Monday, October 17, 2011

The links that keep me learning (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Bookmarks via PS10 iPads (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of PS10 iPads group favorite links are here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Google Voice, my new favorite edtech tool...

Takeaway: Google Voice is a great way to stay connected and provide access without compromising personal space or information.

I, like most teachers, am often asked by colleagues and parents for my contact information. Most often my school-based email will suffice. There are times, however, where a phone number is the best way to communicate. Do I want to be publicizing my personal cell number for the world to see and for 24/7 unfettered access to me?

I am the technology teacher and technology coordinator for a school of 850 students and almost 200 staff members. I not only teach 700+ of those students but I manage all the in-house IT issues including our own tech support system. I teach a full schedule and handle all IT issues before or after school.

As with many teachers I don't necessarily want to be giving my personal cell phone number to every parent and staff member that asks for it. As it is I receive requests for tech support at midnight on Saturdays via email I can only imagine what would happen if my personal cell number was made available.

This is where Google Voice comes in...

... I activated a Google Voice number for free, tied it to my school's Google Apps For Education based email. Now I can have those phone interactions and publicize my number without sacrificing the ability to "disconnect" from work when I'm at home.

With my Google Voice number:
  • I get texts to my email inbox
  • I voicemails to my email inbox
  • When logged in I can answer a call directly from my inbox
  • The iPhone app allows me to call out from my cell using the Google Voice number as the outgoing number (the person I'm calling sees that number on their caller-ID, not the number of my personal cell)
  • My Google Voice number is in my cell phone contacts, and when someone calls that line, my cell phone caller-ID shows "Google Voice," so I know it's a work-related call
  • I can access texts and voicemails from my iPad
  • I don't need a cell phone to have a cell phone
Our in-house tech support is a web-based system which sends me an email when someone fills out a help request form. The biggest issue for teachers was "what if my problem is that I can't get online, how do I submit a help request?" With Google Voice activated they can send a text to that number and I get the information directly in my inbox throughout the day, with no need for me to actually have a cell phone.

Google Voice allows me to provide a cell phone number for parent contact and staff assistance while keeping my actual cell phone off and out of sight. Between my iPad and my Google Voice number I can quickly receive texts, check voicemail, and more efficiently respond to all inquiries I receive.

I want to be accessible to the people I work with and the parents of the students I teach. At the same time I want to know I can step away from my work life to enjoy some disconnected personal time. Google Voice allows me to offer accessibility without compromising personal/family time away from school.

Bookmarks via PS10 iPads (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of PS10 iPads group favorite links are here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

And one more thing...

We all know the 1984 commercial introducing the Macintosh, but that is #3 on my personal favorites list.

#1 and #2? These are my 2 favorite Apple videos...

Thanks for Pushing Me to Think Different...

My open letter to Steve Jobs...

Dear Mr. Jobs,
Let me first begin by apologizing for the lateness of my thank you letter. You have had an immense impact on me for many years, literal decades, yet it is only now I get around to saying thank you. For that I do apologize.

It was the mid eighties when I first touched a computer. That computer was an Apple II. I was in elementary school and I made the turtle move around the screen. Yes, Logo was my introduction to the computing world...

High school was a dark time for me. It was the early 90s and Windows 3 was all the rage. My father was a corporate guy so we went Microsoft for those, the Mac-less, years. Thankfully the Jesuits had me writing so many papers I barely had time to loathe the OS, but I digress...

College. 1994. Boston University. Redemption, and a return to the warm embrace of the PowerPC. My computer at the time was a PowerMac 6100/60. I was a film major in college and the only television advertisement to ever grace the lips of a film professor was, of course, the introduction of the Macintosh. My first video editing experience was on that 6100/60. Years later as a professional editor I always thought fondly of that system (it lived through 12 years of college as both my younger sisters inherited it as I upgraded).

In 1997 I got a job at PC Week magazine. Yes, a Windows themed publication. The art department were my best friends, the only Mac users in the company. By 1998 I was editing video for the website on a G3, the beige one. In a world of Windows boxes I, along with my art brethren, were the small band of outlaws.

After that it was G4s, iMacs, Powerbooks, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iPods, iPads, and of course, an iPhone....

Since 1997 I have been faithful. Today my iPhone is in my pocket, my iPod is on my wrist, and my iPad is in my hand. Some say I "drank the Kool-Aid" but I prefer to think of it as "I've been around since the Kool-Aid was being mixed."

It is now 2011, October 5th to be exact. You, Steve, have unfortunately shuffled off this mortal coil. Your passing has saddened me as it has millions of others. Your passing has made me reflect on my own connection to Apple and you, and why it is your passing has my heart so heavy.

It has been 20+ years since I fist touched a computer, that Apple II, as an elementary school student. I am now an elementary school computer teacher myself. I have a lab full of iMacs. I don't teach Logo. I teach Keynote. I have evolved and grown as a student, a person, and an educator with Apple by my side. And it has been Apple that inspired me and pushed me to get to where I am. Apple will live on but it was your driving force that kept my interest and inspired me.

Thank you for gaining my attention.
Thank you for keeping my attention.
Thank you for the tools you helped create.
Thank you for inspiring me to create.
Thank you for the simplicity and elegance of design and function.
Thank you for inspiring me.
Thank you for helping me to inspire others.

Your innovations have allowed me to see the possibility of my own innovation.

Thank you for pushing me to think different...

You will live forever in the legacy of what you have given the world and what you have given the world allows the world to create in return...

Thank you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bookmarks via PS10 iPads (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of PS10 iPads group favorite links are here.

The links that keep me learning (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.