How to Start Blogging Like You Mean It

Oct 14, 2014 by

This morning the Connected Educators Blog posted a quick guide for “How to Start Blogging“. It was well intentioned, meant to give people some quick tips for starting your own blog, and gave just about the same exact advice that I give individuals. It just got the order of the steps wrong. In most “intro to blogging” workshops I see the typical routine as described in the aforementioned post. Pick a blogging platform and setup your space Decide or define what to write about Share and enjoy That order works most of the time. It’s easy for most tech facilitators to start with the technology platform and then work on the finer points of setting up your blogging “house” given the toolset of WordPress, Blogger, or some other blog hosting service. Instructional technologists come from all areas of education, so it’s easier for us to start with a common...

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Tech Director Chat #005 – Is “Yes” in a Tech Director’s Vocabulary?

Oct 13, 2014 by

It’s an age old stereotype in most school districts that the Tech Director’s main job is to “lock it and block it.” And sadly, that stereotype exists for a reason; many school districts hire former IT professionals that are used to working in environments where the end user devices have been specifically tailored and locked down so that employees are as efficient and productive as possible. No need to be distracted with games if you can’t install them. No need to worry about viruses if employees have limited admin control over what devices they can attach to their laptops, or what networks they can connect with. That was the case in our district as well, until about 8 years ago; work stations were locked down, the internet was slow and strictly filtered. However, over the course of nearly a decade, my Tech Director has made incredible strides in making technology...

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Well, I’m on Instagram Now

Oct 10, 2014 by

I don’t have a single particular reason for not being a part of the Instagram community; its corporate parent, Facebook, and the use of my images for any possible promotion in the future makes me anxious. I’ve used Pressgram (RIP), Hipstamatic, and a few other “apps” for photo sharing, including Flickr, for many years now. And when it comes to being social, I usually need a better buy in than just “this tool is so cool!” So it probably comes as no surprise that I didn’t join for just one particular reason either. I became enamored with the “community first” idealism being displayed in the EdTech Baton project. I recently watched Dear, Mr. Watterson, and I became nostalgic for an era now gone when a comic strip was much more than just a comic strip. And I thought to myself….you haven’t pushed yourself into uncomfortable territory recently, let’s see what I...

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Tech Director Chat #004 – Making Pete’s Blood Boil

Oct 6, 2014 by

Another Monday is in the books, and another episode of Tech Director Chat is in the can….or on the air…or something like that. New metaphors are obviously needed on my part for digital equivalents of traditional media. This week’s conversation waxes a bit philosophical on the obstacles that we all face when trying to bring new technologies into the classroom; hint, it’s not always the technology itself. I’ve been impressed with my Tech Director’s more candid, yet thoughtful, responses to the questions that others have posed for him. I work alongside him everyday, and while I question some of the choices he makes, at least I know that his heart is in the right place when it comes to moving forward with technology. Sure, we have our disagreements when it comes to how to best implement new hardware, or whether certain hardware and software should be brought into the...

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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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Is Complaining a Part of Problem Solving?

Sep 30, 2014 by

I like to argue on Twitter; perhaps more so than is acceptable by many of the more positive individuals out there. Regardless of how often I find opportunities to argue a point in the 140-character space, I usually try to hold to a few tenets: Don’t be a jerk Be constructive in my criticism Ask questions Don’t be a jerk Try to understand the other person’s point of view I’m not always successful in adhering to these self-imposed guidelines, but I like to think that reminding myself of them makes me a bit more self-aware before engaging in verbal rhetoric. I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a “know-it-all” (those that know me will readily affirm this). I’m not proud of this failing, so I try to actively monitor my level of “jerkiness” in conversation. Other times, I just can’t help myself and try to find nuance,...

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