Saturday, March 21, 2009


SmugMug is a family owned and operated photo sharing/host site that offers free Pro Accounts, valued at $149.95, to non-profits. Simply fill out the form found here and submit.

I found their customer support to be unbelieveable. I created my account on a Saturday and ran into a glitch so I emailed them and they got back to me within minutes! I was so impressed that I sent out the link to all my Twitter and Plurk friends so that they could get in on the fun.

After creating an account and setting up a domain name for our school, I got started uploading pictures. One great feature is the simple one click upload directly from Picasa. Here are the simple step-by-step directions for adding this feature to Picasa. 

In addition to hosting your pictures SmugMug allows video uploads and one click Geo-tagging directly from the iPhone!  All this and much, much more without the bother of ads. Don't wait, this one is too good to miss.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Leslie Fisher@MACUL

Steve Dembo@MACUL

Saturday, January 24, 2009

MIT and High School Courses

MIT is now offering courseware for High School students and the! Highlights for High School provides students with coursework to help with AP classes, video demonstrations, lab experiments, competitions and more.

Highlights for High School is the latest addition to the Opencourseware that MIT has been providing for over 6 years. While this new endeavor focuses the magnifying glass on processes and content to help high school students and teachers, it is not the first time that MIT has provided assisstance. Dating as far back as 1956 when MIT professors collaborated with high school physics teachers to help define the best approach to teaching introductory physics or when in 1957 MIT students committed to working with middle and high school students, which is still active today.

Additional Resources:

Spell with Flickr

I have to admit, sometimes I'm pretty simple and like the shiny objects. Spell with Flickr is a simple but elegant program, written by Erik Kastner, which searches the Flickr database of pictures to spell out any word of your choosing.

You simply type in the word(s) that you want spelled and hit enter. After receiving the initial rendering you can change any letter simply by clicking on it. Once you found a combination that you like, copy the code and paste it into your html code.

Below is my daughter's name created using Spell with Flickr:
Z O Copper Square Letter s letter I A38
I'm still working out how to use this in PowerPoint and other "nonweb" based programs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Board of Education

Monday, January 19, 2009


Where have I been? Kerpoof has been around for quite some time and yet somehow I managed to miss out, that is until now.

Kerpoof, a web-based, interactive program for children, was created by a Boulder Colorado company on March 1, 2006 and has grown in popularity since. It has become so inviting that Disney couldn't resist and acquired Kerpoof, just a few days ago. This is not the first time that Disney has snatched up a popular program for kids; they also acquired Club Penguin in 2007. Some of the more popular products on their burgeoning roster are Toon Town, Pixie Hallow and Pirates Online.

Now that Kerpoof is a Disney product you can use many of your favorite Disney characters when creating work. Kerpoof is Internet based and so no install is needed. Students can continue work without any complicated saving procedures, no advertising and a single page display.

More information can be found at Kerpoof website or my school blog: Highmeadow Common Campus Technology.

Daily Lit

I spent much of my day today participating in continuous partial attention and while endlessly searching for more, I came across DailyLit. "DailyLit lets you read entire books in short, customized installments sent to you by email or RSS."

Creating an account in DailyLit is rather straight forward by following the links from REGISTER, which appears at the top, right of the page. The username that you choose will become your public identity and will show on your DailyLit homepage and on any posts that you make to the site. After creating your account a confirmation code is sent to your email in order to confirm that you want to be a member. Then the fun begins.

You can search for books by Author, Title or Category. I started by searching for "classics" in the category section, knowing that these books would be free for public use as the copyright has expired. I chose a couple to experiment with and added them to my account. I decided to send these installments to my email because my RSS "in basket" is already quite full. You can tweak your settings to enlarge the font size, and to specify when they should be delivered.

I appreciate the graphics and clean display of the email that is sent. Take notice that at the bottom of each email are adjustments that can be made such as, delivering another installment right away, suspending delivery for awhile or discussing the book in a forum.

Maybe this time my New Years resolution to read the classics will actually happen. Technology just keeps making my life easier.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MVU Closing Address

The closing address at the Michigan Virtual Symposium 2008 was a panel discussion moderated by Richard Ferdig. The following is a paraphrased version of the panelists responses to questions:


Michael Flanagan, Superintendent of Public Education, Michigan Department of Education

Dan DeGrow, Superintendent, St. Clair RESA

Jayne Mohr, Associate Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Lorri MacDonald, Michigan Online Teacher of the Year; Online Instructor, MVU

Jamey Fitzpatrick, President & CEO, MVU ,

Michael Horn, co-founder and Executive Director of Innosight Institute

Warren Buckleitner, Children's Technology Review

Talking About the Future:

What does disruptive Innovation mean to you?

Michael Flanagan: Where we are right now: State Superintendent can waive seat time. Customizing education with technology can help all kids hit home runs. This is an opportunity to be student based and not teacher based. We need to attach money to proficiency and not seat time.

Lorri MacDonald: "In every crisis there is an opportunity" Schools should be open 24-7

Jamey Fitzpatrick: In the recent past no superintendent was asking for a virtual school, but now its needed. We can get smarter about how we innovate. Danger is thinking that technology is extra with budget constraints.

Michael Horn: We need a common language so that we don't speak over each other. Our solutions and visions might not be exactly right, but hopefully a common language has begun. Most excited about learning.

Warren Buckleitner: Think about mastery learning, its proven and can be done in a variety of ways. Kids are smarter than we think and we need to give them access and get out of the way. All the pieces are there, they've been developed and theory is there and waiting for us to put it to work.



Micheal Flanagan: not larger schools! Don't need to build them...when we put the for sale sign on it who will buy it? Funding needs to be adjusted and addressed. Early childhood is an important area.

My question: Are the days of ISDs numbered and bricks and mortar schools soon gone?


Parting comments:

Dan DeGrow: Online education is only going to grow. Our job is to make it successful

Jayne Mohr: Our children are our future the online learning experiences are possible because of the seat time waivers. Blended instruction is an option.

Michael Flanagan: don't limit yourself to what you can do without permission! Not everything requires a waiver.

Lorri MacDonald: If we keep doing what we've always done we will get what we've always gotten. Creativity needs to be encouraged. Look to learn from kids.

Michael Horn: Disruptive innovation is a force that extends benefits to more people by driving down cost. Everyone can have a computer on their desk. Disruption expands benefits...accessibility will come.

Warren Buckleitner: a forest fire fertilizes the ground for new growth, boats rise on the account of water, don't throw out your old shoes until you have new shoes.

MVU Lunchtime Keynote Warren Buckleitner

Exploiting Educational Technology

Warren Buckleitner invites audience to touch his floppy disk, he doesn't even care!

The lunchtime keynote. presented by Warren Buckleitner gave a overview of many of the technologies that are being used today. His vision of one laptop per child is to employ the use of the Nintendo DS. Its affordable and many students already own it. This also capitalizes on the current gaming trend that does much of what good instruction is all about: instant feedback, mastery learning, testing, scaffolding and opportunities for apprenticeships where one gamer tutors another.

Warren also shared the wiki that he created for the keynote and it can be found at:

Peter Arashiro, MVU, working the Wii Music program while waiting for the lunchtime keynote. Now that's innovative entertainment.

Acer Aspire One

I'm typing this post on the Acer Aspire One at the MVU Symposium. This is my first opportunity to put this computer through the paces and I have to admit that I like it quite a bit. Although the keyboard is a bit compact and the touch pad seems to be in line with proper thumb placement, it doesn't hamper my use. Mainly because I have a very bad habit of using my right index finger to use the space bar, therefore, my thumbs don't rest on the touchpad.

I quickly connected to the network, accepted the user agreement and got to work opening several simultaneous windows. I opened Microsoft Word 2007, ooVoo, and several Firefox tabs including connecting to the webmail server for my district. So far all is going well. It is very light weight and is even easy to handle when using my lap as a table top. I've install several programs such as Skype, ooVoo, Quest Atlantis, Firefox, Chrome and more and they all appear to be working.

Although the storage space is limited, I don't find this to be a deal breaker because I find that I use remote server spaces for much of my work. This blog is hosted by blogspot, my documents are saved to Google docs and there is always a thumb drive if needed.

I think that this is going to be a holiday gift to myself.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Best "Cellers" List

Five out of the top ten novels on the best sellers list in Japan started out as cell phone novels. Cell phone novels are are meant to be read in 1,000 to 2,000-word (in China) or 70-word (in Japan) chapters via text message on mobile phones and are downloaded in short installments. This trend began as far back as 2003, when author Yoshi thumbed out the first novel, Deep Love. It has become so popular that Japanese websites have sprung up to help manage the flood of new authors and recent novels have even migrated from instant messages to traditional mass market paperback format.

Although cell phone novels have not yet acheived the enormous popularity in the United States, the increase in gas prices may spike a rise in readership. How are the two connected, you might ask. Much of the readership in Japan is linked to the use of public transportation and from passengers taking advantage time that they have while in route or waiting for their connections. Currently less than 5% of Americans use public transportation, but ridership has risen dramatically in the past year with increase in gas prices.

Paul Levinson, professor at Fordam University, "I think (cellphone novels) will be 100 percent enormously popular here in the United States," he says. "The ideas that novels have to come in books, and that people have to read a large amount at once, is an old-fashioned concept." Digital Directions, Katie Ash, A Novel Idea

If you're interested in reading some cell phone novels check out TextNovel. You can set your preferences to receive updates on your mobile, email or to read the novel directly from their website.