Saturday, June 30, 2007

Got iPhone?

I am posting this from the Apple store at Fashion Island. My family and I just played with the iPhone. It is more amazing than advertised. Remember how difficult it was to figure out how your current cell phone works? The iPhone is simple and every function is at your fingertips. My daughter said "Why didn't I ask for an iPhone for graduation!?!"

Good thing I did not have $500 in my pocket.

Many of our students will have iPhones in September. Check them out at your local Apple Store or on Apple's website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blackboard 7 is coming

At a tech meeting this morning, Steve Garretson announced that the official launch of Blackboard 7 is July 1, 2007. At the same time, Bb5 will be killed. If you have not moved your files over to Bb7, it is probably too late. You will need to reload your documents.
As with Bb5, teachers must request that their classes be set up. There is a "wizard" on the Intranet. The IUSD intranet can only be reached from a school computer.
John Pendleton will be the point person for answering Bb7 questions this fall. He will be taking over from David Fong.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Do we really need another blog?

Happy Summer Solstice and the end of another school year. You might wonder why I am starting a new blog about educational technology when I should be relaxing. The short answer is that Jerry Pournelle (Chaos Manor) has been writing about tech problems for over 25 years and has not run out of topics or problems to solve. He has built a career by describing problems installing software, upgrading computers, chasing lost "dll" files, and coexisting with less than perfect programs. The longer answer is that I am one many teachers at my high school who are interested in technology and its uses in the classroom. Over the past 15 years, I have been a technology mentor, advised a student computer networking club, served as a Digital High School Coordinator, and recently become a Google Certified Teacher. In all of those rolls, I have tried to help fellow teachers answer questions and solve problems. From casual chats at lunch to group emails, I have attempted to answer the never ending questions that arise when people use technology. Blogging will give me another tool which I can use to help my friends and colleagues.

Summer vacation is a good time to clear out your email inbox. I know a few people at school who have hundreds of emails sitting in their inbox. The "Cabinet" feature of Groupwise is a good place to store most of those valuable messages. The "Cabinet" can also contain folders so messages can be organized by topic. Most email programs have some way of organizing messages, it is a good idea to get in the habit of using those tools. In my district, we are moving to Outlook over the summer. I am sure the move will generate new topics for this space.

Feel free to comment on this blog and to send in suggestions or new questions.