Saturday, June 28, 2008

What is Quicker than Quick?

Finding information is easy these days. What is even easier is not having to find it at all.

I just learned that I am going to a meeting in Montgomery in several weeks. Normally, after returning from a meeting, I would Google the directions simply to get the mileage figures which I would then turn in for reimbursement. Having some discretionary time this morning, I went ahead and Googled the trip and jotted down what the mileage would be.

A thought occurred to me. The distance to this building in Montgomery is probably the same as it was the last two dozen times I made the trip if only I had bothered to record that figure somewhere!

So, I took a couple of minutes not only to record that figure but also Google directions to the half-dozen other places to which I make regular trips. Where did I put them? That information strikes me as being reference information. Therefore, I created a Note in Outlook, entitled it "Mileage" and entered all of the information there. Since I sync Outlook to my BlackBerry, the same Note appears on the handheld.

Sure, Googling the location to get a street address and then putting that address into a map search takes only a couple of minutes. Already having the figure at hand, however, takes no time at all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Any New Bloggers Out There?

Has anyone created a new blog as a result of coming to "Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less" at AETC? For that matter, does anyone have a blog they would just like to tell us about?

Here is your opportunity to add a comment and tell give the address of your blog and any details you would like to give.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Photo Story 3... Easy Enough I Will Actually Do It

I have said many times that in our fast-moving world, we will do that which is easy. So much of our challenge, therefore, is to find ways to make quality things easy. Photo Story is a free program which allows ordinary people like you and me to make quality presentations which bring still pictures to life with movement, music, and narration.

One of my colleagues and friends, Pattie Thomas, presented a session at AETC on Photo Story 3. She has shared her PowerPoint slides at this site.

When our school system went through its District Accreditation, the opening presentation for the visiting committee consisted of a Photo Story. You may view that presentation by clicking here. You can also view another of these presentations, The Faces of Talladega City Schools, by clicking here. If asked for a password, simple click "cancel." Mrs. Thomas created the later presentation. She and I worked together on the presentation for District Accreditation.

My first attempt at Photo Story resulted in a surprise Christmas present for wife that captured wonderful moments from our lives through photographs, music, and narration. It will remain a cherished keepsake and serve as proof that gifts do not have to be costly to be priceless.

I would have liked to have attended Mrs. Thomas's session simply out of support for her if nothing else. I was unable to do so because I was presenting a session of my own at the same time. As it turned out, I probably couldn't have squeezed into the room. While she was hoping for maybe 50 people, 200 people filled every seat and lined the walls!

If you have not experienced Photo Story, I highly recommend adding learning this program to your list of "things to do." To start:
  1. View the end result--either of the two Photo Story presentations to which you can link from this post.
  2. View Mrs. Thomas's PowerPoint presentation.
  3. View any of the Photo Story tutorials available on the Internet. One excellent tutorial can be found here.
When I found Photo Story, I found something easy enough I will actually use it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

AETC - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more Thanks to everyone who participated in one of my sessions during these last two days. It was especially good to see so many who came to more than one.

I hope that you will visit here often. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions. As you read through the posts, you will find more detailed information about some of the topics I covered. An explanation of how to set up an iGoogle homepage and a video on are just two examples of the what you will find.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less

If you came to the session on "Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less," listed below are the blogs to which we referred. Clicking on the links will allow you to view each of the blogs:

In addition to the blogs we discuss in the workshop, here are several created by teachers to use as communication tools with their classes:
  • Brandi Caldwell, a teacher at Mountain Brook High School, composed Mrs. C's Senior English Blogs. From her last post there, it seems the school system began blocking Blogger, so you will see a link there to another venue she now uses. Here, you see Mrs. Caldwell composing the posts and her students responding with their comments.
  • On Mrs. Myrmel's Classroom Blog, we see a blog used as a tool for a 3rd grade teacher to communicate with parents.
  • At the Room 303 Blog, Mrs. Huff's students compose the posts. The most recent posts at present relate to student insights into The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Other students post comments where they respond to what their classmates have composed. This one is definitely worth a look.
Here is the link for ImageChef, the site which allows you to add your own text to a host of images and post them to your blog.
Do you know of other examples that would benefit teachers who are interested in using a blog in their classes? If you do, please leave a comment.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Questions About Outlook?

Questions are always welcomed, and I received the following question in my e-mail the other day:

I sometimes have issues with features of Outlook. I’m currently using 2002, and haven’t found a great site for solving my issues. Are there any sites you’d recommend besides Microsoft, which I find completely useless….?

My reply may be helpful to others, and is as follows:

I do have a couple of suggestions. One is an Outlook discussion group where you can post questions and other group members can post answers. I have found there are some very knowledgeable people who are in the group. To subscribe, you would simply need a free Yahoo account. The url for that group is here. If you scroll to the bottom of the screen, it gives you the address to subscribe: click here. The other suggestion is "Slipstick" which is found here. That site is a treasure trove of information.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Technology 911

Welcome to those visiting this blog after attending the workshop at the North Alabama Technology Conference! The name for this conference--Technology 911--is so right-on-the-money. We dial "911" when help is needed now. In the fast-paced world in which we live, a good handle on technology is essential to navigate some pretty treacherous waters.

I had a great time sharing some of the tools and tips that have worked for me. I hope you will visit often, feel free to comment, and I hope to see you in another session in the future!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Get Organized! at JSU

What a great group we had today for the Get Organized! workshop sponsored by the Jacksonville State University Regional Inservice Center. During the morning of this full-day workshop, we learned how to use tickler files, establish a signature tool, document simply yet effectively, and handle tasks which repeat.

In the afternoon, we covered "all things digital" and learned everything from the simply skill set of creating and renaming folders to sharing bookmarks universally through In between, we learned a simple method for backing-up files, effective uses for e-mail, capabilities of Google beyond what most people have experienced, and how to pull of of your digital resources together in one spreadsheet, tips on using STI, and other time-saving tools and techniques.

If you are visiting this blog as a result of the JSU workshop, welcome! I hope you enjoy the wealth of material that I have posted over the last several years!

Thanks to Vicky Brown and the folks in the JSU Regional Inservice Center for being such wonderful hosts. To have purchased copies of Get Organized! for everyone was a super gesture!

If you know of others who you think would enjoy this workshop, I will be doing this same full-day workshop through the University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center on June 30. As of right now, there are 17 seats still available. To sign-up, go to PDWeb and search the PD catalog for Get Organized. Montevallo has opened enrollment to all school systems. They are also providing copies of the book to all who attend.

If you are attending AETC or Mega, I invite you to attend any of the sessions I am conducting there. More information is in this post.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sharing Bookmarks

Suppose you were interested in fishing and were interested in good internet sites to give you pointers. Have valuable would it be to sit at the computer of someone else who was an avid fisherman and who had already saved tons of great sites in his Favorites?

Suppose you are a math teacher. How valuable would it be to see what other math teachers had saved in their Favorites? Suppose you didn't actually have to sit down at a person's computer and do this, but could view what they have saved from hundreds of miles away?

That is the beauty of I have talked about it here and here and provided a video which explains it here. In addition to being a great place for you to sites and then be able to view them from any computer, you can also view someone else's bookmarks, provided they have chosen to allow this to happen.

I am composing this post simply because I happened to stumble upon just such a set of bookmarks at this address. The person sharing these bookmarks is a technology teacher, so naturally they are going to be heavily technology oriented.

We are all familiar with how to use Favorites and realize what I time-saver that feature can be. takes that basic idea and expands it. It's a tool well worth the precious little time it takes to learn it.

Workshop Review

The group at Thursday's workshop was fabulous! Obviously a bunch of very sharp people to begin with, they were so interested and responsive all day long. The questions were thoughtful. There is no doubt much of what they learned is going to be put into practice quickly. We were able to cover a great deal of ground on both the paper and digital end of things.

Thanks to the University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center for sponsoring the workshop. For the inservice center to purchase a copy of the book for each participant was outstanding!

This past Monday, I had a great time with the administrators from Bibb County. In just over an hour, we were able to touch on about 5 major tools. Thanks for Dr. Judd for providing books for all of the administrators.

There are 9 seats left in the Get Organized! workshop this Tuesday at JSU Fort McClellan. The workshop is open to those in the JSU Regional Inservice Center. To register, click here. All attendees receive a copy of the book.

There are seats left in the Get Organized! workshop to be held June 20 at the University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center. To register, go to PDWeb and search the PD catalog for Get Organized! Montevallo is providing a copy of the book for all who attend.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Create Your Own Paper Planner

If you are looking for forms to create your own paper planner, D*I*Y Planner is the place to go. This page allows you to download pretty much any form you would ever need. Duplicate them, hole lunch them, and you are ready to go!