Random Thoughts

Intro to Firefox2 for Educators Screencast

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My first screencast is up over at U Tech Tips. A very basic tour for educators to get them familiar with Firefox. Basically to show that all the things that you are familiar with in IE are still there. Plus you learn how to add a theme.

The best part about this screencast is that the new Intro and Exit video clips for U Tech Tips were created by an 11th grade girl at my school who loves to create videos. I say a video she created in an assembly. Found out who she was and asked if she would make one for U Tech Tips. I was going to pay her, but she found out that the time she spend on creating the videos could be used as IB community service time. So that’s how she used it. I’m working on her to create a digital portfolio of her work for when she applies to Universities. This is the kind of thing that frustrates me. Here is a girl with a real talent with video and we have no way to harness that talent at our school…not this year anyway. There are so many classes I can think of that she could use to create videos. So many ways that she could represent reports differently than in paper form. I’m just glad I found her. I know how much time just a short clip like these can take to create, and I don’t have the time or knowledge to do it.

Enjoy the first screencast. If you want you can subscribe via iTunes and get the rest as they are created!


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Hi Jeff
    I have just watched the video and I’m really keen to see the next ones. As a newly converted Firefox user I am eager to see what else I can do with it.

    I really enjoy reading all your posts and have learnt a lot and discovered a lot of useful links and bits of software.

  2. Jeff – please tell your student the intro/exit was AWESOME! I am learning a lot about Firefox from reading your posts and trying things out. I too am in transition at my schools going from IE6 to both IE7 and Firefox. I work in 3 PK-4 Elementary schools. One of the things that has benefited me w/ IE6 is the ability to control the behavior of IE6 through the use of policy settings on my Windows servers. For example I can set the home page and default search engines from the server. Now it is not that I want to straight jacket folks, but having a common starting point for a lesson allows teachers an easy way to lead kids where they want to go. We all usually start on the school home page where we can build links out through grade level pages. I hope that it builds some learning that can be transferred to home where you can come to the school home page and do what you did in school today for homework and other assignments.

    I also can control proxy settings through group policies. I can send adults through one proxy and out the Internet via that route, and send kids out another way. For example I can differentiate the kinds of filtering in place by on each proxy so that adults get one thing and kids get another. The philosophical argument about if this is a correct policy aside, it is an easy matter. I just go in and change an IP setting. I can also have fail over protection if one of my routes to the Internet goes down, just go into the server and send everybody out the route that is still alive. My counterpart at the middle school has a pretty clever technique for dealing with young folks who abuse the school’s acceptable use policy and get a penalty of no Internet access for a period of time. (We also have kids whose parents request they have no Internet access in school or say they do not want their kids to have access under the terms of the AUP and will not sign off). He temporarily places them in a user group that is exactly the same as the general student population, except they are pointed to a non-existent proxy. Thus, they get network access, can get to their work on the file server, but cannot get out to the Internet.

    I do not yet know how to achieve that control in Firefox. Because it is not in the Microsoft family I do not think I will ever be able to manage it like IE6 (jury is still out w/ me on IE7) I manage about 300 computers and I am the little fish in my pond (other folks manage a lot more machines). A full conversion to Firefox is going to require me, my assistant, or teachers w/ a clear set of directions to touch those 300 machines and any adjusting or tweaking will require 300 touches.

    Having said all that the tools in Firefox for education are powerful and compelling and we will put these tools in place for even with the greater effort in management.

  3. Jeff!!!!!

    I thought you and Daneah dropped off the face of the earth.

    I almost cried when I found your page. PLEASE, PLEASE pass along my email to Daneah and have her get in touch. Or, you get in touch!

    We have lots of catching up to do!

    Missing and loving you both,

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