Status Report

Technology-wise it has been very busy around here.  The City of Whitesboro offered an e-cycling clean up for used technology.  I got rid of 11 PCs from my garage and hauled off 5 from the Police Dept. and 7 from the City of Whitesboro offices.  I did this because there were 6 of them that were suitable for inclusion in our “Computers for Kids” program co-sponsored by myself and the Whitesboro Chamber of Commerce.  My Computer Tech class will have a lot to clean up and install hard drives in next week.

I have received the syllabus for my summer session classes in my Master’s Program.  My professor seems like a great guy and I look forward to working with him.  I am SO ready to get started.  My first class will be advanced data manipulation and presentation in Office 2013.  I will be doing advanced Flash animation during the second part of the summer.

I did not get a lot feedback from the Online Safety post so I am not going to continue that thread.  I just want to remind everyone that you need to know where your kids are and what they are doing online as well as in the real world.  I will pick up a couple of new apps (Autocrat and Diigo) as soon as I have a moment.

I am finishing up our Digital Fluency program so I must be brief in order to finish a lesson plan for the training.  Hope to hear from you guys soon.

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Just a quick thought about safety…

Public schools tend to shy away from social media, sometimes violently.  On the other hand, the world is moving rapidly in that direction.  Nearly every aspect of life is impacted by social media and the digital world.  We do our students a disservice by not preparing them for the digital life they will be exposed to when outside of school.  We need to prepare out kids for the real world.

Students spend a great deal of their lives online.  In my experience they are woefully unprepared for the dangers they are exposed to.  People, for example, who live in a large urban area, become used to the threats they9ipArbkiE face daily.  They know instinctively when to cross streets or in what areas of town they can go alone at night.  The Internet is the biggest city ever conceived.  It contains many of the same types of threats.  Just because people are not physically threatened it does not mean that the threats are not real and the damage they do inconsequential.  Students need to learn what to watch for.

Parents are not adequately preparing their kids for the digital world.  It is not a lack of concern on their part, but a lack of knowledge.  This blog, for the next few issues, will provide some resources for parents to aid them in ‘net proofing their kids.  With any luck at all, someone will read this article who has issues with children, especially teens, getting into situations online.

Probably the most useful piece of advice I can give is “Know What Your Kids Are Doing Online”.  I am willing to bet that 75% of teens in Whitesboro have a social media account that Mom and Dad know nothing about.  You need to involve yourself in your kids’ lives.  Know their friends.  Know where they hang out.  Yes, they will hate you.  They will accuse you of snooping into their lives. They will make all sorts of dire and dramatic pronouncements about your impact on their social lives and standing in the community.  They will stay safe.

Stay tuned for more but in the meantime, if you have questions about anything in particular, please leave a comment below.

Movin’ On Up (Education-wise that is)

Sorry to have been so slow in posting but I have run into a new project to occupy all my spare time it seems.  Today I was accepted into the College of Business and Education Masters Program at WTAMU (West Texas A and M University) or simply West Texas State in Canyon for you Texans out there.  I will be pursuing a Masters of Education in Instructional Design and Technology.  It is a very practical program with a great deal of real world skills in web design, video design, curriculum design, and not so much of an emphasis on theory.  I passed my preliminary selection interview today and was accepted into the program by the director, Dr. Rose.  Because I have a fairly extensive background in things technical, especially web design and video editing, I will be allowed to substitute some advanced research projects on lieu of the basic classes normally required for the program.  And best of all, the Hazelwood exemption deals with the cost.  Yaaa Army!!

Anyhow, I am going to use this blog as a conduit to organize and pass on my research to my professors.  If the posts begin to seem a bit out of sync, please by aware that I have NOT lost my mind, I am posting on specific subjects for grades.  Meanwhile, Thursday I go back to Frisco for day three of my 30 hour digital fluency seminar.  Thus far it has been enlightening and I will share more when I have a moment to organize my notes.

Speaking of Notes; don’t forget to recommend Microsoft OneNote Classroom Notebook Creator to any educators you meet.  It is a great way to provide interactive lessons for your students and give them an avenue to collaborate among themselves.  I am learning that true digital fluency and a truly blended classroom is not so much about using technology in the class, but allowing technology to provide means for collaboration and dissemination of the products created by the class.