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September 2010

August 2010

Campus Based Technician

Our campus based technician arrived today and introduced himself.  Avid readers will recall I have looking forward to this event for some time.

Not his fault, but nothing like having support arrive the week AFTER the students arrived. 

He left me with a favorable impression.

Love mail2web (

In my efforts to make my Mac Mini useful, I have been trying out Entourage --> I have an exchange account for my personal email which I love.  I've actually purchased Office 2008 for the Mac and I am waiting for it to arrive.

My exchange server actually stopped working in Entourage, so I did my normal fix which is to delete and reset up the account on my machine.  Still didn't work.  It took about four email messages, but they figure out that I didn't have to have "DAV" required anymore.  Not sure what happened, don't care, as it works now.

Also still loving Contribute as a blogging tool, and it is also ordered and on it's way.

I use JourneyEd and buy educational pricing as much as possible.  If I could afford the Mac version of the Adobe products I use most, I would but they are very pricy.

How I am using what I learned during summer vacation

I took several courses at @NewHorizons from my district and I have been using the software since I got back.

I had never even looked at Illustrator before, and I used to use Publisher.  For what I have been doing, Illustrator is easier:

Making signs with the objectives for the week for each class.

A sign indicating that the seating chart had changed (though kids STILL didn’t see it).

I did know how to use Photoshop to resize photos – but did use that information today to put our new assistant principal on the school website.

I’m sure I’ll be using the software even more.

And it has made my life easier.

First Week

We survived the first week. Lots of new enrollments the first couple of days, and since web mastering was one of the few open electives, I got lots of new students.

However, I have about 20 kids in each class, except PreAP/AP Computer Science, it's at about 15. Which isn't bad, considering that former administrations have tried to kill it.

Things I wish could change:

  • Wish I could put my own students in Moodle. It takes about two days to get new kids in.
  • Wish the process of putting students on Novell were faster. I should have all students at my school on Novell over the weekend.
  • Wish the specialist would contact us the week before students start. Contacting us on Wednesday of the first week is a bit late.
  • Wish parents would enroll new students the week before school starts.

Nothing I have control over but life would go better if these things were done in a more timely matter. And enrolling your new students would probably fix the Novell issue.

Mac Mini

Yes, I kept the MAC mini and I have even bought software for it but the software has not arrived.

I am running a trial version Office 2008 and I have ordered it from Journey Ed and it is on it's way.  I think I am supposed to get the Office 2011 upgrade.  I don't like the Mac version as well as I like the Windows version, but that's usually the way it goes.  I've found through the years that the Mac versions of Office are a bit behind.

I am also running a trial version of contribute.  Though blogging with the web version of Typepad isn't bad, I prefer using an offline editor.  My favorite is Windows Live Writer, but Contribute isn't bad, and I am using the Mac version of Contribute now.  Again, I have it on order and it should arrive this week. 

Haven't had much of a chance to use the Mac-Mini, with school starting and physical therapy going on, but then I don't have much of time to do PC stuff unless it is in my classroom.  Hope to get the video camera downstairs and start getting some videos made. » Classroom Management 2.0: An holistic vision

Only thing -- I figured this out YEARS ago.

I created my own classroom management system years ago, because it helps keep me organized. Since the district has moodle, I now use it.

Quoted from » Classroom Management 2.0: An holistic vision

Initially, I used blogs because they were a relevant interactive learning experience. But soon discovered that the course blog was also serving an unlikely purpose: classroom management.

She's right.  However, I have a much more structured environment that she does which puts things in a different perspective.

First the classroom management system helps me stay organized.  It forces me to put down my assignments in advance.

Second the classroom management system answers all those annoying questions:  "Did I do all my work?" "Did you grade my assigment?"  "What do I need to do to make an 'A'".

But it also forces my students to be organized, and allows them to keep up with what they need to do.  Now, my classes are only 50 minutes long, and I have a truancy system in place that forces my students to come to school.  As a result, there are some things I can't or won't do:

  • Allow drinks in my room.  Just the thought of a drink next to a keyboard with teenagers on either side make me shudder.
  • Allow food.  See above.  Added issue with both, THEY DON'T PICK UP AFTER!

If my students were picking up after themselves, I might allow food.

  • Allow free time and wandering around.  Sorry but we only have 50 minutes.  However, if you do have everything done for my class I can live with a few moments of off task behavior.
  • I do allow people to go to the restroom as long as it isn't everyday and they have done my work.  Remember I am limited to 50 minutes! We have a lot of stuff to do.

I do allow students to listen to music and urge them to bring it on their MP3 players. 

In order to prevent tardies, I do my instruction at the first few minutes of class.  If you are lucky I will record it with Camtasia.  But only if you are lucky.

All Staff Developed

Well, I have my last staff development on an online course starting next week.

But we’re done with our three days of building Staff Development, I have completely finished one of the online courses I needed for Instructional Technology, I’ve done all the work for the second and waiting for it to be graded and finished, and like I said, have the last one starting next week.

The online instructional technology courses have been interesting.  I don’t think we could have completed the assignment – taking an existing project and making at a Group Project Based Learning assignment in a classroom easily, so that was good.

It was also good that I didn’t have to drive somewhere to take it.

It was more work than I wanted to do for a full day staff development credit, and it looks like the other one is more work that I want to do for half a day’s credit.

What a difference a year makes

Last Year This Year
Drove through 5 toll booths to get to staff development. In the library at our school – 20 minutes from the house
Inedible lunch (brought SlimFast the next two days and drank it). Didn’t eat lunch unless a can of Slim Fast counts
Structured activity all day and expected to stay in the evening Sent to work in our rooms but told we’d make up the time later.
Tons of AV equipment One projector and computer
Lots of trees killed by copiers Not so much


We didn’t get “stimulus” money that we got last year.  Didn’t have a big lavish budget to spend and didn’t have to spend it on things we didn’t necessarily want or need.

While the room was warm, it was nicer than the rooms were during early start, so that was good.

Going into the year feeling much better about things.  Money isn’t everything.  Of course, we have two more days to go.

Making the Video Blog

Man was that easy.  Fired up Camtasia, turned off the screen capture, turned on the Webcam and Webcam mike.

Turned on the recording, talked, stopped the recording, Camtasia fired up, shared it to Screencast and then copied and pasted the code into Typepad.

Though I do miss Live Writer.