Jun 29, 2008

EduBloggerCon 08 is over and it was quite a day. For me, it was something of a battle just to get there, having flown through the night, with flight delays putting me on the ground (exhausted) at 9:00am Saturday morning. I rushed over to the convention center, grabbed Arlene out of the waning moments of her first session (Google apps, I think) and she graciously oriented me as to the "whos" and "hows."

This is a unique conference, or "unconference" as Steve likes to refer to it, in that it is run entirely by the participants. Session ideas are submitted via the conference wiki, and the participants vote on which sessions they want to attend. Sessions themselves are less of a typical "sage on the stage" session, and more group discussion. The trick is to get the right people in the room to drive the conversation, so gathering opinionated bloggers (like me ;-) in one space is a master stroke for engaged, vigorous idea wrangling and debate.

Jun 26, 2008

Prevention as a Policy

Every once in a while, something comes my way that just drives me batty. Such was the case today when the following message came across my desk from a tech director's mailing list. For those of you who feel like IT is your adversary, this will surely offer some valuable insight into the mindset of many of today's education IT managers:

I want to first say I do not hate Apple, they make a great PC. I just don't know how to support them, I have never worked on one for any length of time past 1994.

With that said, I really need some help stopping my district from buying Apple PC's. There are 2 techs for the entire district and we have been a Dell PC district for some time. Neither me or the other techs here know anything about Apples OS and are really busy and don't have a lot of time to learn all the ins and outs of it.

We thought we had successfully stopped anyone from buying Apples a few months with the argument that we just didn't have the trained staff to support it. That and having two PC platforms with only two techs is a really bad idea.

Well someone has found away to convince the Superintendent to buy Apple laptops in a lab. Now everyone in the district who thought we were oppressing them has sent us e-mails saying they all want one also.

I need good solid technical reasons why this would be very bad for a network that is running strictly Microsoft products (till now). We run Windows Server 2003 R2 (mostly) and Windows 2000 to Windows XP SP3.

Your help is greatly appericated.

This kind of thing is all too common in the world of ed tech.

Jun 25, 2008

NECC 2008 is right around the corner and I must say, I'm pretty excited about it! I'll be doing two sessions, My Space, Your Space: Effective Social Networking Using Open Source on Monday, 6/30/2008, 2:00pm-3:00pm in HGCC 217 A, and Social Networking in Education on Tuesday, 7/1/2008, 2:00pm-3:00pm in HGCC 217 A. I'm looking forward to meeting up with educators from around the world to share and discuss technology in education.

There has been a great deal of interest in Elgg, which is the social networking platform that we used to create this site and the SUSD Student Community, and there are a lot of other schools and organizations using it. To help us all "group up", I have created this group on the NECC Ning site. If you are interested in Elgg, or educational social networking in general, please join us on the NECC Ning! I'd love to get a great discussion group going, and maybe coordinate a meetup or two with those of you who will be at NECC next week.

See you in San Antonio!

Jun 19, 2008

Today I stumbled upon a blog post by Miguel Guhlin entitled "TexasCTO2008 - Legislative To-Do", which was about a recent CoSN Chief Technology Officers Clinic held in Texas on June 18th. In it, Miguel referred to the comments of a member of the Texas legislature, who was part of a panel presentation, "A Vision for Education Technology in Texas: Legislative Landscape."

Ordinarily, I would not have found such a thing of interest - I rarely find that a state legislature is really in touch with what's going on in the classroom, especially when it relates to technology. But I was particularly fascinated by the comments of Scott Hochberg, Vice Chair, Higher & Public Education Finance, Select Committee. With regard to education technology, Scott said the following:

Jun 2, 2008

Look at me! Im tech savvy!

I'm often asked to speak, write, participate in webcasts, and serve on panels discussing education and technology, and enjoy the opportunity to share some of the things we are thinking about here at Saugus. Having done so on many occasions over the past year, I find myself struck not by the value of the discussions, but by the consistency of the responses. For it seems that no matter how much we speak of change in education through technology, no matter what is said, no matter what is offered, or who leaves inspired, the foundation is rarely shaken. Most often the light of new ideas is bent through the lenses of personal perspective and bad habits, which results in technology decisions based on personal appeal, a sense of safety, or worse, a desire to be part of the "in" crowd, rather than utility, value, and potential.

I was reminded of this today when I happened upon David Jakes excellent post, "The Tragedy of the Commons", and read the comments of many who would disagree. I'm certainly late to the "cocktail party" on this one - it was posted more than a month ago. But, while I would never suggest that discussion isn't valuable, the thing about the discussion that stood out to me was the undercurrent of those in opposition.