Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yes We Can!

Yes We Can. Three small words that have been branded by President Obama as words of hope, empowerment and change. Yes we can applies to so many things – even in education.

Yes we can engage our students as we strive to embrace 21st century learning techniques. Yes we can provide an environment creative enough to inspire new heights and excellence from each of our students. Yes we can empower our students to be open-minded and accept technology for all of its positive and beneficial uses inside the class. Yes we can, as administrators, empower all teachers to accept the changing times and trends of this new day and age. Yes we can provide the tools and resources so tightly intertwined with technology to make a true difference. One lesson at a time. One project at a time. One student at a time. We can.

What exactly does President Obama believe our schools/classrooms should encompass, highlight and focus upon? Here are the highlights within the K-12 educational sector…

· Reform No Child Left Behind
· Support High-Quality Schools and Close Low-Performing Charter Schools
· Make Math and Science Education a National Priority
· Address the Dropout Crisis
· Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities
· Support College Outreach Programs
· Support College Credit Initiatives
· Support English Language Learners
· Recruit Teachers
· Prepare Teachers
· Retain Teachers
· Reward Teachers

Want to know the full details of President Obama’s education agenda? Visit the official website for the White House/President Obama. Check out the education agenda in its entirety.

Be sure to also take a look at his agenda for technology!

"Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America."

-- Barack Obama, Springfield, Illinois - February 10, 2007

Yes we can make a difference within our entire school system, on a local level within each school and within each and every classroom – each and every day. We can.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is it your footprint, or just your shadow?

Retrace your steps. Follow in my footsteps. These boots are made for walking. Follow my lead.

These are all common sayings for where your footsteps can take you. But, what about online? Did you know that you create “digital footprints” every time you visit the world wide web? You also have something called a digital shadow that follows you!

What exactly are digital footprints? In a nutshell… your online trail.

According to a company called Pew/Internet, there are two main types of digital footprints.

Passive Footprints - These types of footprints are involuntarily left from your internet browser cookies and cache, etc.

Active Footprints - These footprints are when you voluntarily give out personal information, like your home address and telephone number when making an online purchase.

So, what have you done recently to leave a digital footprint?

-Posted to a blog?
-Made online purchases?
-Created a profile on a social networking site?
-Posted an online vita (resume)?
-Uploaded your photo?
-Created website accounts/registrations for various reasons?
-Sent an email?
-Used a search engine?
-Used VOIP to make a phone call?

So, we know what footprints are. But what are shadows? Quite similar to your footprints, shadows exist from things like electronic ticket purchases (concert, airline, sports events, theater performances, etc.), medical records, credit card purchases, surveillance camera footage, hotel stays, telephone records, attending professional conferences, etc. Shadows are just a part of everyday life. Whether electronically managed or not. But, more and more, our business transactions and daily interactions ARE electronically handled or stored.

How can you follow your own footprints and shadow?

-Google yourself often!
-Check out to see where your name/profile show up online
-Set up Google Alerts to receive an email every time your name appears in the news, etc.

This is an eye-opener and an absolute must for everyone… check out your potential digital footprints over the course of one ordinary day…. Very informative and only takes about 5 minutes. You will be amazed...

Want more information? Check out this site to look at the amazing statistics that our digital footprints in the 21st Century have created. Be sure you have some free time on your hand, it is 50 pages in length!

What is the best way to get a handle on your own footprint? Be smart. Post and contribute intelligently. Join professional sites. Create and/or join only positive networks online. Only upload appropriate photos. Step Carefully!

Also... it is extremely important that you educate and teach your students to watch where they walk!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Can You Convert?

File Conversion. Today, most saved files need to be used, viewed and accessed by many different users. Guaranteed – those users are not all using the same software applications. So, what do you do? You convert your file into another format. What are some options? There are plenty.

· Free online service
· Convert images, songs, videos, and documents
· Files you convert can be on your hard drive, or even from other websites
· The converted file is then emailed to you
· Examples of conversion file formats: .mp3, .wmv, .ppt, .doc, .avi, .zip, .jpg, etc.

· Free application you must download
· Convert files to pdf (portable document format)
· Once downloaded, primopdf installs itself into every program you have installed on your hard drive – which is great! You can then choose the “print” option (in ANY program) and rather than printing to your printer, print to a primo .pdf file

· Free application you must download
· Convert audio/sound files
· Application is very easy to use once installed. Simply “add” a file into the Switch program window and choose the output (conversion format). Switch then converts the file and saves the new format to your hard drive.
· Example file formats: .wav, .mp3, .wmv, etc.

· Free online service
· Convert videos
· Upload video to convert
· Receive email notification when file has been converted and is ready for you to download
· Example file formats: .mp4, iPod video, PSP video, .3gp (cell phone video), .flv (flash video), .avi, .mp3, .wma, etc.

· Free online service
· Converts images
· Choose desired file conversion
· Upload image to be converted
· Download newly converted file format
· Example file formats: .eps, .jpg, .tif, .svg, .pict, .psd, .png, etc.

Want to get technical?

Curious about the sizes of your files before and after the format conversions? Check out to figure out file sizes. Visit their site to get specific size conversions for files you use or need to email!

Remember – Copyright Matters! Be sure you own or have followed copyright guidelines for any files you convert!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What is on your virtual bookshelf?

Reading. The gateway to knowledge. Magazines. Newspapers. Journals. Books. All common sources for finding the information and wisdom you hope to gain. All of those options are now literally at your fingertips.

Check out these sites offering free (complete text) ebooks...

ebooks – Just for kids

Robert Munsch

Children’s Classics

Want to listen instead? Try these sites for free audio books!

Need books for your PDA or Mobile Phone? Take a look at these.

Interested in ONLY computer books? Here are some sites to get you started.

Don’t have time to search site after site for a certain book topic? Try It is a search engine for pdf books and all types of publications! Simply type in the subject of the book you need and then choose from the long, long list that is returned. Now, be sure you check out the originating source and stay in compliance with ALL copyrights issued on your finds.

Remember... copyright matters, regardless of the ebook source!

Happy Reading. You now have a virtual bookshelf. Library card optional.