Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 4 in New Orleans

Another day for meeting with students. This is Xavier's GradStar recruiting fair. We met with students from Xavier, SUNO, and Dillard.

There were 80 schools represented. It started out slowly, but soon a steady stream of students came to our table (we even walked the floor to direct them to our table.)

We met a number of ambitious students who were planning for their futures. I think that we had over 50 students complete our information sheets so that we can contact them in the future about coming to UNI.

I had to leave early so that I could catch a 5:30 flight. Had to get back to Cedar Falls so that I could MC the C&I Family Fest events at UNI.

I hope that we are able to get some of these students to UNI so that they can add to our bustling community.

Day 3 in New Orleans

Time in New Orleans is passing quickly. Funny how time flies when . . .

Today we had an opportunity to visit Xavier University. Cliff Highnam has had a connection with their communication program for a few years and had an opportunity to speak with about 15 of their communication student group about the communication program at UNI. This was a group of young women who seemed quite interesting in the field and there were a number of good questions about the field and the UNI program. I was also impressed by the self initiative that the club members exhibited. They had a raffle that they were running to raise money for their club's activities. It's good to see such motivation.

While talking with our host, Nancy Martino, I asked about someone who I might be able to contact in the Xavier education program. She suggested that I speak with the chair of the Education division, Renee Akbar. I made a 1:30 appointment and we had an opportunity to talk about our programs. She said that while they don't have a graduate program or special classes in technology, they are trying to emphasize using technology to support learning in their methodology classes. Good to hear.

I shared our educational programs with her and provided her with a selection of our informational materials. I also told her that I had a big bag of these for the Xavier Grad Fair tomorrow and that I would like to leave a number of these materials before I left. I suggested that it would be a benefit to all if we would make some connections between their school and UNI. Hopefully this would involve our students connecting with one another as part of the curriculum. Great opportunity for them to experience the online opportunities that they can have in their own classrooms in the future. I was specifically thinking about connecting them with my students in Classroom Computer Applications next semester but I am more than happy to share the wealth. :-)

While we were meeting with Xavier students today, Celeste was meeting with high school students at a local college preparatory high school. She said that it went quite well.

After the work was done, Celeste and I went on a 2-hour tour of New Orleans. I have been here before but taking a formal tour of the city is the best way to get an overview of our surroundings. It began by going down to the riverfront and sharing the history of New Orleans.

The bus fell silent as we drove into the 7th ward and the tour guide told us that the acres of weeds and rubble that surrounded us used to be a bustling community of homes. We asked about the rebuilding that was supposed to be happening there and the guide replied with "we don't know." We drove through the many neighborhoods of New Orleans. We could see the waterlines on houses that were 15 feet high. This is the reminder that this could easily happen again.

The greatest shock was seeing the levees that were installed. From a distance they didn't look too thick nor very high. National Geographic doubts how substantial they are as wel. I just hope that the controlling powers don't skimp on the necessary improvements so that these people can work to rebuild and know that everything possible is being done to protect them from such a tragedy again.

The most interesting part of the tour was bumping into a couple (and their son) who live in La Canada, CA. La Canada is where I was raised and finding someone from there visiting New Orleans is a surprise. To top it off, she spoke of a Dick Schmidt in La Canada and it may turn out that this guy was the patrol leader for my Cobra patrol when I was in scouts.

We took our own tour of New Orleans at night as Cliff, Celeste, Doug and our new arrival, Helen took to the streets. We began by having a wonderful dinner in an Indian Restaurant (ever notice how everything in New Orleans leads to eating?) We then toured the city and found a great blues place.

Tomorrow we go to GradStar at Xavier University. Cliff and I scouted out the location today and it is a large ballroom. They say that 80 schools will be represented and there will be 300-500 students. We look forward to having another successful opportunity to meet and greet students.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 2 - Recruiting in New Orleans

Today is the day we do what we came to do.

This is the day that we go to SUNO (Southern University of New Orleans) to talk with potential grad students. Most of these students are juniors or seniors who are looking for a graduate school to attend to develop their knowledge base and refine their skills. I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect. It was at SUNO so I was envisioning a large gymnasium or a large ballroom like we have in the UNI Student Union. I didn’t think of the devastation that SUNO has experienced. I didn’t realize that SUNO is now operating out of double-wide mobile classrooms. I guess I just didn’t think.

We were directed to building 42. This double-wide mobile classroom held about 15 tables, each with representatives from a different institution. The students began arriving about 9. They were excited about the opportunities that might lie ahead. Some of the students knew exactly what they wanted. There were a number of students who wanted to pursue their degrees in biology. I met a couple of students who had spent their summer studying fish populations and found a great decrease from another study 2 years before. It was inspiring to see the motivation that they exuded.

I spoke with a bunch of students who told me that they were majoring in history or biology or ?? As we talked, it turned out that they really wanted to teach K-12 or train in a corporate setting. MMM good!!! That’s where I came in. I am down here representing the College of Education. Before leaving UNI, I met with every department and asked them to provide/create info sheets about their programs. This meant that I had the materials prepared and ready to give the students as they talked. As I talked with the students, I naturally asked them about their interest in technology. Most of them used technology but few of them GEEKED technology. I mentioned our Instructional Technology/Performance and Training Technologies programs and I would say that there were about 10 who sounded interested.

One of the things that I found out about their program is that their teaching credential is offered as a 5th year of education. Much like the teaching program that I completed in California, the students complete a BA in 4 years and then take another year of schooling to earn their teaching credential. The unfortunate part is that SUNO doesn’t have their teaching credential program back yet.

One of the most important things that we did was have students fill out the grad school info sheets. This is where they listed contact, background and interest information. As a group, we collected over 50 of these sheets. Not bad for 3 hours of work. These sheets will be organized by the Grad College and then distributed accordingly.

We were treated to a wonderful lunch of catfish, gumbo, rice puddin’ and the like. It was a good opportunity to talk with faculty and students. As I sat there, I realized what a prime opportunity this could be to have my students connect with their students over the next few years. These students and faculty could have quit after being hit with Katrina, but they didn’t. They have set their goals and they are there to make them realities. Whether it has to do with getting an education or providing a rich environment for others to learn, these individuals are making it happen.

There are other things that I can share about what we saw going and coming to SUNO, but that is for another posting. This is a city that is rebirthing and it is exciting to see people with their eyes on the future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 1 in New Orleans

Well, we made it. In search of graduate students, I am spending a couple of days at some graduate school recruitment fairs. We will be visiting SUNO (State University of New Orleans) tomorrow and will then participate in another fair with Xavier University on Friday. We are looking for an exciting time.

Until then, we decided to explore the wonders of New Orleans. We started a Mulate's. I had fried alligator and some yummy gumbo. The cajun music band was fun and there were lots of dancers. I would have tried, but they all looked so competent that I didn't think that I could fake it.

We followed this wonderful dinner with walking over to Cafe du Monde for some binets and coffee. What an evening.

The best part was sharing it with Doug, Celeste and Cliff.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Flickr Feed 4 Xtra Credit SL ISTE Fotos

What at title THAT is. Well I just thought that I would post the Flickr badge that I created that will show the Second Life pictures that my students have posted to Flickr. As you may remember, ISTE had a contest where visitors of the ISTE island in second life could find all 25 flags on the ISTE Island and take photos of their avatars standing next to them.

Look to the right. This is a slideshow that I created using Widgetbox ( I created the widget to produce a slideshow of photos on Flickr that were tagged with eit159. Once I created it, I exported it to Blogger and just added it as an additional widget to my blog. Amazing!!

I also used the "Flickr Badge Maker" at Flickr to create the "badge" that I have below that shows 10 Flickr photos. These are also asked for using the EIT159 tags found in the WHOLE Flickr tag system.

More Flickr photos tagged with eit159

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Twitter Covers the World

I am receiving Tweets (that's a Twitter message) from friends as they travel the world. They are all traveling from America to other parts of the world. The map above shows the homes of Twitter users. Looks like Europe is inundated and the US isn't too far behind. I found this map in an interesting article recommended by Lois Lindell, Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities.

It's interesting to think about how we can communicate at the touch of a button. I received a tweet from Howard Reingold asking if anyone knew of "Any ideas on using Twitter in classroom besides backchannel." He said that students could twitter insights, comments and questions during class discussions. That's an interesting idea.

What other kinds of educational applications are there? Is this just a solution looking for a problem, or is it a new utility that will allow us to do things that will expand our learning experiences?

What do you think? Does Twitter have any educational value?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


OK, you know that I spent Sunday through Tuesday in Des Moines at the state technology fair for the Iowa Technology and Education Connection organization. It was an opportunity for over 500 educators to compare notes and learn new things.

We, the Instructional Technology division in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Northern Iowa, tried something new this year. We had a booth where we promoted our Instructional Technology Masters Program. This is a 2-year distance education cohort that is delivered through the ICN (a state-owned video conferencing system.)

We handed out stickers (see above). Steve Wozniak (Apple Computer inventor) and David Pogue sported our stickers as you can see on the Rob Blog.
It was exciting to see scores of attendees wearing our stickers. This allowed us the opportunity to talk with lots of people hopefully they will join us in our program that begins in Summer 2008.

The greatest part was seeing all of our graduates who were running the conference and who had leadership technology roles in the state.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Technology Coordinating for NewBees

This is a session designed for betining tech coordinators - hence the name. =-)

Each plan is part of the CSIP.

Technology Planning:
CIPA - Children's Internet Protection Act (Governs Images).

Tech Plans: Every school applying for State telecommunications discounts, must have a tech plan approved and on file with STate of Iowa.
Must cover at least 3 years and include goals, strategies and budgt informaiton for 3 years.

Usually includes AUP

Most efficient way to do an AUP is to use an "Opt out" policy instead of an "Opt in." This means that the students only have to sign a sheet if they DON'T want their kids to use the Internet.

Usually files as part of the District's CSIP in a 4 question format.

Question asked what to do if the Register photographs kids and then posts the kid's names on the web. If it includes the child's name, it circumvents all of the work that the school is doing to guard the kids' privacy.

What if an employee posts a photo from school on a private web site.

Legal Issues
-- Implement an acceptable use policy for all students
-- Implement an AUP for all employees. Employees can be the greatest offenders.
-- Maintain accurate reords: Software licenses, invoices, purchase orders, & inventory.

Key Relationships
Success as a tech coordinator depends on relationships with:
--District Staff - Admin, School Board, Secretaris, and Custodians.
--Community - Phone company and Co-Ops
--Area Education Agency (AEA)

Managing Chaos
Create a district policy on how to request tech requests:
---Phone calls
---Use "Techies" to handle the easy stuff
---Manage emails
---Communicate with staff

Data Management
--Increased role in Data managemnet and SIS
Student Testing Data
--MAP Testing
State Reports
--Project EASIER
--Certified Enrollment

David Pogue @ ITEC

I am sitting in the Keynote of David Pogue at ITEC. Should be great. (Notice that he is wearing the UNI I.T. sticker?)

I will try to blog this by publishing the posting periodically throughout the presentation.

He started the presentation by saying "Ich Bin Iowaner". Funny.

Just started talking about Skype. 250 million have downloaded Skype. Just noted that Skype would be a good addition to cel

Palm Centro is the new treo. Has the capabilities of a Treo and only costs $99.

Just did some magic. Made the Centro disappear. Showed some magic and mentioned that he wrote Magic for Dummies (check pg 121).

Talking about the T-mobile Hot Spot @ Home. Says that can use it at home and walk away from home to a point where the coverage is handed off to a T-mobile carrier when you leave your home wireless range.


Just introduced a phone system that will ring multiple phones at the same time. It is called Grand Central gives you a special phone number. You can record multiple messages for specific people - different one for boss or wife or ??

Low price of Free. It is at They have been purchased by Google so who knows . . .

Google Cellular
Text message Google 46645 and enter the business - pharmacy and zip code. Will send you back the number.
Driving Directions "miami Fl to 60609"
Currency conversions "25 usd in euros"
Quotes "amzn"

800-goog411 Can call it too the same way

Voice to Text
You can bypass the long phone messages by using special * Verizon

Simulscribe - Transcribes phone messages and sends them to you on your phone or through email. They also attach the recording to your email. Great idea.

Callwave - won't do the whole message, just the important part. Showed a video of saving a message on a phone. Then shared it

Popularity Dialer - Identify the exact time of day you want your phone to ring. Ples you get a choice of the voice you want to hear.

Skype phone - can use Skype VOIP for 100% free.
Wifi Camera - Nicon Coolpix S50C Direct to email or Flickr

Just took a photo using the camera and sent it to Flickr and email wirelessly. Went to Flickr and the photo was there.

Slingbox - $250 box to put it on your tv at home. Allows you to tune into your TV from your computer. Can watch your DVD, TV and DVD from the road. This sounds cool for the perpetual couch potato. Only problem is that it controls the TV at home so it will get in the way of your wife viewing CSI at home.
Also has a client for the Treo.

Says that Steve Jobs says that DVDs are dead.

BTW, Steve Wozniak is walking around ITEC with a UNI sticker on his black shirt.

He just finished tell us about how NetFlicks is going to start charging us by the hour. Will be able to Movie surf.

Completed with improvising some songs using a piano keyboard connected to his computer.

Pogue was having problems getting the keyboard to play. Said there wasn't an on switch. Finally, someone went up and showed him how to turn it on.

Just sang a song about Bill Gates called "I write the Code that Runs the World Today."

Sang one for Steve Jobs called "Don't Cry for Me Cupertino" from Evita. It is GREAT!!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Web 2.0 Gadgets and Gizmos

I am in the middle of a presentation and I am showing how to post.

Steve Wozniak at ITEC

I have just listened to Steve Wozniak talk about his life of fiddling and creating with technology all of his life. It was really quite interesting to hear that he was a geek from an early age.

Someone just asked him for an outrageous dream. He responded that he would like to create a globe that would display Google Earth. We could just point to places that on the earth and then interact with it that way.

Another guy just asked how it felt to make such a huge difference in the world. I don't think that he really understood the point of the question because he just recounted the things that he did. Said that he invented a computer because he wanted to play games and do his HP work at home.

This is over and we need to get ready to present our panel discussion on Confronting the Challenges of Web 2.0. It will be in this room of 400 people. Wonder how many will show up.

Gliffy Diagram on the UNI IT Program

This is a basic map of the UNI Instructional Technology Masters Program. I created it using Gliffy which is online collaborative mapping software.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Using Google Docs for Collaboration

Just checking to see if the Google Spreadsheet works as well as they say it

Here is a gradebook that I published.

Check it out. See what you can change.


Can you dance like this?

I know that this is supposed to be a reflective blog that considers the meaning of life and how we will educate students in the future, but I couldn't pass up this video.

I wish I could dance like this bird. (click on the photo)


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Challenges of Web 2.0 in the Schools

The Web 2.0 movement is HUGE. It is bring interactive communication to the masses (including our students) in such a way that it has the potential to democratize information. Look at this - I am writing my opinion through a medium that may be read by dozens 8-) The best part is that some of these dozens of followers may even respond with ideas that will develop a conversation.

Social networking which is a large part of the Web 2.0 movement brings about a more immediate and innovative way for people to communicate. This is especially useful for friends but it also expands your friendship circle by allowing you to meet and greet others online. This is an exciting opportunity but it also brings with it challenges that must be addressed by educators.

The free flow of information that is available online makes for a valuable tool in education. Imagine what can be accomplished educationally with almost unlimited access. Imagine too, what challenges accompany such a plethora of possibilities in communicating.

I have begun a wiki called Web 2.0 Challenges. This site is designed to provide a venue for posting resources that address how school officials and other educators can and should address the "baggage" that this new medium brings with it into the classroom. Please come and join the discussion through commenting on this blog as well as contributing to the wiki.