Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Earlier today, a colleague asked me to recommend a good paint program for his MacBook. One of my favorite photo editors, and the easiest to recommend, is pixlr. It works on any machine with a modern browser, and also has apps for Android and iOS. An added benefit is that the same version of pixlr that runs on a MacBook will also run on the Chrombooks many students will use in classrooms next year. Photoshop enthusiasts and image pros will probably scoff at pixlr, but for the vast majority of work that enthusiasts do, pixlr really shines. It supports layers, a bunch of effects, and the typical contrast, cropping, text tools, saving, and more that you might expect to see in software costing big money. Pixlr can be used without creating an account, but pixlr files and images are easily exported to the cloud if you sign in. A vibrant pixlr community has filled Youtube with hundreds of pixlr tutorials, and Mountain Heights Academy has a robust pixlr series to get anyone started. Pixlr is highly recommended.

Tech Tuesday, Episode I.

This morning, EWG's IT Department lead a Getting to Know Your MacBook workshop. It was attended by nearly twenty teachers who spent the morning setting up and exploring their MacBooks. I am delighted and proud to see the emphasis on professional development enjoying such a prominent place in the minds of EWG's leadership. Awesome!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's not about what you know

Earlier today, I was asked if there are any tools a student might use to create a video game as part of a senior project. I am beginning to sense that the next year will be less about what's stored in my noggin, and more about listening, deciphering, and locating resources. Incidentally, the tool Sploder looks worthy of consideration.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's not your old desktop

StolenAdmit it. You never thought about locking your school desktop. Neither did I. No one in their right mind would consider lifting it and running. It's too heavy, hard to conceal, and not worth the hassle. Widely coveted and easily whisked away, your shiny school issued MacBook Air on the other hand, could sprout wings and take flight in seconds. Here are some tips to keep it safe and secure.
  • Keep it with you at all times.
  • Since the former is not always possible, if you leave it, lock it.
  • Do not leave your MacBook openly unattended during lunch, other breaks, or copy room excursions. Lock or conceal it in a desk or cabinet drawer.
  • Take it with you on fire drills.
  • Do not leave it unattended on your school desk overnight.
  • Running an errand on the way home? Out of sight, out of mind. Store it in the trunk, or under the seat of a locked auto.
  • Install and configure the Meraki management tool when you receive your MacBook during the June rollout. (You will be guided through this process.) Meraki might aid recovery efforts in the result of loss or theft.

Image credit: Berishafjolla [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, June 9, 2014

MacBook Air Deployment to Faculty Begins!

MacBook Airs are being deployed to faculty across the district, and the senior high distribution is imminent. For those who have never used Apple OSX (the Mac operating system), Apple has prepared in-depth resources to help familiarize yourself with OSX at http://www.apple.com/support/macbasics. At a minimum, please consider watching
 this six minute video (http://support.apple.com/kb/VI207?viewlocale=en_US) if you've never used a Mac before. Watching it will boost your comfort level and jump start your ability to become productive with your new Mac right away.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ramping Up!

Whew! It's official. I start an in-district sabbatical at the close of the current academic year. In the coming months, I'll be working closely with students, faculty, staff, and administration as a technology integration specialist with a primary focus on technology for instruction.

I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and serve in such a capacity, and wish to recognize the foresight of Superintendent Erinakes for encouraging me to apply, and the school committee for recognizing the need for a technology integration specialist. Former colleagues like Norm Leveillee, standouts like Doc McArdle, who mentored me throughout the nineties, Marc Hamlin, Ron Rounds, others, and I had a dream several decades ago that we could better serve the school community inside the classrooms of content area teachers much more effectively than we could by contriving projects in isolated computer application classes. Happily, the dream and reality are converging.

What's on my mind lately? We are ramping up for one to one computing! That is what keeps me thinking into the evening. One year ago, the whisper of one to one computing in EWG would have elicited chortles and snorts of derision. How far we have travelled in one year! We might not yet be in technology Nirvana, but we are in a far better place and rapidly evolving! Amen!

Another pressing issue is that I need to write about my experience. I need to tell this story of what I imagine to be purposeful transformation. I need a platform to highlight and brag about excellence in your classroom, and to be, perhaps, a mouth piece for model classrooms and exemplary practices. And, Richard Byrne (author of FreeTech4Teachers.com, a blog you should subscribe to right now) repeats that teachers should blog here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and in probably a dozen other places. So, here it goes. If you're reading, awesome! And if I'm writing into the void of space, it sure feels good to be shouting.

Until next time...

Kind regards.