Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ARRA Grant

I just sent the ARRA grant off to Sacramento. We should find out in December! Keeping my fingers crossed, but realizing that LVUSD is better off than a lot of districts.

I really believe that CRS (Classroom Response Systems) or clickers are the future of education. What better way to track every single student in your class? You can track progress, weaknesses, and strengths - all with the click of a button. - You can check progress from last night's homework, or take a spontaneous quiz. All of that data at your fingertips. Now if only we had the resources and the time to set it up and make it work. Summer?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Finding Balance

I had an entire weekend to myself. No plans, no pressing projects, no obligations and it was fabulous. I needed some time to spend with me. Sounds stupid, but I feel rejuvenated.

I love my job - and I am capable of spending almost every waking moment (and some of the sleeping moments) working in some capacity. I check e-mail constantly all hours of the day. In fact once my alarm goes off in the morning the first thing I do is check my e-mail on my phone to make sure there are no major fires to put out. I love the philosophy work hard - play hard. I'm learning to be spontaneous to enjoy time with friends and family when the opportunities present themselves. But this weekend, I took time to read magazines, laze around the house, listen to music and accomplish little to nothing. Balance, for me is about finding and creating the quiet times and I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by things I love - job, friends, family, and every once in a while - nothing but myself.

Time to check e-mail and prepare for work tomorrow. :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Working for California Lutheran

I was hired in July to be a Media Specialist for LVUSD. We have consolidated 8 positions into 3 for the next school year. Our department will be managing 14 libraries as well as technology training for the entire district. Sleep is clearly not in the game plan for next year.

In addition to that I have been hired on at California Lutheran University to re-write/design technology courses for the School of Education. The courses will clear the CA supplemental credential in Computer Concepts and Applications. Students must take four courses including at least one course in each for the following areas: (A) software evaluation and selection, (B) hardware operation and functions, and (C) classroom uses of computers. (The fourth is a computer elective.) It seems to me that future computer teachers would benefit more from a course in how to teach computers rather than computer hardware operations or software evaluation, but I'm not on that committee (yet).

I'm looking for articles on educational technology to include in the new syllabi for the computer education courses. Suggestions are most welcome!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

CUE Conference

I've been attending the CUE conference in Palm Springs the last couple of days and will be leaving exhausted, inspired, and ready to collaborate! We have a large group from the district attending and I can't wait to get together and share what we've learned.

Highlights -

There were many more and I will be adding more thoughts and notes at a later date!

Monday, March 2, 2009

EETT - Roll-out

We have started rolling out our laptop carts to our schools. We've delivered carts and training to two elementary schools and started on our first middle school last week. Each school has received 40 laptops, 1 server, 1 printer, and 1 router. We've worked through a few server glitches and this last roll-out is working extremely well. The elementary school training took place in each 4th and 5th grade classrooms. The middle school training is taking place in the library led by the library media teacher. The kids are so excited about the new equipment and extremely respectful.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Genius of the Work-Around

Want to teach problem solving skills to our students? Put them in charge of our technology. Anyone who has been in charge of technology, even his or her own computer to some extent, understands the strategy of the work-around. If it doesn't work in one browser, try another. If something seems glitchy, turn your computer off and try again. There are millions of examples of work-arounds and what I've learned from the work-around is that there is always another solution. It may not solve the problem completely or be a long-term solution, but the key is to look for alternative solutions. In essence I've learned to look out of the box.

Example: Last night I was with a bunch of friends who decided to have a pizza and movie night. The movie was downloaded from Apple TV (Apple's best kept secret) and once the food was delivered we settled in to watch the movie. Of course, it didn't work. The movie showed up as a white screen with the timeline bar across the bottom, but no video.

The work-arounds:

  • check to see if it's available through PPV (it wasn't)
  • check to see if it's available through OnDemand - (it was) - however once we ordered it through "OnDemand" it started 20 minutes into the movie and only recorded 10 minutes of the entire movie. Grrrr.
  • checked online to see if RedBox had the movie - (yes, but not anywhere close to us)
  • checked to see if Blockbuster had the movie - (no all checked out)

Yes by this point we had eaten our pizza!

  • restart the Apple TV device (movie worked like a charm)

Now my non-tech friends were AMAZED! They kept mentioning how "determined" we were to see the movie. (Just to add insult to injury, the movie was terrible.) We weren't determined, we were just exhausting all the options. It is the way we think. It is the way we want our students to think. Time to teach problem solving "work-arounds."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Starting the Grant

We had our first Coach/Mentor training on Tuesday. Our 16 coach/mentors were educated and entertained by the LACOE Multimedia Services team as well as TechEd Services. Gina Armenta-Shin is the project coordinator for the grant and did a wonderful job of organizing everything and giving us an overview of the project. We are working on getting our EETT Moodle site updated and will be posting all important documents and updates there. We met with the MIS department today to discuss the roll-outs of the carts and they are confident that we can get everything rolled out in the next 4-5 weeks! It is so exciting. I know the teachers at each site are getting anxious to get their hands on those machines and it looks like it's actually going to happen.