Thursday, September 3, 2015

Are you ready to lose everything? I'm not!

It started fifteen years ago for me when my Mac G4 Cube's (circa 2000) hard drive crashed...

I lost all of my pictures, music and files.  My wife is still mad at me about those 60th Wedding Anniversary pictures of her Grandma and Grandpa Fox that slipped into the ether...

Recently we updated my wife's Macbook, and her first comment to me was that I needed to move all her files to her new device...  Easy right?  

First I tried the EXPORT function from iPhoto... 8400 pictures takes about 16 hours to export to a folder.  Then I remember the just move the iPhoto Library file (the magic of apple that hides everything in one place right?)  35.6 GB and 7 hours of copy time to an external hard drive... #ugh.  Then I remembered that old FLICKR account I have... I'll just grab the handy dandy Flicker uploader APP and voila! In the cloud! Safe from hard drive crash, spilling a large diet coke on the laptop, etc... Of course the uploader is still running... I figure it will take about 3 days.

I have more than a Terabyte of "junk".  Movies, music, documents, webpages, etc...  

The accumulation of 23 years of computing at work and at home.  I feel like I am device independent... i.e. if my Macbook gets destroyed, I am not out any files. I Dropbox.  I  I  I  I Google Drive.  I have floppy disks, DVDs, external hard drives, keyclips and a 512 MB SD card.  My copies have copies!  But if my iPhone dies tonight -- there will be files that haven't been cataloged and deduped...

Why am I telling you this? Because most people (maybe even you) do NOT have a good handle on how many files you actually have and what you would do if that computer or iPhone or iPad doesn't power on in the morning.

I have lots of people bring me their damaged hardware and with tears in their eyes ask if I can fix it... Sometimes I can.  Many times I cannot.  The only course is often the "nuke and repave", factory reset, or format and reload.  Sometimes we simply have to let it go.

DON'T get caught people!  Be ready and here are some tips:

1) Put it in the cloud!  You should all be using DROPBOX by now... and although I love FREE STUFF, pay for it!  It gives you more space and it gives you piece of mind.

2) Put it in the dirt!  Make a copy of the ESSENTIALS to External HD, SD CARD or Jumpdrive.  Then lock it up in something fireproof.  Then every 2 years, transfer it to a current device (so you don't get stuck with a floppy disk and NO disk drive in any computer in the town!)

3) DELETE.  For goodness sake, if you don't wear the blouse in a year's time, get rid of the blouse...  Many of you have files you built that first year in the classroom (POWERPOINT 1.0).  Guess what?  Powerpoint won't even open that file!  Let it go.  Just because we can keep everything we have ever done, doesn't mean we should!  (Apply this to your inbox too -- PRUNE THAT MAILBOX!).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer 2015

The summer of 2015 will stand out for many reasons...  We replaced the roof on our elementary and intermediate schools.  We completed several Life Safety projects.  We began planning for a new Administrative Building #goodbyedoublewide.  We started discussions on Stadium improvements at our high school campus.  And oh yea, there is that tornado we had...

#twistie (as I am calling the storm) moved right between our high school campus and middle school campus.  And although it damaged baseball fields and some roofing, relatively speaking, we had very little damage.  

200 feet North or South, and we would have had a pile to content with!  BTW, the paths cross at our Farm... #shed3 coming soon!

But these added projects (about $800000 worth) have been nearly accomplished, and school was able to start on time.  And as my Supt, Dr. Bugg says, we needed school to start!  To give our students some normalcy has been an important part of the recovery...

So now we are back into a routine, but I hope that we are just a little more cognizant of some things:

1) Relationships matter 
2) Things can be replaced
3) Time marches on

Here's to a great 2015-16 School Year!  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

SMAR -- A method to engage students with technology

The 2014-15 school year is well underway!   And for many, the classrooms are filled with all sorts of gear: Chromebooks, iPads, & Smartphones (along with other BYOD)...

BUT the gear alone, will not change instruction in the will not necessarily impact teaching and learning.  Dr. Ruben Puentedura has developed a method of seeing how technologies might impact our students.

Here is a great website that will help you understand how the method works:

The important thing here is this:  Many classrooms get stuck at the SUBSTITUTION level.  That is to say that we often simply convert a paper worksheet(#analog) into a Google Form (#digital).  Many never get past the "let's let tech perform the same tasks we always did on paper" hurdle...

Technology in the classroom is about creating opportunities! Opportunities for collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking...  It is not about giving students an alternative to taking notes or demonstrating how much they can rememberize!  It's about getting off of low level Bloom's Taxonomy and getting to a place where the technology becomes a tool that students use to explore subjects in ways that cannot be replicated in any #analog manner & then creating solutions (e.g. apps, webpages, presentations, answers) that have NOT existed before...

I encourage teachers and administrators to review the method and Blog of Dr. Puentedura: to help them make their classroom technology a more powerful tool for student engagement!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer of 2014

As a result of all the snow days this past winter, the Summer of 2014 is only 10 weeks this year...


So to make the best of it here is a Summer Tech List to get you ready for the 2014-15 School Year!

Hit one per week and you'll be #Geek-to-go!

1.  Get on Twitter!  For the love of pete, it is seriously the best professional development a teacher or administrator can participate in!  Follow me -- @JasonSmithCSBO

2.  Discover how Google Apps for Education can change your classroom!  Here is a link to my Google Bootcamp Training Handout... and my Gmail/Calendar Help Handout

3.  Signup, Download and Use EVERNOTE! -- More info about it's awesomeness here

4.  Signup, Download and Use DROPBOX! OR, or Whatever the cloud storage , get your stuff out of the "dirt" and into the "cloud"...  That way you can access everything from anywhere from any device...

5.  Mirror your Text Messages to the Cloud...  Try Mighty Text and MySMS — mirror,  send and receive txt messages from your Gmail Inbox & iOS device: FREE | Android | iOS | MAC | PC

6.  Check out EDMODO and CLASS DOJO -- Great classroom tools to keep kids on track & keep track of behavior!

7.  Find an online Student Response System-- I like Infuselearning and Socrative.  Quick and EASY tools to assess students right now, on the fly or at a scheduled time...  ALSO GOOGLE FORMS IS AWESOME AT THIS!

8.  Create a Trailer for your Classroom next year...  This is super easy!  Step 1, go to and make a Channel.  Step 2, use your smartphone to record a video of yourself "selling" your classroom (maybe just the syllabus, be creative and fun!) Step 3, Share to your Youtube Channel.  Step 4, put it out there where they can find it (using your Facebook page or Tweet it! or on your Weebly, or by text message (remind101) or hang it around the quad on a sheet of paper, with the bottom sections all torn #youknowwhatimean?)

9.  Go Mobile -- Get that iPad or Tablet or Smartphone set up to do it all! Email, Calendar, Tweets, Evernote, Dropbox, etc...  YOU DON'T NEED YOUR PC ANYMORE...

10.  Establish your WEB Presence...  Build a Blog (like on Blogger or Weebly) or a WIKI (like on Wikispaces or Google Sites) or use FACEBOOK (build the right kind of page!) -- Whatever the type, you need a place that students and parents can come to to find all your junk!  

The tools and skills listed above take time to get your brain around.  One tool per week during the summer will pay off in the Fall!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Techno-lutions for 2014

So all year long you have been hearing about and reading about all the "nerd" things you should be doing...  Well with Y2K.14 just around the corner, here are 3 MUST MAKE AND KEEP technology resolutions...

1.  Get Evernote!  It will change the way you work.  If keeps everything (bookmarks, full web clippings, notes, Voice Memos, pictures) and lets you build web pages on the fly and search/organize your notebooks...  Works on all platforms: web, iOS, Android...FREE and easy!

2.  Get off a full OS... Try to do as much as you can from your mobile device (tablet or handheld) or Chromebook.  Many of use no longer need a full OS (Windows 7/8 or Mac 10.9).  Further you don't need Microsoft Office...  Most tools that you need to be productive exist on the web...for free!  Browser Based and App-centricity are the way to be... 

3.   Get out of the Dirt! Moving to the cloud has SOOOOO many advantages!   We don't have to (and shouldn't) keep all our files on our hard drive.  Too many people come to me with their damaged equipment and ask for help in recovering files from a damaged hard disk...  Using Dropbox, Drive or Skydrive are FREE and EASY ways to "keep a hot copy" somewhere besides your box.

btw, the best Police Album...

Becoming less dependent on the device in our hand lets us be more flexible with any device in our hand.

Here is to an exciting year full of who knows what's next...