New Photo: A Sea of Gadget Glass; and Site Redesign

If you haven’t noticed, things look a little different around here. Part of the new look is the photo I took for the banner at the top of the page. In honor of the site redesign here is a two for one photography deal! While designing that banner, I also took these gems. The mini photo shoot has sparked an idea for a series of gadget-themed photos. Look out for more to come…

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Some days, I publish an original photo along with some of the technical information. You can see more of my photography on my Flickr page.

My photography is licensed under Creative Commons (see details below). In addition, I ask that if you use any of my images that you try to show me how you used them. I think it would be interesting to see and track how my images are being used. Thank you.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Must Reads #longreads Edition: Same-sex South, Reservation Life, Civil War Prostitution, Bin Laden Raid Report

What were the best, most fascinating, exciting, puzzling, or inspiring things I read or watched this week? Some will be about technology, photography, or education. Some will not. Catch up on things you missed. Maybe I dug up a few obscure gems that are totally new to you. Check out the brief ones now and save the more lengthy ones for later. Share and share alike…here’s the Must Read list:

Same-sex couples in the South left out of trend

Press marriage cause, starting down the long road to change

By Tracy Jan – The Boston Globe

“Across the South — in states where gay marriage is uniformly banned — gay men and women say they still live as second-class citizens, trapped behind a web of state laws and hostile political and religious dogma.”

“In her 36 years at the court house, it was the first time she had denied a couple a marriage license. The only other legal reason for denial is if the applicants are drunk or insane.”

“Until people in the South are free, we are not free up here,” said Rev. Laura Ruth Jarrett, the senior pastor at Hope Central, a Georgia native who lives in Jamaica Plain with her wife. “Our Scripture says we are one spiritual body.”

Pain on the Reservation

By  – The New York Times

“The tribes contend that the federal government does not just disburse money to them through federal programs. It meets its nation-to-nation treaty obligation to provide certain services to American Indians. Viewed in that light, a cut is not just a cut but a broken legal promise, and one in a long line of them.”

The Curious Case of Nashville’s Frail Sisterhood

By  – Smithsonian Magazine Past Imperfect Blog

“George Spalding was unconcerned with Newcomb’s hardships. His plan to rid the city of cyprians had failed. Resigning himself to the fact that prostitutes would ply their trade and soldiers would engage them, he reasoned that the women might as well sell sex safely, and so out of sheer desperation, Spalding and the Union Army created in Nashville’s the country’s first system of legalized prostitution.”

Bin Laden raid reveals ‘state failure’

Leaked report offers scathing assessment of how al-Qaeda chief was able to evade detection.

by  – Al Jazeera

An “In Depth” feature that is fascinating and enlightening, though there is a ton of information to sift through here.

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See more of my Must Reads.

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence – Part 4

Recently, I have done a lot of thinking about teachers, school districts, and technology as I work on my graduate courses for my Ed Tech degree. I have come up with a term to describe a goal for teachers: teacher technology independence. Many districts around the country will be cutting budgets again this year. And if technology does not go out with the budget, support for technology most likely will. Schools and teachers want great tech tools for their students, but districts cannot always deliver on those tools or the necessary training for effective implementation. Even when the money is there, decision makers at the district level do not always know what tools will be best for your classroom. Teachers can benefit from being independent of all that, by learning what free tools are out there, and understanding how technology works and how student learning is affected. Teachers know what is best for their own classroom and what will work for their students. We cannot always rely on our districts for technology support. In the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, here is part 4 of my series of Tips for Teacher Technology Independence:

As school districts cut costs, they may cut support for certain technology tools. This could come in different forms. Instructional technology specialists may be let go or never hired in the first place. Course management and digital media tools may be abandoned to save money. District technology trainings may become less frequent. If you find yourself in a similar situation, and you want to learn about using technology, take a look at the following suggestions.

What Teachers Can Do

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 Photo License: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Joe Thorn

Try free apps that will extend the reach of your technology use.

If you have a smart phone or tablet, apps like Remote Mouse and Splashtop give you the ability to control your computer while circulating the classroom.

Evernote is one of the most popular notetaking and information management services available. And it is completely free. Students (and teachers) can use any device to take notes, save webpages, scan images and text, or draw visual notes, and organize them with virtual notebooks and tags. This is one of the most powerful tools on the internet and is just beginning to be used in schools.

Voicethread has a unique approach to online discussion that has become very popular in education. Create or import presentation slides into Voicethread and students will be able to comment at any point in the presentation through video, voice, text and drawing.

Padlet allows you to create a virtual wall where students can post notes, videos, images, or sounds using any device. This tool is free and simple to use. This can be used to display any type of work that students are doing.

Thinglink is similar to Padlet, but lets you take an image and insert pop up links to any other content on the web. This can be used by the teacher to create interactive images to explore, or for students to create projects display their research and understanding.

SoundCloud will allow students to record and post audio from a computer or mobile device. Then other students can enter comments throughout the recording. This can be used for podcasts or theatrical performances.

WeVideo is one of the best online video editors. Students can upload video from a camera or phone and edit in the cloud through a web browser. It does not require any installation on a computer and is simple to use.

Previous Posts in the Series

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence Part 1

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence Part 2

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence Part 3

Must Reads #media Edition: Doggie Doors, Confused #Cheerios Kids, and Dragon Skulls

What were the best, most fascinating, exciting, puzzling, or inspiring things I read or watched this week? Some will be about technology, photography, or education. Some will not. Catch up on things you missed. Maybe I dug up a few obscure gems that are totally new to you. Check out the brief ones now and save the more lengthy ones for later. Share and share alike…here’s the Must Read list:

Videos

Perpetual Ocean – Animated Ocean Currents around the Globe (3:03)

I will admit that this one is older and you may have already seen it. I came across it again this week, and was blown away all over again. We live on a truly magnificent planet. Let’s keep it that way.

DIY Automatic Sliding Door (:47)

Awesome, easy, and cheap DIY project for summer. Plus the dogs are so cute! The self-closing screen door was designed for dogs but could be great for humans too.

(H/T 22Words)

Everyone saw the biracial Cheerios commercial, but kids saw it differently (8:59)

If you haven’t seen the controversial cereals commercial, you need to watch it now because it is just a great commercial. Then, hopefully you are as confused as these kids are about why it has sparked so much controversy.

(via The Daily Dot)

Motorcyclist grabs mug off of passing car’s bumper… (1:30)

The motorcycle maneuvers definitely made me nervous, but this was a whole lot of fun to watch!

(via 22Words)

 

Photos

Giant Dragon Skull Found on a Beach in England

…not really. It’s a Game of Thrones promo, but I will pretend it’s not.

(via 22Words)

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence – Part 3

Recently, I have done a lot of thinking about teachers, school districts, and technology as I work on my graduate courses for my Ed Tech degree. I have come up with a term to describe a goal for teachers: teacher technology independence. Many districts around the country will be cutting budgets again this year. And if technology does not go out with the budget, support for technology most likely will. Schools and teachers want great tech tools for their students, but districts cannot always deliver on those tools or the necessary training for effective implementation. Even when the money is there, decision makers at the district level do not always know what tools will be best for your classroom. Teachers can benefit from being independent of all that, by learning what free tools are out there, and understanding how technology works and how student learning is affected. Teachers know what is best for their own classroom and what will work for their students. We cannot always rely on our districts for technology support. In the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, here is part 3 of my series of Tips for Teacher Technology Independence:

As school districts cut costs, they may cut support for certain technology tools. This could come in different forms. Instructional technology specialists may be let go or never hired in the first place. Course management and digital media tools may be abandoned to save money. District technology trainings may become less frequent. If you find yourself in a similar situation, and you want to learn about using technology, take a look at the following suggestions.

What Teachers Can Do

Look into free or lower cost options for online tools.

If you end up using something that works well, let the technology department in your school district know that these options are there for teachers to use. Maybe they will be able to integrate the free tools and save money in the process.

Google Apps for Education can be used to replace Blackboard or other course management software. This suite of free apps includes document management and creation, sharing, email, calendar, and discussion tools like Google Groups. Many of the collaborative apps also have discussion and commenting features embedded in them.

Edmodo could also be used to replace Blackboard. The service offers much of what Blackboard offers with more social elements included. You can create assignments, calendars, and manage documents. It offers many features for discussion and interaction via computers and mobile devices. The best part about Edmodo is that using it is so easy and is modeled after social networks, rather than course management tools.

Do more with what you already have.

It is likely that your school and district have online and software tools available that you have not heard about. Ask your technology support staff about what types of tools are available. After all, the software is there for you to use! You can also explore some of the tools that you have already used. Find out what other features are included. Reflect on different ways you can use the software. Practice using it more effectively, and ask others for help in figuring out how to do that.

If your district is not offering training, ask for one. Sometimes technology specialists who do not even work at your school will travel there if enough people are interested. Ask your colleagues for help and create your own informal training session. Search the web for helpful resources. It is amazing how many people offer their expertise online for free! For more information on training and professional development, see item #6, above.

Previous Posts in the Series

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence Part 1

Tips for Teacher Technology Independence Part 2