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Archive for June, 2010

Google Apps Education Resources

June 29, 2010 2 comments
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Google’s Response To Secure Search K12 Issue

June 14, 2010 2 comments

Although it is probably not true, I would like to believe my Twitter PLN helped expedite the response from Google this past weekend. Early this morning, Google posted a response to the Google Apps Edu content filtering issue: An update on encrypted web search in schools. To resolve the blocking of Google Apps Edu, Google will create a new host name domain for secure search so K12 districts won’t be forced to block Google Apps Edu. Google said they will fix this issue in a few weeks. I will definitely be following up with them to make sure they do fix it. Thank you for addressing this issue and listening to your schools who preach and use your products. Thank you to those educators who helped spread the word: Google Apps Edu Content Filtering Debacle

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Google Apps Edu Content Filtering Debacle

June 12, 2010 4 comments

Many districts have started blocking Google secure search because of violation of CIPA regulations. Recently three articles have been written about it: San Diego Schools Block Google Tools, Using Google Apps? Don’t Block Encrypted Search, & Google’s New Search Might Force Schools to Block Google. The unfortunate byproduct of this content filtering fiasco is that Google Apps Education is getting blocked because of this new policy. Apparently, Google Apps Edu is included in the filter block of secure Google search. The ripple effects of this new feature has been devastating, as teachers and schools who have banked on Google Apps Edu as their primary communication mechanism is now dead in the water. Teachers who use Google Docs & Sites to collaborate and schools who use shared calendars can no longer access their information. Google either needs to fix this issue immediately, or districts need to figure a way to allow Google Apps Education through their filters. Either way something needs to be done because content filtering is killing true 21st century learning.

Please help spread the word on how content filtering is blocking Google Apps Education from millions of our students and teachers. Thank you!

Troubleshooting Skills and PD #EduIT

K12 schools often do not include information technology as a piece of the professional development puzzle for teachers. However, with the growing use of technology in the classroom, proficiency training is becoming a vital piece to successful integration. While it is evident that teachers who integrate technology are savvy computer users, there is still a growing list of tech support issues that correlate with more technology use.

As the Director for both information and educational technology for my schools, it is clearly transparent that professional development in computer troubleshooting skills is becoming a crucial part of successful technology integration. It is easy to beckon the call for Information Technology when tech support issues arise, but with decreasing budgets and computer technician to desktop ratios rising (I have heard 600:1), technology proficiency and agility is a growing need amongst all staff members. Does your technology professional development include basic computer operations and troubleshooting training?

Moving forward, I plan to blend aspects of information technology strategies into my technology professional development training. As much as we are pushing forth 21st century learning technologies, it is equally important that our staff also have the necessary troubleshooting tools to tackle the everyday tech support issues in their classroom. Often, tech support issues occur right in the middle of the lesson and IT support is not readily available. Arming our teachers with IT strategies and resources will go a long way to successful technology integration.

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Questions About Technology Professional Development Programs

June 7, 2010 1 comment

As I continue to evolve my technology professional development programs, I am interested to know how others implement it at their sites. These are the questions that I have been contemplating and excited to hear how you do it? If you have an answer even for one of the questions, I would really appreciate it.  Thank you for helping me grow! Your comments are appreciated and valued. Hopefully we will have enough responses to share with others in the PLN. Feel free to comment or @socratech on Twitter.

1. How do you assess your overall technology professional development program success?

2. How do you assess your teachers in their edtech growth? Do you hold them accountable on any level?

3. Do you incorporate any Information Technology/troubleshooting training?

4. How often do you meet?

5. Do you provide any credits or extrinsic motivation for participating in tech professional development?

6. Any other tips or strategies to a successful program.

Creating a Win-Win Situation for Vocational and K12 Schools

June 5, 2010 1 comment

K12 Public Schools – Anyone working in the technology department of public K12 schools know the limitations of resources to service our school community. In fact, industry standards state that a IT support personnel to computer workstation ratio is generally 1:250. Unfortunately, I have seen far worse ratios up to 1:600. With the growing needs of technology in conjunction with budget decreases, how does a technology department continue to support the needs of our teachers, students, and staff.

CTE Vocational Programs – In a competitive industry such as IT technical support, experience is usually the key to landing a job in the industry. Many CTE programs teach theory and provide laboratory experiences with technical support. However, the programs are generally shorter than traditional degrees and they do not offer all the practical real world experience needed to land that key job. That is why many CTE programs offer externships for their students, where upon finishing their studies, CTE students are required to spend a certain amount of hours interning in the industry.

Creating a Win-Win Situation – As a teacher at heart, I decided to create a partnership with a local Computer Systems Technician program where I offer their students real-world experiences supporting a network infrastructure. As part of my partnership, I provide technology learning opportunities for interns to learn basics of troubleshooting and managing a network infrastructure. In return, the interns extend my quality of service by having more technicians on site for my staff and students.

The End Goal – Since developing this partnership, I have been dreaming of building an authentic technology learning center where CTE interns, teachers, and K12 students have opportunities to experience all aspects of technology. I have always believed technical professional development is the key to any K12 infrastructure. The more training and professional development, the less technical support will be eventually needed. The end goal is to empower our entire community with technical agility.

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