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!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
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.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
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
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
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:
- 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.
- The problems I face on a daily basis can be difficult, but I am blessed that those are my only challenges.
- Overall, I (and the people around me) are pretty wasteful with our resources and our abilities.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
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.
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:
- Recorded webinar
- Slide presentation
- Q&A Session Transcript
- Google Moderator page of questions (with posted answers to questions - click 'View responses' next to question)
- Case study
Thanks for again for joining us - and we look forward to seeing you at future Google Apps Education events.
The Google Apps Education Team
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Google has posted the webinar on their resource page:
It is also available directly from YouTube
We have also responded to all of the questions on the moderator page.
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
Each year I send out an legal review/acceptable use policy email to all staff. I hope this serves 3 purposes:
- Informs the staff about responsible technology use
- Prevents all of use from doing something irresponsible or illegal
- Provides legal protection for the district if someone does something irresponsible or illegal
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.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
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.
Posted by Dr. Henry Thiele at 2:58 PM
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
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
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
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.