Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's an app world, and it could swallow all computing #edtech

The app trend shows no sign of slowing. While I agree that these apps make a lot of things easier, I have concerns that we are "dumbing down" computing. I guess if it gets more people to use tech that is good, but I still don't use these apps as I can accomplish much more from my trusty desktop and laptop.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Creating an Effective Online Hub

Check out this SlideShare Presentation: A great presentation for educators on how to maximize your online presence! From Richard Byrne-Free Technology for Teachers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Digital Tools for Teachers Toolboxes

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Top 20 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers and Librarians

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

OpenDNS Now Serves 1% Of The Internet (That’s A Big Number)

When you think of one percent of something, it’s usually not a very big number. But in some cases it is. Like when you’re talking about all of the users of the Internet in the world.

Today, OpenDNS is announcing that over one percent of the world’s Internet users are using its services. It’s the first DNS provider to hit such a milestone, and it means that over 18 million people are using the service to access the web in a way that founder and CEO David Ulevitch calls “safer, faster, smarter and more reliable.

And that usage number has doubled in just the last 12 months, according to Ulevitch.

That type of growth is important because a new, big time player just entered the ring: Google. But despite the big name, and the right price (free), the results for Google’s DNS offering have varied. And in a test we ran with Google’s own Namebench product, OpenDNS easily beat Google in DNS speed.

The truth is that most users have no idea what any of these DNS services do, or how to go about changing them. So companies like OpenDNS have to rely on partnerships with schools (they have over 25,000), partnerships with large corporations (they have them with many Fortune 500 companies), or parents really worried about what their children are surfing for on the web. But again, the growth is clearly happening, and actually picking up speed, according to Ulevitch, so that’s a very good sign.

An even better sign: OpenDNS has been profitable since 2007.

[photo: flickr/jurvetson]

OpenDNS image

Location:San Francisco, California, United States
Founded: November 1, 2005
Funding: $2.5M

OpenDNS is the world’s largest, fastest-growing DNS service provider.

Through innovative uses of the DNS, the company is able to provide free parental controls (porn filtering), phishing protection, and other advanced services for consumers and… Learn More

Information provided by CrunchBase

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Google Apps in the Classroom

I came across this great slideshow presentation about Google Apps in Education.
The author is Chad Kafka and his site can be found at

Many thanks Chad!

Technology Review: Smarter LED Lights

A new approach to LED lighting uses network cables, rather than conventional electrical wiring, to supply power to lights. Developed by a startup in Fremont, CA, the system also allows the cables to carry data from an array of sensors on the lights to a central control station. The system would cost about the same as a conventional lighting system, but because it can sense and control every light in a building, it could cut power consumption from lighting by 50 to 80 percent.
Powerful data: These low-voltage network wires carry both power and data for a new LED lighting system.
Credit: Redwood Systems
The new system offers a better way to control LEDs, which are relatively efficient and long-lasting compared to conventional lights, by taking advantage of the fact that they run on low-voltage direct current power. Current LED-based systems require transformers at each light to convert the higher-voltage alternating current in conventional wiring into lower-voltage direct current. The new system converts alternating current to low-voltage direct current at a central location, rather than at each light. This more efficient method cuts energy consumption by 10 to 20 percent, according to Jeremy Stieglitz, vice president of marketing for Redwood Systems, which will start selling its systems this summer.
The remaining energy savings come from using sensors and a central controller to reduce light use. The company has also developed a method for using those same power cables to carry data. Each LED can be fitted with inexpensive sensors that can be used to optimize light levels and ensure the lights are operating efficiently. Such sensors can also provide detailed information about temperature and where people are in the building--information that can be used to control heating and cooling systems. The sensing and controls, says Steiglitz, add very little cost to the new system because the network connections and power supply for the sensors are already in place.
Each light comes equipped with six sensors. Two are similar to what's used in some newer lighting systems--they detect motion and ambient light (used to turn off lights when there's enough daylight). But where conventional systems control all the lights for an entire room or open cubicle area, the new system allows for control at each light. So the system could, for example, compensate for lower daylight levels further from windows, or dim lights in a large space where no one is working. The new system also monitors task lighting with a third sensor, to ensure that desktops are receiving enough light (something individuals could set according to their preference).
Story continues below


Parents Of Nasal Learners Demand Odor-Based Curriculum #edchat

There's no need to expound here--just read the article! It's fantastic!

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Algebra in Wonderland -- Good article to delve deeper into Alice! #edchat

Very good article taking a closer look at Alice in Wonderland. It would be a great source of discussion in many math classes. I wonder how many are actually using it. This is the kind of thing that makes math come alive for kids!

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FCC's Broadband Measuring Tool Gets 150,000 Takers, Shows West-Coast Bias

One of the problems with broadband tests is burst mode. For instance, Comcast uses a burst mode to increase your bandwidth and then throttles you back significantly. These tests do not have the duration to truly measure bandwidth over a significant length of time.

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Cartoon: The Winter of Our Dis-content

Buzzwords, Buzzwords, Buzzwords--this one has been around awhile but I don't see it going away any time soon.

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How Cheap Could Computing Get: Free? NComputing Thinks So

It's interesting that there is a trend to returning to the old mainframe model of computing. The question that has to be answered is what can you accomplish on these "terminals." It will be interesting to see if this trend becomes a reality or is just another idea that never comes to fruition.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

YouTube - An Open Letter to Educators

A Must View Video for all Educators! Brings up a lot of issues that our schools need to address!

Digital Storytelling 2009

Great Digital Storytelling Resource! Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

In Texas Curriculum Fight, Identity Politics Leans Right #edchat

Unfortunately, the whole nation has to worry about what Texas decides concerning textbooks because of its size in the industry. Otherwise, no one would care what Texas thought about any of this. Living in Texas, I have become used to this sort of debate. It's funny that educators pull out "What's best for the kids" when it suits them but finds a way to ignore it when it doesn't!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Intel WiDi beams video from laptops to your big-screen TV

This sounds somewhat promising, however, the fact that you have to get a new laptop is a deal breaker for me. Right now, I can accomplish, the same thing by plugging in my HDMI cable. Yes, I know it's not wireless but the cable is hidden and when I want to connect, I pull it out from under the couch, connect and voila I'm watching content from my laptop on the big screen.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Replace Your Browser Bookmarks With iCyte #edtech

I have used iCyte for several months and have found it very useful. I am somewhat visual by nature and standard bookmarking doesn't do as good a job as iCyte. Give it a try--nothing to lose!

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Internet Explorer 9 details emerge at MIX10, tech demo downloadable now #edtech

Will this be the version of Internet Explorer that makes it okay to say you use IE? I have not used IE for a number of years unless I absolutely have to (and yes, there are those occasions when you must!)

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LAUSD Expected to Reform Teacher Evaluations #edchat

This topic always gets me into trouble with fellow teachers. Pay for performance aka merit pay does not get much support from teacher ranks. Although I am a teacher, I have been a proponent of this model for many, many years. Before teachers start screaming, make sure you differentiate between the concept and its implementation. I agree that many of the proposed forms of implementation leave a lot to be desired. However, I believe we must move to pay for performance and fine tune the implementation afterward. My argument has always been that the vast majority of professions have worked on this model and made it work. It doesn't work perfectly but then what does. Oh well, I could go on and on but I'll stop for now.

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Driveby culture and the endless search for wow

I have struggled with exactly this same thing. Are people really reading the posts/information or scanning quickly. I have noticed on Twitter that many people work very hard to come up with a well-crafted tweet so people will click on the link. Many times, the "headline" overstated the content. This happens on other social networks as well. I guess we shouldn't have expected that anything would change just because it is a new medium.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Five Features the iPad Needs for Business

Apple is starting to remind me of the great Russian weightlifter Vasiliy Alekseyev. How so? He got paid by the Soviet Union every time he set a world record. So, instead of giving a great effort every time, he proceeded to break the world record by very small increments. Instead of one large payout, he parlayed it into a fortune by breaking a world record 80 times. Apple seems to have adopted this incremental approach. Don't give them everything at once--we're in this for the long run!

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Analysis: When Working Day's Done, iPhones, and Soon iPads, Light Up

Changes to No Child Left Behind would affect schools differently #edchat

Education is at the forefront these days and the most targeted group seems to be the teachers. I would like to see administrators come under the same scrutiny as well. Maybe then we would have some real change. But we've all seen this before--everyone seems to know how to fix education.

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Apple Dreams of a Sci-Fi Future: Hires Wearable Computing Scientist

Reminds me of a post the other day about how long the desktop computer will be around after Google said it would be gone in 3 years. Well, if it is replaced by this I'll gladly give up my desktop. Don't think it's going to be 3 years though!

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Can Friends Know Who Is Looking At Their Facebook Profile? #edtech

A good article for everyone to take a look at since so many people allow Facebook applications to access their account. Be very sure which apps you let access your account. This is just one of the many reasons to beware.

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Do's and Don'ts for filling out your NCAA brackets

It's bracket time for March Madness, one of my favorite times of the year. Here are some good tips for what to do and what not to do when filling out your bracket!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

U.S. to roll out major broadband policy #edtech

It will be interesting to see exactly what the proposal states. Supposedly, 100 Mbps in 10 years. Can you imagine? Would this be the end of Blu-ray, DVD etc. as we move toward these speeds. That being said, I didn't see anything about upload speeds. Everyone talks about download speeds, but upload speeds are quite important as well.

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Happy Pi Day -- A Brief History of Pi #edchat

A quick look at the history of pi on this pi day--March 14, 2010. Happy Pi Day!

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

iPad Pre-Orders: For Idiots Only

A lot of good points in this article. I've said it before and I'll say it again--until you can actually take it for your own test drive it is awfully hard to commit to a gadget from only advertising.

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Why schools cannot ignore Web 2.0: Social Factors #edchat

Friday, March 12, 2010

Congress debates new satellite plan

National education standards target media literacy #edchat

I have downloaded and started to read the new standards. I will have a better opinion after I have finished. But, the big question remains: Do these national standards have a chance of being implemented given that state and local governments do not want the federal government messing with their educational system?

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why EdTech Integration is Failing!

My 2nd blog post in my new blog "Tech the Plunge." I believe that many times we are too enamored with the latest, greatest new Web 2.0 app and forget that the key to success in integrating technology anywhere is knowledge of the fundamentals. In my secondary role as a basketball and track coach, fundamentals are a necessity. Shouldn't this also work in technology?

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Panel Releases Proposal to Set U.S. Standards for Education #edchat

Another attempt at fixing education. Will it work this time or will it end up being just another failed attempt?

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Leaked Dell Streak flyer shows multitude of color options, confirmed specifications #edchat

Which one of these devices will win? Anyone's guess at this point or will there be multiple winners (or no winners at all!). All I know is that it's all speculation at this point.

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What You Need to Know About the IE Zero-Day #edtech

Yet another reason not to use Internet Explorer--as if there aren't enough already!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ribbon Hero from Microsoft Labs -- Making a game out of the Office 2007-10 Ribbon? #edtech

I am not sure about this idea. Accumulating points for the proper use of the ribbon and suggestions on what you should do next? How about just making it intuitive!

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All Systems Go for World's Largest Particle Accelerator

Let's hope that this time it lives up to all its promises.

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HP Touts Flash as Killer App Against Apple's iPad #edtech

The only real way you can evaluate this kind of technology is get it into your hands and test drive it yourself. Who knows if either of these products will find a market that can sustain them.

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Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love

I struggle with this concept all the time. My solution has been to keep using my ad-blocker and then unblock for the sites I frequent all the time. I would like to keep the Internet as low cost as possible. I know there are all sorts of arguments for and against--just what I do.

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How To Make Amazing Posters and Desktops from Google Maps #edchat #edtech

This looks like yet another way to use Google Maps and customize it for your use. Great way to take the maps off the Internet!

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Windows 7 Shortcuts e-Book #edtech

I'm on a keyboard shortcut kick today! Here is a free e-book from the Lockergnome (Chris Pirillo) on Windows 7 shortcut keys. Of course, most of these work on XP/Vista as well. The price is right!

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How to Use Windows 7 Logo Key Shortcuts #edtech

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to speed up many tasks. Here is a short summary of some of the more useful ones.

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Where is the Sidebar in Windows 7?

Another reason that I like Windows 7. Sure, it is a minor issue but it is nice to be able to customize the OS the way you want. More options is always a good thing.

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CD or DVD Drive Won’t Eject or Open?

Always good to have a reminder on what to do when optical drives go bad. This is the kind of post you can pass around to people wanting to know just a little more about their hardware and how to take care of it.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Is the U.S. Education System Broken or Is it Working? #edchat

A very thoughtful article after examining the U.S. education system. The author comes up with some interesting observations. If correct, her observations would explain a lot about education and government.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Don't press F1 on the Web in Windows XP #edtech

Yet another reason not to use Internet Explorer. I am certainly glad that Microsoft came up with this high-tech workaround.

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Getting Away From it All... And Taking it With You

I love the cartoon! I must admit the first thing I consider when traveling is what kind of connectivity is available!

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5 Ways to Use Twitter to Avoid a Backchannel Disaster #edchat #edtech

It's getting harder and harder to present to tech-savvy audiences. I guess if the presenter is clueless then there's nothing to worry about. Good ideas thought on how to receive and control immediate feedback on your presentation.

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Microsoft Gives Rival Browsers a Lift #edchat #edtech

It's about time that Microsoft level the playing field with regard to browsers. They still have a ways to go but at least this is a start. I am still baffled that people "choose" IE as it is clearly inferior to any number of browsers on the market.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Amateur Video Shows Flooding in Chile After Last Week’s Earthquake

The iPad Poses a Threat to Kindle’s Market Share [STATS]

The iPad does seem to be a perfect reader and with all the other apps available why would you buy anything else? Price, maybe?

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Jobs: iPad Won't Tether with iPhone #edtech

Good question with a very short yet predictable answer.

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Unpublishing the Web

I was just thinking about this very thing this morning after reading a blog post this morning. The author had just heard about "cloud computing" and thought it was just a new buzz word. So, knowing that cloud computing has been around for a while, I started thinking about not having full ownership of what I create. It's not stored just on my computer or server. Better yet, things can just disappear, just like Wordle did for a few days last week. Makes one wonder.

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Microsoft to Release Office 2010 May 12

So, who's going to rush out and get Office 2010? Has anybody mastered the Office 2007 ribbon yet? Oh well, I'm sure I'll get it sooner or later.

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iPad for Movies? Call My Chiropractor

I have always wondered about the heavy promotion of watching movies on an iPad. Doesn't seem feasible to me either. Anyway, we won't have to wait too much longer to see if the iPad is hype or for real!

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Study Says Typical Users Hit With Hundreds of Vulnerabilities Per Year

I have been using Personal Software Inspector for awhile now and am very impressed with its security features. It automatically patches many programs and hasn't caused any problems. I have cut down the number of manual patches dramatically. Best of all it is not a resource hog.

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If You Liked 'Planet Earth,' You'll Love 'Life'

Looking forward to this series--should be good!

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Try HootSuite if You Are Serious about Twitter #edchat #edtech

I used to be a big TweetDeck fan and still use it occasionally. However, I have found that HootSuite brings more to the table. It seems that I control the flow of tweets as opposed to the other way around. HootSuite allows you to scroll back through tweets for hours and hours. It is high customizable and for me the perfect way to tame Twitter.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Amplify--Sharing Your Web Perspective

Amplify is a great new way to share what you think is important on the web. It is continually being improved and I am really enjoying using their service!

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Google: Desktops Will Be Irrelevant in Three Years’ Time

We'll see. They might be right but there are still tons of things you can do on a desktop that you can't do on a smartphone. I can't even use my phone at home for anything meaningful because of a very slow connection.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Portable Opera@USB updates, brings 10.50's speed to your flash drive

I've always been an Opera fan, but it's hard to go against the mainstream. Hoping Opera has success.

Posted via web from jeffthomas posterous shutting down free cloud OS desktops, both users upset

I actually used this off and on--it is a pretty cool idea. However, the idea needs to be productive for it to work in this day and age.

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