bandwidth available to a school district, local culture regarding social media, parental awareness of technology use for learning, and the list continues. It’s easy to make decisions based on our own individual or classroom realities; it’s another think entirely when you consider the realities of dozens of classrooms across a building or school district. That having been said, I will stand my ground that all K-12 schools that have Google Apps for Education accounts should seriously consider creating just #OneDomain for their staff and students; the explosive uptake in collaboration, communication, and creativity that having all learners in the same “digital space” provides will greatly overshadow concerns and possibilities that often drive school districts...

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How To: Clear Google Chrome Cache

Jan 26, 2015 by

Google Chrome is the current browser “hotness.” Besides being THE operating system for Google’s Chromebooks, as of December 2014 W3Schools reports that it currently enjoys almost a 62% market share of the web browser market. It’s here, in a big way. There’s just one small issue with that market share; the platforms it’s designed to run on don’t always play nicely with it, or rather it doesn’t play nicely with Windows and Mac OSX as often as I would like. Chrome likes to cache everything! Like a good web browser it saves images, files, and creates local caches of all the favorite places you like to browse on your hard drive. That’s a good thing! In fact, a web cache can dramatically increase your browsing speed. However, when a web cache becomes too large, it can slow down any browser, cause issues with crashing, and introduce other issues to the “user experience” (that’s...

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Creative Commons Search vs. Google Images

Nov 22, 2014 by

“I don’t know, I found the picture on Google” How many times have you heard a student say that when asked to provide a source for an image they’ve used for a project? You can ask them to provide proper references. You can plead with them to use only “teacher approved” sites. You can craft an amazing framework or rubric to help them work through proper citations. You can even force them to use image websites specifically curated for educational use of photographs. The reality is, when you’re done scaffolding and supporting good habits in your classroom, most students leave and go right back to scouring Google for images, with little regard for how they might need to document the image, or whether they would need to claim fair use. I know, I’ve witnessed it. Heck, I do the same when I need an image in a pinch to liven...

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How To: Turn off Google Drive Offline Sync

Oct 2, 2014 by

Google decided to be helpful today and automatically turned on the “Offline Sync” feature of Drive. It wasn’t actually very helpful at all. In a way, it upset me a bit. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the ability to work on documents created through Google Docs if and when I lose my internet connection. That’s kind of handy. It’s that Google made the choice for me, and decided to start caching large amounts of data on my local hard drive. I already have the Google Drive App running locally on my machine for quick access to non-Google Documents files stored in Google Drive. For documents that I know I’ll need access to offline, I use Pages and other iWork applications and then let iCloud sync them for me. The engineers and servers at Google obviously don’t know this, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they did with as much access...

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