Archive | Technology RSS feed for this section

The Beginning of a Social Media Helpline for Schools

20 May

#iCanHelpLineIt’s been about a year since I met Anne Collier of Net Family News Inc and we began discussions about our respective work with youth advocacy, internet safety and student empowerment. Anne share her many years of experience in the internet safety realm and I was able to share my experiences as an educator and working directly with students to deal with online harassment through #icanhelp. Since that year began, and after many conversations, I’m excited to be a part of our new venture, iCanHelpLine.

This is a joint project where both Net Family News and #icanhelp are working together to create an online resource, a helpline for schools, and a liaison between education and the social media world.

We are the only major country with immense internet access that does not have a helpline for social media. Now is your chance to help support a resource that will support schools, teachers and students.

I also want to say thanks to Amy Jussel, who wrote this great post that goes into quite a bit of detail in this amazing blog post as to why this helpline matters.

Internet Data and resources the iCanHelpline has to offer.

Internet Data and resources the iCanHelpline has to offer.

Teach Film Concepts Through iMovie

1 Dec

Learning how to create films was a challenge; but teaching others to create good film is a bigger challenge. Every day is a battle between getting people to understand the value of a good story and match that with the technical skill to pull it off. Most of the time, I can sell the idea of a good story – though it takes practice – it is easy to learn the value and appreciate a well told story. It’s the technical side of film that often scares most people away. My students – or adults – see what the editing panels in Final Cut or Adobe and tend to panic as they are unsure where to start.  Thanks to apps like iMovie on the iPad and iPhone the process has been simplified. Now, I can teach the basic concepts of story telling without creating a fear in others of not being sure what to do next.

Continue reading

Achieving Zen with Social Media

27 Nov

If you live in the world of social media, you too have felt the sting of living in multiple worlds: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, PearlTrees, Evernote, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Podcasts, Google Reader or any RSS feed. You have all of this great content and you need to get it out to people, but who wants to visit all of those sites and publish multiple times. In comes If This Then That. This is a great service that will allow you to stream line your social media networks.

Continue reading

All Things Blogged

9 Aug

The issue I always have with blogging is time. I see people with massive blogs and I feel bummed I can’t keep up with their production. Many times, I learn that they do not have students to worry about – then I don’t feel so bad – but I knew I needed a better way to manage my blogs. If you are curious about what to do in terms of managing a blog with students, you can check out my post that I used with my students Blogging for English. Today I want to spend some time on Posterous, by far one of the easiest ways to set-up and manage a blog or just about any of your other social media sites just by sending an email. Continue reading

Easter Bunny Discovery

9 Apr

Disclaimer: This article is written in complete jest as a result of an overactive imagination.

Alleged Home of the Accused bunny napper.

Newport Beach, CA (AP) — A startling discovery was made on Balboa Island today as the bodies of multiple Easter Bunnies were seen decorating the house of a local resident.

Investigators were seen canvasing the property looking for evidence in the disappearance of Easter Bunnies that has been going on for quite some time. When asked for details, department spokesperson Detective Peter Cottontail said, “The fuzz was hot on the tail of this vermin. We knew this killer was hopping all over the island. It was only a matter of time before we caught up.”

Concerns did not start to arise until multiple children in the area complained of getting toothpaste and floss in their Easter baskets. The normal fair of candy, jelly beans and the occasional video game were greatly lacking from this festive season.

A phone call was made at 8:31 AM this morning when island visitor Brer Fox was walking by the residence on his routine walk to Starbucks when he saw the house in question. After conferring with other locals on the lack of sweets and appropriate presents in their Easter baskets, he knew it was time to make the call. “I don’t like rabbits, you can ask anyone,” said Brer Fox. “But this is just wrong. The way this person displayed these rabbits out here like trophies, they have a problem. Look, that one doesn’t event have any legs, disgusting.”

Brer Fox, on vacation with his friend Brer Bear, is one of the first people to come forward with information on this case.

The dock leading up to the house

Hints that this case may date back all the way to 1983 are evident by the range and scope of the rabbits on display. Authorities are not quick to state that this is the mark of a serial Easter Rabbit killer, but this reporter can see quite a herd of Easter Rabbits on display.

By the end of the day, Detective Cottontail concluded that most of these rabbits were stuffed and the result of many years of collecting rabbits by a sweet old lady. “Still,” he stated, “It’s pretty weird to have this many rabbits on display in front of your house. We will keep an eye on this disturbing situation.”

Soeth reported from Newport Beach, Ca. Associated Press wife Liz Soeth also contributed from her chair.

My First iBook

6 Mar

My first few years of teaching, I developed a theory that if I wrote a book by my fourth year I would be famous and have a film made after me (think any major Hollywood film done after a teacher). Cheesy jokes aside, with iAuthor, I knew I had a chance to create an iBook with all of my research and experiments in education and technology. Doing a lot of technology presentations, I wanted to share what I had created as well as show off what this application could do for interactive books.  Continue reading

Cell Phone Karma, It’s Real

4 Jan

About two years ago, right after my daughter was born, my wife and I managed to escape for a night to a movie, our first one in months. As the previews started I noticed the faint glow of Facebook on a smart phone beneath us. I ignored it at first, but it was distracting in the dark theater. When someone behind us yelled, “turn it off!” I decided to do the same and asked them to turn of the phone. About ten minutes later after the previews, the phone was on again back to Facebook. I had to ask again, got a rude reply, but did not see the phone till after the film. Constantly in social settings more and more people are oblivious to acceptable social norms when it comes to technology. Schools are not addressing the issue as many districts ban the use of phones due to fear of liability. The downside are students who enter the world with covert cell phone skills as they text like ninjas all the while oblivious to the information they have access to through their phones. Additionally, these same students are ill prepared to take jobs at corporations who expect them to be able to use the resources available to problem solve, communicate as to use professionally.

Keep in mind, that we are not only fighting the kids but the kids’ parents: the ones who bought the phones, pay for the phones, expect their kids to answer anytime they call the phones, and any other number of reasons parents want their kids to have a phone. Think about how many times you have students who go to the parking lot to meet a parent during lunch or between classes? Or, a student comes up during class and says, “My mom is here can I go to the office?” even if you have not gotten a call or note from the office stating that someone is here for the student. If you were to ask them, “how do you know your parent is here,” the answer usually revolves around a text. I was getting tired of this behavior, so I knew it was time for a little professional development with cell phones and my students.

My first lesson was when students could have their phones on and off. So, I would ask kids to take out their phones, and done one of two things depending on the lesson:

1. Everyone please take out your cell phone, make sure it is turned off right now as we won’t be using them for a bit. Once your phone is off please put it on the left hand side of your desk so I know you are ready.

2. Everyone please take out your cell phone, make sure it is turned on, and when you are ready please place your phone on the left hand side of your desk.

The left hand side is key as most students are right handed. The motion of reaching across a desk for a phone will be awkward and noticeable, plus it was a visual cue for me to know when kids had their phones and were ready. If students felt more comfortable putting their phones in their bags while they were off, that was fine. However, if the phones were out or not where I expected them to be, the phones were mine.

In the early days I did not do much: some texting, a few surveys, definitely Twitter (fast follow is one of the best inventions ever) which I will touch on later.

One of the most common questions I get is access. When I started this, over half my students had phones, about half could text during school. So, for certain projects students partner up or work in groups. Over time, I have more students with smart phones or the ability to text so that number has gone down over the past two years. As early as 2008 Nielsen reported that over 70% of students had a phone while over 80% had access to a phone. That number has risen significantly.

Smart phones are a game changer. Where I had one or two kids with smart phones I now have over half my class with smart phones. Now, I can have the students do research, look up films, find articles or do basic research as necessary. Some studies I have read estimate that as of December of 2011, over half of all phones that students use are smart phones.

As tech savvy as we think students are, they are not as good at technology as we give most of them credit for. Students are only as good as their needs, and most of their needs occur on Facebook. Basic skills such as searching, analyzing, filtering content, or even recognizing marketing trends are deficient. Much like the old musical number from Bye Bye Birdie – it’s not the phone lines that are tied up but how many text messages one person can send in a minute.

As for AUP’s, I will include one I got from Ron Ippolito – a fellow teacher with an amazing blog – who is doing some great work with phones and other items: AUP Policy. After researching all over, the basics are this: you can have it, you may use it with teacher permission, it’s a privilege to use your phone at school, we are not responsible if your phone is lost or stolen. Keep in mind, phones are a part of the curriculum, they are not the only way to complete the curriculum, therefore phones enhance the learning process but are note required for the learning process.

In the end, my students enjoy have greater access to me via their phones either through texting or through Twitter. I’ve noticed that the level of understanding, respect and responsibility with technology has gone up immensely while the lessons I am able to figure out from basic social skills to applicable career skills is astounding.