Saturday, March 26, 2011

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Controlling Your Laptop via the iPad

After reading a post by Tim Tyson in which he showed how he controls his laptop from his ipad I went out in search of an alternative method. His method was a bit cost prohibitive for me. I had shared his post to a listserv that I belong to, and someone else wrote back in to mention three other options. The first two did allow me to control the laptop from the ipad, but it was blind controlling. The ipad was a black slate. I wanted to be able to SEE my laptop on the ipad.

Enter Splashtop Remote, a $4.99 app from the iTunes store. In no time at all I was seeing and controlling my laptop from my ipad. It did require two other downloads, a server app for the laptop (Mac or Windows) and another quick download, but it was very painless.

Basically you set up the desktop app with your ip address and a password. The software helped with that process.

Next, you open the app on the ipad and tap the laptop icon to start the connection.

Of course, you're accessing it via a wireless connection, so you will need that. When it connects you're presented with some helpful tips for how to control the screen.

Tap Continue and you're in. Easy as that.

If you've got an ipad at school and you're interested in using it to allow the students to control the laptop applications, this is the best $5.00 investment I can imagine.

Have fun!

I'm STILL not at all convinced that the ipad is ready for prime time in schools, but if you've got one you may as well use it. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No Cheering. Homework instead.

This story was told to me by a friend, Ralph Maltese. He said that his niece(?) had played a soccer game and her team had won. It was a big deal game. Ralph asked her, "So were you all cheering on the bus on the way home?" "No", she said. "We were all doing homework.

That's the gist of the movie "Race to Nowhere", isn't it? I don't know, but I think it's a sad day when kids can win a big game and not be able to celebrate because they have homework to do.

Or don't they do that at all any more? When I was in school the bus would rock with the noise we made, especially going through a town - the town of our rival, for sure. We would be hoarse from cheering and singing the fight song. Come to think of it, I was in a school recently where they didn't even know if they HAD a fight song. And they didn't know their alma mater, either.

Am I wrong to be mourning the loss of these traditions?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

This is why we became teachers

Just when I was feeling SO down and So worried about how this state budget ("Day of Reckoning") will effect our schools, my sister sent me this note below. It was posted to her Facebook wall.

"Speaking of your brothers, I had a patient out here in OH who was looking for your bro. Jim. She was from ####### and took guitar lessons from him when she was a teenager. When she found out I was from Homer City she wanted to know if I knew how to contact him because she always wanted to let him know how that changed her life! She has moved with her family to the South somewhere since then, but if you want to pass it along to him her married name is ########."

That was two lifetimes ago. But, I know that if you're reading this then you will understand how a simple note like that can mean so much.

And, when you read this and then you compare that to the teacher-bashing going on, now, it's enough to make a grown man cry.

What will become of our Education system?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Are You Average?

You are if you're 28 years old, right handed, own a cell phone  but have no bank account, and you're from China. Or, at least so says this video (below). The video came from here.

Thanks to @jigar_patel (A Tweeter) for sharing this with me the other day via Twitter. I had recently been in a small meeting with him and a couple others and he was sharing some fun infographic sites. I really admire the creative minds of those who create those infographics.

Take this example from that shows how large Africa really is. Lots of others to explore there, too. Or this one from that shows, by county, whether or not America's richest are also the most educated. And here's an interesting video that talks about data visualization. Or this website, has quite a few excellent examples. Or, the daily infographic. And, the inforgraphicsshowcase site that showcases the very best. Spend some time at these sites. Or, do a search for the term infographic and browse the resulting images. When you find one you like follow that link back to its source for the possibility of seeing others.

But, the point of this post is about whether or no you're average. Remember, there are almost seven BILLION people on this planet, living in a wide variety of conditions. So, watch this video. I think the description of what the average person is like will surprise you. I also think it will make a great Sociology lesson.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Very Skills She Needs She Doesn't Have

My cousin's daughter, now a sophomore at PITT is a nursing student. Her schedule is grueling, to say the least. How grueling? Last week she called her father at 5:30 AM, while riding the bus to the hospital for her clinicals, to ask him to look something up on the computer for her. No, she doesn't have a smart phone and yes, she needs one. But, a data plan is simply out of the question, at this point.

I asked if she was in some sort of study group. No, she's not. I asked if there was any sort of online forum where the nursing students could post questions and share their learning and the articles they find, etc. No, there's not. And no, nobody knows what a PLC or PLN is, let alone how to even begin to form one. The very skills that she needs to be successful in the "real world" are the very skills she lacks.

I suggested that she go to the library (arguably one of the best in the nation) and ask to get some help to learn how to access their databases, and to learn how to make better searches. She's too shy for that. Perhaps terminal shyness. I suggested that I could drive to PITT to sit in with the group to show them how to use Twitter or a private Facebook group to learn together. That might work - if I could do so without making it known who I was related to. Shyness is a terribly debilitating condition, isn't it?

But my point is this. We carry on and hoorah a lot about preparing these kids for real life, yet here is a clear example of how we failed them. They don't know how to learn on their own. We've never talked about it and certainly never modeled it. "What gets tested gets taught" is KILLING us!

No, I'm not suggesting that we stop teaching the 3 R's nor the science nor History, etc. I think that they should certainly know where Iraq is on the map and they should know how our planet functions and how our bodies function - and more. But, what I AM suggesting is that we're ignoring this skill, and it's the very skill that will last WAY beyond the time when they've forgotten the names of the capital cities of the countries, or the number of atomic particles there are in .. something.

I think every business teacher in the country should reexamine their curriculum to see if it includes anything beyond Office - via a textbook.  And, if it doesn't, I think it's time that the curriculum be redesigned and that it be mandatory for every student. It's WAY PAST time. LONG overdue.

Sending our children out into this world without the skills they need to make sense of the world's knowledge and information is doing them a TERRIBLE disservice. Almost to the point of an injustice.

What do you think? If YOU have children in school right now, don't you want them to leave with those skills?