Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Marking period disconnects

The "are grades good or are they bad" argument is for a different day. In general I have no problem with giving out grades. At the end of the day its a form of feedback. What I do have a problem with is the schedule with which we give them out.

Here in New York City at the elementary level we have three marking periods. Teachers have to submit them for review prior to Parent Teacher Conferences when the report cards are handed out. Cluster teachers such as myself (Art, Gym, Music, etc) have to submit them to the classroom teachers even earlier...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Passwords with elementary students

I am an elementary school computer teacher. I see 22 classes a week, grades 2-5. We use a Mac OSX server and Workgroup Manager (WGM) to create unique user accounts for every student. It is a great way to manage the lab, approve and disapprove program access, upgrade systems, and so forth.

A part of this is creating unique user accounts and unique passwords. I often get asked ho wI handle unique passwords with students so young, especially since they aren't logging in every day (I only see each class once a week).

Here is how I handle passwords...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Creating a tech plan: Four questions...

I often get asked about creating a technology plan or vision for schools. It's a tough question to answer specifically as every school will have different wants and needs in order to best serve their students and overall goals.

What works for me won't necessarily work for you. And that's okay.

In general, however, there are a few key questions that everyone needs to answer when thinking about a technology plan & vision...

Today was a good day. The City gave teachers the floor...

New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is large. A behemoth, to put it mildly. Over 1,000,000 students, almost 2,000 school sites. Countless related support personal; system engineers, system architects, human resources, payroll, accounting, and on and on and on.

And teachers. Lots and lots of teachers.

And with any large bureaucracy, what usual happens? Usual, decisions get made in an office somewhere, and by the time they reach the teacher in the school the decision seems mindless. Often, the decision makes no sense at a school level.

Today got off to an interesting start.

Monday, May 19, 2014

My trip to #Techlandia

The internet is a really cool thing. And not just the internet. iPads, Chromebooks, Google....

... Ok, so it basically breaks down to two things. Apple and Google make the internet worth internetting (or at least as far as I'm concerned). Which leads me to...


Friday, May 16, 2014

Have I made it sustainable?

This time of year always makes me wax nostalgic. We still have over a month of school, we go until the end of June, but around now is when the year becomes more about wrapping up than it is about starting new things.

I always look back on what we've done in the lab. This year was particularly busy....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Adobe Voice - a quick #edapp review

Adobe recently released a new app, Adobe Voice.

It's subtitle is "Show your story."

And it's just that simple. Choose your photos. Record your audio story to match. Save. Publish. Share. Very simple, but very elegant and powerful at the same time.

Here is my first attempt at using the app...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why tweet in kindergaten? Ask @mariacamastro

Why tweet in kindergarten? Ask Mrs. Camastro, she'll tell you.

Why her?  She hates technology.

She loathes the fact I've put 4 computer in her room and an iPad in her hands. She gives me dirty looks every time she sees me because now I'm trying to get her to lead a Twitter professional development session.

And it's awesome.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why Blogger with my students?

I use Blogger with my students. I have two classes currently running fully independent blogs. One 3rd grade class and one 5th grade class.

I often get asked why I chose Blogger over some of the other blogging platforms, namely Kidblog, EduBlogs, or even WordPress.

My choice was based on the following thoughts:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Email spam - sniffing out the bad, even from trusted sources

This post is a follow-up, of sorts, to the previous "Twitter spam" and "Phishing" posts. In making the slide deck about Twitter & Phishing spam I realized there were a few different variations of spam in general, especially within emails.

This post deals specifically with email, and more to the point emails you receive from trusted sources that contain questionable material and links.

When a user gets hacked or compromised as a result of a phishing scheme, the people involved will use the users contacts list to send out emails in hopes of getting more users to give up their usernames and passwords...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Phishing: not the hook you're looking for

This post is a follow-up of sorts, to the previous "Twitter spam" post. In making the slide deck about Twitter spam I realized there were a few different variations of spam in general, especially within emails.

This post deals specifically with "phishing"

Another post will address email arriving from trusted sources but smelling particularly spammy due to phishing...

If Twitter has it's moments of Costco-sized spam deliveries than email is the place where Costco shops. 

A lot of email spam originates as "phishing" scams. These are emails designed to get the user to voluntarily offer up their username and password. These emails convince the recipient they need to pride details, or log in, to prevent something bad from happening. Once the user replies or logs in the scammers have their passwords and can use their accounts to send out spam to a users address book...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Know your Twitter spam

Twitter has it's moments of Costco-sized spam deliveries.

We've all seen it. Or more to the point you got a Direct Message (DM) saying "wow, have you seen this post about you?" with a on-so-not-suspicious link attached. Or the ego enhancing "I've lost weight with this, and you could too!"

When this spam comes through I immediately delete it and let the sender know they most likely have been compromised. It's not always the users fault, though. Recently Pinterest was compromised and was sending out tweets to those users who had connected their Pinterest and Twitter accounts...