Archive for the 'ET&L' Category

New Look at EdTechLife.com

Monday, June 4th, 2007

I’ve just gone live with a new look for edtechlife.com. If you’re reading this via RSS, stop on by for a look. And if you’re already here, please leave me feedback in the comments below. I’d love to know what you like and don’t like. (I certainly can’t change the site to meet everyone’s tastes, but incase you can catch any useability problems or make any cool suggestions I like, I’d love to hear from you.)

The new logo and template are by Benton Melbourne of Melbourne Development, an old friend of mine who I also highly recommend as a graphic designer and web programmer. (Interestingly, he also does voiceovers, which makes perfect sense if you ever hear his unique deep voice… and if you’re familiar with his fantastic acting skills.)

In any case, I’m excited about having the new look, including business cards, a presentation template, and a handout template… all in time for NECC. :)

Trying Something New With The Blog

Friday, March 9th, 2007

I’m planning on trying two new things actually.

First, I am going to try post-dating some of my posts so that instead of delivering them in irregular bursts when I find time (only about once a week or so this year) I will deliver one per day as often as I can. I just wrote three posts and post-dated them for next week. It feels a little bit like being a serial cartoonist might… or how I imagine it might feel.

The second thing I’m going to try is to give up saving drafts of posts when I want to link to someone else. Over a year ago I stopped using FURL. I incorporated my archives here (thanks again to David Brussin) and I started posting any links as part of this blog. The point was to provide one source for any content I was sharing. The trouble was, I felt compelled to make my link posts more substantial now that they were part of this blog. As a result, I posted fewer links. I have over a hundred drafts of link posts saved and unposted! These aren’t doing anyone any good. One day I will collect them by category and post them here. In the meantime, I’m going to start going straight from my RSS reader to edtechlife. I’ll include one line of text the way I used to with my FURL posts, and the way proto-blogger Dave Winer does at Scripting News. I still struggle with how to differentiate these posts from my own, but for now I’ll precede the title of these posts with “Link:” to differentiate them. I’m around 2000 posts behind in my reading after the last two weeks, so this may be a good time to try this out… I hope it is not overwhelming (for me or for readers).

The first thing I’m trying already makes me so happy I’m almost giddy. The second makes me very nervous. Perhaps it would be wiser to try one thing at a time. Oh well, let me know if you hate it. And feel free to weigh in now if you like. I may find myself going back to FURL.

PS. It turns out my mother, who is a middle school teacher, is reading my blog now. Perhaps she’ll be blogging soon herself. In the meantime… Hi, mom.

UPDATE: I think I’ll try three things… I’m going to collect one category of draft posts per week and share the links on Fridays. If my effort to post links right away fails, maybe I’ll stick to that format for all link-posts in the future.

My apologies if this post was too procedural for anyone. I figure other bloggers may be dealing with the same issues. Feel free to share in the comments if you are.

Now back to the dissertation I should be working on.

Busiest Week of The Year

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

It’s finally upon me… my busiest week of the year… at least it better be.

Following a half-week trip to Seattle with Eva (to visit old friends), I’ve dropped into a marathon work sprint that won’t end until March 4th. So, considering the sprint started on Thursday, I guess it’s more like a week and a half. The last time I worked on my dissertation was a week earlier (and then it was only for two and a half hours). I’ve been busier than I like since the first of the year.

Now, tomorrow I am delivering a keynote for the California Association of Health Career Educators, an audience I am sure to learn from (in the spirit of two-way teaching, which is once again my topic). Then, the following day I am presenting a District tech plan to the superintendent and her cabinet, and then to the planning committee, in Palm Springs. With a little break to prep for the keynote, wrapping up the tech plan has taken all my time the past three days… and will again tomorrow.

Then I have a day and a half to prep for 15 hours of instruction at the CUE conference on March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. (And I’ll take a break from that to present on Video Games in Education as a “virtual” guest speaker for one of Sheryl‘s events on Tuesday.)

And, of course, as my advisor (Dr. Jock Schorger) likes to say, “life has a way of happening.” My back seized up while we were traveling and I finally broke down and saw a doctor Thursday afternoon. Sitting at my desk all day isn’t helping, but thanks to some muscle relaxants (and getting some of this work done, I suspect) I seem to be recovering.

Sadly, I gave up both Friday and Saturday night with Eva. I have often worked too much, but I never liked doing that – and I’m getting better at not doing it. I’m certainly not in the habit of it anymore… so I’m not at all happy about missing out on my “and Life” time. At least I’m learning my limits… and at least I took a moment to collect my thoughts for a blog post. I maintain I’m learning from the experience even if this blog does devolve into a journal from time to time. Perhaps someone else might, too. A colleague and I had a conversation about working too much a few days ago… and he seemed to be resigned to knowing he wouldn’t change. I suspect many of my colleagues feel that way; I did. For several years now, actually, I’ve wanted to change and I’m continuing to slowly take steps toward a more balanced life. :)

UPDATE: Dan brings up a good point in the comments below. I don’t even have kids yet. There are working single moms in the same Ph.D. program I’m in. I don’t know how they do it… and I don’t know how many of my colleagues do it, especially the ones with gnarly commutes, too. Still, I know I want to have this degree (and with any luck this work-a-holism) out of the way before Eva and I start our family, which will happen as soon after graduation as humanly possible if Eva has her way. ;)

There’s so much I want to write about!

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

I’ve been doing a lot of writing this past week (and a lot of face-to-face tech planning and professional development). Some of the writing I’ll be able to share here… sooner or later. I’ve written an article on video games in education, Learning to Game and Gaming to Learn, due out in the May issue of the Classroom Connect Connected Newsletter. It seems I’ll be able to post a pdf of the article here as well. I’ve also been helping to author additional “one-pagers” for the Google Teacher Academies, and I hope these will be available online soon as well (the existing ones are available on the Infinite Thinking Machine Stuff page.). Naturally, I’ve been working on my dissertation, too (I’m working on the formal literature review right now), and I suppose I’ll be able to share that here sooner than later, too.

Meanwhile, since I last posted here I’ve saved another 18 drafts of posts I’d like to get back to. About a year ago I integrated all of my Flickr bookmarks (and all my previous blog posts) into this new blog, so I’d be sharing (and saving) content in one place. Now, though, I’m seriously considering switching back to Flickr (or another social bookmarking service) because there is just too much I want to post – and I seldom have the time for what I consider a full post about it… though I could certainly do short little Dave Winer style posts here. Anyone have an opinion on these two options?

There’s some links to other blogs I definitely want to get up soon, and there’s some reflections on the material I’ve been writing about (in the literature review) I’d like to share – but in the meantime, I can share a link to my latest post at the Infinite Thinking Machine, Creative Commons in Education. I hope I’ve modeled the subject well this time…

What’s Kept Me Busy?

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

I had a very hectic August and 1st week of September training teachers before school started and finishing a few big projects. Some of these things I can share on this blog, and in an attempt to get into a regular blogging habit here, I will try to make a daily post each day this week (starting Monday… tomorrow I will focus on my writing for Walden).

The first few posts will be links to materials and reflections from these recent events:

I will add links here as I complete these posts. I suspect there will be additional posts this week on account of the reading I do online as well.

I’ve also put some new things in my sidebar… in July I added my new company logo, our services, and brief bios for Eva and I. Now I’ve added the wikispaces counter and the support blogging badge.

PS. I still plan to post a series of posts containing categorized links to items I’ve found interesting over the past six months, but have not blogged about. I’ll try to do one of those a day, too.

Meanwhile… blog plans.

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Meanwhile, I can’t believe I went a solid week without posting… and directly following the blogging institute to boot. I have some ideas for clearing out my drafts folder (and sharing some lists of links if nothing else) and for getting on a blogging schedule as part of my new routine.

For now, though, I have a conference call followed by another meeting this afternoon (these are good things now that I’m working on my own) and I’ll be back at it tomorrow.

On the “and life” front, Eva and I discovered there is a Tuesday night live jazz night at the Pomodoro across the street. We’ll be checking that out for the first time tonight. :)

Vacation… and Blog Vacation

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

I know I just got back on the horse here, but Eva and I have an anniversary coming up this Sunday, and we’re taking a vacation to celebrate. I’ll be “off blog” for the duration. There may actually be some fun “and Life” posts in the next ten days, but your regularly scheduled Educational Technology programming will resume on the 23rd. :)

PS. I will check email and voicemail periodically – so if there is something critical, do leave me a message.

Final Moblog Test?

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006

Can you find the Macbook in this picture? This is the space below my desk. Up top I have a KVM and a (very old) 20 inch monitor from which I can use any of these machines. From left to right, their operating systems are Panther (for Pro Tools), Tiger, Windows Server 2003 (and Fedora Core Linux on an identical machine that is not shown), and the Windows Vista Beta.

Can you tell I had too much fun working in the trenches at Estancia High School?

At any rate, I just joined the NECC 2006 group at flickr. (Thanks for the comment, Glenn.) I haven’t used the photoblogging features at Flickr since Blogger added photo support. Now though, this seems like a good wordpress solution.

I’m sending this from my new phone. I know it’s a digital divide issue, but I do see a lot of students with these… We can do so much.

If only I could tag from here…

Preparing for NECC (Includes OPML file!)

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

I’m thrilled to be listed on the At A Glance: Blogging NECC page. Though the list has already been up several days, I want to welcome new readers who are attending the conference in San Diego – and those who are taking advantage of the read/write web to listen in (and hopefully participate) via blogs and podcasts from the conference center. Thanks for joining us at Educatinoal Technology and Life.

I’m also stoked to discover some new ed blogs myself. In fact, it took so long to subscribe to all the blogs, podcasts, and photocasts in the list, I thought I’d post the OPML file here, so any of you can subscribe to it all at once. You should be able to import this file into most desktop or webbased RSS readers: NECC2006.opml

This site is listed only as a blog, but I occassionally post podcasts here also. If you didn’t grab the OPML file above, you can subscribe via my RSS 2.0 feed. You can also subscribe via iTunes by searching for “Educational Technology and Life” or by clicking here.

I plan to blog the sessions I attend (and present), the volunteer activities I participate in, and as many interviews with educators or educational technologists as possible. I’m particularly excited about chatting with any California CUE members who will be at the conference – or any ET&L readers who might be there. If you’re interested in meeting with me (whether or not you want to appear in a post or podcast) please leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Yesterday was my last day at the Orange County Department of Education. (Unfortunately they haven’t named a replacement yet, so the transition will be happening off the clock for me.) It’s exciting that my first week working for our newly formed company, the Educational Technology and Life Corporation will be spent preparing for and attending NECC. (Yes, the company is named after the blog.) I’ve got a lot to do before the conference begins, particularly on this site. A good deal of content needs to be posted – I’m going to have static pages as a part of this site for the first time. These will include our story, our governing ideas, and the services we offer.

I say “we” because I’ve started this endeavor with my wife, Eva, who is a kindergarden teacher, and technology coordinator. (Before workign at the district and county levels, I was a high school English teacher and tech coordinator.) I’m glad it works out that for the first few months of the business we can actually be working on this together. She may be more flexible next year, too, as she’s applied for a teacher on special assignment (TOSA) position at another site.

I’m happy to report that at least I’ve finished seting up my gadgets for NECC. Leaving the public sector after many years, I discovered I had virtually no personal electronics of my own. Thankfully, my MacBook, iPod (U2 edition), and Treo 650 are all ready to roll. I’m well equiped for some serious learning next week. We’ll be bringing Eva’s older iPod and iTalk, too, for recording podcasts on the fly.

I’ll keep posting changes over the next few days, and I’ll get my schedule up as soon as I work it out. I do know I’ll be at the CUE member and volunteer social at 5pm on Thursday and the edblogger meet up at 8pm the same night. I volunteer at 12 noon on Wednesday and present at 10am on Friday… Context, Inquiry, and Collaboration: Video Games as Constructivist Learning Environments in SDCC 8. I hope to see many of you next week in San Diego.

Now I’m off to catch up on the 334 posts on the new blogs I’ve just subscribed to… at least until date night with Eva kicks in here in about an hour. :)

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Articles of Incorporation

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Before I crash out tonight, I also want to share that it was a big day for the Educational Technology and Life Corporation. I sent articles of incorporation to the secretary of state. I prepared a draft of our bylaws and of the minutes for the first meeting of the board of directors and a few other documents we’ll need when the articles are returned. Needless to say I’m learning a lot about business (and consulting) right now. It feels a lot like when I first got interested in educational technology, or in teaching… or in music or hockey before all of this.

I know the name is a mouthful, but after dozens of ideas (and name searches) this still captures what I want to be doing better than anything else I could come up with. I went through the same thing a while back when trying to name this blog. I am definitely open to suggestions for shortening it or capturing it in a shorter name, even a made-up word. :)

In the meantime, I may do business as EdTechLife, like the URL. I also have to make some sense of our logo. I’m thinking something like ETL (or ET&L), where the T is a stylized tree. Again, I’m very open to suggestions…

It’s funny, because I won’t have much work yet in July, I will have much more time for my Ph.D., and for the “and Life” stuff, which is part of the reason I’m doing making the change… but this month I’ve actually added to my load – I’ve got my work at the OCDE (end of the year trainings and writing a manual for my successor), my Ph.D. work for Walden University, and now my work setting up the new business.

I miss blogging more regularly, and look forward to having the flexibility to get back to it.

Still, this feels good, and I’m making sure to keep a balance – and to spend time with Eva. That being said, I’m heading back to bed. Well, maybe I’ll skim my RSS feeds for 10 minutes…

Thanks for reading.