Saturday, August 3, 2013

Leyden's 1:1 Symposium

For the last three days, I had the privilege of attending Leyden High School District 212's 1:1 Summer Symposium. There were so many things to love about this conference but what was best, for me, was the great mix of inspiration/vision and practical aspects. Attendees can actually do something with the ideas and information presented. One without the other will only get you so far.

Didn't make it to the Symposium?

  • Click on the Agenda Page and you will see that many of the sessions have links to presentations and websites. Lots of great stuff here!!
  • Follow organizers, speakers and presenters on Twitter.
  • Check out #LHS1to1 on Twitter to see what attendees had to say. Like what you see? Choose some people to follow.
Kudos to the administration, teachers, students, and staff at Leyden High School District 212 for putting together a great conference. And the food was fantastic!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Use What You Have, Take What You're Given

My son, now 19, has been studying martial arts since he was in middle school and I have learned a great deal about teaching and learning while observing his TaeKwondo, Aikido and Eskrima classes over the years. One of the best takeaways, thus far, is something Guru Edie (Eskrima: weapons-based fighting of the Philippines) says: "Use what you have, take what you're given." That motto encapsulates ideas and practices that form my own philosophy on teaching, learning and serving which had, until recently, been somewhat amorphous.

Use What You Have
For Guru Edie, "use what you have" means you use everything at your disposal when facing an opponent. Her students call upon every bit of knowledge, skill, and experience, as well as any weapons that may be handy. Parallels can be found in education:
  • Knowledge: As educators, college preparatory programs give us our start but we don't stop there. There are so many opportunities to learn - formally and informally, in person and online, individually and in community with others. Two of the things I love best about EdTechies are their love of learning and their penchant for sharing what they know with others.
  • Skill: Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice. Skill will grow but it takes time and we must be intentional about developing the skills we desire.
  • Experience: During Eskrima instruction, my son is encouraged to call on his experience in other martial arts. As educators, we are more than "just" music teachers, science teachers, 3rd grade teachers, or coaches, and we have a wealth of experience - inside and outside the classroom - to help us meet challenges.
  • Weapons: Yes, I know we can't call them weapons. Let's just say "tools". With the Internet at our fingertips, the challenge is not so much finding tools, but finding the best tool for the job. One of my favorite resources for tech tools is Richard Byrne's freetech4teachers.
Take What You're Given
For Guru Edie, "take what you're given" means you quickly, but thoughtfully, analyze what you see coming your way so that you can use those strategies, techniques, and tools that will be most effective. In Eskrima, timely analysis of your opponent and sparring environment means you decrease the chances of getting hit with a really big stick. While it's not quite so cut-and-dried in education, a clear understanding of ever-changing student needs (take what you're given) will compound the positive impact of the knowledge, skill, experience, and tools (use what you have) we have to offer our students.

So why spend time writing about things we, as educators, know already? When I put ideas into words, it helps keep those ideas fresh in my mind. Also, putting big ideas into small packages - like "use what you have, take what you're given" - means that I have an easy-to-remember way to keep those ideas in the forefront of my mind when details of day-to-day instruction threaten to overwhelm. Thank you, Guru Edie, for helping give shape to my thoughts.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Here We Go (Again)

Here I am again, making a resolution to post to my blog regularly. It has been a busy couple of years (20 months!) since my last post. Since that time, I have completed the Masters of Educational Technology program at Boise State University (link to my portfolio), applied for and was hired for a Technology Coordinator position, and completed my first year as a Tech Coach. Same district, different school, different role. Now that the initial flurry of Newbie Tech Coach Tasks are behind me, I will return to sharing my thoughts via this blog. In the first phase of it's life, my blog had a distinctly musical focus. While I hope I never lose that completely, the next phase will focus on the sharing of ideas, information and tech tools that will not typically be subject-specific.

Here we go!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

YouTube in the Classroom

This past January, I presented a clinic session at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference in Peoria, Illinois. The topic was using YouTube in the Music Classroom. Though geared toward K-12 music educators, the content can be applied to any classroom. Everything from the presentation is covered in the Web site I created to accompany my presentation.

Web site:
My YouTube Channel: (check out the playlist titled "YouTube in the Classroom" - lots of helpful videos )

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Promethean Training Web site

Yes, I know I keep saying I will blog more but then school started and my new semester at Boise. Enough said.

Fall semester I took EDTECH 554 - Managing Technology Integration in Schools. The class is winding down and I thought I'd post a link to one of my projects. The final project for the class was to plan a professional development opportunity and the topic I chose was Promethean Training. My district has invested in Promethean Boards and Learning Response System devices and even the most experienced of us has only had Promethean technology available in our classrooms for a bit over a year. I participated in some training sessions in fall, 2009 then got a board in spring, 2010. Meeting a variety of training needs seems to be a commonplace issue, so I developed a series of training modules that would be appropriate for individuals with quite varying degrees of prior experience and training. Should you use any of the training modules, I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts about them. As always, I hope they prove to be useful to someone, someday, somewhere!

Here is the link:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Web site!

My Boise classes are over, for a few weeks at least, and I've started working on two new Web sites. I used Weebly for the first time this summer, for a thematic unit project for my technology integration class, and decided to use it for two Taekwondo Web sites I'm creating - one for my children's Taekwondo Master, and the other for my son's coach.

Weebly is a very intuitive tool and using the two column element allows you to get a bit fancy with layout. For the most part, I stuck with the standard elements, but I did change CSS to add my own banner and match the colors of the blue stripe and title text to the banner. If you know CSS, it's easy to modify and if you don't, you've got plenty of options. I used the free version of Weebly for my thematic unit and Master Chang is using the pay version. With the pay version you have your own domain name - a definite plus for a business Web site and at $34/year it is very reasonably priced. If you're an experienced Dreamweaver user, Weebly probably will be too limiting for you, but for everyone else, Weeby is a great option to look at if you're considering putting together a Web site.

The first of the two sites is 95% finished, we're just waiting for some bios and pictures of instructors. Here is the link: The other site will be for the Morton Grove location and will have a similar site structure and some common text.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting Stereo Sound in GarageBand

I had a question come in from my YouTube channel and thought I'd put the answer here. When recording vocals, sound was coming out of the left speaker only but he wanted stereo. Here are my suggestions for troubleshooting:

First, check your microphone. If it's not a stereo mic, it can't record in stereo (use both L and R speakers). If you're not sure if it's a stereo mic, click on the Real Instruments tab then look at the bottom where it says "input source." If it is a stereo mic, you will see something like "Stereo 1/2 ..." 

If you have a stereo mic, but you're not getting stereo sound, then the problem is likely (hopefully!) your track pan. The track pan determines how much of the sound goes to the left and how much to the right. When the track pan is pointing to the 12-o'clock position, you will get equal amounts of sound to both sides.

Track pan all the way left sends sound to the left speaker only. Place your mouse cursor over the little button and rotate the dial to the desired location.

If track pan is at center/up and you're still getting sound only from the left speaker, check the speakers (make sure it's this song, not the equipment). If the speakers are fine (you played a different song in GarageBand and got sound from both sides) and the track pan is all the way up, we resort to drastic measures. Try copying and pasting the audio into a new track. For this track, set the pan all the way to the right. This would be a cheating way of getting stereo, but just might give you the sound you're looking for.

I hope this helps!