Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

The following is an article I posted on our district website detailing our recent netbook deployment.  North Platte Public Schools in North Platte, Nebraska has roughly 4200 students:  1 high school, 2 middle schools, and 10 elementary schools.

Netbooks: A Cost Effective Digital Learning Solution

by Neil Hokanson, Educational Technology Director North Platte Public Schools

December 21, 2009

During the fall of 2008, the North Platte Public School Technology Department began to evaluate netbooks as a digital device solution. Netbooks are small laptop computers (with 10 inch screens) that have all the computing power of a regular laptop without a DVD or CD drive. The cost is roughly 1/3 that of a regular laptop and much cheaper than a desktop computer. Best of all the devices are portable opening up use anywhere, anytime. Pilot projects were tried in the North Platte High School Science Department and at Adams Middle School to see how the devices held up and met the needs of teachers and students.

In the spring it was determined, from building level technology plans developed by teaching staff and administrators, that a netbook would be a priority solution to increasing the number of digital devices throughout the school district. Plans were made to identify the number of devices that the district could purchase within the parameters of the technology budget, along with identifying stimulus funding as an additional source, to get devices in the hands of students. Three deployments were developed and the technology department has been facilitating that process since the summer months.

The first deployment brought 150 HP mini devices to Madison Middle School in August. Staff and especially students have been using these learning tools in a variety of ways to provide students new methods and experiences in practice, research, notes, developing presentations, creating art, for communication via email, creating brochures, and photo editing. Furthermore, the initial deployment at Madison has enabled the sharing of a wealth of information concerning the deployment, maintenance, use, and overall value of netbook computing that now spans many schools in the district and benefits other schools as netbooks are deployed elsewhere.

After the Madison deployment, and following budget approval in September 2009 and a meeting with the school board technology subcommittee, the second deployment was started and has been recently completed. 300 netbooks were placed in North Platte High School, 150 at Adams Middle School, and 30 each were deployed to Eisenhower, Hall, Lake, and Osgood elementary schools. Older computers from the high school were redeployed to McDonald, Washington, Eisenhower, Hall, and Osgood to provide equity with a thin client classroom solution that was done in most of the other elementary schools last school year. Since the middle of December 2009, including existing digital devices (laptops and desktops), computing has gone from as much as 12:1 to at least 3:1 digital devices per student in many schools.

The third deployment is well under way and will bring 120 netbooks to Jefferson, 90 each to Lincoln, Washington, and Cody, and 60 of the devices will arrive at Buffalo in the coming weeks. By the end of the 2009-2010 school year there will be at least 3:1 computing, with Web 2.0 capable devices in every school in the district. Schools that are at 3:1 will be identified as “next in line” to receive any new devices in the future and a replacement cycle is now in place to keep digital devices updated and renewed over the coming years.

Netbooks have facilitated a cost effective solution for the North Platte Public Schools in getting as many updated digital devices in the hands of students that we can in an equitable, wise, and fiscally responsible manner. Along with an updated network and server backbone over the past couple of years, teachers and students are reaping the rewards of 21st Century digital learning right now in the North Platte Public Schools, and the future will build upon the use of these devices to increase learning, facilitate collaboration, break down walls by opening up connections to others outside the classroom, and by developing a thinking culture that will prepare our students to be successful in an ever changing world and global economy.

NPPSD Netbooks Slideshow!!!

donkeyInformation overload has the potential to overwhelm good citizens all over the world, and I am not immune!  With a busy life that begins with five children and all their great adventures, I am often not reading all my RSS feeds, not checking Twitter, nor updating Facebook.  However, I do utilize these tools and many others to organize information that I find useful, and I know that I will eventually get to the pieces of info that are meaningful to me.

I can’t keep up with it all and that is okay.  There are no laws that require us to keep up to date on every piece of information rolling around on the web, and there are laws that warn us not to neglect our children.  Remember that the next time a little one is trying to pull you away from a digital device screen.

By the way, happy anniversary to my dear wife Dianna.  19 years and still going strong!!!  🙂

skydriveAppears to be a nice size of free storage space:

“25 GB of free storage on Windows Live

With SkyDrive, it’s easy to store and share your files and photos with almost anyone.

Anywhere access

Get to your online files from home, work, or on the road.

Password-protected

Keep your files to yourself, or share them with anyone you want.

Easy to use

Drag files into your online folders, just like on your PC.”

Now that we are two years in on the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and Institute for the Future 2006-2016 Map of Future Forces Affecting Education where are we now?

In February I had the opportunity (I took the opportunity and it is there for the taking!) to complete the Quest Atlantis professional development.  The following video produced by Suffern Middle School students utilizes several clips from QA, Second Life, etc. to drive home a very important point!  Enjoy and do!

http1The following are some new and old online sites that you may find useful as educational resources and fun instructional tools. I have included links to each site, a brief description, and information quoted from each site. I have known about many of these and learned about a few at an Educational Service Unit (ESU) meeting I attended in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Lesson Plans, Resources, and SO MUCH MORE!!!

Thinkfinity http://www.thinkfinity.org/

Remember the Marco Polo site? Thinkfinity is Marco Polo in its new incarnation.

“Thinkfinity.org makes it easy for educators to enhance their classroom instruction with lesson plans, interactive activities and other online resources. Thinkfinity.org also provides a wealth of educational and literacy resources for students, parents and after-school programs.

All of Thinkfinity.org’s 55,000 standards-based K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools and reference materials are reviewed by the nation’s leading education organizations to ensure that content is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased and appropriate for students.

At Thinkfinity.org, you’ll find primary source materials, interactive student resources and grade-specific research lists to help you tailor materials to meet your needs. Start exploring now!”

Web Tools

Tiny URL http://tinyurl.com/

Have a long web address/url/or web site “number” as VP Biden calls it ;-)? Tiny URL can assist in creating a much shorter url for you to use or remember.

“Are you sick of posting URLs in emails only to have it break when sent causing the recipient to have to cut and paste it back together? Then you’ve come to the right place. By entering in a URL in the text field below, we will create a tiny URL that will not break in email postings and never expires.”

Web 2.0 Sites

Glogster http://www.glogster.com/

This site has some possibilities and there is an education version: http://www.glogster.com/edu/

I envision students using this to create posters, collages, etc. for various classroom projects.

“Mix graphics, photos, videos, music and text into slick Glogs. Glog yourself every day!

Amaze your friends – send others links to your Glogs.

Pimp your profile! – share your creations on Myspace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Bebo or wherever you want…

Find new friends by their style

Have fun browsing Glogs, comment on other people’s Glogs and get inspiration”

MorgueFile http://www.morguefile.com/

This is a place to free photos and there is also a classroom section where you can learn the basics of photography.

“Morguefile, where photo reference lives. This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits.”

Gigapan http://www.gigapan.org/index.php

See the “Gigapan” from the Nebraska vs. CU game (For my fellow Nebraskans, click the following link and zoom in to find yourself if you were there!): http://tinyurl.com/88ao9d

“GigaPan consists of three technological developments: a robotic camera mount for capturing very high-resolution (gigapixel and up) panoramic images using a standard digital camera; custom software for constructing very high-resolution gigapixel panoramas; and, a new type of website for exploring, sharing and commenting on gigapixel panoramas and the detail our users will discover within them. The GigaPan website allows hosting and sharing all kinds of panoramas, and so the robotic GigaPan mount is recommended but is certainly not required to be part of this community.”

Picnik http://www.picnik.com/

Online photo editing and more.

Picnik makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames. It’s fast, easy, and fun.”

BeFunky http://www.befunky.com/

Create artwork with your photos.

“BeFunky Photo Effects allow everyday people to easily create photographically rich and artistic results from their digital images without the need for any technical knowledge. These “one-click” photo effect options produce desired results effortlessly and each effect comes with the option to make simple adjustments.”

Great video that I discovered at my friend Brian Grenier’s blog Bump on the Blog:

My year 7 son Charlie created the following short film for his assignment on the book The Outsiders:

The following links are to some of Buffalo Elementary 5th Grade student personal narratives recorded using Photo Story. More to come!!! Enjoy!

Shane

Sidney

David

Elizabeth

Tiffany

Morgen

Alec

Rachel

Courtney

Tanis

Mikeal

Allie

Allissa

Andrew

The following are links to our HAL student’s blogs. They are off to a great start. I really enjoy working with these wonderful people. I am proud of their efforts. Click, read, enjoy, and after you give them a glance, please respond to our poll!!!

We are using Edublogs as our blogging engine, and it is quite easy to set up student accounts, administer them, and moderate at the teacher level.  Edublogs utilizes WordPress and has many of its features available to students and educators.

http://hal6alexise.edublogs.org

http://hal6alexr.edublogs.org

http://hal6annb.edublogs.org

http://hal6austinl.edublogs.org

http://hal6brandenh.edublogs.org

http://hal6garrettk.edublogs.org

http://hal6logano.edublogs.org

http://hal6myrissan.edublogs.org

http://hal6nathanm.edublogs.org

http://hal6sarahf.edublogs.org

http://hal7alecw.edublogs.org

http://hal7alexise.edublogs.org

http://hal7andrewp.edublogs.org

http://hal7blaket.edublogs.org

http://hal7bryannas.edublogs.org

http://hal7catelynl.edublogs.org

http://hal7charlieh.edublogs.org

http://hal7connerc.edublogs.org

http://hal7graysonf.edublogs.org

http://hal7greggn.edublogs.org

http://hal7hayleys.edublogs.org

http://hal7ianb.edublogs.org

http://hal7kaylar.edublogs.org

http://hal7kristenw.edublogs.org

http://hal7laurac.edublogs.org

http://hal7lilyw.edublogs.org

http://hal7maddief.edublogs.org

http://hal7manuelm.edublogs.org

http://hal7mckennam.edublogs.org

http://hal7megans.edublogs.org

http://hal7mikar.edublogs.org

http://hal7sloanew.edublogs.org

http://hal7timothyd.edublogs.org

http://hal7vincentg.edublogs.org

http://hal8aceh.edublogs.org

http://hal8cameronb.edublogs.org

http://hal8elysek.edublogs.org

http://hal8ettam.edublogs.org

http://hal8jessicab.edublogs.org

http://hal8kyliew.edublogs.org

http://hal8loganne.edublogs.org

http://hal8marcusm.edublogs.org

http://hal8mattd.edublogs.org

http://hal8michaelo.edublogs.org

http://hal8samb.edublogs.org

http://hal8sarahe.edublogs.org

http://hal8shaylenes.edublogs.org

http://hal8tessb.edublogs.org

http://hal8tomb.edublogs.org

http://hal8tylera.edublogs.org

Stickam

Trying some streaming video experimentation!

In my continued quest to discover ready made, valuable, computing tutorials for teachers and students, especially FREE resources, I came across Tech Ease in iTunes (I now have a couple of iPods full of these tutorials and will be watching them over the coming days!).  The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, USF College of Education, at the University of South Florida has produced several how to video tutorials for Mac and Windows applications with printable .pdf files and instructions.

The products range form iPhoto, Garageband, Audacity, Windows Movie Maker, Flickr, Delicious, Google docs and so much more!!!  Links to the sites follow:

Tech-Ease Windows

Tech-Ease Mac

Links to Tech-Ease screencasts from iTunes:

PDF (Printable Instructions)

OS X

Podcasting

Digital Video

iPod

Inspiration

Web 2.0

GIS

Blackboard

iLife/iWork

Second Life

Our district does have a subscription to Atomic Learning that meets many of our tutorial needs; however, when programs and applications change it is nice to have resources such as these, produced at the University of South Florida, that prove to be very beneficial especially to teachers and students.

Another wonderful resource I have used for computer basics is Harvard’s Computer Science E-1 (It has graced my iPod since the Fall of 2007).

Harvard Computer Science E-1 Website

Harvard Computer Science E-1 iTunes

Enjoy!

With the new WordPress this past spring it was time to find some basic video tutorials for my workshops. Unfortunately I did not have much luck; so, I have thrown together some of my own.

I used the FREE program Jing to create the tutorials, and they are .swf (Shockwave Flash) files. The tutorials are for beginning bloggers; so, have a look and listen and let me know what you think!

H I T WordPress Tutorials: The Basics

WordPress- Sign Up

WordPress- Logging In

WordPress- The Dashboard

WordPress- Design and Theme

WordPress- Design and Widgets

WordPress- Write a Post

WordPress- Write a Page

WordPress- Comments

WordPress- Settings (Change Title)

WordPress- Other Ways to Sign In or Log In

*Not bad for an old cowboy!  😉