Back from a long break

wpid-Photo-Dec-22-2011-336-PM.jpgI have been away from this blog for quite a while, but it remains a good place to put the tracks and experiments of my growth in ed tech.

I mourned the end of Google reader along with many others, but I was already not reading the blogs I had collected. Well after the collapse of my RSS feeds, I started looking around for another reader to replace Mr. Reader, my favorite Google Reader reader. After a side tour in Flipboard, Feedly, Feeddler, and many others, I have returned to Mr. Reader which now allows for subscriptions from several RSS feed bundlers. I just like the features of the reader so much that nothing else really cuts it.

Now the work is pulling what was my Google Reader feeds that were saved in Flipboard into Feedly which powers Mr. Reader. Luckily, once I connected Mr. Reader to my new Feedly account, I can do much of this by moving between Flipboard and Mr. Reader which lets me add and organize my Feedly account from within the Mr. Reader app. Gotta love the amazing range of service integration and the fast to read layout.

Got a Charge Out of This One

I am making my way through some of the last of my paper magazines as I move over to digital reading. I turned down the page corner when I first saw this, and I still think it is cool.



I installed the grommets in the tables I am using in my computer lab. Drilling holes with a hole saw and popping those in was very satisfying. The grommets have flexible fingers instead of rigid plastic inserts. This is great because they have a greater capacity to deal with different sized cables, they hold the cables for me as I poke them through from underneath, and they won’t pop out of the hole. I love it when a plan comes together.

Cable Management

I am reconfiguring the computer lab at my school. I am doubling the number of computers from four to eight, I replaced the tables with ones that can be height adjusted for the smaller students I usually teach, and I installed cable management!

After looking long and hard, I found the Signum cable management tray at Ikea for $10 a pop. I was going there over the last weekend for some furniture, so I picked up six of these to put two on each table. I installed them today, and I am very pleased. Good price, good product.

Summercore Day 1

Today we talked about web 2.0 and Google Docs. There were many things I already knew, but there were plenty of things I had not seen before. In addition, the teaching about docs was priceless as I will be doing the same at the beginning of the school year with the faculty of my school. Great to see it done while wearing this lens.

A tagxedo word cloud of this blog


Temporary Stage in Transition

I am in the process of moving my school to Google Apps, and today was supposed to be the day to flip the switch by directing mail to Gmail rather than the highly frustrating email service we currently use. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Instead I, and the awesome consultant from OunceIT, worked all day to create forwards from that service to the temporary gmail address. Why did it take all day? Well, I am also standardizing the three naming schemes, so there were many users who had to have aliases created in both Google and in the old service, and those aliases had to be forwarded to Gmail as well. Of course while doing this, the interface would require several clicks to get back to the screen that allowed us to make changes. This was an enormous investment of time for something that will be meaningless in about a week.

On the positive side, the mail transfer started with only one small hiccup.

Conferences & Projects

Today I got the confirmation that I will be presenting at the 2012 MassCUE conference. Yay! Another project to work on over the summer.

I also registered for Edcampblc. Yay edcamp!

Speaking of projects, the new website for my school is moving ahead full steam as well as the transition to Google Apps. And I thought I’d be heading to summer break with a light load. I think I’ll be at school more than not over the summer, but I am jazzed by this productive and positive movement forward.

MIT Workshop Day #2

Today, I completed the second and final day of the sewable circuits and accelerometer workshop at the High Low Tech Group at MIT. It was great. I got into programming in Java to make the movement of my decorated glove control the action of an object on my computer screen.

I also spent some time decorating the glove with felt strips. There were two major troubleshooting opportunities; these are where the biggest learning occurs. First, I had a very flaky reading from my glove that was finally diagnosed as a loose connection on the – pin on both the accelerometer and the LilyPad board. After sewing those both tighter with conductive thread, that problem was history.

The next problem arose when I started tweaking the base program given to us to control the object. Of course I wanted to make it my own, but I knew no syntax for Java. I have plenty of mathematical logic and some programming in Pascal and Basic, but I have not really played with Java, C, or any of the modern languages. This was a crash course in coding for me, but the tangible results and workshop atmosphere were perfect conditions for me to dive in.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. I met some very amazing people, I got to play with electronics and coding while also doing crafts, and I spent two days just focusing on learning and playing. It was a much needed mental refresher.

Sewable Circuits

Today was the first of two days at a workshop hosted by the High-Low Tech Group at MIT. The objectives of this event for educators it to explore sewable circuits, accelerometers, and the LilyPad Adrduino controller.

My first project was a simple circuit with a batter holder and an LED. I decorated it to look like a flower.

My next project that will be continued tomorrow is a glove with an accelerometer attached to an arduino processor. I am loving this workshop!

Tech Integration in a Steampunk Musical

The Peace Ray above and the audience dancing to the sounds of Walter Sickert and the ARmy of BRoken TOys after the show.

I just saw the closing show of 28 Seeds, a steampunk musical. Telling the story of how the apocalypse happened, 28 Seeds had great music from Walter Sickert and the ARmy of BRoken TOys. Besides being lots of fun, the production did a very nice job of using tech. From the QR codes on the many monitors facing the audience and a live twitter feed that featured actors during the performance, there was quite a bit of modern tech sprinkled amongst the the more recognizable steampunk accents. Loved the brain in the tank!