Magnettech Highlights

Education tech today from Tampa Bay.

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    Greg Hart is the author of Magnettech Highlights. DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are my own and not necessarily those of my employer(s). See my Disclosure Policy for more info.
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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Tech Tools for Time Management

Posted by magnethart on November 12, 2010

235/365 Hair pulling stress

As an Instructional Technology Specialist for Young Middle Magnet School of Math, Science and Technology, I find myself pulled in many different directions with many different responsibilities.  I used to be the person with a myriad of post-it notes covering my desk full of tasks that needed to be done or notes about projects I was working on.  Over the last few years, web technology has improved drastically and along with it came some very handy tools that I find help me stay organized and keep on top of all of my projects.  I picked my top four tools (Google Calendar, Google Tasks, FirstClass Technology Conference, and Klok 2) to feature in a Prezi titled Tech Tools for Time Management.  If you have any you recommend, add them to the Google Doc linked after the Prezi.

Have some tools that you use?  Add them to the Google Doc here.

I was really hoping to embed my Prezi into my blog but WordPress does not allow the embedding of free-range Flash content.

Flash and Other Embeds

Flash and all other embeds are not allowed in WordPress.com posts, pages, or text widgets. For security reasons, we remove the tags needed for these to work. Your intentions may be innocent, but someone somewhere would try to damage the site, affecting all of our users.

There are several safe ways to post VideosAudio, and other items to your WordPress.com blog.
From the WordPress Support Blog


 

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Posted in Classroom Technology, Ed Tech, instruction, Professional Development, technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Technology Integration Matrix

Posted by magnethart on July 31, 2010


Students at Lee Magnet Elementary use laptops during their learning time

This is a great resource to measure how well you are integrating technology into your classroom or at your school site.  Also has supporting videos.  This was developed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology (sounds like a place I need to look into a little more) out of the University of South Florida.

Check out the link for more information and to view the matrix.

Technology Integration Matrix

Posted in Classroom Technology, Ed Tech, instruction, teachers, technology | Leave a Comment »

Re-blog – Yeah, You’ve Got Problems. So Solve Them

Posted by magnethart on July 31, 2010

Great post from @willrich45 on his blog webblogg-ed.

Yeah, You’ve Got Problems. So Solve Them.

Also has a great clip from Apollo 13 at the end.

I tend to run into a lot of these same comments during my trainings.  And I agree, often times they are not thrown out as a problem to solve, but as a road block to say why something can’t be done.

As I embark on a new role and focus on providing professional development at Young Middle, I’m going to keep these comments in mind.  Instead of getting to the point of saying “what about the digital divide that is present at our school?”, I’m going to say, “Okay, so now what?  What are we going to do to fix it?”

Posted in Classroom Technology, Ed Tech, Professional Development, teachers, technology | Leave a Comment »

Free Webinars from SMART Technologies

Posted by magnethart on July 31, 2010

Check out the link below for a free webinar from SMART Technologies on creating interactive content for your SMARTboard.

“This free, on-demand webinar, A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Content for the SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard, is your opportunity to learn how you can create new revenue opportunities. You’ll find out how to convert your existing print content to digital formats that work on the SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard, the most widely used interactive whiteboard i the world.”
From SMART Technologies

Watch the webinar here.

Posted in Classroom Technology, Ed Tech, Professional Development, teachers, technology, training | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

HP Multiseat and Thin Client Solutions

Posted by magnethart on June 5, 2010

I was recently able to participate in a product demonstration for HP’s new Multiseat and Thin Client technology.  These two new pieces of tech offer some great options for schools wanting to establish new computer labs or refurbish an old one.  The goal of these two technologies is to provide computer environments that go above and beyond the typical desktop environment while also providing a lower cost and easier tech support (both of which I can appreciate).  HP wants to help educators move away from teacher centric learning, to more personal, student centric learning.

The multiseat system allows multiple users to work off of one central computer while sitting at their own “station”.  The station only consists of a monitor, keyboard, mouse and MS t100 Thin Client.  When I say Thin Client, I mean thing.  It resembles a KVM switch in size and shape and provides ports for PS2 mouse and keyboard, and VGA monitor.  The unit draws power from the included 15’ USB cable that plugs into the MS6000 Desktop unit.  Depending on the configuration you choose, the MS6000 may run up to 9 stations.  The MS6000 runs a new version of Windows Server 2010 specifically designed to be used for Multiseat situations.  The current internet list price for a complete setup of 9 stations (1 Master Workstation and 8 stations) runs at about $481.50/station (this is without education pricing).

With cost being an obvious advantage over current desktop prices (around $950 for comparable system), size and fewer network connections, no other feature stood out to make this a new must have lab system.  The current version does not support domain login or the ability of the teacher to see what is students or doing on each workstation, and there was some serious lag when all computers accessed youTube.  The current system also does not support the use of USB at each of the stations, only the master station.  This means no thumb drive use for students.  The goal of a computer lab for me would be one that allows students to work on sites like xtranormal or Glogster without bogging down the system. It also had issues with running graphics heavy applications like DimensionM due to only having a single graphics processor to run all stations from. Some of these issues are slated to be worked out in the next software release but I always say why buy now when you know there are features that you want but don’t have yet.  I do think this product has a great future and I can see replacing a few labs with it, it’s not there yet.

The other solution that was presented at the product demonstration is the HP ThinClient with TeachNow software.  Rather than the Multiseat system which uses the resources from one machine for all stations, the ST5742 Thin Client has its own processor and RAM, but no disk drives.  The Thin Client solution requires only one server for the lab to run while each station gets a Thin Client, monitor, keyboard and mouse.  The operating system is pushed from the server at the beginning of the session and runs from the RAM in the client.  All other hardware is virtualized and runs from the server.  Because the images are pushed to the client at the beginning of each session, this provides for a great amount of flexibility in lab use.  Each period could have a different image depending on what they class is.  I was not able to test the Thin Client setup on YouTube like the Multiseat system as we were not able to get an outside connection at the time from the demo area.  I would think that this system would perform much better however since you are not trying to pull data, graphics, and processing power all from one location through separate USB cables.  These are still not full blown PC’s however; they are powered by an Intel Atom N280 and still pull software over the network so I wouldn’t try running Adobe Premiere or AutoCAD on all machines in the lab at the same time.  Each thin client is connected through a subnet to the server which is then connected to the network.  This allows for the teacher to control everything including pushing images through the subnet without affecting the entire network.  HP Thin Client also comes with the optional TeachNow software.  TeachNow is HP’s learning management system specifically designed to work with Image Manager and Thin Clients.  I don’t see TeachNow as a necessary purchase if you are already using an LMS like Moodle or Elluminate.  The internet price point for the Thin Client is a little more than the Multiseat coming in at $556.40 per seat in a 30 station setting (30 stations plus server).  This cost does not include the switch you would net to create your subnet.

All in all, I would prefer the Thin Client setup for a new lab (although neither setup came out as a must have to me).  The Thin Client offered more flexibility in computer setup with the option of different images for different types of classes.  Both setups showed great improvements in power consumption with the Multiseat unit only using 7W and the Thin Client 17W*, much lower than a standard power unit in a desktop machine.  I’m not ready to purchase either one yet.  I’ve never been one to jump in on the first version of a new technology.  These both have plenty of room to grow and I look forward to what HP plans to do with these two new lab setups.

*Some notes and statistics for this were taken directly from the initial presentation so I don’t have links for them.

Posted in Ed Tech, education, Lab, technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tech Shy Teachers

Posted by magnethart on May 18, 2010

Originally posted by me on March 1, 2010 on my magnettech website.  It may be viewed here.

Through my parousing of my recent Google Reader feeds, I came across this post from Tech & Learning about training teachers who are “Tech Shy”.

The link to the real article can be found here but I’ve copied what main part below.

“Teaching Tech-Shy Teachers”, March 1, 2010, Tech & Learning

The conversations at the recent EduCon 2.2 conference at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy were dynamic and ongoing, thanks to the tech savvy of the attendees and participants. One of the most interesting conversations involved the challenge of motivating teachers unenthusiastic about technology to use it.

Reading (PA) Public Schools’ Danja Mahoney, Michael Springer, and Beth Knittle asked the question, “Why is professional development such a challenge?” Here are highlights of the answers:

  • Training sessions are held at the worst time of the day.
  • Top-down decision making results in programs that aren’t helpful to teachers.
  • Training is usually a onetime thing.
  • There’s no real modeling from the administration.
  • PD opportunities are not of interest to teachers.
  • There is a lack of good leadership. The presenters then asked the participants what they would change to improve this experience and motivate those reluctant teachers. Here are highlights of their answers:
  • Give teachers hands-on workshops and make sure they have a product they can take home (e.g., demo wiki).
  • Make the training experience sustainable. Create some way to follow up with these teachers after the training event. Encourage the participants to continue the conversation after the PD event.
  • Encourage school leaders to join this conversation.
  • Do a survey before the PD event to make sure you are presenting what the teachers want.
  • Get the buy-in from the teachers.

These comments strike home for me since technology training is mostly what I do and I ofter come across teachers who would qualify as “tech-shy”.  I particulary like to comment about surveying teachers to make sure the PD is really what they are looking for.  This is something that I try and do using Google Docs forms when possible.  I also like the idea of giving them something to take away like a lesson they created during the training or a wiki/collaborative website (better after Firstclass 10 is available for teachers in the district).

All in all, good things to consider here for my next training.

Posted in Ed Tech, Professional Development, technology | Leave a Comment »