Attached is my updated presentation for the CUE Conference. I will be presenting Thursday March 5th, 2009, from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Info on my “bonus session” can be found HERE about 2/3 of the way down the page.
Wiimote Whiteboard Presentation
From the CUE Conference Catalog:
How to Build an Interactive Whiteboard for Under $100
Dan Eliot 2046
A do-it-yourself project to create an interactive whiteboard system using an existing LCD projector, Nintendo Wiimote, and an IR LED pen.
Intermediate, Experienced, Not grade-level specific
Multi, TL, IN, IT Andreas Wyndham Hotel
Educational Technology has always been a mixed bag. From old equipment, to lack of training, to lack of time to implement change, public schools have always had it tough. Recently on techlearning.com, a great article was posted which clearly discusses how to perform Staff Development the smart way. A great read which hits all of the important points. Thanks to Nori Murphy for pointing out this article. It can be found HERE.
A great summary from the article:
Technology-based professional development activities should be anchored with the following fundamental principles:
- Participants learn by doing.
- Activities are relevant to the participants’ educational roles.
- Leaders model appropriate instructional strategies.
- Schedules include time for reflection and collaboration.
- Leaders and other participants provide ongoing support.
One of the great podcasts available on “The Interweb” is Radiolab. For me, RadioLab is a great mix of science, technology, and philosophy. A recent favorite is the episode on Emergence which discusses how, for example, individual ants or brain cells can do little on their own and have little power, but when grouped together they can do amazing things. Emergence, I believe, helps explain the real power behind social networking sites such as Google, MySpace and Facebook. Google is a social networking site you say? Well think about it, a web site’s Google search placement is based (mostly) on how many other sites are linked to it, often known as “Google Juice“. So the power if many “weak” links results in a site being popular within Google.
Ubuntu Linux is a wonderful operating system. Over time, each new release has gotten closer and closer to being usable by real people. Real people like teachers, students and (gasp) site administrators. People who just turn on and USE computers to do things, and nothing more.
In October, the Ubuntu folks released Ubuntu 7.10 (code name Gutsy Gibbon). The question is, will this be the one. Will Linux finally gain traction in this world of Windows Vista and Mac OS? Probably not this time, but soon, I predict a Linux Operating System (probably Ubuntu) will dent the mainstream. Time will tell…
Well, the Hundred Dollar Laptop actually came in at $189.00 (and dropping), but it’s still pretty amazing and revolutionary in it’s own way. David Pogue of the New York Times has a wonderful overview of the laptop that can be watched below or by clicking HERE. In November, US residents can participate in a “give one, get one” program. If you pay $400, you get your own “XO” laptop AND purchase one to be given away in another country. Very cool idea, and it’s a tax deduction.
One of the great promises of the digital age is the paperless workplace. The only problem is, people like paper (and books and printers and scantrons) and have often tended to keep both digital and paper copies of important information. While some businesses have moved in the direction of a paperless workplace, few educational institutions have. However, here is an interesting article from Education World which discusses three classrooms trying to make the transition. A particularly interesting quote:
”The school district’s goal to move to a paperless environment is an ongoing process that requires constant evaluation and new initiatives,” he said. “Although in today’s world, some processes are more efficiently completed using paper, the school district recognizes that rapidly advancing technology will result in more and more practical applications of paperless processes.”
In the movie Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back, Carbonite was the compound Darth Vader used to freeze Han Solo. In the world of Web 2.0, Carbonite is an online backup system for PC computers. Basically, with the purchase of a one year subscription for $50 (or only $10 with this great rebate at Amazon.com), you can securely encrypt and backup as much of your hard drive as you would like. The beauty of an online backup is that, even if your house burns down, you will still have your critical documents, photos, life’s work, etc. After creating hundreds (if not thousands) of educational documents over the years, it’s about time that I secured them. The Carbonite installation process is very simple, and the user interface is very well designed. Now my encrypted documents are safely backed up “off site” waiting to be restored if needed.
We have all run into CAPTCHAs (those little squiggly words we must type to access web services). You might also know there are multiple projects under way with the goal of scanning books and documents into digital form. Now imagine combining these two concepts!
Enter reCAPTCHA, whose goal it is to provide login security AND help digitize thousands of books. Every time a user uses reCAPTCHA to log into a website, they are also asked to decrypt a “hard to read” word from one of the book digitizing projects. So as you log in to a website, you are helping digitize a book. Check out THIS ARTICLE discussing reCAPTCHA in more detail.
Have you ever wished that your hard drive would just tell you why it’s so full, and what files are filling it up? Well, now there is a free program called WinDirStat that does just that. WinDirStat, gives you a graphical view of your hard drive with blocks representing files. The beauty of this is, you can quickly see which giant files are taking up your hard drive, and where they are located. This program would be great for educators to monitor their hard drives and keep free space available.
Two-factor authentication is a very popular term in security these days. Basically, the idea here is that, instead of providing just “something you know” such as your userid and password, it is much safer to also provide something else. That is, provide an additional FACTOR before you are allowed to enter a secure area, such as an online bank account.
One of the smarter ways of doing this is to provide something unrelated to your password, for example “something you have“. Among the coolest “something you have” devices is the new PayPal Security Key device. Basically, it is a little electronic display that generates a new 6 digit number every 30 seconds. When you log into PayPal or Ebay, you simply enter this special number along with your userid and password.
I think the time will be soon when public school districts adopt something like this to help secure sensitive student data. These key creation devices have been available in the business world for years, and it’s about time that school districts took data security seriously!