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 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
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

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:

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

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:

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: or

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.


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.