Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Comcast Rolls Out $10 Internet Access for Low-Inco...

Comcast Rolls Out $10 Internet Access for Low-Inco...: "Comcast Rolls Out $10 Internet Access for Low-Income Families
Low cost internet access for families who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch..."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Google Apps update alerts: Embed your Google Docs videos

Google Apps update alerts: Embed your Google Docs videos

This is awesome! Upload a video file to Google Docs, then it is easy to embed it for viewing in a Google Site. Easy, Simple and Fun!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Block the website - or not?

Recently, I had a great question from a Teacher Librarian (at an elementary school) about blocking websites that have violent games:

I have become aware of our 6th graders playing very violent games on the internet during recess and/or free time.  I thought I remembered hearing along time ago that we could notify someone of websites that aren't blocked to get them blocked.  Is this true and who do I notify?

My Reponse: 
Yes. We do (as a district) need to make reasonable efforts to filter and block webpages - in order to comply with the law and receive federal funding.  Here is the official page for Jeffco employees  to make a request to block (or change the status of) webpages: 
That is why we have the Bluecoat Filter - and some of those settings are managed by Bluecoat and some by district personnel.  (disclaimer - I am not one of those people.  This is in my circle of "influence" not my circle of "control" =)
My past experience :  for every game site we block – new ones will be created, or kids will find a way around.  At my previous school, I first tried getting some game sites blocked – but then our tech committee and admin decided to take a different track:  Computers are instructional tools being used during school time – if kids are using them for non-instructional purposes, they either need explicit permission for that activity, or they will have a consequence – ranging from loss of privilege (no computer) to more serious (depending on the nature of the infraction – we did have some suspensions).
In some ways – this is a conversation to have with staff.  What do we allow kids to do on devices provided by taxpayer money during school hours?  Do we require kids to show us and tell us what they are doing?  Do we treat it like Halloween?   (no blood, gore, weapons)
Every school (and teacher) handles all of this differently – but in many ways the computer should be no different than other school activities – both in expectations and accountability and consequences…
If we don’t let kids play “shooting games” on the playground – and we have systemic practices in place to communicate what is okay and what is not okay – and what privileges will be lost if they break that rule, then I think the same thing could be done with activities on the computer.  (and part of that could be that the computer screen has to be visible to the teacher at all times)

The filter can’t take the place of good classroom management and communication about expectations.
Obviously - this conversation extends beyond game websites...
What do you think?  Am I crazy? What does your school do?  We'd love to see your answers, comments, and questions below.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Product image
Aviary Design Suite (Free)
Free design tools and templates to create, modify and share images, logos, presentations, audio tracks, podcasts & more. Teams can collaborate on multimedia projects. Works directly in Google Docs.
-Create Logos, Slides, Business Cards & Letterhead
-Retouch photos, Make Web Templates & Banner Ads
-Develop Podcasts, Remix Audio & More

Should this suite of tools be added to the Jeffco Google Apps domain?
Click around. Try a few things. Set a few kids loose. Post some feedback below. Thanks!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Turning the Classroom Upside Down -

Turning the Classroom Upside Down -

Several Jeffco classrooms have already "flipped" - have you considered it? You can record your lesson - using any number of tools, including SMART Recorder - or... You could use videos/screencasts/lessons that other people have created, such as those from Khanacademy - described in the linked article.

How does a flipped classroom change the way teachers teach and students learn?