new year

SunSet from Condo in seattle

Yawn…..stretch…..and slowly pulling myself back into the real world after almost three weeks of vacation that included little time on the computer and a lot of time with friends and family. The way holidays should be.

The big technology gift this year actually went to my wife. Her sister bought her the new Kindle which is perfect for her. She lugged 5 books home for vacation…now all of those will fit in this tiny little device. 

So the new year is off to a great start. Flight back to Bangkok was uneventful (which is a good thing when flying) and I’m all set for the next two weeks and my reverse instruction experiment that I blogged about here. I actually have 6 teachers that I’ll be working with over the next two weeks. You’ll be seeing a lot of blog posts reflecting on how this is going.

If you haven’t actually been to the site in awhile you might want to stop by and check out the new look. The home page is my favorite pulling in the lasted Tweeted articles from the blog. Thanks to Alec and the team at Folliovision for helping to design the new site. Have a look around and see what you think. Still working on a few sidebar and menu options but for the most part, this will be the look for 2011.

Free Stuff

The real reason why you clicked on this post. 🙂

RunKeeper Pro free through January 


My wife and I have been into running these past few months and I have to say that this iPhone / Android App has gone a long way in keeping us motivated. RunKeeper uses the GPS on your smartphone to plot how far, fast and the pace of your run. It then uploads the data to the RunKeeper website where you can keep track of how you’re doing. My wife loves the cute little e-mails she gets when she has hit a new goal such as “Longest Distance”, or “Best Time”, or “Best Month”. She also loves the fact she can see right away how far she ran and view the route on her phone (HTC Desire, OS Android).

Of course I like the geekier site of the app. The ability to share your run on Facebook or Twitter as soon as you finish, and with the Pro version (Free through January) you can connect to a playlist on your iPhone and have it give you verbal cues when you’ve ran a certain distance or time. On the website you can create a “Street Team” or running partners to keep you motivated…..a great social-networking feature!

I know a lot of people set new workout goals for themselves in the new year (me included) and thought I’d throw this out there as a way to make running, walking, or whatever your activity a little more fun!

Link to Android App
Link to iTunes iPhone App  

Win a Free iPad

itsc 2011 logo 300x64

In February I’ll be flying to Portland and presenting at the ISTC 2011 conference in Portland, OR. One of the best education technology conferences in the Northwest and I am always grateful for the opportunity to go back to the Pacific Northwest to talk with educators in my “homeland”.

This year the conference is giving away 5 iPads! The crazy part is you don’t even have to register for the conference to be in the running to get one. They’ve already given away two so you have a chance to win one of the final three. The game is pretty simple. Enter to win an iPad by following these directions:

  1. Follow @itscpdx on Twitter
  2. Tweet the “message of the day” each day to enter that week’s drawing
  3. One (1) tweet, each day, gets you one entry into that week’s contest.
  4. Enter up to five (5) times for each week’s drawing by tweeting each message of the day, Monday through Friday.
  5. Tweeting more than once a day does not increase your chances of winning.

Complete Rules Here

It’s going to be a great conference so if you’re in the area join us!  

$25 Off BLC 11

blc11 150x53OK….so not free but a discount on my favorite conference of the summer. I don’t know how Alan November and his team do it but every year they have by far the best keynote presenters of any conference I’ve gone to….and the Keynoters are just the start. I love everything about this conference. The location, the size (right around 1000 people), the passion of the participants. I’m excited that I’ve been invited back for a third year to this conference and as a token for reading this blog you can save $25 when you register. Just enter the discount code JUBLC11 and you’ll be credited the discount. 

If you’re looking for one conference to go to this summer…this is the one!

Looking forward to a great 2011 and we’ll see where education takes us this year!

Everyone has their signs for when summer is over and a new school year is upon us. For me that sign is a 17+ hour trip from Seattle back to Bangkok. Plenty of time to change your state of mind and a clear sign that the new school year is just around the corner.

This summer while in the States I had the opportunity to meet many new comers into ed tech. It seems more and more schools are starting to understand that they need to have the support in place for teachers to be successful in integrating technology. Until our teacher preparation programs change, and I hope they do, this position it critical in helping staff and students a like in integrating technology into their teaching and learning.

Once again I am new to my position. Making this the 6 time in 7 years of being new to Ed Tech either at a school or at a division. So as I start thinking about this coming year 38,000 feet over Vietnam I thought I’d jot down some notes on what I have found successful in starting a new school year off right.

“Would you like cream and sugar with that?”
At the start of the school year it’s all about serving your teachers and starting to build those all so important relationships. In these first 3 days of PD before students show up I’ll be running around the school checking in with all the teachers making sure their computers are working, that they can access all the resources they need to get the year started and end with “Is there anything else I can help you with?” In my position I’m here to support teachers, meet them where they are at and hopefully encourage them to think about using technology in ways to enhance their lessons and student learning.

My Office is my e-mail
Yes I have an office, a place to hang my hat so to speak, but with about 70 teachers to support when I’ll actually be there doing work and not in a meeting or a classroom is unpredictable. One of the things I start any new school or division off with when I introduce myself is to understand my e-mail is my office. With so many way to stay connected now days my office is always with me. Find a way to be mobily productive (more on my set up in another blog post), use the tools that you are helping to “sell” to teachers for your own productivity. Not only does it make you more productive, but you also understand the tools better yourself. Find a set up that works for you and then keep trying to make it better.

Ed Tech is Messy
I’ve worked in technology at three different schools and have held every Ed Tech title you can think of and have operated under more sets of job descriptions than I care to count. When you are in an Ed Tech role you need to know it’s messy. There are no clear lines between the IT and the ED side of technology. Yes I’m not suppose to fix printers, but if fixing a printer gets me in that teacher’s room I’ll do it. We are here to support and supporting meaning being the professionals our colleagues need us to be. Sometimes I’m IT sometimes I’m ED….heck sometimes I’m even a restroom sub. 😉 What I love most about this job is there really are no boundaries to it. I have administrators that trust I know what I’m doing and let me go do what I do best…..not sure what that is….but I do it.

What advise would you give to someone new in Ed Tech? What’s the most important thing to do to get the new school year started off right?