May 13, 2011
Please Note: This post is fairly old. While it may still work, there are no guarantees, so attempt at your own risk. For more current information on rooting all varieties of Nooks, see http://nookdevs.com

The Nook Color is already an awesome little tablet, especially for those of us who have freed ours by rooting them. And with the most recent 1.2 update from Barnes & Noble, things got even better with the addition of Flash support and speed improvements brought on by Android 2.2 (Froyo). Unfortunately, a non-wonky root kit for 1.2 has yet to appear, so the only way to gain access to all that the Android community has to offer, including Google apps and the Android Market, has been to make major sacrifices in user experience.
May 4, 2011

To those who would lead...

The following is a statement written for our district superintendent to share with those who would lead at SUSD. We are on the cusp of a significant transition in the district, as we look to replace two out of four of our top leaders - our superintendent and asst. superintendent of business. It is my hope that those who would lead would endeavor to keep moving forward our efforts to transform education and to build innovative, 21st century learning environments.

When we think about the classroom moving forward, we must continue to press toward building learner-centered environments. Ideally, learner-centered environments are those in which students both participate in and take responsibility for their own learning. Giving our students a sense of ownership and empowerment through the use of personal technology, combined with the subsequent (and necessary) transformation of instructional strategy to one that is student-centered, rather than teacher-centered, is the most effective way to bring lasting change and measurable gains in student performance, both academically and personally.
Apr 9, 2011
nookMuch has been made of the value of the iPad as an education device. Some believe it to be the salvation of education, while others are taking a more balanced perspective. While I have already made my opinion well known, I do believe that tablet devices in general hold particular promise for special needs students. Expensive, highly specialized, single purpose devices have long been in use in this space, in an effort to overcome issues with fine motor skills and other cognitive challenges for which traditional computing interfaces are simply ineffective. When compared to those devices, I believe the low cost and high flexibility of a tablet device brings with it the potential to bring significant benefits to special needs students.

Until recently, the only choice for such an application has been the iPad. While the iPad is an excellent tool, it is still big, expensive, and brings with it a raft of associated costs, restrictions, and management headaches that can be challenging for an already over-burdened special education teacher. Size and costs lead to fewer devices being deployed and less than continuous access for students.
Apr 3, 2011

Thoughts on Innovation

I've been thinking a lot about innovation lately, especially as it relates to education, and perhaps more importantly how the crushing force of hype often stifles it. Corporation X comes out with innovative product Y, sells that product to the world as the future, convinces a few naive but influential writers/bloggers/reporters with a tendency towards utopianism to write/speak favorably about it, and suddenly the world believes that this one thing is the only path to world peace, an end to hunger, and happiness for all. This then leads to the belief among educators that if we can just get product Y into our classrooms, knowledge will flourish and all of our problems will be solved. Of course, there is no depth to these assertions, which are based entirely on assumptions driven by a shallow view of education as a series of activities, rather than an environment or ecosystem for learning.
Jan 2, 2011
In my prior post I offered a few thoughts on the future of the Nook Color as an awesome Android tablet. In this one, I'll take it a step further and tell you exactly what I did to make my wife's Nook sing.

Note: This post is now obsolete and has been updated for the latest version of the Nook Color here 

Gathering all the pieces you need

The first thing you have to do is track down a Nook Color of your very own. Here in California, at least, this can be a bit more difficult, as most Barnes & Noble stores are sold out, due to dizzying Christmas sales.