Monday, March 30, 2009

Forget Registering for All of Those Sites

Life has its time sinks. One that we all face on the Internet is sites that force us to register just to read an article.

I have been reading the website companion to Upgrade Your Life. One of my favorite tips is using a site called BugMeNot to avoid having to register for websites. The idea is when presented with a website for which you must register, simply go to BugMeNot and enter the URL. You will be presented with a list of usernames and passwords already known to work.

I gave this tip a try, and it worked like a charm! If you hate having to register for yet another site, add BugMeNot to you Favorites or

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

What can you and I do that is a little extraordinary? What are we waiting for?

Friday, March 27, 2009

What a Wonderful World...

Just a little something to brighten your day.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Want to Get Hired?

Over the years, I have seen many resumes and many phone calls from people looking for teaching jobs. Some are more innovative than others. This one, got my attention...

No, it was not one sent to me. You can view this one, view some similar ones, and read about the project on Presentation Zen.

The video is entertaining, but it's also food for thought. Whether it's finding that first teaching job or trying to break into administration, I ask those who come to me for advice one question, "What makes you different from all the rest?" Maybe we can't showcase our uniqueness in a video such as this, but identifying our own special qualities and communicating them is essential, regardless of the job we want.

Monday, March 23, 2009

NAESP Workshop--"Managing Digital Data With Ease"

If you are attending NAESP, I invite you to my workshop, "Managing Digital Data With Ease."

Today’s school leader is flooded with an every-increasing amount of information, and much of it comes in digital form. This session focuses on practical tools and techniques for managing digital data. Participants learn how to establish a logical filing system on computers and how to backup data easily so that nothing is lost when the hard drive fails. The session examines some lesser-known capabilities of Google, the convenience of iGoogle, and the potential of Participants are introduced to a method for using one document to house a year’s worth of digital documents, websites, videos, and presentations, all with clickable links. Finally, the session explores e-mail best practice and offers a methodology for getting the e-mail Inbox empty every day.

The session will be held on Monday, April 6, beginning at 8:00.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

NAESP Workshop--"Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes or Less"

If you are attending the NAESP Convention in New Orleans, I invite you to attend my hands-on session, "Your Own Blog in 10 Minutes of Less." We will look at some well-established blogs to show some of the ways people are using blogs, look at the features of blogs, and then create our own from scratch.

We will examine how to do perform techniques you see on this blog: insert links, include pictures, embed video, and use clip art. We will also look at sites where you can find good clip art and photographs. Participants will leave with a blog created that they can continue to enjoy for as long as the tool is useful to them.

This workshop will be held on Sunday, April April 5 starting at 1:30 in Room 202.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On Change

Our society talks about change. Business books love to talk about change. Our new President even ran on a platform of "change we need."

In a wonderful book I recently read entitled Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers, the author included the following quote that goes so eloquently to the heart of why change is so difficult:

It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear . . . . It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.

—Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy

One of my favorite quotes addresses that "in between," that space between trapezes, and that brief moment when we are without our security blanket:

When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and you are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.

—Barbara J. Winter

Comforting words in uncertain times.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Light-Hearted Look at Software Design

New York Times columnist David Pogue takes aim at technology’s worst interface-design offenders, and provides encouraging examples of products that get it right. To funny things up, he bursts into song.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

See You in Indianapolis!

This past Halloween was spent at the National Middle School Association Convention in Denver. I presented a one-hour version of Get Organized! to a large and receptive audience.

Yesterday, I received notification that I have been selected to present a three-hour ticketed session at this year's event. The tentative date is Thursday, November 5 from 8:30-11:30. The convention is being held in Indianapolis.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When Life Hands You a Lemon...

Tough times have hit us all in a variety of ways. The cancellation of the Alabama Educational Technology Conference is one example. It's an event I look forward to every year both in terms of what I learn and what I can share with others.

As a wise man once said, "The worst things are never the last things," and a recent letter hammered that point home. The plan is for AETC to go ahead, but as a Virtual AETC. Sessions will be be offered through such means as Elluminate.

I have been on the receiving end of Elluminate sessions, but never on the presenting end. It's an opportunity for growth. It's an opportunity to take something I know nothing about and turn it into a way to reach people I might never see in person. When I read Don Marchant's letter inviting those of us who have been regular presenters to step out of our comfort zones and step on to a plane that we are going to be building as we fly it, I immediately fired off an e-mail saying, "Count me in."

It looks like I have a learning curve ahead of me. To be honest, I am at my best when the goal seems to be just a little beyond my grasp. I am the happiest when I am learning. Frankly, with all of the balls I have in the air right now, I really don't have the time to tackle something like this. But, for this one, I am going to make the time.

Virtual AETC is slated for June 8-12. The plan is that it will be free! For those who have resisted going to AETC because the drive was too far, that excuse has been removed. For those who always seem to be out of town during the event, that excuse is gone. The event is wherever you are. For those who have resisted because filling out the paperwork to get professional development funding, that excuse is gone.

Yes, we are building the plane as we are flying it, so if you are looking for all of the information in one nice neat package, forget it. The package will probably change daily. In situations like this, a blog is the most efficient way to get the news out as it is happening, and the best way to get feedback from all of us. AETC has established such a blog to keep us abreast of developments. I have added it to my Google Reader. You can go to the AETC blog by clicking here.

Tough times are throwing us some lemons. Maybe it's time to make a little lemonade.

When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and you are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.
—Barbara J. Winter

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Web 2.0...What Is It?

Web 2.0...This buzzword got it's start in 2003 and has been gaining steam ever since, but most people still haven't the foggiest notion of what it means. In a nutshell, Web 1.0 was about you and I being consumers. Information on the web was put there by people in far-away places who knew lots about programs such as Deamwaver or FrontPage and had access to servers where they could host their stuff.

Web 2.0 is about creation and participation. What you are reading right now is an example of Web 2.0. It's about the average person being able to share knowledge with the whole word. It's blogs and wikis. It's MySpace and YouTube. It's the ability for you and me to have space on the internet absolutely free where we can post our pictures, our thoughts, and our very best ideas. It's the idea that we are givers as well as takers in a global exchange of ideas. It's the absurd notion that an encyclopedia could be constructed by simply letting anybody who wanted to write whatever they liked, a notion so absurd it's actually working.

So how many Web 2.0 tools are there and what are there? It's a good question, and the answer grows daily. There is a site, however that attempts to answer that question.

Click here to

As you mouse over each icon, you will see a short explanation of what the site does. The great thing is that most of them are free.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Find Any Piece of Music With "Just Hear It"

Just Hear It is a free site where you can enter the name of any song and be presented with a list of links. Click a link and you are listening to the tune.

I tried the site with everything from classical selections to pop and even tried titles of young concert band literature all with great success. In many cases, the results include YouTube videos.

The site is in beta right now, so who knows how long it will be totally free and what the capabilities will be when the site is no longer in beta. For those of us looking for a quick recording, even of something obscure, this site is a pretty significant reference.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Among my childhood memories is listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. His daily messages, ending with that long pause and the words "good day" were etched in that young memory. For most reading this post, Paul Harvey has been with us our entire lives, informing us and inspiring us.

Countless times, I sat with baited breath to twists and turns that resulted in the rest of the story. Here is one of those inspiring pieces.

Each of us has a gift to give, and few have given theirs any better than Paul Harvey. He will be missed.