Monday, September 30, 2013

HTML5 for the Technically Experimental

Google has launched its HTML 5 editor today. A download for Mac or PC, WebDesigner is meant to allow a web designer to create a site once and see the site work seamlessly across desktop and mobile platforms.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Don't talk about politics...

John Spencer has a blog over at Education Rethink that echoes a lot of my own thoughts about teachers weighing in on education reform.

When I developed a workshop on Professional Development through Social Networking, in the best practices section I warned not to discuss politics and religion, with some caveats. I give the same advice to my Ed Tech students when we discuss blogging.

So what are those caveats?

When I say don't discuss religion, I don't mean to not tell someone "I am praying for you" or other sentiments based in Faith. What I mean is "Don't proselytize."

But the discussing politics requires more thought and nuanced limitations. We are in an inherently

I see with alarming regularity descriptions of what is going on in the classroom that sounds like nothing that goes on in my classroom. I see my students described as lazy and disconnected. I see my profession generalized as populated by disinterested careerists. With this public perception of our chosen field, is it any wonder when legislation and regulations are passed without our input?

This blog is called Capturing the Narrative because that is what we need to do as educators. If we do not share the amazing things that are going on in our classrooms, they will never be known. Likewise, if we do not reveal our opinions on new regulations and procedures, how will people know?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Who Needs Experienced and Well Educated Teachers Anyway?

The state of Tennessee is revamping the minimum pay for teachers. Now that the state pay schedule for teachers has changed, all of the systems must revamp their own pay schedules.

Instead of 11 steps on the teacher pay scale, the new pay structure will allow for 4 steps, topping out at the 11th year. Perhaps more disturbingly, there is no longer any pay bump required for education beyond the bachelor's degree. The districts will be allowed to pay teachers more for higher test scores or taking on extra responsibilities.

So let's say this plays out by the book. You know, the Economics book.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Teaching Digital Citizenship by Being a Bad Example

Chelsea Chaney is a UGA freshman who once took a funny picture in her swimsuit with a Snoop Dogg cutout.

And Fayette County Schools put that picture in the middle of a presentation about your digital tattoo. With her name. And cartoons about boozing it up with bad boys. Someone had grabbed the picture from her Facebook.

And she is suing for $2 million.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Free LMS Software Roundup

When I first returned full time to the classroom a half decade ago, I decided to jump into the LMS world with both feet. It was coming anyway so why not get started from the ground up on a digital curriculum instead of having to convert a more traditional set of classroom resources to digital.

A few years before, I had been using WebCT under the license of my school's partner in education, but the BlackBoard purchase of WebCT had ended that license structure. So I Google'd "Open Source WebCT" and found Moodle. I signed up for a $35/year hosting plan (2M is my personal preferred host), bought a domain name for $10 (Namecheap preferred for this) and have been paperless ever since.

The problem is, Moodle requires installing on a webhost. I had been playing with PHP web apps for several years, including installing Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and XOOPS. Installing Moodle wasn't much more difficult or technical than installing Wordpress, but it is not for everybody. So this year at ISTE13, I went looking for representative of LMS software on the floor, got their literature and talked to their reps.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thoughts on ISTE13

Filing in for Opening Keynote
After a long trip back from San Antonio, involving missing exits, flight delays and a night spent in the floor of the yoga lounge of the Dallas airport I have had time to digest thoughts about ISTE 13.

As I said on the last episode of Capturing the Narrative, I have always had an issue with the show floor at these conferences, especially ISTE. First, for an outsider, I think it gives a horribly skewed perspective about the buying power of schools as a whole. All this money being spent to try and get a piece of the technology money of thousands of schools and systems. It makes it seems like teachers and school admins are just walking around with pockets of cash. We will throw this money at all of these huge booths filled with toys and take a few of the toys back. Then try it again next year.