Thursday, December 24, 2009

EETT/AARA Grant

I haven't been posting lately. I am swamped with writing a proposal for a SSTT/AARA grant for 1-1 netbooks in every English classroom.

The details of what I am required to do for this grant are here: http://www.isbe.net/curriculum/elearning/default.htm

I haven't been this focused on writing something since my dissertation.

At least I know someone will read this one.

Expect me to emerge from my cave in January.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 12/08/2009


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

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 12/06/2009


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

Saturday, December 05, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 12/05/2009


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

Friday, December 04, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 12/04/2009


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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/21/2009


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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/18/2009

  • "Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary — Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

    Enter words into the search box to look them up or double-click a node to expand the tree. Click and drag the background to pan around and use the mouse wheel to zoom. Hover over nodes to see the definition and click and drag individual nodes to move them around to help clarify connections.

    * It's a dictionary! It's a thesaurus!
    * Great for writers, journalists, students, teachers, and artists.
    * The online dictionary is available wherever there’s an internet connection.
    * No membership required.

    Visuwords™ uses Princeton University’s WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers. Combined with a visualization tool and user interface built from a combination of modern web technologies, Visuwords™ is available as a free resource to all patrons of the web."

    tags: visuwords™, graphical, visualization, dictionary, thesaurus, free


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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/17/2009


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

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/16/2009


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

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/14/2009


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

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/13/2009

  • "Since 2004, the annual ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology has sought to shed light on how information technology affects the college experience. We ask students about the technology they own and how they use it in and out of their academic world. We gather information about how skilled students believe they are with technologies; how they perceive technology is affecting their learning experience; and their preferences for IT in courses. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 is a longitudinal extension of the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 studies. It is based on quantitative data from a spring 2009 survey of 30,616 freshmen and seniors at 103 four-year institutions and students at 12 two-year institutions; student focus groups that included input from 62 students at 4 institutions; and review of qualitative data from written responses to open-ended questions. In addition to studying student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, the 2009 study also includes a special focus on student ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices.

    Citation for this work: Smith, Shannon, Gail Salaway, and Judith Borreson Caruso, with an Introduction by Richard N. Katz. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 (Research Study, Vol. 6). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2009, available from http://www.educause.edu/ecar."

    tags: socialnetworking, facebook, technology, research, survey, students, ecar

  • tags: socialnetworking, facebook

  • The impetus for the summit came in response to an increased public interest in neuroscience research and how it might
    inform the teaching/learning process. Brain science is a key element in the rich milieu of knowledge contributing to the
    science of learning. Future research and efforts to translate it and communicate findings for use in practical settings by the
    education community and others must occur as a multidisciplinary effort.
    Successful translation and application of brain science research for use in practical settings has inspired new areas of focus
    such as neuroethics and neuroeconomics. Like other professionals, educators are eager to harness and decipher findings in
    neuroscience and related disciplines to inform the design of instructional strategies and learning environments whether it be
    a school classroom or informal educational setting. With research advances in areas such as memory, attention, and stress,
    information about how people learn is becoming readily available and educators are eager to translate it for their use.

    tags: INTERDISCIPLINARY, PARTNERSHIPS, BRAIN SCIENCES, EDUCATION



  • * FREE license for homes, schools & non-profits
    * Supported by tasteful advertising
    * Includes all basic GreenPrint features
    * 32-bit XP/Vista

    tags: software, printing, green, environment, tools, freeware, print, windows


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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/12/2009


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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/11/2009


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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/10/2009

  • Demonstrates Scale of items ranging from a grain of rice down to an atom

    tags: science, cells, biology, scale, Interactive, size, genetics, atom

  • K-12 technology leaders are under increasing pressure to justify current and proposed technology expenditures. Value of Investment (VOI) is a CoSN project to help schools to better understand the costs and benefits of proposed technology related projects. Much as corporations use Return on Investment (ROI) to evaluate the worth of these projects, schools should perform a similar evaluation. However, there is a fundamental difference between K-12 and business goals: a business exists to make money; business technology projects are in place to increase top line revenue and/or decrease overall costs. The business of schools is education; schools need to understand their educational goals and how investments in technology will support them.

    tags: edtech, technology, research, assessment, planning, indicators, tco, voi


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

Monday, November 09, 2009

Brain Research and Visual Learning

I had the opportunity to hear Wes Fryer keynote today at the 1-1 Laptop Conference in Chicago. He used a stat that I have heard before and have debated a little.

The idea is:

"What we see travels to the brain 60X faster than what we hear"

We discussed it afterward because I have recently looked at that information for another presentation that I was working on. I think it should actually be:

"At any one time 60X more information can travel to the brain from the eyes than from the ears"

Did some research tonight to confirm my off the head numbers today and here is what I found...

Optical nerve fibers = 1,200,000
Several spots on the web - here it is from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_nerve

Auditory nerve fibers - 20,000 - 30,000 depending on the source
wikipedia has it at 30K

At 20K you get the 60X number

1,200,000/20,000 = 60

That would just impact the amount of information that could be carried at any one time. It is all electrical impulses traveling somewhere between 66-96% of the speed of light (not sure of the speed through the human nerve - but those are the figures for electricity depending on the substance it is moving through). Since neither the eye or the ear are much further from each other, I am not sure it matters.

From: http://www.committedsardine.com/handouts/presentations/UDK.pdf by Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, and Lee Crockett

"30% or the nerve cells in the brain are dedicated to sight, while only 8% are for touch and a mere 3% for hearing"

I conclude the rest must be for touch/smell. So 73% of the sensory neurons we can reach during instruction are dedicated to sight.

There are some numbers out there that seem to imply the greater effectiveness of sight as a sensory source. Any brain researchers out there that want to weigh in on this one?

- Or -

Does anyone else have anything else out there to help confirm/deny this information and the actual true meaning of it all?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/04/2009

  • The ITEST program responds to current concerns and projections about the growing demand for professionals and information technology workers in the U.S. and seeks solutions to help ensure the breadth and depth of the STEM workforce. ITEST supports research studies to address questions about how to find solutions. It also supports the development, implementation, testing, and scale-up of implementation models. A large variety of possible approaches to improving the STEM workforce and to building students’ capacity to participate in it may be implemented and studied. ITEST projects may include students or teachers, kindergarten through high school age, and any area of the STEM workforce. Projects that explore cyberlearning, specifically learning with cyberinfrastructure tools such as networked computing and communications technologies in K-12 settings, are of special interest.

    tags: Grants

  • "Frequently Asked Questions

    In addition to the Frequently Asked Questions below, you may also wish to explore a searchable archive of more than 600 EECBG Program questions and answers available here."

    tags: Grants

  • Over $2.7 billion in formula grants are now available to U.S. states, territories, local governments, and Indian tribes under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, funded for the first time under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This Program, authorized in Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) and signed into Public Law (PL 110-140) on December 19, 2007, provides funds to units of local and state government, Indian tribes, and territories to develop and implement projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions in their communities. The Program is administered by the Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs (WIP) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    tags: Grants

  • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the Department's priorities for grants under the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3). The fund, which is part of the historic $5 billion investment in school reform in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will support local efforts to start or expand research-based innovative programs that help close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for students.

    "We're making an unprecedented investment in cutting-edge ideas that will produce the next generation of school reforms," Secretary Duncan said. "The i3 competition will provide seed money for fresh ideas, help grow promising programs with a good track record and scale up programs with proven results to a national level."

    Individual school districts or groups of districts can apply for the i3 grants, and entrepreneurial nonprofits can join with school districts to submit applications. Colleges and universities, companies and other stakeholders can be supporters of the projects.

    Applicants must demonstrate their previous success in closing achievement gaps, improving student progress toward proficiency, increasing graduation rates, or recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers and principals.

    tags: Grants


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

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 11/03/2009


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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/31/2009

  • Little Pearls are “tiny films” that open hearts and minds, inspiring authentic connection and compassionate action on behalf of all living beings. Created by the media non-profit Little Pearls, these beautiful films are gifts of the heart – for you and for the world. MISSION AND VISION

    tags: hero, storytelling

  • "First-time author ben Izzy's vocation as a professional storyteller may fill his life with heady myth and poetry, but as he acknowledges early on in this slim but memorable recollection of personal tragedy, "the absence of magic" in his childhood is the very thing "that sent me looking for it." He found it in the unlikeliest and most cruelly ironic way. After undergoing surgery to remove thyroid cancer, ben Izzy lost his voice-the instrument of not only his art, but also his livelihood. Telling himself that a return to the routine of performance would spark a recovery, ben Izzy accepted an offer to perform at a bar mitzvah, but only "whispers and gasps" emerged. Retreating into self-pity, anger, hopelessness and sullen solitude, the author searched, like the protagonists in the stories he used to tell, for a spiritual explanation of the loss. He reconnected with his estranged, cantankerous mentor, who offered support by telling dizzyingly enigmatic stories hinting at the idea that ben Izzy had been given a magical gift by losing his voice. When a doctor suggested he might be able to help ben Izzy speak again in a risky procedure, ben Izzy's wife told him she liked him better without it, an incident the author does not satisfyingly explain. But ben Izzy successfully translates the best elements of oral storytelling to the page; his memoir shines with brisk suspense as well as his unerring, precise eye for including only the elements of his hard-won wisdom that matter the most."

    tags: hero, storytelling

  • This anthology of tepid uplift celebrates the democratization of the once larger-than-life status of the hero. Initiated by the myhero.com website of inspirational postings aimed at kids, the volume gathers short essays from heroic (or at least well-known) people paying personal tribute to their own heroes. The old prerequisites for heroism-nearly super-human achievement and self-sacrifice for the public good-have now broadened to include graceful coping with the normal vicissitudes of life and being friendly and supportive of other people. Close relatives of the contributors constitute the largest category of heroes, often extolled for their care-taking and courage in the face of their own or others' illnesses and disabilities; teachers and career mentors come in a close second. Many of these salutes amount to little more than wan personal appreciations: Physicist Leon Lederman calls his wife his hero, citing her skills as a hostess, horsewoman and photographer, while WNBA star Sue Bird admires her older sister because "she's real-with no pretensions and no airs." Nelson Mandela is the primary exemplar of old-school heroism, named by figures like heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali and children's troubadour Raffi. A few offbeat tributes-social scientist Felton Earle credits Charles Darwin as inspiring his opposition to the Vietnam War, while Senator John McCain celebrates baseball great Ted Williams for his sheer orneriness-add some interest.

    tags: hero

  • Biblioburro: The Donkey Library
    Produced by Valentina Canavesio

    Luis Soriano, a teacher in the small town of La Gloria, Colombia, travels on the back of his donkey, bringing with him books for children of the rural communities...

    tags: hero, inspiring


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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/24/2009


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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/17/2009


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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/10/2009


  • $10 billion takes fiber to every school, hospital in the US

    The US has more than 120,000 schools, hospitals, and libraries, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes that they can all have fiber optic Internet for $5 billion-$10 billion.

    tags: internet, broadband, connectivity

  • "20 Year Usenet Timeline

    Google has fully integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups, which now offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981. This is by far the most complete collection of Usenet articles ever assembled and a fascinating first-hand historical account.

    We compiled some especially memorable articles and threads in the timeline below. For example, read Tim Berners-Lee's announcement of what became the World Wide Web or Linus Torvalds' post about his "pet project". You can find more in-depth information about the archive here."

    tags: history, google, usenet, archive, interesting, technology, groups


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

Friday, October 09, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/09/2009


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

Thursday, October 08, 2009

William Kamkwamba "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind"

I have been following William Kamkwamba's blog for about a year now and I received his book "The Boy that Harnessed the Wind" on Monday (finished it Tuesday). It was a fabulous read and helped put into perspective 3 main things:

  1. I am so blessed to have been provided the resources that I have been given for my entire life - I have really had it pretty easy.
  2. The problems I face on a daily basis can be difficult, but I am blessed that those are my only challenges.
  3. Overall, I (and the people around me) are pretty wasteful with our resources and our abilities.
For those of you that don't know William's story you can see him speak about it here at TED from July of 2009. He also appeared with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night. I have embedded it below and William talks about it himself here. My favorite part is the exchange between Stewart and William about him preparing to take his SAT's (at the 5:50 mark).

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
William Kamkwamba
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

This is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever read and I believe that William will continue to change the world we live in for the better.

His book would work perfectly as an authentic text for someone teaching Physics, engineering, or in a program like Project Lead the Way.

You can learn more about William at his blog and follow him on twitter at http://twitter.com/wkamkwamba

More importantly you can donate to help his cause The Moving Windmills Project here. He has used his work to improve the lives of others and to help others attend school.

Google Apps Webinar: Final Follow-Up

Here is the follow-up sent out from Google:

If you are interested in signing up your school for Google Apps, please visit our website

In case you'd like to share this information with others, or re-watch again yourself, please make use of these assets:


Thanks for again for joining us - and we look forward to seeing you at future Google Apps Education events.

The Google Apps Education Team

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/08/2009

  • Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid
    Grid Map

    The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems.

    tags: visualizing, visualization, powerlines


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

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Google Apps Edu Webinar: Follow Up

Google has posted the webinar on their resource page:

http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/resource_center.html

It is also available directly from YouTube



We have also responded to all of the questions on the moderator page.

http://moderator.appspot.com/#16/e=cdd2b

The focus of this webinar was on how we got up and going with Google Apps. Eventually I will put something together on how our teachers, students, and administrators are using it.

Of course you can always contact me with any questions.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Acceptable Use Policy - Yearly Email - 2009 Version

Each year I send out an legal review/acceptable use policy email to all staff. I hope this serves 3 purposes:

  1. Informs the staff about responsible technology use
  2. Prevents all of use from doing something irresponsible or illegal
  3. Provides legal protection for the district if someone does something irresponsible or illegal
Before sending this out I have our district administration and the Teacher's Union review the document. Once both the administration and the union say that it is a good email I send it out.

Here is what went out this morning:

Good Morning,
We mention this information each year, but new State and Federal laws and policies are constantly being developed as technology use is growing and changing. Our district also has policies about acceptable use of technology and internet resources. We have put together this email to help better inform you of how all of this relates to your technology use in Maine 207. Our hope is that by informing you of these policies we are better preparing you to navigate the digital world.
Opening this email is a record that you have been informed of these issues and understand the information below. Please contact [Assistant Superintendent's Name Removed] or I with any questions regarding acceptable technology use.
There have been several new laws passed regarding technology use, access to electronically recorded information, and other existing district policies that you should be aware of.
New Laws (effective January 1, 2010):
  • When driving a School Vehicle or your own vehicle while on school time (this would include traveling between schools) it is now illegal to
    • Compose, send, or read a text message or email
    • Use your phone (this includes your personal phone) in a school zone or a construction zone in any way that is not hands free
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): changes make it much easier for people to request documents from schools. Any recorded electronic communication is considered a document including voicemail, email, text messages, chat, etc...
The District's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) applies to staff, students, and anyone using district technology resources. You are responsible for understanding the AUP. The policy is available at this link: http://www.maine207.org/assets/1/documents/Maine_207_Technology_Policy.pdf

The main ideas behind the AUP are summarized as:

The primary purpose of the District 207 electronic communications network (D207net) and technologies which attach to it is to support and enhance learning and teaching that prepares students for success in an information society. Users have no expectation of privacy in their use of D207net. D207 has the right to access, review, copy, delete, or disclose, as allowed by law, any digitally recorded information stored in, or passed through D207net, regardless of the initial intentions of the user. D207 has the right and responsibility to monitor the use of D207net by its users including tracking of internet, network, hardware, and software use. Employees should be aware that any digitally recorded information, even that of personal nature, can be subject to disclosure under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. Users assume responsibility for understanding the policy and guidelines as a condition of using the network. Staff members are accountable to teach and use the network responsibly. Use of the network that is inconsistent with this policy may result in loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal action (for staff members this includes termination).

In everyday English here is what that means:

1. Everything that passes across a network has the possibility of intentionally or unintentionally being recorded and retained forever. This includes our networks and all other networks (facebook, Ning, gmail, etc.). We are required by law to retain certain electronic documents (including emails) for a period of time that can exceed 10 years.

2. Anything that is on our network is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws that could result in this information being searched and becoming public - nothing you do electronically, on the website or otherwise, should ever be considered private in nature. This especially includes anything that references a student, or a school event, in your personal email or any social networking site. Do not use your school email for personal business - this is a violation of the AUP and your personal business can be discovered through a FOIA request. Do not use your personal email to conduct school related business - if you do, your personal email may be subject to a FOIA request.

3. Never do, write, or say anything electronically within the school walls or outside of school that you wouldn't want published on the front page of a newspaper. Anything that is done on a school computer or network could end up as public information. This is especially important when communicating about students or parents in email. There is a new wave of lawsuits where parents have used FOIA to obtain emails where teachers have made unprofessional comments about students or parents that are resulting in charges of defamation. The best way to communicate about any student is face-to-face or over the phone Any shared document that references a student (even their initials) can be considered a temporary or permanent record and must be turned over to parents if requested.

4. You are responsible for anything that happens to your account when logged into a computer, even if you are not in front of it, so remember to log off and to not share passwords.

5. Don't store any student records or information on your laptop, jumpdrive, or on anything that can be lost - use SIS to record all of this information.

6. Think before you hit send. Once you do send and email expect that what you wrote will last forever. Be careful when replying - especially when replying to all. This also holds true for any website, email account, social networking site, voicemail, text message, document, or anything in electronic format.

7. You are responsible for your use of copyrighted material. Refer to these websites if you are not sure how copyright applies to educators: http://images.apple.com/support/itunes_u/docs/iTunes_U_Copyright_Overview.pdf or http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr280.shtml

These are common rules in all schools, and most workplaces, across the United States. Even Microsoft has such policies - they sum it up this way: "Exercise good judgement and Be Smart".

Once again, if you have any questions please contact [Assistant Superintendent's Name Removed] or I.

Hank

I would encourage everyone to craft something like this for their school or district.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 10/01/2009


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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Google Apps for Education in Maine 207 Webinar

Maine 207 has been steadily adopting more of Google's Apps over the past 2 years. These free resources have been quickly accepted by our students and staff. Sign up for our webinar next week and find out why and how we chose to partner with Google with their Apps solution for student Email and Documents. We will also share where we think we are headed with the Apps Suite from here.

Joining us will be representatives from Google and SADA Systems (the company we have hired to automate our account maintenance).

Please sign up and attend if you are able.

Google Apps Education Edition at Maine Township High School District
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
11:00 a.m. PDT (GMT -07:00, San Francisco)

Have questions for us or the Google Apps teams? Submit them here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/28/2009

  • The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.

    We have 900+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan.

    tags: math, Video, youtube, science, physics, finance, education, khan


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

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/25/2009


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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/23/2009

  • But what about your business? Does it use Facebook (Facebook)? If you’re a business owner, you really need to set up a Fan Page, or else you risk being left behind as more businesses shift to social networks like Facebook. This post is a beginner’s guide to setting up and getting the most out of a Page on Facebook for your business.

    tags: facebook, Social Network


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

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/17/2009


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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How Does The Internet Work?

Our Internet is slow right now. I was asked by one of our student journalists to explain how the Internet works and why is it suddenly slower this year.

Mark Ordonez and I put this response together. How do you think we did? What could I add or change?

1. How does the internet actually work?

The Internet itself is a series of lines that are connected by pieces of equipment that send information to and from computers located all around the world. The lines can be electrically based (phone lines, T1, T3, etc) or can be light based (fiber optics). When a connection is made to a location it connects to pieces of hardware called routers and switches. These pieces of equipment determine where to request information from or where to send it. Each router, server, and computer has an address, called an IP address, that allows other computers to find it.

To give a concrete example:

If you are in the library at Maine South and you go to Google for a search. You first enter in a URL (universal resource locator) into your browser. The browser first breaks the URL http://www.google.com into two parts. The first part tells how to find Google and the second part tells the browser what to find. The first step is to find the address for Google and the browser asks a directory for the IP address of Google. The response comes back to your computer with a numerical address (the IP address) for Google instead of the words you typed into the browser. Then your request for the web page found at http://google.com heads out to the Internet. The request leaves your computer, travels through a series of wires, switches, and routers at Maine South, it then travels through fiber to Maine East, goes through a filter to make sure that your request is appropriate, and goes to a location in downtown Chicago and in connected to the Internet though our service provider. The request to see the web page at Google is forwarded to Google's server which then listens for what type of information you are looking for. In this case, it knows you want their front page of google.com, finds that page on its network, and sends it back your computer. Google knows where to send the page to because your request comes with a return address (your computer's IP address). Your browser then displays the information it receives from Google. It has to repeat these steps for each item on the page, such as the Google logo.

2. What makes one Internet's speed slow versus another one that is fast?

The speed of your Internet is determined by the speed of the network that is carrying your requests and the power your computer has to interpret those requests. Your computer receives back information from the Internet that comes in series of ones and zeros called bits. Your computer can only listen to and translate the bits into what is displayed on your screen at certain rate based on the power of your computer. At Maine South there are a variety of computers that have differing processing power based on the hardware inside of them. A more powerful computer will process the bits and display them to you faster than a less powerful machine. The second limiting factor is the speed that the network can send and receive bits which is limited by the smallest pipe that information is flowing through. The size of the pipe is measured by the amount of bits it can carry per second. At Maine South the information travels in a pipeline that can carry 100 million bits per second (100Mbps). Once it leaves Maine East and goes out to the Internet it has to flow through a pipe that can only carry 21Mbps. This where some of the slowdown can occur. Your request to the Internet is being pushed through that pipe along with requests from everyone else. If more than 21 million bits arrive at that point at any single time a back up occurs as bits wait to go out or come back in. This traffic jam is what slows down the Internet.

There are 2 ways to increase the speed of the Internet experience. The first is to have a more powerful computer, but it is not the most efficient way to speed up how you interact with the Internet. The best way to speed up your Internet experience is to increase the size of the smallest pipe that leads to the Internet so that less traffic jams occur. It would be like saying you don't need a faster car to get downtown you just need a wider highway to reduce congestion.

The size of Maine South's pipeline is currently limited based on a calculation determined by the government organization that provides Internet to most schools, libraries, and hospitals in Illinois. Those calculations allow us to have a pipe that is 21Mbps, but through a special program we were allowed a pathway of 47Mbps for the last few years. Recently budgetary limitations placed on our government sponsored Internet provider caused them to remove the special program Maine 207 was participating in causing our bandwidth being reduced to 21Mbps. This is why the Internet has been slower this year in comparison to last year. The District is currently working to fix this problem by acquiring a larger pipe out to the Internet so there is less of a chance for slower traffic. We expect this to be completed in the next few months.

For a quick video explanation of the Internet take a look at this video

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/15/2009


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

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/14/2009

  • The following is a list of keyboard shortcuts that are available in Microsoft Word 2002, in Microsoft Office Word 2003, and in Microsoft Office Word 2007. This list is a compilation of the individual keyboard shortcut lists available in Word 2002 Help and in Word 2003 Help.

    Note Shortcut keys mentioned in the Help topics, menus, and dialog boxes refer to the U.S. keyboard layout. Keys on other layouts may not correspond exactly to the keys on a U.S. keyboard. If you are using a different language keyboard layout from the version of Word you are using, you may have to make adjustments when using shortcut keys.

    tags: office, shortcuts


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

Saturday, September 05, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/05/2009

  • to create a bootable USB flash drive for Windows XP, Vista, and/or 7. And, the tool that you use is the same one to create a bootable GNU/Linux drive (which I explore here)--UNETBOOTIN.

    The steps for Windows weren't that hard, either.

    tags: windows, spyware, boot, usb

  • The Internet filters used in most schools allow educators to carefully screen Web sites by keyword or category to ensure that students can’t access obscene images, get diverted by online games, hack in to confidential files, or use software programs that can damage school computers. That security, however, has come at a cost, many observers say.

    tags: filtering, Internet, InternetSafety


  • Why Do Workers Reject New Technologies?

    September 3, 2009
    It’s a familiar situation: a company adopts a new software tool and tells its workers it will make their job faster and easier. Implementation doesn’t go so well, and the software is dropped. Workers blame management for providing them with unhelpful software; management blames workers for their unwillingness to change.

    Paul Leonardi, the Breed Junior Chair in Design and assistant professor of industrial engineering and management sciences at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, observed such a situation at a major automobile manufacturer. But what his research found was that the software was indeed helpful, and the workers weren’t unwilling to change. His results, published in the July edition of the journal Human Communication Research, might surprise you.

    tags: staffdevelopment, stages_of_adoption


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

Friday, September 04, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/04/2009


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

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What do you think of this email regarding a cellphone policy

Someone forwarded me this email titled:

Inappropriate Cellphone Use on the Rise

I have removed the name of the school from the letter. What do you think of the policy?

Student Cell Phone Use

Cell phones are not to be on, used, or visible during the school day. Students may not use phones in the classroom, restroom, hallway, or cafeteria from 7:45-3:15. Students MAY use cell phones before and after school.

The first time a student is in violation of this rule, he/she will receive two detentions and the cell phone will be confiscated and returned to the student at the end of the day. If it occurs again, the student will receive progressive discipline from that point on. It is OK if the student asks to take the battery out before turning the phone over. If you have concerns (reasonable suspicion) that the phone was being used for inappropriate activity we will investigate further when the student comes to pick up the phone. If the student refuses to turn the phone over then call the Deans’ Office and we will see the student immediately. Do not engage in a confrontation in the classroom regarding the phone.

An increasing number of students are receiving calls/texts from parents. If a parent must contact a student, please contact the Deans’ Office at ###-###-####. If a student must contact a parent, they may ask to use a phone in the Deans’ or Counselor’s Office.

Our goal is to limit classroom disruptions and maintain a safe environment for everyone at school. Thank you for your attention to this policy.