Monday, December 3, 2012

Flickr Slideshow in your Blogger Sidebar

You want to place your Flickr Photo Stream in your Blogger Sidebar, but you have no idea how you would accomplish this task. This post will walk you through the process.
First, go to Flickr and copy the embed code from your Photo Stream.

After you have that code, you can go to you Blogger account. Go to the Layout section and add a HTML/JavaScript Gadget. Then you will need to click on edit to adjust the size of the gadget.

When you are in the HTML/JavaScript editing window, you will see two numbers. They are circled in red in the photo below. You can adjust the size by experimenting with the numbers. I found that 200 and 200 worked really well for my blog.

When you are finished, it will look something like the one below. Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012 on Blogger

Great news! Now you can embed your on Blogger. The steps are simple and the results are great.
Get the embed code from your account Dashboard. Copy it. In Blogger, go to Layout and add a new Gadget for HTML/JavaScript. Paste the code in the Gadget and save the arrangement. Now you can view the blog and enjoy the new feature. It looks like the image below.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Action Research: Gamification in the Teaching of the Scientific Method

Gamification in the Teaching of the Scientific Method.pdf Download this file
I'm very excited to share this Action Research project with the educational world. Working with one of the KIS Biology teachers, Jeff Boyce, we looked into the use of games in the teaching of the scientific method. This PDF version of the results is free for all to download, use, and build upon. I have uploaded it to the iBook Store, but while we wait for it to appear in the store, and for those who don't use an iPad, I have supplied it. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blogger Blog Traffic Information

One thing I do prefer about my Blogger account is the detailed information I receive about the traffic to my blog. Look at the detail! I receive information about the type of computer viewers used as well as the specific browser. I'm not exactly sure what I would be this this level of detail as a teacher,  but if I was a company, it would be great information to know about the people viewing my blog. Apparently most of my traffic is from people using either Chrome or Firefox and they are from the US and Korea.

Blogger Blog Traffic Information

One thing I do prefer about my Blogger account is the detailed information I receive about the traffic to my blog. Look at the detail! I receive information about the type of computer viewers used as well as the specific browser. I'm not exactly sure what I would be this this level of detail as a teacher,  but if I was a company, it would be great information to know about the people viewing my blog. Apparently most of my traffic is from people using either Chrome or Firefox and they are from the US and Korea.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chrome App: PDF to Word File Converter


So you have a PDF file and you want to edit it. What do you do? Nothing, because PDF files convert poorly into Word or Pages files, right? In the past, yes, but now you can! The Chrome App PDF to Word Converter will convert the PDF file to a Word file and keep the formatting. Your old problems are gone -- now you can convert any PDF into a usable document file that can be edited. The user interface (UI) is simple and easy to use (image below). 

Chrome App: PDF to Word File Converter

So you have a PDF file and you want to edit it. What do you do? Nothing, because PDF files convert poorly into Word or Pages files, right? In the past, yes, but now you can! The Chrome App PDF to Word Converter will convert the PDF file to a Word file and keep the formatting. Your old problems are gone -- now you can convert any PDF into a usable document file that can be edited. The user interface (UI) is simple and easy to use (image below). 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Joining and Editing a Posterous Space for Beginners

If you are building a collaborative online environment with Posterous, you will probably have some people who don't know how to join or edit the space. This guide will help them with the basics. For those who aren't members Posterous, they will use the directions in the photo below.

For members who have a Posterous, they will use this screen to sign in.

Once they are logged in they will see their personal dashboard where they can access all of their spaces.

They will be able to choose the space that they are wanting to edit and they will see the dashboard for the specific space.

Once in the dashboard for the specific space, they will be able to click the Pages & Links button to reach the editor.

Contributors can add their content and then save the page.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

iPad App Review: Action Movie

I plan to add more content on my blog about iPad and Chrome Apps that have useful features for educators, but this time I have something that is simply fun. Although, for your students that like to create movies, this app will certainly inspire them; especially the boys, stereotypes are sometimes true. Action Movie FX is a free app that operates on the in-app store model. For those not in the know, apps like this are free to download and provide free features, but you can expand the apps abilities by purchasing within the app. In this case, you can purchase more effects in sets of two for 99 cents. Not a bad price considering what you get, because this app is tons of fun.
The UI (user interface) looks a little busy at first, but it is simple to use. Clicking on the effect will provide a preview of what it does.  When in preview mode, click the preview screen and you are ready to shoot your film clip. In the filming UI, you will have a target to guide you. Place the target on the object you want to destroy and tap the record button in the lower right side of the screen. A red edge will appear around the perimeter of the screen and when you have captured enough video, it will change to green and you can stop recording. Your video clip will process and you will be able to watch the destruction you created. You can share this clip to your iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone camera roll or Facebook. Through the camera roll saving you can use it in iMovie on your device or load it to iPhoto on your computer for use in your laptop/desktop iMovie. I have added a couple of examples to this post, but these are low quality versions, you can export the clips in HD. Let the good times roll! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Building Collaboration: The KIS Think Tank on Creativity

At the beginning of SY2012-13, our Korea International School director, Stephen Cathers, offered an "irresistible opportunity" to the faculty -- joining a Think Tank on Creativity. Several administrators and teachers joined the group and waited for further instructions from Mr. Cathers. In September, the announcement came out that the Think Tank would read Sir Ken Robinson's book, Out of Our Minds, and focus on two key questions: What is the importance of creativity? What are the dangers of not developing creativity in our students? Mr. Cathers supplied the all members of the group a copy of the book, which I truly appreciated because it was a book I was hoping to read during the winter vacation.
The first meeting of the group was set for October 17 to discuss the first two chapters of the book and the two questions Mr. Cathers had asked the faculty to think about while reading. On October 17th, the Think Tank met and discussed several reasons why creativity is important and how we can push our faculty to foster more creativity among our student body. The topics of project based learning, outdoor education, and service learning came up during the session. The first Think Tank meeting came to a close and the group assigned itself chapter three of the book. November 14th will be the day for the second meeting and I'm looking forward to another opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues in a relaxed book club type of environment. Although the Think Tank is not a committee with authority, it is a great way to introduce some new ideas into our school. Thanks, Mr. Cathers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Legal Brief: Kowalski v. Berkley County Schools

Case Name, Citation, Year

  • Kowalski v. Berkley County Schools, No. 10-1098 2011 3:07-cv-00147-JPB (4th Cir. 2011)

Facts of the Case

  • When Karla Kowalski was a senior at Musselman High School in Berkley County School District she was suspended for creating a MySpace page called S.A.S.H. (Students Against Sluts Herpes). The web page was used to invite 100 of Kowalski’s MySpace friends to join the page, two dozen Mussleman High School students were members of the page and used it to bully and harass another female student. Photos of Shay N. were placed on the site and ridiculing comments were left on the photos; in addition, the photos had been edited to make Shay N. look like she had herpes. Several students joined and viewed the MySpace page from school computers. The page was eventually discovered by the targeted student; once discovered the parents of Shay N. went to the school and filed harassment charges with the administration. The administration of the school disciplined Kowalski with a 10-day out of school suspension and a 90-day suspension from activities. Kowalski contends that the speech occurred outside of school; therefore, the school administration had no right to punish her for the MySpace site.


  • Did the school violate Kowalski’s First Amendment right to free speech with the punishment?
  • Did the school violate Kowalski’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and equal protection?


  • The appellate court upheld the lower court’s decision in favor of the school district.

Rationale or Justification

  • The MySpace site created by Kowalski was viewed at school and involved several students from the school; therefore, the school was within its rights to punish Kowalski. Kowalski’s hateful speech is not protected under free speech. The justices sighted the Tinker test as applicable because substantial disruption to the educational process was present. The justices also applied Morse v. Frederick by stating that the hateful language toward another student was inconsistent with the school’s mission; and although initiated off campus, clearly through school computers came to campus. Finally the court approached the problem from Bethel School District v. Fraser and determined that the speech in question was inappropriate social behavior, which the school has a duty to stop. The decision was written with an air of distaste toward Kowalski.

Personal Reaction to Decision

  • It was actually wonderful to find that the courts have defended the schools with regards to punishing bullies. Cyber-bullying is just as destructive as regular bullying, possibly even more destructive. In typical bullying, the students can at least go home and be free from the bully, but cyber-bullying follows the victim everywhere the Internet is available; furthermore, the victim knows that the attack still exists online where anyone can see it. The courts were correct to give school administrators the green light to tackle cyber-bullying occurring within their communities. The most shocking thing about this case, in my opinion, is Kowalski herself. Believing that somehow it is her rights that have been violated is sad, sad, sad. She should be ashamed of herself, but instead, she is fighting her 10-day suspension in court. I’m glad the court is not giving her the satisfaction to continue believing that she is right and the rest of the civilized world is wrong. It was an interesting counter-balance to the other case I looked at where a student had posted inappropriate material about the principal. In that case the court ruled that the principal was a public figure and could not expect a complete right to privacy. Thankfully the courts have made it clear that student-to-student harassment will not be tolerated and is not free speech.


  • School officials can feel comfortable going after cyber-bullies that operate within their school communities; especially, if there is any evidence that can link the online activity to impacting the school. For example, in this case, several of the witnesses admitted that they joined and/or viewed the MySpace page from a school computer. When the hurtful images and language about Shay N. reached the campus, it was like finding a smoking gun in the hands of Kowalski. The court mentioned that overwhelming evidence that the educational process was clearly disrupted  and that this type of hateful speech isn’t protected under free speech. School officials can feel free to punish cyber-bullies; the courts are on our side in this matter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Legal Brief: J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District

Case Name, Citation, Year

  • J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District, No. 08-4138 2011 WL 2305970 (3rd Cir. 2011)

Facts of the Case

  • J.S. and another student were punished at school for a dress code violation by the principal, Mr. McGonigle. After returning home, J.S. and her friend created a MySpace profile for a “M-Hoe” with a photo of McGonigle from the school website. Mr. McGonigle was not named, nor was the school; however, several vulgar comments were made about Mr. McGonigle and his immediate family. The school’s web filtering software blocks MySpace, so the profile was never seen at school, nor was the profile created on school campus. A school computer was not used in the making of the profile. Several days later, a student came forward and told Mr. McGonigle about the MySpace profile. The principal asked the student to bring a print out of the profile to school; this print out was the only hard copy of the profile to ever come to campus. After reading the profile and discovering the identity of the students who made it, Mr. McGonigle confronted the two students who admitted to creating the profile. In a meeting with the parents of J.S., the MySpace profile was brought to their attention and they apologized for their daughters behavior. J.S. wrote a formal letter of apology. Mr. McGonigle gave the students a ten-day out of school suspension and threatened the parents with legal action and did contact the police. The police spoke with the families about the possible legal ramifications of the MySpace profile.


  • Did Mr. McGonigle violate the students’ right to free speech?
  • Did Mr. McGonigle violate the Fourteenth Amendment rights J.S.’s parents to raise their daughter as they see fit?
  • Are Blue Mountain Student Handbook and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) unconstitutional due to vague and overreaching language?


  • The majority ruled that Mr. McGonigle, acting on the part of Blue Mountain School District, did violate the students’ right to free speech; therefore, the students’ punishment must be overturned by the lower court. However, the majority found that the Fourteenth Amendment rights of the parents were not violated by the school and that the student handbook and AUP were constitutional.

Rationale or Justification

  • Citing several landmark cases like Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986), Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 266 (1988) and Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007), plus several Federal Court cases such as Lowery v. Euverard, 497 F.3d 584, 591–92 (6th Cir.2007), LaVine v. Blaine Sch. Dist., 257 F .3d 981, 989 (9th Cir.2001), and Doninger v. Niehoff, 527 F.3d 41, 51 (2d Cir.2008) the court ruled against the school district. The court’s opinion was based on several key facts in the case. J.S. and the other student never created, nor brought to school anything about the MySpace account that they created; furthermore, the MySpace profile was not created on school owned or leased computers. Finally, the school software blocked MySpace. The court applied Tinker as a test demonstrating that no disruption to the educational process was apparent. In addition, the court used the Fraser exception to Tinker but ruled that this didn’t pass muster, because Fraser cannot be applied to off-campus expression. The court agreed that what J.S. and the other student wrote was vulgar and mean-spirited, but because it was created off-campus and produced no disruption to the educational process, it was protected by the Free Speech provision of the First Amendment. In citing the same case history, the court found that the parents’ rights to raise their child as they wished lacked merit, because the suspension did not interfere with them instilling their own opinions of right or wrong in their child; in addition, the school has the right to reasonably control student behavior in order to facilitate the educational process. As to the claim that the student handbook and AUP used language that was vague and overreaching and therefore unconstitutional, the court disagreed citing the language in the student handbook and AUP was clear and concise, but that the principal, Mr. McGonigle, had misapplied the rules.

Personal Reaction to Decision

  • As a former Dean of Students it is pretty tough to swallow the idea that a student I may punish is protected by free speech from bashing me off campus as much as he/she likes as long as it doesn’t come on campus; however, the reality is that school officials are public figures and aren’t afforded the same rights to privacy as non-public figures. Also, the actions of a teenager shouldn’t get the best of an adult. I respect the freedom of speech for all people and believe that Voltaire said it best, “I may despise what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it.” I agree with the court, but it is sad that this case went to court to begin with. The minority opinion in the case made an interesting argument by stating that the Internet is everywhere and that J.S. and her friend knew that at some point the MySpace account was going to be discovered by other students and then come on campus, but I still believe the majority was correct to decide the way they did. Does a teenager fully understand that the Internet and everything published on it are essentially public to the whole world? I’d like to think so, but having seen many students make mistakes with publishing unfortunate things on the Internet, I believe they do necessary know the ramifications of their actions, which is where we enter the scene as educators. The Internet is everywhere, but we must draw some lines between where families have the right to govern themselves and where the school can govern students. J.S. and the other student wrote some pretty terrible things on the Internet about Mr. McGonigle and his immediate family, which is where the principal should have taken a deep breath before he launched into his witch hunt. A ten-day out of school suspension was very harsh in my opinion and then calling the police pushed J.S.’s family into a corner. This is a time where you sit down with the families involved and have a very long discussion about the importance of Internet safety, integrity, making mistakes and learning from them. 


  • First and foremost, don’t overreact to a student publishing something on the Internet. The courts’ standard for free speech is a tough one to overcome; if the situation doesn’t clearly affect the educational process, an administrator is on very shaky ground. If the speech occurs off campus, administrators should assume that the courts will treat it as protected free speech. Administrators do have a leg to stand on, if the speech occurred on campus, or with school computers, and there was clearly a disruption to the educational process. A personal insult, even a public one, doesn’t give an administrator the right to punish a student immediately. If McGonigle would have waited another week, he probably would have been completely justified in his decision on a suspension. In fact, I think if Mr. McGonigle would have stopped with a shorter suspension and the apology, J.S.’s family would have never brought this case to court. Although there were hurtful and ugly things stated about McGonigle and his family, as administrators we should always put personal feelings aside and focus on what is best for the student. J.S. was, at the time, an eighth grade teenager; she was punished for a dress code violation and lashed out on the Internet. This was a great time for a teachable moment for the child and family; a wonderful opportunity to show some benevolence and compassion. Instead, it turned into a fiasco, an huge expense and embarrassment for the school district. Mr. Gonigle was upset and possibly worried about his reputation in the community, after losing this court case and spending thousands of dollars of the district’s money -- is his reputation better or worse? I’d say worse.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Student Rights Case Study: Senior Shirts

This case study itself was provided by my professor in my MSE program in Educational Leadership from ASU. I'm reprinting it to share my answer.

“Senior Shirts”

This was Sharon Grey’s fifth year as principal of Riverboat High School, and she had to agree that this group of seniors had been a real challenge. The final straw occurred in February. During a snow break, several seniors loaded up in two or three cars and drove the 8 hours to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, the local snowstorms quickly dissipated, and district schools reopened before the students returned. The fact that the school was in session had little impact on the dozen or so seniors in New Orleans, and they decided to stay for a few more days. Apparently, the parents of this group sent them more money and condoned their “senior trip” in spite of the fact that one of the young men managed to get arrested by the New Orleans police and charged with underage drinking. The group returned as heroes to the rest of their senior class and as villains to the staff. Sharon was bound by policy to mark their absences as unexcused, much to the dissatisfaction of several of the students’ parents. In spite of her best efforts, this issue developed into an emotional confrontation between several parents and the Board of Education, with hurt feelings on all sides. “Senior shirts” had been a long tradition at Riverboat High School. Each year the senior class designed a T-shirt, collected money from other seniors, and contracted with a local company to screen print shirts for the senior class. When Sharon first can to Riverboat High School, the shirts were relatively simple items, but they had become more complex and expensive over the past few years. Sharon sighed as she thought about this year’s shirt. The front of the shirt was simple enough. It read SENIORS 2011 and, in script, “The Best is Yet to Come.” However, on the back of the shirt was a purple, green, and gold Mardi Gras mask. Under the mask was the slogan “GOODBYE RHS: BURN IN HELL.” In the background Sharon could make out a figure, clearly female, tied to a cross with flames enveloping the lower torso.

My Answer:

As the Supreme Court stated in Tinker, “students possess the same constitutional rights as adults and that these rights do not end at the schoolhouse door.” Students do have rights to free expression, but their rights are balanced by the schools need to maintain an orderly and safe environment to promote the educational process. With regards to freedom of expression the question should focus on whether or not the shirts create a material or substantial disruption to the educational process? It is clear that the entire school community is aware of the events that happened involving the seniors who skipped school and went to Mardi Gras, therefore, a shirt referencing the event calls attention to skipping school and reckless alcohol use. This shirt disrupts the educational process and certainly undermines the school’s authority. The Morse v. Frederick case can be used to justify banning the shirts from school because the message of the shirt is inconsistent with the school’s mission. 

In addition, Scott v. School Board of Alachua County established that schools can ban shirts with symbols on them, if the symbols are considered highly offensive. The image of a person burning on a cross could be understood as a reference to actions of the KKK. Although the school’s location wasn’t provided, it is located within driving distance of New Orleans and can be assumed to be in the Southern part of the US. A reference to the actions of the KKK would be highly offensive to minority students and parents; the administration could ban the shirts to protect students from possible violent confrontations that could arise from students being offended by the symbol of a person being burnt on a cross. Finally, the phrase “burn in hell” is certainly offensive language. In the case Bethel School District v. Fraser the court established that offensive language is not necessarily protected. Students are allowed to have controversial opinions, but that right must be balanced against the school’s interest in teaching appropriate behavior.

Principal Grey’s first action should be to get a photo of the front and back of the shirt and contact her school board and superintendent as soon as possible. Any action she ultimately takes needs the support of her superintendent and the school board, because there is a strong possibility that this will end up in court. Citing court cases like Morse v. Frederick, Scott v. School Board of Alachua County, and Bethel School District v. Fraser she should explain the need to ban the shirts from campus. Using the school’s student handbook, she should draft a document establishing the need to ban the shirt and the consequences for wearing the shirt on campus. In my school, administrators have the right to ban any offensive clothing. For violating the rule, students receive a warning for a first offense with a parent phone call; a detention and parent phone call for a second offense; an in-school suspension (up to three days) and a parental meeting for a third offense; an out of school suspension (up to three days) and a parental meeting for a fourth offense; a possible expulsion for a fifth offense. After contacting and explaining the situation thoroughly to the superintendent and school board, she should call a meeting with the senior class. Explaining very simply and calmly, she should inform the seniors that their shirts will be banned from campus and the consequences for violating the ban. Also, a written letter to the senior parents explaining the reasons for the ban and consequences for violating the ban should also be sent home immediately.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making a Calendar Event in Google Calendar

When you have several shared calendars in Google, it can get a little confusing. If you are ever wondering about making an event on a certain calendar, click on the menu button just to the right of the calendar's name. The menu will appear and you will see the option to create an event on the calendar. The other approach is to simply click on your calendar and then use the drop down menu to choose which calendar that you want to add the event on.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Tweet Heard Round the World

Currently I'm taking a School Law course for my MSE in Educational Leadership. My professor asked us to summarize an article about an issue involving freedom of speech and students. Those interested in school law, school leadership, student rights, or social media are encouraged to read this post. Cheers!

Article Citation:

Wilson, C. (2012). Students profane tweet stirs free-speech debate. Associated Press. Retrieved from

Article Summary:

Austin Collin, a student at Garrett High School in Garrett, Indiana, was suspended after writing a tweet on March 16, 2012 at 2:30am from his home. The tweet contained a profanity: the f-word. A few days later school administrators informed Collin that he was expelled from school. Collin’s mother believes that it is retaliation for a few other discipline problems from before this episode. According to the mother, Collin violated the school dress code by wearing a kilt to school and wrote a profanity on a school computer once before while on campus. The problem in this case is that Collin claims he wrote the tweet on his own computer and not on the school network. The school administration claims that the tweet did come from either a school computer or the school network which is how they know about the tweet. The school network automatically flags any profanities sent out by electronic means or unapproved websites visited. Although the school officials aren’t allowed to directly comment on a student discipline case because of confidentiality issues, it is clear that somehow they were aware of the late night tweet.

The article details the landmark Tinker case as the Supreme Courts historical take on student freedom of speech. The article goes on to explain that state legislatures and school officials are looking for guidance from the courts for clarification on student free speech off-campus, but that the Supreme Court as denied to hear three cases about student off-campus speech in this session. Lower court rulings are all over the map and without clear guidance, state legislatures and school officials are making choices that may cost them later.

School Policy:

The school policy appears to be punishment for any student who uses a school computer or the school network to send profanities electronically. Also there is punishment for visiting any unapproved websites. Because this article doesn’t publish the exact wording of the policy, it is impossible to determine if it unconstitutionally written.

Personal View:

Although this is a news article and not really a review of a policy per se, I do feel there are some issues that need to be dealt with. There are some issues not clearly known in the situation in the article, but one thing is for sure -- the school will find itself in court over this matter. Not only will they find themselves in court, they will probably lose the case. I can see several problems with who the administration handled this student discipline matter. First, expulsion is an extreme form of punishment. This is a violation of the students Fourteenth Amendment right to equal treatment. The student has a right to an education and poses no threat to the health or safety of the school environment. There has been no threat made by the student toward any student, faculty member, or administrator. Furthermore, based on Tinker the administration has no legs to stand on, because there was no material or substantial disruption to the educational process. In addition, the question of whether or not Austin Collin intentionally meant to send the tweet from the school network also posses a dilemma. However, even if he intentionally sent the tweet from the school network, the punishment fails to fit the crime and is a possible violation of Collin’s rights under the Eighth Amendment -- the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. With these things in mind, I disagree with how the administration of the school handled this discipline case. Although I believe that Collin should be suspended for his actions, expulsion is way overboard on the part of the school.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Academic Fraud 2.0

When I moved to Asia, I pretty much stopped assigning writing as homework. One of the main reasons was because it was too simple for a student to have a tutor write the assignment for them. But academic fraud, or academic dishonesty, or academic honesty (for you optimists out there) isn't only an issue in Asia. It happens everywhere and with the explosion of websites and online tools, it is growing at an alarming rate; especially at the university level. Don't believe me, professor? Let me introduce you to American Homework
What exactly do the good people at American Homework do? They do your math or science homework for you. Who do they hope to serve? American university students; a great market with some disposable cash. Nice, eh? The interesting part with this website is that I found it from Dave's ESL Cafe and Craigslist. The American Homework team is focusing their employee search in countries like Philippines, Pakistan, and India. I have nothing against people in developing nations making a buck off some rich kids (comparatively); but, should students from the developed nations of the world be using these people as a form of academic economic slave labor? There are some ethical questions here that go well beyond simple academic integrity. Why do students in the US think it is fine to purchase the correct answer? I guess they have learned their new tricks from the business world -- outsource the jobs to some place where labor is cheaper. It is sad to see that this idea has spread to doing homework.

But the people at American Homework aren't the only ones out there making a buck off of lazy US students, people on are also into it. If you are unfamiliar with Fiverr, allow me to introduce you to the website: it is an online market place for people to exchange services for money. People are willing to do work for five dollars (hence the name of the site). One of the services you can purchase is help with your homework.

Clearly discussions about academic fraud aren't going away anytime soon. As educators at any grade level, we need to stop and ask ourselves how we can encourage students to learn to love learning, not simply find the correct answer as quickly and cheaply as possible. Parents should encourage their children to learn and worry less about the grade attached to the learning. University professors should ask themselves, who is really doing this homework?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Turn On Advanced iMovie Features

Did you know that iMovie has advanced features? Yep, it's true. Go to the iMovie menu and then to Preferences.


At this point you need to tick the box next to Turn on Advanced Features. Now you have access to blue screen, green screen, split screen, inset screen and more!


Now when you place a video clip on top of a video clip in your story board, you will have a new menu like the one in the photo below.

Friday, September 21, 2012

iOS6 App Store in Korean or Another Language?

So I installed iOS6; got on my iPad; opened the App Store -- it was in Korean!?!?! Anyway, I figured out how and why this happened immediately -- when you enable the location service, it reads your IP address; I'm in Korea, so of course, the Korean App Store came up immediately. If you go into Settings --> iTunes & App Stores --> Click on your Apple ID --> Sign Out --> Click on the blank Apple ID --> Sign In. Now the App Store will be in whatever store you normally use. The screen shots with this post will help you get through the process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Day in the Life of an Ed Tech Coach

People often ask me about my job. These conversations often go this way...

Random Colleague: Hi, Tim!
Me: Oh, hello.
Random Colleague: How was your day?
Me: Pretty busy. Ed Tech is really moving these days.
Random Colleague: Yeah, but you don't have classes, so it can't be that bad.

After several discussions like that I decided it was time to record a few examples of what a day in the life of an Ed Tech Coach looks like at Korea International School.

5:50-6:45 Get up, shave, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and clean the cat box.
6:55-7:15 Ride the bus to school.
7:15-7:20 Arrive on campus and get a cup of coffee from the Business Office.
7:20-8:00 Catch up on email and answer early morning emergency questions.
8:15-9:30 iMovie tutorial for one of our PE teachers.
9:39-10:39 iMovie lesson for the Korean class.
10:39-11:00 Check in at the office and find at least 20 emails waiting in my in box.
11:00-11:35 Film Makers' Club with the high school students.
11:40-12:15 Lunch (Answer random questions about computers and tech integration.)
12:15-12:30 Attack the email backlog.
12:35-1:15 Taught a Fish Bowl session about iPad 101: Seems Like First Time
1:20-2:10 Brainstorming with Art (@art_schultz) about a podcast for iPad tips and tricks for the faculty.
2:10-2:30 Typed up the ideas from the brainstorming session while Art taught a Fish Bowl session.
2:35-2:45 Wrote this blog post.
2:45-3:15 Provided trouble-shooting and answer technology related questions.
3:15-3:30 Try to rest a little and recover while attacking the email backlog.
3:45-4:45 Work out (This doesn't happen every day, but I was lucky today.)
4:45-5:00 Shower and get dressed for the ride home.
5:20-5:35 Ride the bus home.
5:40-9:00 Work on graduate courses, read, write, talk with my wife, go to bed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blogger Settings for Student Blogs

The EdTech team at Korea International School has been helping teachers in the elementary and secondary school set up student blogs. We feel it is important for students to have an authentic audience for their writing, but we also want to help them be safe on the Internet. With that in mind, we have some suggested settings for student blogs on Blogger. The screen shots on this post will help you find the settings and change them to something more fitting for students. 
Enjoy and happy blogging!

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the EdTech team: Ben Summerton (@bensummerton), Art Schultz (@art_schultz), Steve Katz (@stevekatz), Chris Bernhardi, or me (@tsbray).

iPad Camera Tip

When you are using the iPad (or iPhone) and you want to get the best possible photo, you can use this quick, simple tip to improve your photo quality. Put your finger on the screen and put pressure on the camera button. This will engage the camera, but not take a picture. Line up the shot the way you want it, and then release the button; the shutter will snap and the photo quality will be much clearer, because you won't be pushing the button at the same time as aligning the photo. I have a couple of photos to demonstrate.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Several of the Korea International School teachers have started using Schoology as a learning management system (LMS). It is pretty slick, so I dove in and started poking around. I have added screen shots with walk-through descriptions of some of the features. The integration of the grading and attendance into the social media options is certainly interesting and provides great opportunities for richer engagement. Schoology offers online testing and quizzing with automated grading, but you will still need to read the written wrote -- sorry. Of course, no program can make a lame teacher or course interesting, but this tool offers multiple options for teachers to design more engaging instruction. I did have a discussion with a teacher about Schoology and after talking through what he is currently doing and wants to do, he felt that continuing with a wiki and adding a Facebook Page for his courses was a better solution. I'm working on an Edmodo post next and then I will compare the two options in a third post -- so stay tuned!
Cheers and happy learning!

Schoology Create.pdf Download this file

Schoology Creation 2.pdf Download this file

Schoology Notifications.pdf Download this file

Schoology Updates.pdf Download this file

Post-It Notes Solutions

One thing that continually amazes me about living in Asia is the wonderful things that can be done with simple items. In the photos, you will find the IT office's solution to a projector not quite positioned the right way -- a stack of Post-It notes. Yes, the Post-Its were used to weigh the right side of the projector down and make it align with the screen correctly. Awesome! For the record, this was considered the final solution, not a quick fix to be properly adjusted later.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Adding a RSS in Blogger

Teachers often use Blogger as a way to communicate with their students and parents; one feature that comes in handy is an RSS feed. This allows students and parents to sign up to receive new posts directly in their email account. The first step is to log in to Blogger and go to the Layout section. You can then Add a Gadget to your blog. When the list of possible gadgets shows up, choose Follow by Email from the list. Now you have a button on your blog that will allow anyone to subscribe to your blog. The screen shots of this process are available on this post. Happy blogging!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mobile Observations in Education

Steve Katz (@stevekatz), Ben Summerton (@bensummerton), and I have all been out of the normal classroom for a year now. Not having a regular class has provided us opportunities to do more co-planning and co-teaching with our colleagues, but it does damage your street cred with normal teachers. In an effort to counter that problem, Ben had the idea of getting into as many classrooms as possible in the first three weeks of school to observe our colleagues. Of course being Ed Tech geeks, our focus is to observe how our colleagues are using technology in the classroom. We aren't observing to judge; we are there to learn. With the addition of two new members (Chris Bernhardi and Art Schultz {@art_schultz}) to the Ed Tech team at KIS, we have more time to do such observations.

Enter yours truly, I wanted to go one step passed observations and actually capture how the classroom feels --  the mood, the tone, the vibration of learning. I decided early on that I would pack my iPad with me to these observations and take photos, audio, and video clips. My first victim... Er... Um... I mean, my first subject was the amazing Jay Londgren, one of our band teachers. I've always admired Jay as a teacher, because not every teacher can take 50+ middle school students and keep them on task and actually accomplish some learning, but Jay does it every day. What I have come to appreciate about a seasoned 1:1 teacher is that they know exactly how and when to use technology to enhance learning; we can witness this subtle ability in Jay's lesson. In the photos, notice the projector screen is on the whole time displaying information for the class. It doesn't drive the lesson, the students were told to read the notice, but it was continually projected to reinforce the message, but it was only actually discussed briefly. The other use of technology was so natural to a music course, it would probably go unnoticed to the untrained eye. When Jay introduced a new piece of music to the class, he plugged his iPhone into his speaker system and played clips of the song for them. Not the entire song -- a clip and then they played the same section, a clip and then they played the same section. Students listened and then attempted over and over throughout the band lesson -- I loved it. Nothing reaffirms the love of teaching more than watching a master teacher do his/her job. There was one tech snafu involving a website where the audio wasn't working for the first piece of music, but Jay rolled through the issue quickly asking for my help and then testing another piece. Once he established that it was the particular piece and not the website, he moved on to having students play the piece. This all occurred in less than two minutes.
IMG_0357.MOV Watch on Posterous
sound_file_1.wav Listen on Posterous
These are only samples of the artifacts that I gathered. I actually have ten more photos, another 10 minute audio file, and several short video clips. I have published this with Jay's permission, which I thank him for a thousand times over.

Think of how observations could be done with mobile technology. This Posterous could be private and shared among administrators, department colleagues, or both. We could gather rich artifacts of teaching and learning and building digital portfolios for our faculty. I hope this post, and my future observation posts, will act as an inspiration to coaches and administrators everywhere.