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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

24 hours in the life of a digital native

Teachers today are educating students who are totally immersed in the use of technology. View this video below to see an example:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A Retirement Reception for:


MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2009
Magnolia's in Talladega
4:00-6:00 p.m.

All friends, family, and Talladega City School Board employees are invited!

Please join us as we celebrate Dr. Horton's retirement. For the past two years, Dr. Horton has dedicated her knowledge, skills, time and effort to our community and our children. Thank you, Dr. Horton for two years of service to the children of Talladega City Schools. Mrs. Miller said, "Dr. Horton has brought sunshine to our students." We appreciate all you have done and wish you luck in your future endeavors. Happy Retirement!!!! Relax and Enjoy!

We look forward to seeing all of you on Monday, June 29, 2009.

If you have questions, please contact Ms. Joni Baker at 256-315-5610.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sharpen Your Skills this Summer

For those of you who missed the Virtual AETC (Alabama Educational Technology Conference), click below to hear a familiar voice and learn more about creating your own blog or managing all of that digital data with ease. It is amazing how the sessions could be viewed from the comfort of someone's home or office computer. You can just login as a guest, if you prefer to not create a free account. Please take note that this opportunity will end at the end of June.

Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less http://v-aetc.alsde.edu/course/view.php?id=16

Managing Digital Data With Ease http://v-aetc.alsde.edu/course/view.php?id=25

Dr. Buck, thanks for sharing this!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

University of Montevallo Teacher Leadership Program

The University of Montevallo Teacher Leadership program is sponsoring a two-day summer academy (July 28-29) to explore what it means to be a “teacher leader” and the role of teacher leaders in school improvement. We would love to have Talladega City Schools represented!

Teachers will receive a $250 stipend for participation and have the option of attending the academy on Montevallo’s campus or at Maplesville HS (via distance technology).

If you are interested, contact Pattie Thomas 223-0321. Your name will be turned in to the University.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Foundation Grants...Any Ideas Now?

Those who have written successful grants will tell you that the process requires three elements:
  1. Having a need.
  2. Finding a grant source which will fund that need.
  3. Being able to articulate the need in a compelling way.
Each year, the Talladega City Schools Foundation awards grants. Almost without exception, the grants have taken the form of mini-grants awarded to individual teachers. Even better, since the grants are limited to our school system, the pool of people competing for these grants is greatly diminished. Your chances of being funding don't get any better than what you will find with this source. You have just taken care of #2.

Now, let's look at #1. What is it that you need? Teachers always have needs. The only problem is that for most of us, we think of ideas, and then we forget them. The next time one of those ideas occurs, write it down. When another idea occurs, add it to the list. When it comes time to write your grant, you simply choose from the list.

The creativity comes with #3. If you can move the emotions of the people who are reading your grant, your chances of getting funded skyrocket. Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. Emotion without a solid case is fluff. A solid case without emotion is boredom. Combine substance with emotion and you have a winner.

For most people, writing good prose takes time. It means writing and re-writing and re-writing the re-writes. It involves giving your stuff to someone to read who will be brutally honest and putting on your flame-retardent suit while they tell you what they really think. Then, you re-write again.

I mention the element of time because that seems to be one of the reasons people offer for not submitting grants. The Foundation application has remained unchanged for years. You do not have to wait for what is going to be asked to be magically revealed. You can access that application right now by clicking here. Except for the dates, you are looking at the exact application you are going to be asked to submit. That means you do not have to wait on anyone or anything. If you have an idea, you can put that idea on paper starting now. Time need not be a factor.

If your grant asks for a large amount of money, make it easy for the grantee to partially fund your grant. Half a grant is better than none. You accomplish this objective by including a clear budget that indicates what is essential and what could be purchased later.

With a list of ideas and some well-written prose, you are in position not only to submit a grant proposal to the Foundation, but you are also well-positioned to submit grants to other sources. Time is always on the side of the person who is prepared.

(Thanks to Dani Simmonds for the photograph used in this post.)

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Did You Know?

"Did You Know?" is perhaps the most thought-provoking video I have seen in terms of how our country fits into the global picture, what the future is likely to hold, and how technology fits into that picture. It's implications for education are huge.

Three years ago, Karl Fisch was asked by his principal to speak at one of the beginning-of-year faculty meetings. He put together a PowerPoint, and the rest is history. If you have seen a version of "Did You Know?" then perhaps you may wish to visit the author's blog where he explains the story behind this powerful message. That original post is found here.

Over the last three years, various versions have been produced and updates have been made. Here is latest version. What does it mean for our schools? What does it mean for you and me? What are we going to do about it?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Interactive Board Resources

I stumbled upon this particular link in a listserv message. Craig Nansen is not someone I know. Evidently, he has a great interest in and knowledge of interactive whiteboards. He has saved all of this links related to interactive boards in a Del.icio.us page. (Notice that this "page" goes on for quite a few pages, as the numbers at the bottom of the screen indicate.)

In looking at a few random links, I found anything from interactive activities that can be used in the classroom to blogs about using interactive whiteboards.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Could He Fool the Whole World?

"The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn't use information they find there if it can't be traced back to a reliable primary source..."

Suppose a person fabricated a piece of information and then posted it to Wikipedia. Would the fraud be snuffed immediately? Or, would the bogus information go down in history as fact? That situation happened recently, and you can read about it here.

The implications for the field of education are enormous. I had written recently about the need for us to check our facts before passing on what could be hoaxes. The Internet is a resource for information--both good and bad. The job of finding information is easier now than it has ever been. The job of verifying the accuracy of that information just got tougher. It's the universal trade-off. Students need to understand that. First, however, we must understand that.

Technology throws at us solutions, and it throw at us problems, and then it throws at us solutions to the problems it threw. Staying on top of developments in technology is a wise investment of time. Ultimately, it makes life easier.

As summer arrives, we have more flexibility in our days that at any other time. We have the opportunity to make the summer count for something, if that's our choice. Harnessing some aspect of technology and making it work for us isn't a bad way to make summer count. For the language arts teacher, it may mean perfecting research skills, something relevant to the story which begins this post. For the math teacher, it may mean learning Excel and then wishing you had taken the plunge ten years ago. For the elementary teacher, it may mean getting really good at using that Interwrite SchoolPad through some devoted practice time. For the physical education teacher, it may mean starting a blog to inform other people how they can stay physically fit.

For a school system that is moving forward to meets the demands of a changing world, getting serious about technology is one of the surest ways to turn vision into reality.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Want to Know What a Scam Looks Like?

If you want to know what a scam looks like, look no further. This is an actual e-mail that I received. It looks oh so official. The bottom line is the scammer wants login information. It's not going to happen, at least not with me. Would you have recognized this was a scam or would you have taken the bait?

Your Webmail Quota Has Exceeded The Set Quota/Limit Which Is 20GB.
Your Are Currently Running On 23GB due to hidden files and folder on your Mailbox.
Please you are to follow the Below information to Validate Your Mailbox And Increase Your Quota.

First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:

Failure to follow this process to Validate Your Quota may result in loss Of important information in your Mailbox/Or Cause Limited Access To It.

Please provide all these information completely and correctly otherwise due to security reasons we may have to close your account temporarily.We have been sending this notice to all our email account owners and this is the last notice/verification exercise.

Localhost Support.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

School Daze

One of the blogs to which I subscribe is Cool Cat Teacher. The author, Vicki Davis, is a technology teacher in Camilla, Georgia. A post from that blog rolling off my RSS feed yesterday which I think is so relevant to all of us as we transition from school to summer. I hope you enjoy School Daze: Recovering the Teacher Within.

On my own blog, this past Monday's post, entitled "Overwhelmed," has generated quite a few e-mail responses from people who were glad to know that 1) their feeling are shared by many others and 2) there is a better way.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Paul Potts, Susan Boyle, and the Problem of Undiscovered Talent in Schools

Friday, June 05, 2009

Rubrics in a Fraction of the Time

Rubrics are great, but they are time-consuming to create. RubiStar is time-saving tool that makes rubrics easy enough you may actual use them! Check out this post from the "Takes from a Teacher's Heart Blog."


Thursday, June 04, 2009

I Have a Projector...Now What?

Getting the tools of technology in the classroom is the easy part. It takes dollars. Making the tools of technology integral parts of the classroom is the tougher. It takes time, creativity, and the willingness to step outside of that which is comfortable.

LCD projectors are becoming pretty universal in our school system. Tech and Learning Magazine recently published an article entitled "Ten Ways to Get Beyond PowerPoint with Classroom Projectors." The short article is practical and offers some very doable suggestions.