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.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Bookmarks and Annotations 09/01/2009

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