Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mercy High School's iTunes U Public Site

On August 23, Tom James and I launched Mercy's iTunes U public site.  Julie Earle is designing the pages of Mercy's collections at the site. While Tom is administering the site, he needed content for the page in order to launch it, and I was ready with two publications.

For the past six week, I have been curating a public course, called Becoming a Digital School Administrator.  This course targets prospective and current school building administrators, but has useful resources for all educational leaders. The course is less a prescription than it is a collection of best practices which exemplify how administrators can greatly benefit from using the same tech tools that teachers need to employ.

I have also started a "course" which contains workshop resources provided for Mercy teachers.

These two courses show how iTunes U can be used in both broad and narrow ways.  A "course" can be designed for anyone in the world or for a very discreet population or class.

The iTunes U courses are beautiful and extremely user-friendly on the iPad.  It is my hope that the iTunes U site will serve our iPad-wielding students, specifically, and be a means of sharing best practices and resources to the greater community.  I am proud to have inaugurated the site with my two courses . . . . . and I am already busy at work on a third.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Memory Holes, Dropbox Tricks, and other Interesting Links

The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish
"Copyright correlates significantly with the disappearance of works rather than with their availability," Heald writes. "Shortly after works are created and proprietized, they tend to disappear from public view only to reappear in significantly increased numbers when they fall into the public domain and lose their owners."

Our top five Dropbox tricks
If you asked Macworld editors to name the technologies they can't live without, you’d inevitably hear about Dropbox. This file-synchronization service lets you access your files from anywhere—not just your Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but also any Web browser. It provides easy cloud-based backup, too. But all that’s just the beginning. Here are five of our favorite ways to use it. . . .

Bezos could use Amazon model of customer targeting to reboot the newspaper industry
Whether Bezos can effectively reboot the newspaper industry for the digital age — a goal that has eluded scores of media veterans and Wall Street investors — remains an open question.

Kathy Schrock's iPads4teaching
This site will promote the use of the iPad to support sound pedagogical practices and provide professional development options for you. If you have items to share, please use the form in the footer to let me know about them!

Evernote for Education

The Twitter Experiment 

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Becoming a Digital Administrator: Google Forms

I prepared this four and a half minute video for my iTunes U course, entitled,
Becoming a Digital School Administrator (available, August 27). The course contains best practices from building administrators who are "down in the trenches".  It's been a great learning experience for me collecting these resources from building administrators in the USA and Canada.  

I have contributed some materials to the course, and decided to create a piece on how I use Google Forms.  If you look at my screencast closely, you will see that I have reams of Forms in my Google Drive. For over the past year, I have used Forms for a wide variety of purposes.  And of course each time I use it, I model technology use that promotes paperless and efficient communication.  Modeling is a main theme of my course.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Becoming a Digital Administrator -- Use Your Camera!

In a recent post, I indicated that I was learning more than I was teaching as I assembled my iTunes U course, Becoming a Digital Administrator. I referred to my discoveries of all the interesting things that other building administrators were doing.

Yesterday, my learning took a different tack.  I had a "hole" in my curriculum related to how school administrators might use the camera in their mobile devices.  I found photos taken by principals, but no media or commentary authored by administrators on this particular subject.  

Since I take lots of snap shots with my phone as I go about my own business, I decided to fill the breech, but I wasn't sure what kind of application to use to create a movie with my jpegs.  Recording a narrative and then fitting a bunch of photos with it in iMovie seemed pretty time intensive.

I came up with a much better solution.  I quickly dragged the photos into a Keynote slide presentation and put dissolve transitions between all the slides. Keynote allows the user to directly record a voiceover onto the slides.  So I plugged my Snowball mic into the computer, clicked "record", and found myself comfortable commenting on my slides without a script.  

After I was done, I exported the slide show as the QuickTime movie which you can check out below.  Any blemish in production values is due to the "talent", not the technology.  But it was easy and fun.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Apps for School Administrators

At Mercy, we are putting together an iBook on how we use technology. Here is a piece I created to describe digital solutions for keeping organized on the fly:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

As Usual, Learning More than I Teach

In my last post I mentioned that my latest tech obsession has been the development of an open iTunes U course.  It has evolved every day, but the working title remains, Becoming a Digital Administrator.

I have been startled by two aspects of this experience.  First, I have been amazed by the generous responses from individuals I basically approached with a "cold call".  Consequently the course is being shaped by a greater since of collaborating than I anticipated.  And of course, I have terrifically strengthened my PLN (personal learning network), a best practice advocated in the course.

As a career teacher I should not have been surprised by the second development, because this has always been true for my classroom teaching: I have learned so very much by creating a course.  I never supposed that I knew everything about digital practices as a building administrator. However, I thought I at least new the topics I should include in my course.


The course has been been rearranged by the outside of the box thinking I have encountered.  In the last couple of days I have seen how Spike Cook has enriched his professional learning and his blog with Skype interviews.  I have listened to Melinda Miller's "flipped faculty meeting" podcast for the opening of school.  And I have been totally blown away by the many ways that Trang Lai has become a paperless principal.

These are new professional friends and teachers from New Jersey, Missouri and California who I'd never had met if I had not become a digital administrator.  I am anxious to share my collection and hope to publish in three weeks or so.

Home page of Trang Lai's Robert C. Fisler School 
Hope page of Melinda Miller's Willard East Elementary 

Home page of Dr. Spike Cook's R.M. Bacon Elementary

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Month of Technology Immersion -- iTunes U and iBooks Author

This has been an invigorating month in terms of upgrading my own technology
skills and network.  It has probably been the most intense immersion in my professional career since both the ISTE Conference and ADE Institute were part of the experience, exposing me to new people, ideas, and training. 

Earlier this summer, I reflected on iWizards and Their Far-Flung Cousins. This has led to a Multi Touch chapter for and ADE anthology that I have titled Empowering Your iWizards. I also have had the opportunity to contribute content and editorial attention to four chapters of iMercy, a book that six of us are authoring (with many more contributions beyond) which explodes with multimedia products from Mercy's 1:1 program.

My blog postLead by Example, has also evolved into a new project. I am
curating an iTunes U course for prospective and practicing school administrators.  Its theme is technology leadership by modeling.  Of course I have already learned a great deal myself about this topic.  It is not my intent to preach or scold, instead it will be a place for admins to go in order to get ideas for "walking the walk".

I particularly value the authentic voices of administrators I have been able to add to the course.  Within this past week alone, Dr. Eric Williams, Amber TeamanDr. Dan Frazier, Dr. Spike CookMelinda Miller, and Deanna Dykstra have all agreed to contribute media.  What a terrific group of individuals to add to my PLN, and who better to share their ideas and talents on this topic.

Naturally, as the students return to school for their activities and then their classes, I will have many more competing priorities.  However, I am thankful that this month of ed tech interactions has given me momentum to complete these projects in the near future.

Daily adding materials to my open course.

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