iPod nano Recording

MicroMemoAlthough iPods don’t actually need to be used for the creation or enjoyment of podcasts, the ability to record easily is always a welcome tool in the classroom (and beyond), and ease of recording can only be a positive thing for podcasters. So when Apple announced that the new 2G nano (the brushed aluminum one) is capable of recording at the same high CD-quality as its older sibling, the video-capable iPod, you’ll understand that I thought this was really cool.

So, I tried it out as soon as I could. I plopped my Belkin recording attachment to my new iPod nano, and it worked like a charm. However, and this is probably evidence of how metro I am, it really bugged me how the recorder stuck out further than the iPod itself. Aesthetically, it just looked unattractive.

If this were a movie, we’d have some kind of transition and caption reading “A few weeks later.” XtremeMac has just announced their new MicroMemo for the 2G iPod nano… and yes, it fits perfectly and looks great. I think XtremeMac has done a fantastic job with many of their products, and their recorder will be a winner. iLounge rated their MicroMemo for the 5G iPod the best of the three recorders out there, and I think their Luna iPod radio/alarm clock is going to turn a few heads and ears… so I’m really looking forwar to seeing what this new MicroMemo can do. Looks like I’m going to have to figure out a way to buy this new toy! You can find it on the XtremeMac Website to get your own.

Free is Good

I’m always on the look-out for free stuff. I’ve never been able to figure out if it’s because I’m an educator or because I’m Chinese… but FREE is where it’s at. Not to say that all free stuff is good, but a lot of freeware is great stuff because it’s a labor of love for the developer. Same goes for shareware applications, but those have a small cost.

Well, if you’re a Mac user, and you like free, then run, don’t walk to MacAppADay. They are giving away a free shareware program each day of December. However, there’s a catch. You have to be one of the first 5000 to request it.

They’ve begun early by linking to a nice Alarm Clock freeware application called Aurora. Just go over, subscribe to their RSS Feed (so you’ll be notified when there’s an update) and get some great apps! If all the shareware apps are normally $10, then you’re saving $310 by visiting each day of December.

ACSI Conference

Did the ACSI Conference on Monday, November 20th.

The Good: GarageBand went very well.  Nice people there too!

The Bad: Communication could have been a little better leading up to the conference, but that was also exacerbated by my migration to Orange County Department of Education in August.

The Weird: My Podcasting session was part of a formalized poster session event.  Imagine a large room with one station in each corner of the room… so four stations total. Everybody is talking as loudly as they can to a small, seated audience.  Mine went well, but my vocal chords were a bit angry with me afterward.

Final Verdict: Not sure if I’d do it again because I am SO busy, and I seem to be pulled more and more towards the larger statewide and national conferences.  Don’t get me wrong, grassroots and smaller conferences are great.  Local organizations rock!  However, when you start working for $$ it helps justify the time away from the family.

Lights, Camera, Education!

I had a chance to attend an event at the American Film Institute in Hollywood. It was the launch party for their program Lights, Camera, Education! I’ve been really fortunate to be part of a partnership of training with AFI in the summertimes. Their Screen Education program is a great way to bring filmmaking skills to the classroom. In my time at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, our Multimedia Services Division (led by the wonderful Julie Drake) partnered with AFI to create the Digital Multimedia Workshop. We utilized the Screen Education curriculum and would train at least 60 educators each summer of filmmaking skills and integration strategies to help enhance the curriculum.

Our partnership was just a small part of what Frank Guttler, Mitch Aiken, and Bob Jennings do at AFI. Their Screen Ed program has been used coast to coast across America. And now, they’re bringing it to more people. In this partnership with unitedstreaming.com, they have created a series of short videos that really represent the Screen Ed curriculum. Although nothing beats a well-done face-to-face, hands-on training, logistically, it’s hard to train huge groups of people. By working with unitedstreaming.com, AFI is spreading the word to thousands of educators.

The videos are hosted by Sean Astin (of hobbit, Rudy, and 50 First Dates fame) and features great tips, advice, pertinent information for all educators interested in boosting visual literacy and problem solving with video in education. The quotes from the kids at I-Poly High School in Pomona are especially thought-provoking because they come from the mouths of real students who have gone through the program.

If you’re a unitedstreaming.com user, look for these videos. They’re awesome!

One of the cool thrills was meeting Sean Astin at the event. I’m not much of a star-watcher, but I had to admit that it was pretty neat shaking his hand and getting introduced as a “stellar educator” by Frank and Mitch.

Kudos to AFI and the program!

AB 430, Day 3

The final day of AB 430 is here… at least for module 3, the technology component! This week, our Anaheim and mixed cohort groups will be finishing up. Our third cohort of Santa Ana will end on January 30th. I really hope that the principals, assistant principals, and other district administrators who have been through this program, have gotten something out of the training.

I know that for myself, Mark Wagner, and Christine Olmstead, we all feel that it developing a technology vision and bringing about change needs to begin at the top. It’s essential to have the buy-in and leadership of the administrator. As many of the principals have said throughout the training, they know that it’s essential to support, provide training, and get out of the way of the teachers.

Among the highlights that I’ve had from these trainings are the guest speakers we’ve invited in. The knowledge of Steve Glyer and Stephanie Schneider is valuable and relevant. I hope that the participants have also learned as much as I have about the 21st Century Learner and using data analysis to help guide instruction.

Another great activity is the Worst Fears and Best Hopes from Day 1. I think that Mark makes a great point in that all of our fears have a corresponding hope when dealing with educational technology. Here is a PDF of one of the cohorts thoughts on the Worst Fears and Best Hopes. We created it with Inspiration (a first for us… normally we use chart paper or whiteboards, but we wanted to walk the walk for technology integration). Worst Fears PDF

Finally, I really enjoyed sharing the Web 2.0 information. Blogs, wikis, and podcasts are such powerful tools for communication and creative expression. These tools (and more) help make the curriculum relevant and interesting for students and teachers.

I look forward to our next cohort in Spring… dates TBD. (editors note… the dates for the next AB 430 will be January 31st, March 7th, and March 28th… all 2007).

Excel Training

One of the other trainings that I get to do are custom trainings for school districts. This can include emerging technologies like blogs and podcasting, multimedia like digital video and audio, or productivity tools like Microsoft Office and iWork.

The following are some Excel tutorials that I have used for classes.

Microsoft Office Help for Mac

Online Spreadsheet Tutorials from the University of Alberta

Atomic Learning Video Tutorials… This is a paid service, but it’s high-quality stuff, and they use video!

These are just a few places with tutorials. Don’t forget, though, you can also find plenty of information on the Learn Tab in the Project Gallery Window. It’s the opening splash when you start-up an Office application, or you can find it in the File Menu.
Project Gallery

Take care,

AB 430, Day Twos

Our first round of AB 430, Day Ones has officially come to an end, and we’re beginning to see our participants again for the Day 2 of Module 3.

For those of you who might not know, AB 430 was a California Assembly Bill that promotes the training of Tier II Administrative Services Credentials.  I get to help organize and lead the Module 3 (technology) component.  It’s 20 hours of training on current and emerging technology that can help enhance teaching and learning.

I really enjoy this training because #1) I get a chance to work with the Institute for Leadership Development at OCDE, and #2) More importantly, I have a chance to work with administrators… the leaders of our schools and districts.

It’s all part of my fascination with the theory of Educational Amway: Instead of teaching 20-30 kids at a time, I could work with 20-30 teachers at a time, who each have 20-30 kids in the class… in a way AB 430 takes it one step further.  I get to work with 20-30 administrators who have 20-30 teachers who each have 20-30 kids.  It’s all about transforming education… helping the leaders mold a shared vision in the school.

Tier 1… Friday the 13th!!!

I had a great opportunity to continue developing the work that I do with the Leadership Institute.  We began our Tier 1 Preliminary Administrative Services Credential technology training…. however, we began on Friday the 13th.  I’m not very superstitious (normally), but I get spooked when odd things happen (often), and when way too many coincidences occur, I begin looking for the next mini-disaster (always).

Event 1: The iMac lab froze us out… couldn’t save or open applications.

Event 2: Finally forced the iMacs to work, but the needed more computers in the lab.

Event 3: We couldn’t log in to the iBooks.

Event 4: The iBooks finally worked, but the first few sites didn’t.

Event 5: A freakish thunderstorm hit and we developed a leak in the lab… right over a few of the participants.

This was all within a 3-hour span.  Coincidence?  Or is it Friday the 13th that affected my training?

There were actually more things that happened that day… not necessarily affecting the Tier 1 training per se, but still making my day just a bit weirder than usual.  For example, the Palm handhelds that we had ordered three weeks ago still hadn’t arrived, and the training was supposed to be Tuesday the 17th.  I could go on, but I’m sure I’ll sound a bit whiney.

“Digital Bill”

88ece579630669cf5b98e13156849fa70_mid.jpgThe Wizards of Technology podcast was among the first I ever listened to. I loved it! I knew something was up when I hadn’t heard an update for a few days. It was with total shock and sadness that I read about “Digital Bill’s” passing. He was a great host, a generous person, and one of the pioneers of podcasting. He and Mister Marc were so popular and had so much to share that their podcast grew from a relatively short one to a sixty minute masterpiece… and that wasn’t enough for their fans. To keep us even more informed on regular basis, Digital Bill began doing a daily update.

I’m called the “PodPiper” because of all the podcasts I create or help produce, but there would be no PodPiper without the encouragement of Digital Bill. I had a chance to meet him at the first Portable Media Expo. He and Mister Marc took time to talk to me and answer questions during the pre-conference Podcast Academy… from inane questions of content to the more practical questions about directory listings and equipment. Regardless of how many questions I had, he was always gracious with his time, humorous with his answers, and inspiring with his advice.

That day, I said, “Thank you,” to Bill and Marc, and I hope he knows how much my listeners, family, and I owe to him. He will be missed by so many.
For information on donating to help defray the funeral costs, please navigate to the Wizards of Technology site.

The Joy of Tech did a great tribute to Bill.

Custom Trainings

So part of my job is to organize and conduct custom trainings. Here I am at Buena Park High School… preparing for a professional development on Edublogs. Getting on the Internet was another little adventure, but it all worked out. Just got the TCP/IP settings from another computer in the lab and put it on my computer… and it worked! Little troubleshooting things you learn along the way.

I hope that North County ROP enjoys this.