Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finally, a break between storms

Tech Camp is finally over and I have some time to fiddle-fart around. By the way, this past Spring I got one of these:

I am "xooming" and loving it. Last week I played with my brother's iPad2 (yes, I was rather surprised to see one in his hands - it was kind of like watching a gorilla tying a knot) and I am still very happy with my purchase. I have downloaded the Kindle App and have all my books for this year on it; I can easily access Moodle and grade assignments; the video is a very effective teaching and coaching tool that I have already used in my fencing classes. Let me know if you want me go on about the great uses I have put it to.

Anyhoo, I have returned to my school to poke around and discovered that I have been moved to a bigger, air-conditioned classroom. Finally! True, the view out of my many windows is of the loading dock in the back of the kitchen, but there are at least more than two windows and there is at least a view. Did I mention it was air-conditioned? The B&G heroes are going to paint the walls and clean the carpet (bless them - bless them all) so I cannot move anything until next week.

So in the meantime, I am catching up on reading, getting my hair cut, and planning out the next year. I am currently reading Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business and so far I really like it. I am trying to see how I can take the marketing ideas in it and  twist them to my own uses in school. I have been pretty effective at getting my students trained to use Moodle and e-mail (which they really do not used anymore) and my new goal is to get the parents and other teachers involved. So far my evangelizing is paying off in small ways (a teacher her and there using Prezi or Moodle), but I am convinced that our school can leap-frog ahead by utilizing what is current and up-and-coming.

I will try (again) to keep this blog active and attempt to use some of the ideas as I go along.


  1. I recently purchased a Toshiba Thrive with Android 3.1. It is a nice meld of net book meets droid. My current Droid phone is rigged so that I can use it as an access point to the internet when I am out of range of Wi-Fi. Fantastic!

  2. I am almost never without my Xoom Tablet these days. I have books, music, and files readily at hand. In the spring I was using it to check homework, take attendance, and verify information while my regular notebook computer displayed the class's warmup assignment. With Moodle, I found doing quick grading much easier and convenient as well.

  3. I've actually found my iPod Touch (4th gen) to be a great "tablet." The screen is tiny, but surprisingly readable, and it's nice to have such a compact HD video camera on hand, too. Of course I could get the same benefits from a Droid or iPhone, but since I'm one of the ten people left on the planet who still uses his phone for actual phone calls, I've stuck with "dumb" devices for that. The current smartphones haven't quite gotten the audio and form factor right for extended interviews.

  4. Now that is something I feel is being held back: the ability to make quality "phone" calls via the tablet. Although it has a Skype app, I find it odd that there is no video component nor will it work on the 3G network. I found this out when I was stuck at home after a car accident (I am fine, the Beetle was not) and skyped into my classroom for the day. Eventually, I used my desktop with its superior camera/microphone. The novelty with the students wore off after approximately 2 minutes and then I was conducting class as if I was actually there and their response was not different either. I even held one of the students after class for a "discussion." My head of school was pretty impressed and I think my fellow teachers a little peeved. I may ahve set a whole new precedent for a teacher not being able to come into school.