Database, spreadsheets, instructional strategies, and resources for such

Spreadsheets and Databases

http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/databases/

I can’t really say that there was anything that surprised me about databases and spreadsheets from my reading. I am an IT consultant and I’ve been using spreadsheets since Lotus 123 in 1987. I did like the example in this article for integrating a database into a unit on the World War. I think the concepts that it promotes are important database concepts that students should understand.

I have not had students create databases in the past as part of a separate unit. I did formerly teach MS Office classes to high school students and we did do a unit on MS Access where the students created some basic databases. I personally used a database with my students for a bell ringer activity where they would respond to a quote of the day. I would then show the students how I created and ran reports to it and how it simplified what would normally be a very difficult task for grading.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 4

Concept Mapping

WiseMapping

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

I have to start off by saying I really don’t like mind maps. They don’t work for me and I find them VERY difficult to read and understand. This also makes it very difficult for me to assess. I looked at http://www.wisemapping.com which seemed to be pretty easy to get started with and looked user friendly. There was a tutorial where the guy maps about fruit. They provide the ability to embed their mind maps in blogs as well as share with others since it is web based.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

Have students use this utility to take notes during a presentation and then work in groups to combine them into a document that represents what they gathered from the lesson.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

It is FREE! It requires no software installation. Both of these make it a recommend for me.

FreeMind

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

FreeMind is open source software that is downloaded and installed on your local PC. It provides the ability to export maps to files.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

Have students use this utility to take notes during a presentation and then work in groups to combine them into a document that represents what they gathered from the lesson.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

It is FREE! This requires software download and installation. It is a Java app. I find Java to be VERY unreliable. I would NOT recommend this.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 5

Animoto

Animoto.com

 

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

Provides a place in the cloud to create and store ‘videos’ which are more like PowerPoint presentations set to music. They have pre-licensed music that can be used with the videos. They also provide some different styles and effects that can be added to the pictures that you use to make the video. I think calling these videos is somewhat misleading.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

I could see using this in class to make presentations a bit more interesting for the students

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

I wouldn’t really recommend this. It can be done with PowerPoint easily. It is expensive for real functionality.  The free version limits you to 30 seconds.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 6

Google Docs

Photopeach.com

 

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource. Be thorough in your response.

Photopeach is similar to Animoto. It is an online slideshow creator that allows you to create online slideshows with music and transition effects. You can then share them for viewing by others.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting? It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

Great idea for a student to use on a research topic. Perhaps a lesson about the Vietnam war and then create a slideshow with visuals and music to enhance the presentation.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth. Why or Why not?

They have a VERY affordable educator version. It also allows you to manage your students’ accounts and keeps them from being made public. I would recommend this tool.

 

Overview, standards, and value of integrated technology

First blog from my Technology Education Class

  • What did you learn this week that you will use immediately in your classroom?

 

I am not currently in a classroom. However, I do plan to start using Audioboo to start some audio podcasts on technology and integrating it into tech. I do currently participate periodically in my company’s video podcast ’60 Seconds of Tech’.

  • What steps will you take to implement this in your classroom?

 

I will create and Audioboo account. I will then spend some time finding podcasts that I think are good and identify what it is I like about them. After that, I will work to implement some of those ideas into my own podcasts.

  • What challenge(s) will you face when using this in your classroom?

 

Obviously my first challenge is not having a classroom. Beyond that, I think we have to keep in mind that there are some students that don’t have regular access to a computer or the internet. How do you make these types of things accessible to those students as well?

  • What will you do to overcome the challenge(s)?

 

This is an excellent question. I’m not sure I have a great answer here. One thought is to get some type of player that could have the podcasts loaded onto them and then students could check them out to access them. I would love to hear some other ideas here.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 1

Wiki

 http://pbworks.com/wikis.html

http://pbworks.com/education.html

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

Wikis are a powerful collaboration platform that allows groups to contribute to a single repository of information. Multiple people can provide information and edit that information. The specific resource we looked at (PB Works) has a free version for business, private and educational entities as well as a paid version. The website provides some compelling case studies that demonstrate how their service is being used in a variety of settings.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

This is an ideal tool for group projects and culminating activities. I really liked the example in the case study for Baltimore County Public Schools. In this example, they had a team of 4 that acted as a UN Human Rights Commission and each one was assigned a specific mission. They used the wiki to gather document their individual findings and then as a group, write their report and make a recommendation. Using something like the PB Works wiki allows the students to stay in touch on their project at any time and at any location. They don’t have to physically get together to share their information and they can work on it as information or inspiration happens. This is much the same thing we are currently seeing happen in the work force, so it is excellent preparation for later in life as well.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would definitely recommend this resource for educators. I think it is critical that schools are teaching the skills and tools that students will need in the work force rather than relying on some of the more archaic methods of collaboration that still seem to be pervasive in the education system. There is a free version that provides a good starting point for teachers. The educational paid version is reasonably priced.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 2

e-books

 www.tumblebooks.com

 

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

I was not aware of Tumblebook before this assignment. I was aware of the more traditional digital books for e-readers like Kindle. This is a really interesting resource. I love the way it provides support for readers as well as the interaction of multimedia. There are books available from early reader all the way through High School. I think it’s also great that you can search by reading level as well as by accelerated reader and other slices.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

This would be great for general use as well as to assist struggling readers. I like that it has the ability to be adjusted for both within the same program. From a High School perspective, I think the main use is the ability to reduce the amount of books that the student has to carry.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would definitely recommend this resource to educators. I think the ability to adjust for a variety of reading levels so easily is a huge advantage. It does seem a bit pricy at around $500 per school per year for the HS version and $600/school/year for the early reader version. It is definitely out of the reach for individual parents to purchase and I didn’t see a price model for individuals.

 

Technology Exploration Assignment 3

Podcasts

Audioboo.com

  1. Describe what you learned from exploring this resource.  Be thorough in your response.

Both audio and video podcasts are being used in education. Teachers are using it for class notes for those who are unable to attend class or who need to review what was covered in class. Audioboo is a great site for audio podcasts. Teachers are using it to allow students to respond to their learning and expand their level of involvement. One that I really liked was an elementary school teacher who had students read books that they had written and then interviewed them like a reporter. I’m sure it is an experience that really left an impression on those students.

  1. How could you use this resource in a school setting?  It does not matter if it is in your field or level, you need to understand how the resource might be used in educational settings.

I like the idea of providing the resource to students who need access to the information any time or repeatedly. I also think allowing students to use podcasts as a means of presenting what they’ve learned is quite powerful. It also exposes them to a wider audience. I think it would be great to work with another school in another country and use the podcast as a means of providing further perspective on the students’ own thoughts.

  1. Would you recommend this resource to other educators? Like/Dislike; Ease of use, fee or not, and so forth.  Why or Why not?

I would HIGHLY recommend podcasts for other educators. It is a great way to reach out beyond the classroom and involve multiple senses in student learning. They are free services for up to 10 minute podcasts, so cost is not a blocker. The Audioboo is VERY easy to use and even has a phone app that makes recording a posting the podcast quite simple.

 

Educational Technology

It has been quite a bit since I’ve posted to my IT Buki blog. Life has been pretty hectic and lots of changes have happened in my life over the past year. One of those changes is that I have started working on my Ed. D. through the University of the Cumberlands.  The class I am taking this summer is all about Educational Technology. Each week, I will be sharing my thoughts and reactions to the class through my blog here. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Let me know what you think.

Roberto

Neatness Counts

In my time in IT I have seen many server rooms. I have been in large, white room, raised floor data centers. I have also been in closets under the stairs. No matter what type of server room it is critical to keep it clean. I bring this up because it seems to be one of the things that gets overlooked the most.

  • Primarily, it is a safety issue. Server rails, old servers and network cables left on he floor can be a serious trip hazard. More than once have I been carrying something into a server room and tripped over something. Fortunately I haven’t suffered serious injury, but if I had it would have become a workman’s compensation issue.
  • Manuals and miscellaneous stuff lying on and around server room equipment can block proper airflow which can reduce the performance and life of the equipment.
  • Cardboard shipping boxes and manuals can feed a fire should there be some type of failure that causes a spark or flame.
  • Small hardware items set on top of equipment have the potential to fall into a server during maintenance and the short circuit when power is applied.
  • Dust destroys data and reduces airflow. It will reduce the life of your equipment.
    Keep cables organized and color coded. It can save significant time and therefore significant consulting dollars while adding or replacing network equipment.
  • Keep those server rooms (closets, hobbit holes, etc.) clean and you will be doing yourself a huge favor.

    When should I apply patches and updates

    When it comes to MS Patches (or most any for that matter) I usually recommend waiting to apply them. If you have a test environment, you should test the patches there and then run any test cases you have to make sure they don’t have a negative impact. If you don’t have a test environment, I would suggest waiting till the following month to apply anything other than highly critical security patches for released exploits.

    Let the rest of the world be your test environment.

    Internet Data Protection

    Ubisoft announced that they have had a data breach and recommending that their users change their passwords. Data breaches are not that uncommon. While cybercriminals tend to target large companies or companies they know have financial data, it doesn’t mean that everyone else shouldn’t take a second look at their internet security. There are a few things that are relatively easy to do and can save you from the random script kiddie wrecking your systems.

    Make sure you have a firewall in place, with updated operating system and patches. I’m finding that more businesses these days have firewalls in place. However, I find that many of them haven’t been updated since they were configured 2 or 3 or 4 or… years ago. It is imperative that firewall OS be updated and patched to address new security vulnerabilities.

    Make sure someone hasn’t opened up the firewall settings for some reason and then not closed it down. All too often I look at the firewall rules in a business and I see an “Any–Any” rule that someone used to either test something or because they couldn’t get the firewall rules configured correctly. Having a firewall with an active Any–Any rule nearly completely defeats the value of having the firewall in the first place.

    Clean up old rules that are no longer needed. Many times I find rules for servers or services that clients once had long ago, but don’t have anymore. Leaving these open just adds to your “attack surface.” This refers to the open areas of your firewall that are potential entry points for non-authorized users (aka: criminals).

    Finally, check to make sure you haven’t setup servers or systems that bypass your well designed and maintained firewall. I also see times where someone has connected a server directly to the internet because they didn’t have time to be bothered with getting the security worked out, or something went wrong and they moved it as a ‘temporary’ situation that never got remediated.

    These are just a few easy things to check when it comes to your internet security. There are many more items that are very important, which is why you should check those entry points often. Be careful, it’s a dangerous world out there.

    Consider 4G Wireless as part of Disaster Continuity Planning

    Very interesting article at Tech Republic about 4G wireless and traditional hard wire networking.

    For companies really serious about staying connected during and after a large scale disaster or outage, using a 4G wireless network as a backup to failover to may be a very valuable business decision.

    Read the article at http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/networking/getting-the-most-from-4g-and-wireline-networks/6723