More Cuts – Tx State Technology Allotment?

A colleague recently shared the Texas Library Association’s Legislature update, and encouraged reflection on the following excerpt:

The 82nd Legislature convenes on January 11, 2011. This session, the state assembly will deal with a huge budget deficit (predictions now place the amount at about $25 billion) and redistricting. Given the fiscal outlook, state policy will more than likely involve implementation of a cut to state government operations….

With the proposed 10% cut in 2012-2013, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) would need to reduce about $261 million from its budget. One of the areas highlighted for reductions is the Technology Allotment, which is the source of funds for the K-12 database program for school libraries. At this time, it is unclear whether a cut to that program would result in a reduction to the actual $2.5 million TEA transfers to the State Library for support of that resource sharing initiative.

(Source: Email from Gloria Meraz, 12/8/2010, to the Texas Library Connection - TLA Texline 264: Preview of the 82nd Legislature and Legislative Day)

If your position, department is funded through the State Technology Allotment (a.k.a. 411 funds), you need to wake up and start making plans for what you will do should such funding be decreased or eliminated altogether.

What plans come to mind?


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MyNotes – Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators

Image Source: http://intergroupdialogue.syr.edu/facebook_logo.jpg





Some time ago, I received an unsolicited email from Alba Collazo about the web site–Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators–linked below. Since I didn’t know who he was, and still was ignorant after visiting his web site, I wrote him and asked him to be a bit more open about his intent, who he was, etc.


Before I share his response, further down below, you’ll find a few excerpts from his blog entry on “25 Facebook Apps for Educators.” Most of these are apps that now have a Facebook login option…you login using Facebook. I must caution educators that creating your account in these systems with Facebook can be problematic for you if Facebook is still blocked/filtered in your school district…it would essentially prevent you from “logging in” to use the services!

Not all school districts have the White Oak ISD enlightened perspective, as shared here by Scott Floyd:


We do not block Facebook. Teachers and campuses use it as part of their communication with the community.  Any mis-use of it is handled just like any other classroom disruption. There is no need to create any detailed policy to cover it. You only limit yourself when you do that (our attorney’s words, not mine). It is just an electronic note, basically. It just got passed differently (as an example). It is still bullying.

Now, the student that got “hacked” should be very careful with passwords. We tell all of our students that the password is theirs and they are responsible for the use of their account. There is little to no way to tell for sure who posted what if the reply is that someone got into their account. The only way for that to happen is that they gave their password to someone. It is a great teaching opportunity since they will have much more important passwords in their lives as they get older. 

Source: Email posted to TCEA CAMPSIG Listserv, 12/8/2010 


For now, here’s Alba’s emailed response about who he and his business represent:

I’m glad you like the article, and I certainly understand you wanting to know more before linking! We are a business that helps students find universities for pursuing their educational and career goals. Additionally, we aim to serve as an informative resource for students, prospective students, and educators through our articles. Our main focus is the field of Special Education. However, we try to vary our subjects so that anyone with an interest in learning more about education/teaching in general can benefit from our posts. Let me know if you have any other questions, and thank you for considering giving us a link from your site to help spread the word about the post. Have a great weekend!



Quotes:

Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators

    • Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators Posted by Mandy on November 22, 2010
      • You can actually use Facebook to help your students, and to interact with them. It is possible to incorporate Facebook applications into your lesson plans, and use it to interact with students.
        • Here are 25 Facebook applications that can help educators — and their students — in the classroom:
          • Webinaria: This is a screencast recorder that can help you record videos. You can record your presentations, and make them available for later use. A great tool for those who want to record their lectures.
            • Mathematical Formulas: This is a great way to help you share math with students. You can distribute different formulas and solutions, and help students with proofs.
              • JSTOR Search on Facebook: If you are looking for a great way to find research articles and help students learn about finding important information, this a great application.
                • WorldCat: This is a network of libraries and content services from around the world. You can find information at different libraries, and you can easily share knowledge with your students. A great tool.
                  • My HomeworkNOW and School Alerts: Stay connected to your students, and organized. A great way for you to coordinate with parents as well. Keeps everyone in the loop.
                    • fdCal: This is another calendar Facebook app that can help you keep up with what is happening. This app interfaces with iCal and Microsoft Outlook, as well as other programs, so that you can get information about your schedule. Helpful way to stay organized, and for your students to keep up with the class schedule.





                      Image Source:
                      Banned Facebook Image – http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u94712/fbbanned.png

                      MyNotes – Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators

                      Image Source: http://intergroupdialogue.syr.edu/facebook_logo.jpg





                      Some time ago, I received an unsolicited email from Alba Collazo about the web site–Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators–linked below. Since I didn’t know who he was, and still was ignorant after visiting his web site, I wrote him and asked him to be a bit more open about his intent, who he was, etc.


                      Before I share his response, further down below, you’ll find a few excerpts from his blog entry on “25 Facebook Apps for Educators.” Most of these are apps that now have a Facebook login option…you login using Facebook. I must caution educators that creating your account in these systems with Facebook can be problematic for you if Facebook is still blocked/filtered in your school district…it would essentially prevent you from “logging in” to use the services!

                      Not all school districts have the White Oak ISD enlightened perspective, as shared here by Scott Floyd:


                      We do not block Facebook. Teachers and campuses use it as part of their communication with the community.  Any mis-use of it is handled just like any other classroom disruption. There is no need to create any detailed policy to cover it. You only limit yourself when you do that (our attorney’s words, not mine). It is just an electronic note, basically. It just got passed differently (as an example). It is still bullying.

                      Now, the student that got “hacked” should be very careful with passwords. We tell all of our students that the password is theirs and they are responsible for the use of their account. There is little to no way to tell for sure who posted what if the reply is that someone got into their account. The only way for that to happen is that they gave their password to someone. It is a great teaching opportunity since they will have much more important passwords in their lives as they get older. 

                      Source: Email posted to TCEA CAMPSIG Listserv, 12/8/2010 


                      For now, here’s Alba’s emailed response about who he and his business represent:

                      I’m glad you like the article, and I certainly understand you wanting to know more before linking! We are a business that helps students find universities for pursuing their educational and career goals. Additionally, we aim to serve as an informative resource for students, prospective students, and educators through our articles. Our main focus is the field of Special Education. However, we try to vary our subjects so that anyone with an interest in learning more about education/teaching in general can benefit from our posts. Let me know if you have any other questions, and thank you for considering giving us a link from your site to help spread the word about the post. Have a great weekend!



                      Quotes:

                      Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators

                        • Top 25 Facebook Apps for Educators Posted by Mandy on November 22, 2010
                          • You can actually use Facebook to help your students, and to interact with them. It is possible to incorporate Facebook applications into your lesson plans, and use it to interact with students.
                            • Here are 25 Facebook applications that can help educators — and their students — in the classroom:
                              • Webinaria: This is a screencast recorder that can help you record videos. You can record your presentations, and make them available for later use. A great tool for those who want to record their lectures.
                                • Mathematical Formulas: This is a great way to help you share math with students. You can distribute different formulas and solutions, and help students with proofs.
                                  • JSTOR Search on Facebook: If you are looking for a great way to find research articles and help students learn about finding important information, this a great application.
                                    • WorldCat: This is a network of libraries and content services from around the world. You can find information at different libraries, and you can easily share knowledge with your students. A great tool.
                                      • My HomeworkNOW and School Alerts: Stay connected to your students, and organized. A great way for you to coordinate with parents as well. Keeps everyone in the loop.
                                        • >fdCal: This is another calendar Facebook app that can help you keep up with what is happening. This app interfaces with iCal and Microsoft Outlook, as well as other programs, so that you can get information about your schedule. Helpful way to stay organized, and for your students to keep up with the class schedule.





                                          Image Source:
                                          Banned Facebook Image – http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u94712/fbbanned.png

                                          MyNotes – Less bang for buck at some Texas schools

                                          Source: http://www.hgsc.bcm.tmc.edu/images/Bang.jpg

                                          So, no school districts in Bexar County earned the 5 star rating but several did the 1.5 star rating. What’s telling is the common reflection from superintendents across the State–the data is out of date and spending cuts from the State will have a negative impact.

                                          The real question surrounding the results (IMHO) is how will State legislators spin this report to trim critical education funding? Whatever they do, I hope they remember the real people they will affect rather than the policies they seek to enact.

                                          Quotes:

                                          Less bang for buck at some schools – San Antonio Express-News
                                            • Less bang for buck at some schools By Lindsay Kastner And Jennifer R. Lloydlkastner@express-news.net Published: 12:00 a.m., Thursday, December 9, 2010
                                              • Some Bexar County school districts — such as San Antonio, Edgewood and South San Antonio — may not be making the most of their money, according to a new state report contrasting school district spending against academic performance.
                                                • None of the county’s 16 districts earned a five-star rating in the Financial Allocation Study for Texas, or FAST, report.
                                                  • San Antonio, Edgewood and South San Antonio ISDs garnered 1.5 stars.
                                                    • Ratings were determined by correlating a three-year average of math and reading scores with a three-year average of operating expenditures, using data through 2008-2009. Only 3.8 percent of districts statewide received a five-star rating.
                                                      • The report is a requirement of House Bill 3, an education omnibus bill passed during the 2009 state legislative session. Combs said the report
                                                        • will be updated annually, she said.
                                                          • “We’ll look at the report and analyze it, but I’m more concerned about what the state’s going to do with cutting funding for public education,” said Folks, whose district is the fourth largest in Texas. He speculated that Northside will soon have to make significant cuts to compensate for a state budget deficit.
                                                            • “If you look at this report, you would think we’re not educating children and we’re blowing money,” Keith said. “And if you look at the current facts, that is not the case.”

                                                              MyNotes – Texas Comptroller Rates Borderland School Districts

                                                              Quotes:
                                                              Texas Comptroller Rates Borderland School Districts – News Story – KFOX El Paso
                                                                • Texas Comptroller Rates Borderland School Districts
                                                                  • Dena Richardson/KFOX News ReporterPosted: 7:53 pm MST December 8, 2010Updated: 9:09 pm MST December 8, 2010
                                                                    • Out of the three largest school districts in the borderland, Socorro I.S.D. earned the top spot, followed by Ysleta I.S.D. and El Paso I.S.D
                                                                      • in some way, it is a prelude to the imminent cuts that all of the public schools in Texas can anticipate,” said De La Torre. “It is going to be used to leverage a retreat on public school funding from the state and to try to demonstrate that there are any number of school districts out there, like the Socorro Independent School District, that are able to achieve remarkable results with less.”

                                                                        MyNotes – State study gives 8 Dallas-area school districts top marks

                                                                        Quotes:
                                                                        State study gives 8 Dallas-area school districts top marks for balancing achievement, spending | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
                                                                          • State study gives 8 Dallas-area school districts top marks
                                                                            • By KAREL HOLLOWAY and JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News kholloway@dallasnews.comjweiss@dallasnews.com
                                                                              • Only 43 of the state’s more than 1,200 school districts and charter schools received the highest rating. Dallas ISD earned two stars, and Richardson earned four and a half.
                                                                                • The state is expected to have at least a $20 billion deficit and education spending makes up 44 percent of the budget.
                                                                                  • Combs acknowledged the system penalizes traditionally high-achieving districts whose students are scoring near the top of the range.
                                                                                    • The financial evaluation is based on operational spending, excluding transportation and food service. The academic and financial scores are combined to produce the star ratings.

                                                                                      MyNotes – #fast Keller school district does well in Financial Allocation Study

                                                                                      More reactions about the recently released Financial Allocation Study for Texas….

                                                                                      Quotes:

                                                                                      Keller school district does well in Financial Allocation Study | Schools | News from For…
                                                                                        • Keller school district does well in Financial Allocation Study Posted Wednesday, Dec. 08, 2010
                                                                                          • Financial Allocation Study for Texas. It looks at which schools are doing the best at making student gains while spending the least.
                                                                                            • The Fort Worth school district ranked near the bottom, with a star and a half.
                                                                                              • “If you are doing a bang-up job in academic improvement and low spending, you are the best of the best,” said state Comptroller Susan Combs, who unveiled the report Wednesday at the University of Texas at Dallas.
                                                                                                • The 2009 Legislature required the comptroller’s office to develop a way to determine how districts are spending money relative to how well their students perform.
                                                                                                  • The report determined each district’s per-pupil spending on core expenditures — such as instruction and operating costs — while adjusting for a community’s income level. It measured progress on state reading and math tests from 2007 to 2009. A district’s spending was then compared with spending in districts of a similar size, income level and student makeup.
                                                                                                    • The San Antonio school district was the only urban district to earn the same rating as Fort Worth.
                                                                                                      • The report noted that Fort Worth had a high spending index — $7,713 per student — but that its academic progress was far lower than in any other district in its peer group.
                                                                                                        • The report, “Connecting the Dots: School Spending and Student Progress,” notes that about 20 percent of districts and charter schools earned 4 to 4.5 stars, 36 percent earned 3 to 3.5, 31 percent earned 2 to 2.5, and 10 percent earned 1 to 1.5.Online: www.fastexas.orgStaff writers Jessamy Brown and Shirley Jinkins contributed to this report.

                                                                                                          MyNotes – New Tx Education Report – Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST) #fast

                                                                                                          Source: Financial Allocation Study of Texas (FAST)

                                                                                                          Update: Follow my notes about  Texas Education budget woes news stories with this link.


                                                                                                          When I woke up this morning, I knew I’d be dying to get access to this new report. I can’t explain my recent, fervent interest in school spending…no doubt, it’s the poor economy and what impact this report will have on school districts and the people that work in them! For those that aren’t familiar with the report, this short summary from the web site linked above (FAST) may help:

                                                                                                          The Comptroller’s office is leading the Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST) to examine how our school districts and campuses spend their money – and how this spending translates into student achievement. Our study is intended to identify cost-effective practices that promote academic progress.

                                                                                                          In addition to presenting the FAST study findings, this website also allows you to run your own custom reports on school district finances and results. We hope that policymakers and the public alike will use this resource to see how our education dollars are working to prepare the next generation.

                                                                                                          Run your own custom reports? Hmm…let’s see how NorthEast ISD–where I live and my children go to school is doing after trying to close the NorthEast School of the Arts and declaring financial exigency a few short months after the Superintendent got a raise…and how it compares to other large urban school districts in San Antonio, Tx….apparently, quite well.



                                                                                                          Although I  did a quick copy-n-paste, you can see the FAST Rating…but what does it all mean? What does “Spending Index” mean


                                                                                                          • In creating the spending index, FAST compares district core operating expenditures per pupil, adjusted for geographic wage variations.
                                                                                                          • A district’s spending index is determined by identifying the spending quintile in which it falls relative to its fiscal peers. The quintiles range from very low to very high, with very low indicating the lowest relative spending in the fiscal peer group and very high representing the highest.

                                                                                                          What that says to me is that a lot of money is spent on students by those with VERY HIGH and HIGH rating. Does everyone read or interpret that the same way? Maybe another explanation is needed:

                                                                                                          A FAST rating, from one to five stars, that integrates academic progress and spending to identify districts that produce strong academic growth at a lower cost than their peers. Five stars showed a “Very High” student progress rating and a “Very Low” spending rating. Conversely, one-star districts have very low student progress and very high spending compared to their fiscal peers. (Source: New report should aid school funding talks | Texas Budget Source)

                                                                                                          Does this boil down to more bang for your buck? In reviewing the criteria–”achieving strong academic performance while keeping costs low”–it appears that NISD gets the most bang for its buck in the Districts represented above…but what does that mean exactly? They are getting the highest academic performance for the monetary investment.


                                                                                                          What are the implications for districts spending lots of money but not seeing matching academic performance? In response to this blog entry, Barbara Bray pointed out the following:

                                                                                                          These types of choices impact children and their future. The dropout rate is higher than ever in high poverty schools. Since NCLB we are leaving more children behind than ever. We have sold out our most vulnerable children so we can privatize public schools.

                                                                                                          Poverty. It’s something that Diane Ravitch also mentions in her response to Bill Gate
                                                                                                          s on education reform:

                                                                                                          The single biggest correlate with low academic achievement (contrary to the film Waiting for Superman) is poverty. Children who grow up in poverty get less medical care. worse nutrition, less exposure to knowledge and vocabulary, and are more likely to be exposed to childhood diseases, violence, drugs, and abuse. They are more likely to have relatives who are incarcerated. They are more likely to live in economic insecurity, not knowing if there is enough money for a winter coat or food or housing. This affects their academic performance. They tend to have lower attendance and to be sick more than children whose parents are well-off.

                                                                                                          “The United States today has a child poverty rate of over 20%, and it is rising. This is a national scandal. The film compares us to Finland, but doesn’t mention that their child poverty rate is under 5%. Mr. Gates, why don’t you address the root causes of low academic achievement, which is not ‘bad teachers,’ but poverty. It won’t involve magic, but it would certainly require the best thinking that you can assemble. And if anyone can afford to do it, surely you can. 

                                                                                                          (Source: Washington Post, 11/30/2010 as cited at Educational Equity, Politics and Policy in Texas)

                                                                                                          If we look at the demographics of the districts shown above, is that taken into account for the FAST rating?




                                                                                                          Quotes:

                                                                                                          New report should aid school funding talks | Texas Budget Source
                                                                                                            • Combs’ study revealed that public school spending per student has risen 63 percent in the past decade, outpacing enrollment growth and inflation.
                                                                                                              • The comptroller’s office reportedly spent $684,000 to create the Financial Allocation Study for Texas by culling data from the Texas Education Agency and drawing on the expertise of two University of Texas institutions and Texas A&M University. The FAST method creates a rating system that balances student academic progress and school spending.
                                                                                                                • Each district, school or charter school was assigned the following: • A rating of student progress in reading and math, with controls for varying characteristics of students, campuses, and districts. • A spending rating, from “Very Low” to “Very High,” that rates the district’s spending compared to up to 40 peer districts that operate with a similar size and demographics. • A FAST rating, from one to five stars, that integrates academic progress and spending to identify districts that produce strong academic growth at a lower cost than their peers. Five stars showed a “Very High” student progress rating and a “Very Low” spending rating. Conversely, one-star districts have very low student progress and very high spending compared to their fiscal peers.
                                                                                                                  • The FAST report shows that just 43 of 1,235 school districts and charter schools received a five-star rating.
                                                                                                                    • 100 “Smart Practices,” including:
                                                                                                                      • Share school facilities and services with community colleges and other local government entities
                                                                                                                        • Encourage school districts to use purchasing cooperatives and compare prices for goods and services with prices available through the state procurement system.
                                                                                                                          • Increase the educational opportunities available to students by reducing barriers to online coursework, and replace traditional textbooks with e-textbooks costing up to 40 percent less.
                                                                                                                            • Standardize reporting of campus financial data to help identify low- and high-cost programs.
                                                                                                                              • Relax the limit of 22 students in K-4 classes to permit an average of 22 students per class.
                                                                                                                                • The website is www.FASTexas.org.


                                                                                                                                  Challenging Passivity @mcleod

                                                                                                                                  Dr. Scott McLeod, in responding to Joe Bower about Passivity among students and educators, writes the following:

                                                                                                                                  We need more ‘active learners’ at all levels of our education system. What percentage of your students – and educators – are just going through the motions (“just tell me what to do”) rather than inquiring, learning, leading, and, perhaps, modeling?

                                                                                                                                  This is a tough question to answer, unless we apply the figure cited in Crucial Confrontations book:

                                                                                                                                  A national poll of U.S. workers found that 44% reported putting in as little effort as they could get away with without being fired.

                                                                                                                                  If that’s in a national poll of U.S. workers, would you say educators are LESS inclined to be like their business colleagues or MORE so?


                                                                                                                                  In reviewing Scott’s paragraph cited at the start of this blog, it’s fun to ask, “What characterizes active learners in the education system?

                                                                                                                                  • Be meta-cognitive
                                                                                                                                  • Creating, not just consuming content
                                                                                                                                  • Collaborating and skill development rather than transmitting information
                                                                                                                                  • Engaged in activities such as (as expressed in Active Learning & Technology):
                                                                                                                                  1. learning contemporary skills, such as learning how to use computers and networks (arguably, single-loop learning efforts); and 
                                                                                                                                  2. advancing foundational concepts, such as testing and differentiating the advantages and disadvantages of using various electronic media to achieve stated aims
                                                                                                                                  3. Acquiring, extending, or adapting intellectual capabilities—such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and more—in the context of IT-enabled environments
                                                                                                                                • Exploring one’s own attitudes and values


                                                                                                                                • Earlier today, we discussed the problems with the emphasis on learning and then technology. It reminds me of the importance of teaching lower-order thinking skills before ever getting to higher-order thinking skills. The problem with that remains that students never advance to HOTS because they get drilled to death in LOTS and there is little engagement. I despair of this perspective of “learning and pedagogy first” then adding the technology because educators could spend entire lifetimes trying to get better without ever introducing the technology.


                                                                                                                                  So, I emphatically disagree with assertions like the one below:

                                                                                                                                  Donna Harp Ziegenfuss notes: “Pouring a solid foundation of good pedagogical design before adding on the layer of technology can become a critical factor in the success rate of technology integration.”10

                                                                                                                                  I must be wrong…maybe I should choose the certainty of silence?
                                                                                                                                  ;->




                                                                                                                                  As my TLN colleagues argue, the best professional development must be, “job-embedded, problem-based, differentiated, collaborative, onsite, compensated, ongoing and teacher-driven.” 

                                                                                                                                  (Source: Bill Ferriter, The Tempered Radical)

                                                                                                                                  Hmm…how long has that idea been around? Probably even longer.



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                                                                                                                                  Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                  Challenging Passivity @mcleod

                                                                                                                                  Dr. Scott McLeod, in responding to Joe Bower about Passivity among students and educators, writes the following:

                                                                                                                                  We need more ‘active learners’ at all levels of our education system. What percentage of your students – and educators – are just going through the motions (“just tell me what to do”) rather than inquiring, learning, leading, and, perhaps, modeling?

                                                                                                                                  This is a tough question to answer, unless we apply the figure cited in Crucial Confrontations book:

                                                                                                                                  A national poll of U.S. workers found that 44% reported putting in as little effort as they could get away with without being fired.

                                                                                                                                  If that’s in a national poll of U.S. workers, would you say educators are LESS inclined to be like their business colleagues or MORE so?


                                                                                                                                  In reviewing Scott’s paragraph cited at the start of this blog, it’s fun to ask, “What characterizes active learners in the education system?

                                                                                                                                  • Be meta-cognitive
                                                                                                                                  • Creating, not just consuming content
                                                                                                                                  • Collaborating and skill development rather than transmitting information
                                                                                                                                  • Engaged in activities such as (as expressed in Active Learning & Technology):
                                                                                                                                    1. learning contemporary skills, such as learning how to use computers and networks (arguably, single-loop learning efforts); and 
                                                                                                                                    2. advancing foundational concepts, such as testing and differentiating the advantages and disadvantages of using various electronic media to achieve stated aims
                                                                                                                                    3. Acquiring, extending, or adapting intellectual capabilities—such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and more—in the context of IT-enabled environments
                                                                                                                                  • Exploring one’s own attitudes and values



                                                                                                                                  Earlier today, we discussed the problems with the emphasis on learning and then technology. It reminds me of the importance of teaching lower-order thinking skills before ever getting to higher-order thinking skills. The problem with that remains that students never advance to HOTS because they get drilled to death in LOTS and there is little engagement. I despair of this perspective of “learning and pedagogy first” then adding the technology because educators could spend entire lifetimes trying to get better without ever introducing the technology.


                                                                                                                                  So, I emphatically disagree with assertions like the one below:

                                                                                                                                  Donna Harp Ziegenfuss notes: “Pouring a solid foundation of good pedagogical design before adding on the layer of technology can become a critical factor in the success rate of technology integration.”10

                                                                                                                                  I must be wrong…maybe I should choose the certainty of silence?
                                                                                                                                  ;->




                                                                                                                                  As my TLN colleagues argue, the best professional development must be, “job-embedded, problem-based, differentiated, collaborative, onsite, compensated, ongoing and teacher-driven.” 

                                                                                                                                  (Source: Bill Ferriter, The Tempered Radical)

                                                                                                                                  Hmm…how long has that idea been around? Probably even longer.



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                                                                                                                                  Subscribe to Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org




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                                                                                                                                  MyNotes – Texas Public Education Faces Cuts

                                                                                                                                  Image Source: http://telewatcher.com/science-fiction/star-trek/star-trek-new-generations-season-1-episode-2/
                                                                                                                                  Ok, I’m starting to feel like Chekov on the bridge of Star Trek…”Brace for impact, Keptin!” Sigh.

                                                                                                                                  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KvLWXsynTM&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3]

                                                                                                                                  Quotes:

                                                                                                                                  Educational Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas: In Light of Budget Gap, Public Education Faces Cuts

                                                                                                                                    • In Light of Budget Gap, Public Education Faces Cuts
                                                                                                                                      • by Morgan Smith | Texas Tribune December 8, 2010
                                                                                                                                        • The biennial budget shortfall you’ve heard so much about — estimated to be anywhere from $13 billion to $28 billion — will require the Legislature to take a paring knife and possibly a machete to government agencies and programs.
                                                                                                                                          • school districts may have to prune between $3 billion and $5 billion from the more than $35 billion public ed budget, which represents just under 44 percent of the state’s general revenue spending.
                                                                                                                                            • Where is that money going to come from?
                                                                                                                                              • For most Texas school districts, personnel costs — employee salaries and benefits — account for 80 percent to 90 percent of total expenses.
                                                                                                                                                • expect fewer teachers in classrooms.
                                                                                                                                                  • “So bottom line, you have to cut personnel.”
                                                                                                                                                    • “If cuts occur,” Gregg says, “the priority should be on keeping experienced, qualified teachers in front each teacher in an appropriate-sized class so students can receive individual attention.”
                                                                                                                                                      • lawmakers may have to make it easier for districts to shed staff.
                                                                                                                                                        • There’s awful lot that’s unmandated that schools chose to do — from athletics to convocation centers to a whole host of other things,” he says. “It would seem to me that before you start cutting away the core education mission of school districts, you [should] look at what I consider to be extras.”
                                                                                                                                                          • “It’s kind of a scary time.”

                                                                                                                                                            Christmas Party @mcleod @edjurist

                                                                                                                                                            Image Source: http://www.ardmore-hotel.com/Upload/christmasparty.jpg

                                                                                                                                                            Over the years, Dr. Scott McLeod and others (Justin Bathon) have had fun laughing it up in regards to holiday celebrations. Is that Christmas eCard really appropriate in a K-12 setting?

                                                                                                                                                            In the spirit of problem-based learning scenarios, let’s consider this twist:

                                                                                                                                                            Throughout the year, every birthday and holiday gathering has been marred by the presence of Jehovah’s Witness observers in the Office. Every birthday/holiday celebration, Meg and her fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, have made an issue about not attending birthdays and holiday celebrations.

                                                                                                                                                            While Richard, a devout Christian, appreciates the problem, he is getting a bit angry at what he considers reverse discrimination. So when the Office Social Committee sets out to organize Winter Break, he decides to put the shoe on the other foot. “My fellow Christians,” he starts off, “and I are going to NOT participate in the Winter Break party. We will be happy to participate in a Christmas Party, but not a Winter Break one.”

                                                                                                                                                            Perplexed, the question becomes, “Who’s actually going to attend the Winter Break Party?” 

                                                                                                                                                            In the spirit of Scott’s original contest, the original instructions appear below:

                                                                                                                                                            The Rules:

                                                                                                                                                            1. Only American public schools are eligible. [sorry, international readers]
                                                                                                                                                            2. Identify a possible violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution in your local school system. The Establishment Clause requires that schools not favor a) one religion (e.g., Christianity) over another religion, or b) religion over no religion. Government-sponsored religious displays or activities are pretty much always unconstitutional.
                                                                                                                                                            3. Leave your description of the possible violation in the comments section of this post. If you’re not sure if it’s a violation or not, leave it anyway and we’ll chime in as needed. Possible violations may include teacher- or school-sponsored activities, displays, or other actions.
                                                                                                                                                            4. The most egregious violation [as judged by myself, Dr. Scott McLeod, Justin Bathon (at CASTLE’s brother blog, EdJurist), and Jon Becker (of Educational Insanity)] wins a yet-to-be-determined prize!
                                                                                                                                                            5. Deadline for entries is December 23, 2010.


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                                                                                                                                                            Christmas Party @mcleod @edjurist

                                                                                                                                                            Image Source: http://www.ardmore-hotel.com/Upload/christmasparty.jpg

                                                                                                                                                            Over the years, Dr. Scott McLeod and others (Justin Bathon) have had fun laughing it up in regards to holiday celebrations. Is that Christmas eCard really appropriate in a K-12 setting?

                                                                                                                                                            In the spirit of problem-based learning scenarios, let’s consider this twist:

                                                                                                                                                            Throughout the year, every birthday and holiday gathering has been marred by the presence of Jehovah’s Witness observers in the Office. Every birthday/holiday celebration, Meg and her fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, have made an issue about not attending birthdays and holiday celebrations.

                                                                                                                                                            While Richard, a devout Christian, appreciates the problem, he is getting a bit angry at what he considers reverse discrimination. So when the Office Social Committee sets out to organize Winter Break, he decides to put the shoe on the other foot. “My fellow Christians,” he starts off, “and I are going to NOT participate in the Winter Break party. We will be happy to participate in a Christmas Party, but not a Winter Break one.”

                                                                                                                                                            Perplexed, the question becomes, “Who’s actually going to attend the Winter Break Party?” 

                                                                                                                                                            In the spirit of Scott’s original contest, the original instructions appear below:

                                                                                                                                                            The Rules:

                                                                                                                                                            1. Only American public schools are eligible. [sorry, international readers]
                                                                                                                                                            2. Identify a possible violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution in your local school system. The Establishment Clause requires that schools not favor a) one religion (e.g., Christianity) over another religion, or b) religion over no religion. Government-sponsored religious displays or activities are pretty much always unconstitutional.
                                                                                                                                                            3. Leave your description of the possible violation in the comments section of this post. If you’re not sure if it’s a violation or not, leave it anyway and we’ll chime in as needed. Possible violations may include teacher- or school-sponsored activities, displays, or other actions.
                                                                                                                                                            4. The most egregious violation [as judged by myself, Dr. Scott McLeod, Justin Bathon (at CASTLE’s brother blog, EdJurist), and Jon Becker (of Educational Insanity)] wins a yet-to-be-determined prize!
                                                                                                                                                            5. Deadline for entries is December 23, 2010.


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                                                                                                                                                            Magic Formula – Video Conversion

                                                                                                                                                            Note: My contribution to an ill-advised meme I started late last night that formats blog entries according to Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula (or tries to). Find the formula in the right sidebar of my blog at http://mguhlin.org

                                                                                                                                                            STEP 1: Incident – What specific incident inspired the purpose surrounding of your topic?
                                                                                                                                                            “Miguel,” asked a team member on a Mac computer, “how can I easily convert all these video files to a format that will work well on the Web?” To quickly deal with one video conversion, you can use a variety of video conversion tools, but without the right codecs on your Mac, you may hit the wall. For the short term, I encouraged her to use a converter on a Windows computer until we could deal with the problem–getting her computer loaded with the appropriate video codecs on the Mac.

                                                                                                                                                            STEP 2: Action – What specific action do you want your listener/reader to take?
                                                                                                                                                            When you’re working with video conversions, make sure that you get the right codecs loaded on your computer. Also, while some video converters may do just one conversion at a time, try using one that will use more than one.

                                                                                                                                                            STEP 3: Benefit – What specific benefits will your listeners/readers gain as a result of taking action?
                                                                                                                                                            The benefit of this is simple: You won’t be stuck flipping between one computer and another to get the video conversions done.


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                                                                                                                                                            Magic Formula – Video Conversion

                                                                                                                                                            Note: My contribution to an ill-advised meme I started late last night that formats blog entries according to Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula (or tries to). Find the formula in the right sidebar of my blog at http://mguhlin.org

                                                                                                                                                            STEP 1: Incident – What specific incident inspired the purpose surrounding of your topic?
                                                                                                                                                            “Miguel,” asked a team member on a Mac computer, “how can I easily convert all these video files to a format that will work well on the Web?” To quickly deal with one video conversion, you can use a variety of video conversion tools, but without the right codecs on your Mac, you may hit the wall. For the short term, I encouraged her to use a converter on a Windows computer until we could deal with the problem–getting her computer loaded with the appropriate video codecs on the Mac.

                                                                                                                                                            STEP 2: Action – What specific action do you want your listener/reader to take?
                                                                                                                                                            When you’re working with video conversions, make sure that you get the right codecs loaded on your computer. Also, while some video converters may do just one conversion at a time, try using one that will use more than one.

                                                                                                                                                            STEP 3: Benefit – What specific benefits will your listeners/readers gain as a result of taking action?
                                                                                                                                                            The benefit of this is simple: You won’t be stuck flipping between one computer and another to get the video conversions done.


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                                                                                                                                                            Travel Attitude-Light @timholt2007

                                                                                                                                                            Tim Holt (Intended Consequences) points out the following:

                                                                                                                                                            The comet is coming for technophobic teachers.

                                                                                                                                                            If I am reading the tea leaves of education technology correctly it looks like it’s going to be about time for teachers that are technophobic to start looking at retirement plans or career options. 

                                                                                                                                                            The truth of the matter is not that the comet is coming for technophobic teachers, but for technophiles. As the market becomes saturated with the tears of joy from technophobes who have embraced their, as Tim puts it, 60-pound backpack.

                                                                                                                                                            The 60-pound backpack isn’t the technology, but the attitudes, old perspectives, ways of getting things done that came with it. Those can include 1) restricting access; 2) not allowing people to make the technology their own; 3) using technology only for “work purposes;” 4) Focusing on hardware control rather than data liberation and information management.

                                                                                                                                                            What else is in that backpack technophiles are carrying around? Can we learn to travel attitude-light, just like the technophobes are learning to not be hardware-heavy?


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                                                                                                                                                            Travel Attitude-Light @timholt2007

                                                                                                                                                            Tim Holt (Intended Consequences) points out the following:

                                                                                                                                                            The comet is coming for technophobic teachers.

                                                                                                                                                            If I am reading the tea leaves of education technology correctly it looks like it’s going to be about time for teachers that are technophobic to start looking at retirement plans or career options. 

                                                                                                                                                            The truth of the matter is not that the comet is coming for technophobic teachers, but for technophiles. As the market becomes saturated with the tears of joy from technophobes who have embraced their, as Tim puts it, 60-pound backpack.

                                                                                                                                                            The 60-pound backpack isn’t the technology, but the attitudes, old perspectives, ways of getting things done that came with it. Those can include 1) restricting access; 2) not allowing people to make the technology their own; 3) using technology only for “work purposes;” 4) Focusing on hardware control rather than data liberation and information management.

                                                                                                                                                            What else is in that backpack technophiles are carrying around? Can we learn to travel attitude-light, just like the technophobes are learning to not be hardware-heavy?


                                                                                                                                                            PingIt! pingthis();
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                                                                                                                                                            Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                            MyNotes – Crucial Confrontations

                                                                                                                                                            It must be my destiny to read the sequel to the blockbuster book on leadership every time; I picked up a copy of Crucial Confrontations thinking it was Crucial Conversations. Although I’ll pick up the latter this afternoon, here are my notes on the former. I have to admit that the book, as engaging as it was, didn’t capture my interest as much as Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations. That said, there were a few worthwhile points relevant to anyone who has to work in a team setting (e.g. work, marriage, you name it, most of us do unless we’re isolated somewhere without technology).

                                                                                                                                                            At the office, the books by “Crucial Conversations” and “Crucial Confrontations” are popping up. More straight talk is how I interpret the intent of these books. Often straight talk is exactly what IS lacking in much of what we do in schools. I often think poor teachers don’t hear that they ARE poor because we don’t want to call down the wrath of union or legal representation (depending on the State of the Union you work in).

                                                                                                                                                            Probably the one group of people that get straight talk are campus principals. Not only do they have to engage in straight talk that is “velvet,” they have to endure it when their campus fails to measure up.

                                                                                                                                                            In that case, we have a simple situation, right? On the one hand we have the staff, on the other the academic measure or standard the children have to live up to. What could be simpler than that?

                                                                                                                                                            Some take-aways from Crucial Confrontations:

                                                                                                                                                            1. The hallmark of a crucial conversation is disagreement. . .disagreements poorly handled lead to poor decisions, strained relationship, disastrous results.
                                                                                                                                                            2. Crucial confrontations are about disappointments…made up of failed promises, missed expectations, and all other bad behavior.
                                                                                                                                                            3. To confront means to hold someone accountable, face to face.
                                                                                                                                                            4. Opinion leaders wielded influence because they were the best at stepping up to colleagues, coworkers, or even their bosses, and holding them accountable.
                                                                                                                                                            5. How do you hold a crucial confrontation that, if not handled well, could ruin your career?
                                                                                                                                                            6. When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they’ll hold it well.
                                                                                                                                                            7. A national poll of U.S. workers found that 44% reported putting in as little effort as they could get away with without being fired.
                                                                                                                                                            8. If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it’s likely there’s another more important problem you need to address.
                                                                                                                                                            9. CPR = 
                                                                                                                                                              1. Content-what happened; 
                                                                                                                                                              2. Pattern- what has been happening over time; 
                                                                                                                                                              3. Relationship – What’s happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it’s that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. “This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don’t like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can’t trust you to keep the agreements you make.”
                                                                                                                                                            10. Unbundling: Consequences are what comes after the problem. When you want to clarify the issue you need to confront, stop and ask yourself, ‘What are the consequences of this problem to me? To our relationship? To the task? To other stakeholders? Analyzing the consequences helps you determine what is most important to discuss.
                                                                                                                                                            11. Intentions: What came before the person acted is the problem.
                                                                                                                                                            12. Prioritizing: What do you want for yourself, for the other person and for the relationship.
                                                                                                                                                            13. Before moving on to the IF question, make sure to unbundle the problem, picking the issue you care about the most, reduced it to a clear sentence.
                                                                                                                                                            14. How to identify when you are Not speaking when you should: 
                                                                                                                                                              1. Am I acting out of my concerns?; 
                                                                                                                                                              2. Is my conscience nagging me?; 
                                                                                                                                                              3. Am I choosing the certainty of silence over the risk of speaking up?; 
                                                                                                                                                              4. Am I telling myself that I’m helpless?
                                                                                                                                                            15. The truth is that many confrontations fail not because others are bad and wrong but because we handle them poorly.
                                                                                                                                                            16. If you’re going to speak up when others remain silent, if you’re going to hold people to a standard that differs from that of the masses, get the word out. Differentiate yourself from others.
                                                                                                                                                            17. When you see a violation but move to silence rather than deal with it, 3 bad things happen: a) You give tacit approval to the action; b) Others may think that you’re playing favorites; c) Each time the other person repeats the offence, you see the new offense as evidence that your story about his or her motives was correct.
                                                                                                                                                            18. What other sources of influence are acting on this person? What’s causing this person to do that? Since this person is rational but appears to be acting either irrationally or irresponsibly, what am I missing?
                                                                                                                                                            19. People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don’t respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don’t care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).
                                                                                                                                                            20. Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don’t mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.
                                                                                                                                                            21. AMPP = 
                                                                                                                                                              1. Ask to get the conversation rolling; 
                                                                                                                                                              2. Mirror to Encourage; 
                                                                                                                                                              3. Paraphrase for understanding; 
                                                                                                                                                              4. Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.
                                                                                                                                                            22. WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN – Follow-up
                                                                                                                                                            23. If you find yourself in a crucial confrontation where you’re worried about backsliding, never walk away without agreeing on the follow-up time.

                                                                                                                                                            Obviously, there’s a lot more to the book than the notes I jotted down above.


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                                                                                                                                                            MyNotes – Crucial Confrontations

                                                                                                                                                            It must be my destiny to read the sequel to the blockbuster book on leadership every time; I picked up a copy of Crucial Confrontations thinking it was Crucial Conversations. Although I’ll pick up the latter this afternoon, here are my notes on the former. I have to admit that the book, as engaging as it was, didn’t capture my interest as much as Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations. That said, there were a few worthwhile points relevant to anyone who has to work in a team setting (e.g. work, marriage, you name it, most of us do unless we’re isolated somewhere without technology).

                                                                                                                                                            At the office, the books by “Crucial Conversations” and “Crucial Confrontations” are popping up. More straight talk is how I interpret the intent of these books. Often straight talk is exactly what IS lacking in much of what we do in schools. I often think poor teachers don’t hear that they ARE poor because we don’t want to call down the wrath of union or legal representation (depending on the State of the Union you work in).

                                                                                                                                                            Probably the one group of people that get straight talk are campus principals. Not only do they have to engage in straight talk that is “velvet,” they have to endure it when their campus fails to measure up.

                                                                                                                                                            In that case, we have a simple situation, right? On the one hand we have the staff, on the other the academic measure or standard the children have to live up to. What could be simpler than that?

                                                                                                                                                            Some take-aways from Crucial Confrontations:

                                                                                                                                                            1. The hallmark of a crucial conversation is disagreement. . .disagreements poorly handled lead to poor decisions, strained relationship, disastrous results.
                                                                                                                                                            2. Crucial confrontations are about disappointments…made up of failed promises, missed expectations, and all other bad behavior.
                                                                                                                                                            3. To confront means to hold someone accountable, face to face.
                                                                                                                                                            4. Opinion leaders wielded influence because they were the best at stepping up to colleagues, coworkers, or even their bosses, and holding them accountable.
                                                                                                                                                            5. How do you hold a crucial confrontation that, if not handled well, could ruin your career?
                                                                                                                                                            6. When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they’ll hold it well.
                                                                                                                                                            7. A national poll of U.S. workers found that 44% reported putting in as little effort as they could get away with without being fired.
                                                                                                                                                            8. If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it’s likely there’s another more important problem you need to address.
                                                                                                                                                            9. CPR = 
                                                                                                                                                              1. Content-what happened; 
                                                                                                                                                              2. Pattern- what has been happening over time; 
                                                                                                                                                              3. Relationship – What’s happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it’s that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. “This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don’t like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can’t trust you to keep the agreements you make.”
                                                                                                                                                            10. Unbundling: Consequences are what comes after the problem. When you want to clarify the issue you need to confront, stop and ask yourself, ‘What are the consequences of this problem to me? To our relationship? To the task? To other stakeholders? Analyzing the consequences helps you determine what is most important to discuss.
                                                                                                                                                            11. Intentions: What came before the person acted is the problem.
                                                                                                                                                            12. Prioritizing: What do you want for yourself, for the other person and for the relationship.
                                                                                                                                                            13. Before moving on to the IF question, make sure to unbundle the problem, picking the issue you care about the most, reduced it to a clear sentence.
                                                                                                                                                            14. How to identify when you are Not speaking when you should: 
                                                                                                                                                              1. Am I acting out of my concerns?; 
                                                                                                                                                              2. Is my conscience nagging me?; 
                                                                                                                                                              3. Am I choosing the certainty of silence over the risk of speaking up?; 
                                                                                                                                                              4. Am I telling myself that I’m helpless?
                                                                                                                                                            15. The truth is that many confrontations fail not because others are bad and wrong but because we handle them poorly.
                                                                                                                                                            16. If you’re going to speak up when others remain silent, if you’re going to hold people to a standard that differs from that of the masses, get the word out. Differentiate yourself from others.
                                                                                                                                                            17. When you see a violation but move to silence rather than deal with it, 3 bad things happen: a) You give tacit approval to the action; b) Others may think that you’re playing favorites; c) Each time the other person repeats the offence, you see the new offense as evidence that your story about his or her motives was correct.
                                                                                                                                                            18. What other sources of influence are acting on this person? What’s causing this person to do that? Since this person is rational but appears to be acting either irrationally or irresponsibly, what am I missing?
                                                                                                                                                            19. People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don’t respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don’t care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).
                                                                                                                                                            20. Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don’t mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.
                                                                                                                                                            21. AMPP = 
                                                                                                                                                              1. Ask to get the conversation rolling; 
                                                                                                                                                              2. Mirror to Encourage; 
                                                                                                                                                              3. Paraphrase for understanding; 
                                                                                                                                                              4. Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.
                                                                                                                                                            22. WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN – Follow-up
                                                                                                                                                            23. If you find yourself in a crucial confrontation where you’re worried about backsliding, never walk away without agreeing on the follow-up time.

                                                                                                                                                            Obviously, there’s a lot more to the book than the notes I jotted down above.


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                                                                                                                                                            MyNotes – Plano ISD prepares for slashes in state funding

                                                                                                                                                            The following story will play out across Texas school districts over the next few months, year, or longer. It will be curious to track employee responses as the tidal wave sweeps over us all.

                                                                                                                                                            Most curious response was, “Leave us alone, don’t hurt us anymore.”

                                                                                                                                                            Ouch.

                                                                                                                                                            Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                            Plano ISD prepares for slashes in state funding | PLANO Blog | dallasnews.com
                                                                                                                                                              • Plano ISD prepares for slashes in state funding 10:01 PM Tue, Dec 07, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Jessica Meyers/Reporter
                                                                                                                                                                  • Plano ISD administrators are already planning at least $10 million in cuts for the next school year.
                                                                                                                                                                    • The state faces up to a $24 billion deficit this year and legislators say even education will take a hit.
                                                                                                                                                                      • These preliminary plans don’t yet include staff cuts.
                                                                                                                                                                        • Travel budgets will see a tightening of 20 percent.
                                                                                                                                                                          • “All of education will have to retool and re-look at the delivery of instruction and how you service it.”
                                                                                                                                                                            • Matkin said the district lost $675 million since 2005 due to legislators’ refusal to raise funding levels. Instead, the state cut the amount of property tax revenue districts could receive and failed to make up those funds with sales tax and other statewide revenue.
                                                                                                                                                                              • Richardson ISD has already estimated a shortfall next year of more than $20 million, or 8 percent of its operating budget.
                                                                                                                                                                                • “Just four or five months ago our response was, ‘Leave us alone, don’t hurt us anymore,‘” he said. “We’ve come to understand the depth and breadth of the deficit, and know education won’t be left alone.”

                                                                                                                                                                                  MyNotes – Active Learning Strategies

                                                                                                                                                                                  Quotes:
                                                                                                                                                                                  Active Learning Strategies
                                                                                                                                                                                    • elements of active learning are talking and listening, writing, reading, and reflecting
                                                                                                                                                                                      • less emphasis is placed on transmitting information and more on developing students’ skills
                                                                                                                                                                                        • some characteristics of active learning are students
                                                                                                                                                                                          • involved in more than listening
                                                                                                                                                                                            • greater emphasis is placed on students’ exploration of their own attitudes and values.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • students are involved in higher-order thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation)
                                                                                                                                                                                                • students are engaged in activities (e.g., reading, discussing, writing)
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • a few examples of in-class active learning techniques used in small and large classes, and with all levels of students.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Think-Pair-Share Give students a task such as a question or problem to solve or an original example to develop, etc. Have them work on this for 2-5 minutes alone (think). Then have them discuss their ideas for 3-5 minutes with the student sitting next to them (pair)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Collaborative learning groups (CLG) These may be formal or informal, graded or not, short term or long term. Generally, students are assigned to heterogeneous groups of 36 students. They choose a leader and a scribe (note-taker). They are given a task to work on together. Often, student preparation for the CLG has been required earlier (reading or homework). The group produces a group answer, or paper, or project.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Student-led review sessions
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Each student is to ask at least one question related to material they don’t understand and to try to answer a question raised by another student. Students can also practice discussing, illustrating, and applying difficult material or concepts, or drafting exam questions. For the second half of the review session, the whole class works together. Students may ask questions; other students volunteer to answer them. All students who ask or answer questions receive a “treat”
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Games
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Videos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Student debates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Student-generated exam questions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Mini-research proposals or projects; a class research symposium
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Case studies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Journals or logs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Newsletters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Concept mapping

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MyNotes – Active Learning Strategies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Quotes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Active Learning Strategies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • elements of active learning are talking and listening, writing, reading, and reflecting
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • less emphasis is placed on transmitting information and more on developing students’ skills
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • some characteristics of active learning are students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • involved in more than listening
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • greater emphasis is placed on students’ exploration of their own attitudes and values.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • students are involved in higher-order thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • students are engaged in activities (e.g., reading, discussing, writing)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • a few examples of in-class active learning techniques used in small and large classes, and with all levels of students.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Think-Pair-Share Give students a task such as a question or problem to solve or an original example to develop, etc. Have them work on this for 2-5 minutes alone (think). Then have them discuss their ideas for 3-5 minutes with the student sitting next to them (pair)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Collaborative learning groups (CLG) These may be formal or informal, graded or not, short term or long term. Generally, students are assigned to heterogeneous groups of 36 students. They choose a leader and a scribe (note-taker). They are given a task to work on together. Often, student preparation for the CLG has been required earlier (reading or homework). The group produces a group answer, or paper, or project.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Student-led review sessions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Each student is to ask at least one question related to material they don’t understand and to try to answer a question raised by another student. Students can also practice discussing, illustrating, and applying difficult material or concepts, or drafting exam questions. For the second half of the review session, the whole class works together. Students may ask questions; other students volunteer to answer them. All students who ask or answer questions receive a “treat”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Games
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Videos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Student debates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Student-generated exam questions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mini-research proposals or projects; a class research symposium
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Case studies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Journals or logs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Newsletters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Concept mapping

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MyNotes – San Benito to trim general budget

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Total budget: $80.6 billion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Education portion: 44% of that total budget
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Deficit: $20 billion to $25 billion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hmm…..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          San Benito to trim general budget | san, benito, budget – Local News – Valley Morning Star
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • San Benito to trim school budget
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • District officials prepare for funding cuts of 5 to 15 percent December 08, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • SAN BENITO — Like school officials across Texas, administrators here are gearing up to slash their budget as they forecast a massive state deficit that some warn could lead to teacher layoffs, officials said Tuesday.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The district may order a hiring freeze that could drive its student-teacher ratio from 22 to 1 to about 25 to 1, Limon said.Teacher layoffs could shock rural areas like the Rio Grande Valley where teachers make up a large percentage of workers, Dax Gonzalez, spokesman for the Texas Association of School Boards in Austin, said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Officials predict a deficit as large as $20 billion to $25 billion in the state’s $80.6 billion budget, Gonzalez said.”It’s an unprecedented shortfall,” Gonzalez said. “This is a bigger deficit than most people have seen in their entire lifetimes.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • District officials plan to cut spending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • advising administrators to avoid large expenditures “because the money won’t be there.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Some districts may consider cutting their free lunch programs, Gonzalez said.”Districts will not be able to do the things people have come to expect,” Gonzalez said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MyNotes – State leaders order new round of spending cuts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How will the belt tightening impact schools?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            State leaders order new round of spending cuts | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • $500 million belt-tightening ordered
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • By PEGGY FIKAC AUSTIN BUREAU Dec. 7, 2010,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Texas leaders facing a gaping budget shortfall asked state agencies and universities Tuesday to cut about $500 million during the next nine months, on top of $1.2 billion they already have been ordered to slash this budget period.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The reduction, which will take effect Feb. 1, comes on top of a rate cut earlier this year and will produce an extra $42 million in state savings for the two-year budget period that ends Aug. 31. However, the state will lose $83.5 million in federal matching funds as a result.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • When added to earlier cuts by human services agencies, savings identified for this budget period so far total $247 million. Texas will lose a total $273.5 million in federal funds as a result.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Eva DeLuna Castro of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which advocates for programs for lower-income Texans, said cuts are difficult in a state that already ranks 50th in state spending per person. “It’s not like they went on a spending spree and they are having to get rid of luxury items. They’re having to get rid of staples,” she said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • 20 billion hole? The cuts come as the state faces an overall shortfall that some put at more than $20 billion through the next two years. That figure takes into account the use of one-time funds, such as unspent balances and stimulus funds, to pay for spending this budget period; state revenues falling short of projections as the recession hit Texas; and the need to fund such basics as increased school enrollment over the next two years. The current two-year Texas budget tops $182 billion, with state general revenue making up more than $80 billion of that. Dewhurst has said the upper-level shortfall figure includes “pretty aggressive new spending.” He h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • state revenue for the 2010 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31, was $2 billion below projections.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sports or Tech – Embracing a Mantle of Mediocrity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is failure an option for American students?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A 14 year old attending Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, I remember struggling with geometry during my sophmore year. In a confrontation that became legend in my household, my father challenged the principal at the time–Brother Rudy–to sell a football helmet (just one!) to pay for math tutoring for myself and other kids who were struggling. My father was incensed that the school spent so much for it’s sports program (e.g. football) and nothing to pay for tutoring to help me improve my math scores (I did eventually get a tutor but privately funded).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That story came to mind when I read Dr. Scott McLeod’s blog entry earlier this morning, Atheletics or laptops? He writes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This post is not about knocking P-12 athletic programs. But budgets are pretty tight right now and any financial expenditure reflects decisions about priorities. So in the interest of fostering some conversation …

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is it time to abolish atheletics’ spending in schools, focus precious funding on preparing students to be TOP at the international level?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Every other day–especially in light of the report announcing China at the Top of International Education Rankings in Reading, Math and Science scores–we are challenged as educators to improve student achievement, to prepare against the competition offered by China and other countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              report out today, “Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context,” shows the U.S. now ranks 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries…While OECD countries such as Finland, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand continue to outpace the U.S. in reading, science and math, all eyes are on China.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While some argue that competition, winning needs to be redefined, the truth is that other countries ARE redefining it already…and the United States is perceived as not keeping up. Given money for investment, where would you put that creative class of students? And what are the benefits to the country that has that creativity on tap?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While we all may disagree with the reasons why America is where it’s at, does focusing on sports to the detriment of academics, or technology really make a difference in the math and science classroom? As I hear so many technologists parroting the perspective that it’s about the learning, not the technology, I have to ask, “If it’s about the learning, not the tech, then why aren’t our kids doing awesome at learning?”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This brings one to the sad conclusion that technology IS irrelevant to high student achievement, that like one Mathematics Director I knew in one school district, we need to lay aside our love of all things technological and embrace academic programs that make students competitive…as the Chinese, the Asians, the New Zealanders, the Finnish define it, not as we, as American educators, might hope to define “winning.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or, will we take the cynical route and challenge the idea that these reports are merely another way of dismantling a top-notch American school system because it doesn’t suit the political aspirations of the current administration? Are American educators embracing a “mantle of mediocrity,” as Arne Duncan points out, when they spend money, time, effort on anything–gifted and talented education, school libraries, educational technology–when they take their eye off the tableau of the testing trinity–Math, Science and Reading?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt!
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sports or Tech – Embracing a Mantle of Mediocrity?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is failure an option for American students?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A 14 year old attending Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, I remember struggling with geometry during my sophmore year. In a confrontation that became legend in my household, my father challenged the principal at the time–Brother Rudy–to sell a football helmet (just one!) to pay for math tutoring for myself and other kids who were struggling. My father was incensed that the school spent so much for it’s sports program (e.g. football) and nothing to pay for tutoring to help me improve my math scores (I did eventually get a tutor but privately funded).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That story came to mind when I read Dr. Scott McLeod’s blog entry earlier this morning, Atheletics or laptops? He writes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This post is not about knocking P-12 athletic programs. But budgets are pretty tight right now and any financial expenditure reflects decisions about priorities. So in the interest of fostering some conversation …

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is it time to abolish atheletics’ spending in schools, focus precious funding on preparing students to be TOP at the international level?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Every other day–especially in light of the report announcing China at the Top of International Education Rankings in Reading, Math and Science scores–we are challenged as educators to improve student achievement, to prepare against the competition offered by China and other countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              report out today, “Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context,” shows the U.S. now ranks 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries…While OECD countries such as Finland, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand continue to outpace the U.S. in reading, science and math, all eyes are on China.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While some argue that competition, winning needs to be redefined, the truth is that other countries ARE redefining it already…and the United States is perceived as not keeping up. Given money for investment, where would you put that creative class of students? And what are the benefits to the country that has that creativity on tap?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While we all may disagree with the reasons why America is where it’s at, does focusing on sports to the detriment of academics, or technology really make a difference in the math and science classroom? As I hear so many technologists parroting the perspective that it’s about the learning, not the technology, I have to ask, “If it’s about the learning, not the tech, then why aren’t our kids doing awesome at learning?”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This brings one to the sad conclusion that technology IS irrelevant to high student achievement, that like one Mathematics Director I knew in one school district, we need to lay aside our love of all things technological and embrace academic programs that make students competitive…as the Chinese, the Asians, the New Zealanders, the Finnish define it, not as we, as American educators, might hope to define “winning.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or, will we take the cynical route and challenge the idea that these reports are merely another way of dismantling a top-notch American school system because it doesn’t suit the political aspirations of the current administration? Are American educators embracing a “mantle of mediocrity,” as Arne Duncan points out, when they spend money, time, effort on anything–gifted and talented education, school libraries, educational technology–when they take their eye off the tableau of the testing trinity–Math, Science and Reading?


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Should I have Helped?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yesterday, I received a request for help from a student in a small Texas school district. Here is the request:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hello Mr. Guhlin I’m a student at [removed] High School.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The other day my teacher sent me a link to your blog about the converter and how to download it for free with the license. Well when I went home to download it all went well until it asked me to register and put the code in, so i did. I have a PC or windows to be precise and copy and pasted the free license code and clicked the activate button but it kept telling me that it was the wrong code…… so I tried the Mac code but it didn’t work either. I was wondering if the code is expired because I was really interested in this peace of technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for any help that you’d be able to give!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, the deal has expired that made that give-away software available. But there are other Windows OS (and possibly Mac and GNU/Linux) solutions that don’t involve special deals, including the following no-cost or free, open source software:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Any Video Converter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Format  Factory
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. WinFF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Miro Video Converter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I took the liberty of sharing a Dropbox with the video conversion tools in them so as to facilitate access.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Throughout the whole process, I did feel a bit uncomfortable communicating with a high school student in a Texas school district (not my district), and the feeling gave me pause. Given discussions about the ethics of communicating with students–via social media, etc–I made sure to copy one of the school district’s instructional technology specialists. Of course, there was no inappropriate contact, see emails below:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Email Response to Student: I just shared a folder with you…let me know if it works for you. In the meantime, I encourage you to try several other no cost or free, open source solutions such as….
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Email contact with the student’s District Instructional Technology Specialist: Please be aware of this email exchange with Mr. [removed], a student in [district name]. Kudos to [district name]‘s students and staff for the excellent work on the Literature Magazine! The software referenced below is Giveaway software provided by the vendor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What are your thoughts? Should Texas educators fear providing just-in-time support to youths who email them for assistance?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Subscribe to Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Should I have Helped?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yesterday, I received a request for help from a student in a small Texas school district. Here is the request:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hello Mr. Guhlin I’m a student at [removed] High School.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The other day my teacher sent me a link to your blog about the converter and how to download it for free with the license. Well when I went home to download it all went well until it asked me to register and put the code in, so i did. I have a PC or windows to be precise and copy and pasted the free license code and clicked the activate button but it kept telling me that it was the wrong code…… so I tried the Mac code but it didn’t work either. I was wondering if the code is expired because I was really interested in this peace of technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for any help that you’d be able to give!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, the deal has expired that made that give-away software available. But there are other Windows OS (and possibly Mac and GNU/Linux) solutions that don’t involve special deals, including the following no-cost or free, open source software:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Any Video Converter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Format  Factory
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. WinFF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4. Miro Video Converter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I took the liberty of sharing a Dropbox with the video conversion tools in them so as to facilitate access.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Throughout the whole process, I did feel a bit uncomfortable communicating with a high school student in a Texas school district (not my district), and the feeling gave me pause. Given discussions about the ethics of communicating with students–via social media, etc–I made sure to copy one of the school district’s instructional technology specialists. Of course, there was no inappropriate contact, see emails below:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Email Response to Student: I just shared a folder with you…let me know if it works for you. In the meantime, I encourage you to try several other no cost or free, open source solutions such as….
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Email contact with the student’s District Instructional Technology Specialist: Please be aware of this email exchange with Mr. [removed], a student in [district name]. Kudos to [district name]‘s students and staff for the excellent work on the Literature Magazine! The software referenced below is Giveaway software provided by the vendor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What are your thoughts? Should Texas educators fear providing just-in-time support to youths who email them for assistance?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt! pingthis();
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Meme of the Month – Remembering Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Miguel at 18 years

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I was 17 years old, right before leaving for college (I turned 18 in October), I could barely get a word out when standing in front of a group. In fact, my shyness often kept me from speaking up in class, although I seldom had problems writing my thoughts down and sharing them that way. Rather than plan a talk out–like I do now–with main points fleshed out by personal story, I focused on writing/typing my entire speech out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exasperated with me, my Dad shipped me off to Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations Course one summer for 8 weeks, about 3.5 hours once a week. Another shy young man from India who coincidentally happened to be an acquaintance from the electronic bulletin boards (BBSs) we frequented also attended. It was a powerfully eye-opening experience for me since we were the only two teens in the room. The rest were men and women in business suits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the main take-aways, aside from “live in day-tight compartments,” which has come in handy in stressful times we all face as get older and shoulder more responsibility, was the public speaking advice Carnegie offered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here’s the “Magic Formula” which literally changed my interactions with others for many years and gave me fresh confidence (“I have the courage of 10,000 Bengal tigers” was another pick me up phrase we learned  along with “If you ACT enthusiastic, then you’ll be enthusiastic!”):


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Magic Formula was first developed by Dale Carnegie and in three simple steps it’s everything you need to know to become an incredibly poised, polished and masterful communicator – online or offline!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here’s the Magic Formula in its simplest form:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 1:  Incident – What specific incident inspired the purpose surrounding of your topic?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 2:  Action – What specific action do you want your listener/reader to take?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 3:  Benefit – What specific benefits will your listeners/readers gain as a result of taking action?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Try it…you can certainly “deploy” the formula within 2 minute conversations with others. What kind of conversations would you have about these topics?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Unblocking….
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • YouTube
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Skype
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • [Your favorite Read/Write Web Tool goes here]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Getting funding for that Moodle server
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Getting your own server put aside the firewall so you can try new solutions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kicking off professional learning project that impacts classroom teachers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The applications are endless….hmm…maybe I’ll try it on this week’s blog entries (not this one, of course). Join me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MEME OF THE MONTH:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To kick this off, let’s go with a meme of the month. Revitalize your blogging! Apply Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula for speaking to your blogging. Here’s the formula:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 1: Incident – What specific incident inspired the purpose surrounding of your topic?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 2: Action – What specific action do you want your listener/reader to take?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 3: Benefit – What specific benefits will your listeners/readers gain as a result of taking action?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Be sure to tag your blog entries with “magicformula” so we can track them down!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Subscribe to Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Meme of the Month – Remembering Dale Carnegie's Magic Formula

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Miguel at 18 years

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I was 17 years old, right before leaving for college (I turned 18 in October), I could barely get a word out when standing in front of a group. In fact, my shyness often kept me from speaking up in class, although I seldom had problems writing my thoughts down and sharing them that way. Rather than plan a talk out–like I do now–with main points fleshed out by personal story, I focused on writing/typing my entire speech out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exasperated with me, my Dad shipped me off to Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations Course one summer for 8 weeks, about 3.5 hours once a week. Another shy young man from India who coincidentally happened to be an acquaintance from the electronic bulletin boards (BBSs) we frequented also attended. It was a powerfully eye-opening experience for me since we were the only two teens in the room. The rest were men and women in business suits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the main take-aways, aside from “live in day-tight compartments,” which has come in handy in stressful times we all face as get older and shoulder more responsibility, was the public speaking advice Carnegie offered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here’s the “Magic Formula” which literally changed my interactions with others for many years and gave me fresh confidence (“I have the courage of 10,000 Bengal tigers” was another pick me up phrase we learned  along with “If you ACT enthusiastic, then you’ll be enthusiastic!”):


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Magic Formula was first developed by Dale Carnegie and in three simple steps it’s everything you need to know to become an incredibly poised, polished and masterful communicator – online or offline!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here’s the Magic Formula in its simplest form:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 1:  Incident – What specific incident inspired the purpose surrounding of your topic?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 2:  Action – What specific action do you want your listener/reader to take?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 3:  Benefit – What specific benefits will your listeners/readers gain as a result of taking action?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Try it…you can certainly “deploy” the formula within 2 minute conversations with others. What kind of conversations would you have about these topics?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Unblocking….
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • YouTube
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Skype
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • [Your favorite Read/Write Web Tool goes here]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Getting funding for that Moodle server
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Getting your own server put aside the firewall so you can try new solutions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Kicking off professional learning project that impacts classroom teachers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The applications are endless….hmm…maybe I’ll try it on this week’s blog entries (not this one, of course). Join me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MEME OF THE MONTH:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To kick this off, let’s go with a meme of the month. Revitalize your blogging! Apply Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula for speaking to your blogging. Here’s the formula:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 1: Incident – What specific incident inspired the purpose surrounding of your topic?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 2: Action – What specific action do you want your listener/reader to take?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              STEP 3: Benefit – What specific benefits will your listeners/readers gain as a result of taking action?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Be sure to tag your blog entries with “magicformula” so we can track them down!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt! pingthis();
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Subscribe to Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Virtual Machines – Web 2.0 the Easy Way

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: BitNami





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Like a man lost in the fog, I found myself asking myself, “Just what is that web site that allows you to download a copy of your favorite Web 2.0 solution–Wordpress, Moodle, Joomla–and run it as a virtual machine?”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine (i.e. a computer) that executes programs like a physical machine. (Source: Wikipedia)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Still don’t know? Watch this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnNX13yBzAU) from VMWare.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, I floundered around trying to sort it out, emailing the Strategic Open Source SIG, trying to remember keywords I used to archive the site in Delicious.com, at last stumbling on the words on page 5 of what seemed at the start, an impossible Google Search.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here are the solutions that help out with virtualization, the first one being the solution I was searching for:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. TurnkeyLinux - A wide variety of solutions that are virtualized…click the link and scroll down to see them all. Moodle is but one of the virtualized solutions available.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Bitnami.org – As their web site says, “Free, easy to setup wikis, blogs, forums and many other web applications that you can run locallyor in the cloud. BitNami makes deploying server software a simple and enjoyable process…BitNami Virtual Machine Images contain a minimal Linux operating system and a fully configured BitNami Stack. Running Virtual Machine Images requires a hypervisor such as VMWare or VirtualBox, so it is recommended for system administrators and advanced users.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Jumpbox.com – Quote from their web site: “A JumpBox makes using server software quick and simple. It packages an application’s software, dependencies, and application data into a single virtual computer that enables you to focus on the application, not the details of getting the application to run.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the past, I’ve shared my experiences with Virtual Box


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Virtual Machines – Web 2.0 the Easy Way

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: BitNami





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Like a man lost in the fog, I found myself asking myself, “Just what is that web site that allows you to download a copy of your favorite Web 2.0 solution–Wordpress, Moodle, Joomla–and run it as a virtual machine?”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine (i.e. a computer) that executes programs like a physical machine. (Source: Wikipedia)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Still don’t know? Watch this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnNX13yBzAU) from VMWare.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, I floundered around trying to sort it out, emailing the Strategic Open Source SIG, trying to remember keywords I used to archive the site in Delicious.com, at last stumbling on the words on page 5 of what seemed at the start, an impossible Google Search.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here are the solutions that help out with virtualization, the first one being the solution I was searching for:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. TurnkeyLinux - A wide variety of solutions that are virtualized…click the link and scroll down to see them all. Moodle is but one of the virtualized solutions available.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Bitnami.org – As their web site says, “Free, easy to setup wikis, blogs, forums and many other web applications that you can run locallyor in the cloud. BitNami makes deploying server software a simple and enjoyable process…BitNami Virtual Machine Images contain a minimal Linux operating system and a fully configured BitNami Stack. Running Virtual Machine Images requires a hypervisor such as VMWare or VirtualBox, so it is recommended for system administrators and advanced users.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Jumpbox.com – Quote from their web site: “A JumpBox makes using server software quick and simple. It packages an application’s software, dependencies, and application data into a single virtual computer that enables you to focus on the application, not the details of getting the application to run.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the past, I’ve shared my experiences with Virtual Box


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              eReader Discounts Available?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: http://investwisdomblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              no-discount-sale-by-cosmic-kitty-300×225.jpg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A colleague recently asked me, “Are there educator discounts for eReaders–like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook–available like they have for computers?”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The answer to that question comes in two parts, both negative. To the best of my knowledge, there are NO discounts for educators interested in purchasing eReaders like Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook (4c online here). The discounts aren’t available to education organizations either.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was particularly disappointed to read this about the Nook, a device which I have purchased and prefer over others:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Educator discounts are not available on the purchase of any of the following:.. NOOK™ and related accessories; other hardware and electronics; software; downloadable audiobooks in MP3 or any other format; . . .Educator discounts are also not available on purchases at any Barnes & Noble College Bookstores or websites. (Source - 4c, Educator Program Terms & Conditions )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When you read B&Nobles’ terms, you realize that discounts just plain aren’t granted for education-related stuff. What’s up with that?


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oklahoma Online Teacher Certification Program


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oklahoma Distance Learning Association now offers an Online Teaching Certification Program

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Teaching in the online environment involves much more than putting course materials into an online format. Most instructors find that the pacing, organization of content, and types of activities need to be different when delivered online. ODLA’s OTC (Online Teaching Certification) program prepares you for teaching online by providing knowledge and skills, examples, and best practices. Utilizing the vast array of expertise from several Oklahoma Colleges and Universities, you will gain key skills and knowledge for success in teaching in the online environment. Those with some previous online teaching experience also will benefit by broadening perspectives and deepening understanding of online teaching strategies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ODLA offers a unique, Online Teaching Certification program lasting approximately 25 weeks. Students will participate in a cohort-based, five module program taught in conjunction with multiple institutions throughout the state of Oklahoma. Module One: Theoretical Approach to Teaching Online. Module Two: Student Engagement in Online Courses. Module Three: Assessment Methods and Accessibility in Online Courses. Module Four: Technology Integration in Online Courses. Module Five: Course Management Systems and Course Organization with your choice of CMS Specialization: Moodle, D2L, BlackBoard, WebCT, Angel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              January cohort now forming beginning Jan. 24th, 2011. To find out more information or to register, visit http://www.odla.org and click on the link OTC Program.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              eReader Discounts Available?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: http://investwisdomblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              no-discount-sale-by-cosmic-kitty-300×225.jpg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A colleague recently asked me, “Are there educator discounts for eReaders–like Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook–available like they have for computers?”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The answer to that question comes in two parts, both negative. To the best of my knowledge, there are NO discounts for educators interested in purchasing eReaders like Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook (4c online here). The discounts aren’t available to education organizations either.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was particularly disappointed to read this about the Nook, a device which I have purchased and prefer over others:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Educator discounts are not available on the purchase of any of the following:.. NOOK™ and related accessories; other hardware and electronics; software; downloadable audiobooks in MP3 or any other format; . . .Educator discounts are also not available on purchases at any Barnes & Noble College Bookstores or websites. (Source - 4c, Educator Program Terms & Conditions )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When you read B&Nobles’ terms, you realize that discounts just plain aren’t granted for education-related stuff. What’s up with that?


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oklahoma Online Teacher Certification Program


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oklahoma Distance Learning Association now offers an Online Teaching Certification Program

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Teaching in the online environment involves much more than putting course materials into an online format. Most instructors find that the pacing, organization of content, and types of activities need to be different when delivered online. ODLA’s OTC (Online Teaching Certification) program prepares you for teaching online by providing knowledge and skills, examples, and best practices. Utilizing the vast array of expertise from several Oklahoma Colleges and Universities, you will gain key skills and knowledge for success in teaching in the online environment. Those with some previous online teaching experience also will benefit by broadening perspectives and deepening understanding of online teaching strategies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ODLA offers a unique, Online Teaching Certification program lasting approximately 25 weeks. Students will participate in a cohort-based, five module program taught in conjunction with multiple institutions throughout the state of Oklahoma. Module One: Theoretical Approach to Teaching Online. Module Two: Student Engagement in Online Courses. Module Three: Assessment Methods and Accessibility in Online Courses. Module Four: Technology Integration in Online Courses. Module Five: Course Management Systems and Course Organization with your choice of CMS Specialization: Moodle, D2L, BlackBoard, WebCT, Angel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              January cohort now forming beginning Jan. 24th, 2011. To find out more information or to register, visit http://www.odla.org and click on the link OTC Program.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MyNotes – Education can't dodge big budget cuts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Quotes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Experts: Education can’t dodge big budget cuts – San Antonio Express-News
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Experts: Education can’t dodge big budget cuts Published: 04:23 p.m., Friday, October 29, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Texans should brace for high school algebra classes with at least 40 students; state hospitals could be closed; school teachers will lose jobs; programs targeting Texans with schizophrenia, severe bipolar disorder and severe depression will get downsized.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Estimates of the state’s projected two-year budget shortfall started around $11 billion, but keep edging upward. The latest estimates put it as high as $25 billion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Legislators won’t be able to save money by deregulating college tuition rates as they did that year, when they had to close a $10 billion budget shortfall. They cut back on higher education funding and allowed boards of regents to set tuition and fee rates to cover the difference. The result has been skyrocketing costs for college students – a 72 percent average increase in Texas. One year of college tuition and mandatory fees now costs $9,036 at the University of Texas at Austin – up from $5,442 before lawmakers deregulated tuition. The cost at the University of Texas at San Antonio has increased from $4,444 to $8,048.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Personnel make up roughly 80 percent of a school district’s cost. Local school boards will be forced to cut staff and programs and/or raise property taxes, said Jackie Lain, an associate executive director for the Texas Association of School Boards. “Teachers will lose jobs, students will lose educational opportunities, and our state will lose ground in its long-term economic competitiveness,” she said.School board leaders across Texas are growing increasingly frustrated, she said, because students will be paying the price of the Legislature’s 2006 decision to cut property taxes without raising enough money to pay for the plan.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MyNotes – Schools brace for cuts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quotes:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Schools brace for cuts | Bryan/College Station, Texas – The Eagle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Schools brace for cuts By MAGGIE KIELY maggie.kiely@theeagle.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • With the 2011 legislative session quickly approaching, school administrators
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • are bracing themselves for a 5 percent cut in state-supported funds.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The trimmings will likely come in personnel budgets, officials in both districts said, which means the likelihood of no teacher raises, hiring staff only where imperative and possibly eliminating positions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Texas elected officials have predicted a shortfall as high as $25 billion in the state budget and have indicated serious reductions will have to be made during the legislative session.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • “Every district is going to feel it,” she said. “How much is going to the difference for each district.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Both have suggested that the 22:1 elementary school student-teacher ratio be reassessed, that standardized testing should be relaxed so districts can focus on maintaining quality education with limited resources instead of teaching to a test, and the delay of the implementation of the new end-of-course exams that will eventually replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Flexibility in operations and school finance are the key items of the plan, Coulson said, echoing the idea that fewer state mandates would help districts when it comes to dealing with reductions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Job Posting – Network Engineer (Northwest ISD)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Northwest ISD has an opening for a Network Engineer.  This position will work closely with the other two Network Engineers and the Director of Technology.  Please follow the link below and select “Click Here to View Open Professional Positions.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Job Title: Network Engineer (0127) 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wage/Hour Status: Exempt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reports to: Director of Technology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pay Grade: 730
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dept. /School: Administrative Services
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Duty Days: 238
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Date Revised: 10/10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Primary Purpose: 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Installing, maintaining and supporting all of the district?s computer communication networks. Ensure the smooth operation of the communication networks in order to provide maximum performance and availability for the district?s users.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Qualifications:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in network administration 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Knowledge of LAN and WAN network design and installation 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Two years experience in technical support of large computing environments 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Ability to work with multiple operating systems, applications and network protocols: 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. Microsoft: Windows XP, 7, 2000, 2003, 2008, SQL, WSUS, Active Directory 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. EMC/VMWare: CX-4-480, CX-4-120, RecoverPoint, VSphere, VDI 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7. Fortinet: Fortigate 620B, FortiAnalyser, FortiManager, FortiMail 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8. Extreme Networks: XOS switches (BlackDiamond 12K & 8K) 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9. Novell: Groupwise, Identity Manager, eDirectory, OES, ZENWorks, Suse Linux 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10. Gwava Email Archiving and Aruba Wireless

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Major Responsibilities and Duties: 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Analyze and resolve faults, whether it is a major system crash or a forgotten password. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Install, support, maintain and monitor new switch gear, server hardware and software while ensuring the most cost-effective and efficient use of district resources. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Identify and recommend the acquisition of software and hardware to meet the automation and networking needs of district staff within district standardization framework. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Understand and support network services (DDNS, DHCP, DNS, SLP, Telnet, FTP, TFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, SNMP, NFS, CIFS, POP, IMAP, and SMTP). 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. Serve as a liaison to software and hardware vendors to maintain appropriate product support. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. Respond to Help Desk support calls and resolve those in a timely manner. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7. Perform other functions that may be assigned by the Director of Technology. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8. Effectively administer fiscal resources and maintain appropriate and accurate records of all financial activities. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9. Utilize the instruction staff and support services (intra-district and inter-district) to maintain and improve the instructional program. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10. Exhibit and encourage high professional and ethical standards. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            11. Accepts other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Director of Technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Supervisory Responsibilities: N/A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Equipment Used: Personal computer, laptop computer, general hand tools, network test equipment, and network monitoring equipment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Working Conditions: Maintain emotional control under stress. Frequent prolonged and irregular hours. District-wide travel. Repetitive hand motions and prolonged use of computer. Lifting and moving of heavy equipment; stooping, standing, bending, pushing, pulling and kneeling.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The foregoing statements describe the general purpose and responsibilities assigned to this job and are not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties that may be assigned or skills that may be required.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wild Thing in Action – Awesome Video of Kevin Performing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Being musically and math challenged, I was blown away by Kevin’s work as represented in this YouTube video. The idea of blisters and “cognitive blisters” getting in the way of learning to play a guitar or learn math definitely applies to my experiences as a child.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Make the effort to watch this YouTube video of Kevin….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WznL3FPxfBo&feature=player_embedded


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wild Thing in Action – Awesome Video of Kevin Performing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Being musically and math challenged, I was blown away by Kevin’s work as represented in this YouTube video. The idea of blisters and “cognitive blisters” getting in the way of learning to play a guitar or learn math definitely applies to my experiences as a child.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Make the effort to watch this YouTube video of Kevin….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/v/WznL3FPxfBo?fs=1&hl=en_US

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WznL3FPxfBo&feature=player_embedded


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MyNotes – 44 percent of Texas' State Budget is Education

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Image Source: http://www.allaboutbipolar.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/sky-is-falling.jpg



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A colleague asked me what I thought of the budget situation in Texas and how it could impact educational technology. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. State legislature has not yet identified a funding level for the State Technology allotment, funded last year out of Stimulus funds that are now spent.  Without the State Technology Allotment (State tech allotment = approx $27 per student x student enrollment), ALL of the Instructional Technology (Educational Technology or what passes for it funded by 411) would lose their jobs unless alternative funding sources could be found. And, “Technology Departments” across the State would face terrible support (hardware,software, professional learning) issues.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The State legislature is facing a $24 billion budget hole…will budget cuts really meet the need?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. 10-15% cuts are projected for education, since education eats up 44% of the state budget, we have to expect a hit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. Several districts have announced $20-$40 million shortfalls for next year, necessitating cuts and school closings…consider Fort Bend ISD, Ft. Worth ISD, NorthEast ISD, who have declared financial exigency, experienced a Reduction in Force (RIF), etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I keep asking myself, what can I do to ensure my job, those of my team members are protected, not to mention everyone else who is funded 100% out of the State Technology Allotment? of course, that’s not the scope of it…the problem is a LOT bigger. What happens to libraries, librarians, and the many others who are considered “non-essential” in a time of high stakes testing? 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thinking positive, if there’s a cut to the State Technology Allotment, that will be a pretty big chunk of change for a school district with $1.4 million dollars…but it’s survivable. As a wise friend put it, you always cut programs instead of people. That would be my task. Fortunately, online learning opportunities, Read/Write Web tools, enable EdTech Departments to achieve much with little. If only EdTech could wag the dog and make changes in the software licensing agreements (e.g. dumping expensive commercial software whenever possible for free open source software or cloud computing), that would be something else.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the recent issue of Scholastic Administrator‘s Cloud Computing article, the following assertion is made:  Districts are saving money, improving service, and retaining flexibility by switching to cloud computing…technology the district could use without owning hardware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The article is well worth reading (you can read my notes on it, too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the meantime, Fort Bend ISD’s financial woes may serve as a canary in a coal mine for Texas school districts….

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Image Source: http://www.taproot.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            FSNURmHEShg_S1rejzovTqI_AAAAAAAAAho_hD1_gLRM7bM_s400_canary+coal+miner.jpg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No Relief In Sight For FBISD’s Financial Woes | FortBendNow.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • No Relief In Sight For FBISD’s Financial Woes By: Jamie Mock on Thu, Dec 2, 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustees workshop, Board President Sonal Bhuchar took a few minutes to warn the audience that the state’s looming $24 billion deficit will present even more financial hardships on the already struggling district.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • the state’s projected $24 billion deficit will likely mean even leaner financial times ahead for the district, which has already faced three budget deficit years in a row, culminating in a reduction of force this year of more than 400 employees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      /li>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • “Forty-four percent of the state’s budget is dedicated to public education. It’s going to drop to 41 percent, I think.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The state has already told almost all government agencies, other than public education and health and human services, to make a 10 percent budget cut across the board.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • She said if the state does a 5.81 percent cut across the board, FBISD could see a $26 million loss each year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • this year’s RIF a “very painful process to say the least.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MyNotes – Demystifying Cloud | Scholastic.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Great article on moving to the cloud…any budget-strapped administrators listening?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Demystifying Cloud | Scholastic.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Demystifying Cloud Cloud computing can be confusing, with enough terminology to befuddle the most tech-savvy CTO. (Software as a Service? Virtual Private Cloud?) This guide explains what you need to know and how cloud can help your district.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Districts are saving money, improving service, and retaining flexibility by switching to cloud computing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • cloud computing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • definition was simple: technology the district could use without owning hardware.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • We have Google Apps Education as our cloud for all students and staff,” she says. “We’re also extended to Google e-mail. We outsource our e-mail archiving through Google’s Postini—all of that is also cloud based.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The learning curve comes not with training the kids, who were born into a constantly changing technological world, but rather with training their teachers, says Simon. She recommends adding a professional development focus for switching over to the cloud and allowing enough time for repetitive learning. “We had curriculum initiatives and online courses for staff,” she says. “We found spending a whole year on it prepared them to lead students and gain their own confidence.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • steve Nelson, chief iIT strategist for the Oregon Department of Education, saw his own state turn to Google Apps, a move that he estimates saved $1.5 million. “Every user has e-mail, and we don’t want to do it all by ourselves for a subset of that many students,” Nelson says. “You could get free Gmail from Google but the problem was getting filtering and archiving. Bridging accounts between the two was a nightmare.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • “They included the Postini filtering service at no cost for K-12 and that opened up things,” he says. “Integration into their applications also worked well. It makes for a feature-rich application, so we can take Google Docs and get into the learning management system.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • “It saves a lot of money because even though the cost of bandwidth increases, you can move enormous communication infrastructure to Google and you don’t have to buy servers or licenses for proprietary software,” he says. “What you’re really trying to do is slow the growth curve of cost. The financial burden each year in terms of [technological] growth is fairly daunting. Now the key isn’t so much long-term costs but long-term cost avoidance!”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Among the first questions to answer is whether schools should use a public or private cloud. Private cloud applications can be customized, but public cloud offerings are one size fits all, says Pete Reilly, founder of the Ed Tech Journeys blog
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sensitive data may be more secure on private clouds. But up-front costs are higher, since districts must purchase servers and applications and hire staff to set up and manage the cloud. With public clouds, districts pay one vendor for shared use of Web-based software.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • “Get as much as you can from the public cloud, which may be 65 percent of your applications,” he says. “Instead of running software that doesn’t yet have public versions on a local desktop hard drive, I would load those on a server. Everybody can access them 24/7 and districts get the benefits of cloud.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • By 2015, Reilly says, software vendors will migrate all applications to the Web, reducing the need for private clouds. But by then, he adds, the new challenge will be building powerful wireless networks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • the challenge with cloud computing is ensuring the district’s infrastructure has enough bandwidth. “We have a real challenge trying to anticipate the bandwidth needed to support the software educators may throw at us,” he says, adding that educators don’t always alert IT regarding their future needs. “They’ll say, ‘We want you to build us a boat.’ Then I ask, ‘Do you want a rowboat or an aircraft carrier?’ They say, ‘We don’t know, but when we get ready to get into the boat, it better be big enough.’ ”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • If a district experiences a slow response only when using a cloud, the problem is probably on the host’s end. But if a district’s response time is typically slow or fine until 5,000 students are added, then the district must buy more bandwidth, which is costly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • implement a short-term solution called quality of service, or QoS, that prioritizes Internet traffic, making the cloud application a high priority. But as response time deteriorates, districts will have to increase bandwidth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • cloud technology does streamline the educational process and maximize instructional time.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Based on his research, it didn’t take long before district administrators gave him the green light to switch to Google, which now hosts e-mail for 140 teachers, board of director members, and other staff—all for free.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • the district abandoned a policy requiring the replacement of 200 to 300 computers every five years. Instead, it purchased thin clients, which use minimal energy, don’t have a hard drive, and cost significantly less—roughly $350 each. Now, when any of its administrators, teachers, or 1,000 students log in, they automatically connect to a cloud or application server that populates their desktop with a variety of software programs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • “The real power is students who haven’t purchased a $400 package of Microsoft Office can still access those applications from ClassLink’s cloud,” he says. “You want to have these tools kids are using in the classrooms and future jobs available 24/7.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Testing the Waters of Cloud Computing cloud computing will save your district money and time.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MyNotes – Demystifying Cloud | Scholastic.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Great article on moving to the cloud…any budget-strapped administrators listening?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Demystifying Cloud | Scholastic.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Demystifying Cloud Cloud computing can be confusing, with enough terminology to befuddle the most tech-savvy CTO. (Software as a Service? Virtual Private Cloud?) This guide explains what you need to know and how cloud can help your district.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Districts are saving money, improving service, and retaining flexibility by switching to cloud computing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • cloud computing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • definition was simple: technology the district could use without owning hardware.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • We have Google Apps Education as our cloud for all students and staff,” she says. “We’re also extended to Google e-mail. We outsource our e-mail archiving through Google’s Postini—all of that is also cloud based.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The learning curve comes not with training the kids, who were born into a constantly changing technological world, but rather with training their teachers, says Simon. She recommends adding a professional development focus for switching over to the cloud and allowing enough time for repetitive learning. “We had curriculum initiatives and online courses for staff,” she says. “We found spending a whole year on it prepared them to lead students and gain their own confidence.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • steve Nelson, chief iIT strategist for the Oregon Department of Education, saw his own state turn to Google Apps, a move that he estimates saved $1.5 million. “Every user has e-mail, and we don’t want to do it all by ourselves for a subset of that many students,” Nelson says. “You could get free Gmail from Google but the problem was getting filtering and archiving. Bridging accounts between the two was a nightmare.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • “They included the Postini filtering service at no cost for K-12 and that opened up things,” he says. “Integration into their applications also worked well. It makes for a feature-rich application, so we can take Google Docs and get into the learning management system.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • “It saves a lot of money because even though the cost of bandwidth increases, you can move enormous communication infrastructure to Google and you don’t have to buy servers or licenses for proprietary software,” he says. “What you’re really trying to do is slow the growth curve of cost. The financial burden each year in terms of [technological] growth is fairly daunting. Now the key isn’t so much long-term costs but long-term cost avoidance!”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Among the first questions to answer is whether schools should use a public or private cloud. Private cloud applications can be customized, but public cloud offerings are one size fits all, says Pete Reilly, founder of the Ed Tech Journeys blog
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sensitive data may be more secure on private clouds. But up-front costs are higher, since districts must purchase servers and applications and hire staff to set up and manage the cloud. With public clouds, districts pay one vendor for shared use of Web-based software.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • “Get as much as you can from the public cloud, which may be 65 percent of your applications,” he says. “Instead of running software that doesn’t yet have public versions on a local desktop hard drive, I would load those on a server. Everybody can access them 24/7 and districts get the benefits of cloud.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • By 2015, Reilly says, software vendors will migrate all applications to the Web, reducing the need for private clouds. But by then, he adds, the new challenge will be building powerful wireless networks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • the challenge with cloud computing is ensuring the district’s infrastructure has enough bandwidth. “We have a real challenge trying to anticipate the bandwidth needed to support the software educators may throw at us,” he says, adding that educators don’t always alert IT regarding their future needs. “They’ll say, ‘We want you to build us a boat.’ Then I ask, ‘Do you want a rowboat or an aircraft carrier?’ They say, ‘We don’t know, but when we get ready to get into the boat, it better be big enough.’ ”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • If a district experiences a slow response only when using a cloud, the problem is probably on the host’s end. But if a district’s response time is typically slow or fine until 5,000 students are added, then the district must buy more bandwidth, which is costly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • implement a short-term solution called quality of service, or QoS, that prioritizes Internet traffic, making the cloud application a high priority. But as response time deteriorates, districts will have to increase bandwidth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • cloud technology does streamline the educational process and maximize instructional time.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Based on his research, it didn’t take long before district administrators gave him the green light to switch to Google, which now hosts e-mail for 140 teachers, board of director members, and other staff—all for free.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • the district abandoned a policy requiring the replacement of 200 to 300 computers every five years. Instead, it purchased thin clients, which use minimal energy, don’t have a hard drive, and cost significantly less—roughly $350 each. Now, when any of its administrators, teachers, or 1,000 students log in, they automatically connect to a cloud or application server that populates their desktop with a variety of software programs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • “The real power is students who haven’t purchased a $400 package of Microsoft Office can still access those applications from ClassLink’s cloud,” he says. “You want to have these tools kids are using in the classrooms and future jobs available 24/7.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Testing the Waters of Cloud Computing cloud computing will save your district money and time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This message was sent to you by mguhlin via Diigo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Getting too many email alerts? Change your email alert setting preference here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MyNotes – Zero-based Budgeting?



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What an interesting approach to school funding…zero-based budgeting.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Zero-based budgeting is a technique of planning and decision-making which reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting, departmental managers justify only increases over the previous year budget and what has been already spent is automatically sanctioned. By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every department function is reviewed comprehensively and all expenditures must be approved, rather than only increases.[1] No reference is made to the previous level of expenditure. Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request be justified in complete detail by each division manager starting from the zero-base. The zero-base is indifferent to whether the total budget is increasing or decreasing. (Source: Wikipedia)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bring it on?!?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    New legislator Huberty to push education issues | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • New legislator Huberty to push education issues Fiscal discipline, sound money management are his top priorities By JOE HOLLEY Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle Dec. 1, 2010, 10:19PM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • zero-based budgeting. “Start there,” he said, “and figure out how much money we really need to spend to provide the services we want to provide. … And what we found was that when we did that, we were able to trim $30 million in the last five years out of our budget. And we’re still providing the extracurricular activities, the physical education, the libraries. Have we cut some services? Absolutely, but we’ve cut services that were added over the years when we were flush.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • “School districts have money in their surplus accounts,” he said. “TEA (Texas Education Agency) requires them to keep percentages. Right now it’s between 17 and 25 percent. I think you could be a little more flexible on that and reduce that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Huberty estimates that reducing the amount districts are required to have in their savings accounts would free up about $8 billion, although some school administrators argue that districts are going to need that money in these uncertain times. Although the Republican lawmaker-to-be warns that school districts, like everybody else, will have to “tighten their belts,” he’s sensitive to the argument that the state underfunds public education. “We’re 48th in funding education in the country,” he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              #Moodle as PLC Frame

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Image Source: Moodle Uses for Professional Development





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A colleague recently wrote asking the following:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you have any resources on:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • educators working collaboratively in a virtual workspace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • best activities or resources in Moodle to use that might help promote a PLC environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • sample Moodle sites that are PLC’s



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Disclaimer: I had some fun exploring ideas and learning about this. I would love your feedback, suggestions, etc. on the topic of facilitating online professional learning communities.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hmm…as I was reflecting on this question, it occurred to me that I don’t formally know as much about Professional Learning Communities as I need to, much less using Moodle to build one. That is to say, I haven’t taken any classes or workshops on the subject.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, for fun, let’s start with what a PLC is:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A professional learning community (PLC) is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. It is often used in schools as a way to organize teachers into working groups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Key tenets of professional learning communities include the following according to DuFour:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Focus on Learning, not just Teaching - The professional learning community model flows from the assumption that the core mission of formal education is not simply to ensure that students are taught but to ensure that they learn.This means being aware of how you respond–as a team of teachers–to these 3 questions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. What do we want each student to learn?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. How will we know when each student has learned it?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Create Collaborative Learning Structure - This structure facilitates conversations about key areas - goals, strategies, materials, pacing, questions, concerns, and results
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Avoid DRIP (Data Rich/Information Poor) Environments 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • A question comes to mind–to me, the answer is obvious–will Moodle work for a PLC? Might there not be something else? The answer is a definite YES. There are tons of Read/Write Web tools that can be used to get the job done. However, Moodle is available and LOTS of folks are using it for that. And, this interesting piece of information popped up for college use of Moodle for a PLC:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              After the practical research for about one year long time, it is illustrated that this [Moodle] platform can effectively facilitate the information communication and sharing, the information literary development of teachers and students and the building of network courses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, is it safe to say that Moodle can be used to “undergird” or scaffold a professional learning community? Yes, probably so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OVERVIEW
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since it’s a way to extend learning opportunities, the question is, “How do we want to extend those learning opportunities?” One way might be to include videos. Another might be to provide a creative commons area that enables people at the building or district level to come together and participate in joint learning opportunities. This could include providing spaces where discussion is had about content shared in a webinar, live or archived for viewing, a book discussion, a pre/during/post-meeting “location” for a face to face workshop. It can also be used in the following way, as San Diego Unified Schools describes it:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moodle is designed around a professional learning community, it allows teachers to act as facilitators of learning and to provide a framework for face-to-face and online interaction that may take place both in and out of the classroom. Through this framework, the students and teachers will be able to experience collaborative online interaction where ideas can be shared and a consensus to understanding can be constructed in online activities, discussions, and interactions. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moodle also provides teachers with a means to create differentiated learning opportunities for students, where online discussion and collaboration can go on apart from other groups as needed, thereby allowing for a more individualized approach to student learning. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moodle can also be used to facilitate communication and collaboration at the building or district level. For example, a committed campus–such as Whittier Campus’ Moodle instance might be seen as a professional learning community–that collaborates on student learning projects online –  http://intouch.saisd.net/campus/whittier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How else might Moodle be used to facilitate a PLC? For that, we’d have to take a look at DuFour’s big ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FOCUS ON LEARNING
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How can Moodle facilitate delivery of a lesson, assessment of student learning? The answer is obvious. Every activity in Moodle can be assessed, including collaborative learning activities by students. This “instant assessment gratification” makes it possible for teachers to respond to the questions of how will we know when students have learned what we have to teach them, and how we are going to go about doing something–or helping them do something–when they don’t.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              COLLABORATIVE LEARNING CONVERSATIONS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How can Moodle facilitate collaborative learning conversations? This is a fun topic to consider because it depends on how ready teachers are on a campus to share their ideas with one another. Being able to discuss key areas–goals, strategies, materials, pacing, questions, concerns, and results–within the context of an online course foster reflection on teaching and learning practices, which is valuable in itself. Teachers are not caught up alone, trying to manage the framework, but instead can work together like a team of surgeons separating conjoined twins (for fun, you could say one twin is ignorance, the other possibility). This is really driven home, as Bill Ferriter (cited in this blog entry) points out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the struggles I have is that I just don’t have the time–as a classroom teacher—to collaborate. They want us to collaborate—and we’d do a GREAT job—but between planning, grading, parent conferences, there’s nothing left. I think many people beyond the classroom forget the crush of tasks that we have to do beyond collaborating with them!”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The blogger (Evan Abbey) at at Changing Iowa suggests the following:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Online learning allows you to converse when you have time and energy, because with forums and wikis, you can have an ongoing asynchronous conversation with your colleagues. Moodle can provide you a space for your group to focus on improving student learning, and in that space, you can hold conversation, resources, a calendar, and more.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AVOID DRIP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love this acronym from DuFour, and wonder that Moodle would facilitate not only the sharing of data, but discussion around how that data could be useful. We often can’t have these conversations at school because our time doesn’t allow for it. . .the conversations usually happen at a workshop or faculty meeting. Online, there is time to reflect and meditate on the data, to offer suggestions to team-mates about what it all means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I’m not sure if this gets at the question(s) asked, but it’s a stab in that direction. Do I think Moodle can provide the framework for a professional learning community online? Yes, definitely. But there is so much more to this than providing the framework…it means a shifts in how we approach collegiality, teaching, and, yes, learning as professionals.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sample Moodle Sites that Serve as PLCs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Other interesting resources


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt!
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              #Moodle as PLC Frame

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Image Source: Moodle Uses for Professional Development





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A colleague recently wrote asking the following:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you have any resources on:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • educators working collaboratively in a virtual workspace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • best activities or resources in Moodle to use that might help promote a PLC environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • sample Moodle sites that are PLC’s



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Disclaimer: I had some fun exploring ideas and learning about this. I would love your feedback, suggestions, etc. on the topic of facilitating online professional learning communities.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hmm…as I was reflecting on this question, it occurred to me that I don’t formally know as much about Professional Learning Communities as I need to, much less using Moodle to build one. That is to say, I haven’t taken any classes or workshops on the subject.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, for fun, let’s start with what a PLC is:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A professional learning community (PLC) is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. It is often used in schools as a way to organize teachers into working groups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Key tenets of professional learning communities include the following according to DuFour:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Focus on Learning, not just Teaching - The professional learning community model flows from the assumption that the core mission of formal education is not simply to ensure that students are taught but to ensure that they learn.This means being aware of how you respond–as a team of teachers–to these 3 questions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. What do we want each student to learn?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. How will we know when each student has learned it?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Create Collaborative Learning Structure - This structure facilitates conversations about key areas - goals, strategies, materials, pacing, questions, concerns, and results
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Avoid DRIP (Data Rich/Information Poor) Environments 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A question comes to mind–to me, the answer is obvious–will Moodle work for a PLC? Might there not be something else? The answer is a definite YES. There are tons of Read/Write Web tools that can be used to get the job done. However, Moodle is available and LOTS of folks are using it for that. And, this interesting piece of information popped up for college use of Moodle for a PLC:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              After the practical research for about one year long time, it is illustrated that this [Moodle] platform can effectively facilitate the information communication and sharing, the information literary development of teachers and students and the building of network courses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So, is it safe to say that Moodle can be used to “undergird” or scaffold a professional learning community? Yes, probably so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OVERVIEW
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since it’s a way to extend learning opportunities, the question is, “How do we want to extend those learning opportunities?” One way might be to include videos. Another might be to provide a creative commons area that enables people at the building or district level to come together and participate in joint learning opportunities. This could include providing spaces where discussion is had about content shared in a webinar, live or archived for viewing, a book discussion, a pre/during/post-meeting “location” for a face to face workshop. It can also be used in the following way, as San Diego Unified Schools describes it:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moodle is designed around a professional learning community, it allows teachers to act as facilitators o
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              f learning and to provide a framework for face-to-face and online interaction that may take place both in and out of the classroom. Through this framework, the students and teachers will be able to experience collaborative online interaction where ideas can be shared and a consensus to understanding can be constructed in online activities, discussions, and interactions. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moodle also provides teachers with a means to create differentiated learning opportunities for students, where online discussion and collaboration can go on apart from other groups as needed, thereby allowing for a more individualized approach to student learning. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moodle can also be used to facilitate communication and collaboration at the building or district level. For example, a committed campus–such as Whittier Campus’ Moodle instance might be seen as a professional learning community–that collaborates on student learning projects online –  http://intouch.saisd.net/campus/whittier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How else might Moodle be used to facilitate a PLC? For that, we’d have to take a look at DuFour’s big ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              FOCUS ON LEARNING
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How can Moodle facilitate delivery of a lesson, assessment of student learning? The answer is obvious. Every activity in Moodle can be assessed, including collaborative learning activities by students. This “instant assessment gratification” makes it possible for teachers to respond to the questions of how will we know when students have learned what we have to teach them, and how we are going to go about doing something–or helping them do something–when they don’t.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              COLLABORATIVE LEARNING CONVERSATIONS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How can Moodle facilitate collaborative learning conversations? This is a fun topic to consider because it depends on how ready teachers are on a campus to share their ideas with one another. Being able to discuss key areas–goals, strategies, materials, pacing, questions, concerns, and results–within the context of an online course foster reflection on teaching and learning practices, which is valuable in itself. Teachers are not caught up alone, trying to manage the framework, but instead can work together like a team of surgeons separating conjoined twins (for fun, you could say one twin is ignorance, the other possibility). This is really driven home, as Bill Ferriter (cited in this blog entry) points out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the struggles I have is that I just don’t have the time–as a classroom teacher—to collaborate. They want us to collaborate—and we’d do a GREAT job—but between planning, grading, parent conferences, there’s nothing left. I think many people beyond the classroom forget the crush of tasks that we have to do beyond collaborating with them!”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The blogger (Evan Abbey) at at Changing Iowa suggests the following:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Online learning allows you to converse when you have time and energy, because with forums and wikis, you can have an ongoing asynchronous conversation with your colleagues. Moodle can provide you a space for your group to focus on improving student learning, and in that space, you can hold conversation, resources, a calendar, and more.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              AVOID DRIP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love this acronym from DuFour, and wonder that Moodle would facilitate not only the sharing of data, but discussion around how that data could be useful. We often can’t have these conversations at school because our time doesn’t allow for it. . .the conversations usually happen at a workshop or faculty meeting. Online, there is time to reflect and meditate on the data, to offer suggestions to team-mates about what it all means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I’m not sure if this gets at the question(s) asked, but it’s a stab in that direction. Do I think Moodle can provide the framework for a professional learning community online? Yes, definitely. But there is so much more to this than providing the framework…it means a shifts in how we approach collegiality, teaching, and, yes, learning as professionals.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sample Moodle Sites that Serve as PLCs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Other interesting resources


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Comment Hoist – Batch Convert Documents with Your Mac

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks to John Johnston (World Wide Wall Display Blog) for his comment on how to batch convert documents on your Mac computer. I’d just shared one way to accomplish this using Abiword on GNU/Linux operating systems at the command line, and he was kind enough to share the Mac way to get it done!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              on OSX the command line textutil does the same sort of thing:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              for example:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              textutil -convert rtf *.doc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              converts .docs to rtf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              can usetxt, rtf, rtfd, html, doc, docx, odt, wordml, or webarchive too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, John!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt!
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Comment Hoist – Batch Convert Documents with Your Mac

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks to John Johnston (World Wide Wall Display Blog) for his comment on how to batch convert documents on your Mac computer. I’d just shared one way to accomplish this using Abiword on GNU/Linux operating systems at the command line, and he was kind enough to share the Mac way to get it done!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              on OSX the command line textutil does the same sort of thing:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              for example:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              textutil -convert rtf *.doc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              converts .docs to rtf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              can usetxt, rtf, rtfd, html, doc, docx, odt, wordml, or webarchive too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, John!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PingIt! pingthis();
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Subscribe to Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MyNotes – Dropbox and The COICA Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~aekim/FreeSpeechCartoon_600.gif

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, I had no clue about this. What I get for not reading the Electronic Frontier Foundation for months…be sure to read IP and Free Speech over at the EFF.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The COICA Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill | Electronic Frontier Foundation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) is an Internet censorship bill which is rapidly making its way through the Senate. Although it is ostensibly focused on copyright infringement, an enormous amount of noninfringing content, including political and other speech, could disappear off the Web if it passes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The bill creates a blacklist of censored domains; the Attorney General can ask a court to place any website on the blacklist if infringement is “central” to the purpose of the site.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • list of targets could conceivably include hosting websites such as Dropbox
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • (Why would all these sites be targets?) There are already laws and procedures in place for taking down sites that violate the law. This act would allow the Attorney General to censor sites even when no court has found they have infringed copyright or any other law.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Obviously, there’s a concern when great resources like Dropbox face being kicked out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One-click hosting websites such as DropboxMediaFire and Rapidshare: these sites allow users to upload anything, and do not police files unless they receive DMCA takedown notices. That’s the way the law currently works, and although it causes problems, it at least strikes a balance between copyright enforcement and freedom for sites to innovate. Under COICA, the Department of Justice (DOJ) could decide that there is “too much” piracy on any of these sites and it is therefore “central” to their businesses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It’s like getting on the Partisan Politics, Serve Special Interests Roller Coaster, an accusation that can be leveled at both Republicans and Democrats both. How do you know you’ve reached middle age? You’re disillusioned with both political parties.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (smile)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the meantime, what a neat tutorial from the MakeUseOf folks – The Magic Pocket: Unofficial Guide to Dropbox.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://mguhlin.org