Category Archives: Uncategorized

We’re back!

Wow I can’t believe it has been over 3 years since I have written a post on this blog.  If it wasn’t for an email reminder from WordPress,  it would have been even longer.

 Looks like my last post was right before the economy tanked and tech budgets began to head south.  Despite the economy,  technology continued to march forward in a rapid pace during those 3 years. Think iPads, Android phones and tablets, private and public clouds, desktop and server virtualization just to mention a few.  Netbooks that were all the rage and on the rise at the time, don’t seem so shiny and new anymore.

With all that is new, new questions arise, such as:

  • How do we roll out tablet tablets and integrate them with the networks we already built?
  •  Is it iPad and/or Android?
  • What tablet apps do we use and how do we deploy them?
  • When it comes to  server virtualization is it VMware’s vSphere or Microsoft’s Hyper-V?
  • How to we roll out “Bring Your Own Tech” in our schools ?
  • and many other initiatives as we move toward blended and distributed education.

So where does that land this blog?  I don’t really know for sure but I think I’ll try to describe the problems I see and ask for your help along the way.  Together we will discover the exciting possibilities and explore viable solutions in these areas together.

As always, still digging.

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What’s on your school’s computers?

Let’s face it, despite all of the talk about Web 2.0 and cloud computing the majority of us are still dependent on the software installed on our computers. 

This process will continue despite all the hype of the web and 2.0. …  and it doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone, Blackberry, MAC, Linux or any of the flavors of Windows … 2000, XP or Vista.  Locally installed software like gas powered automobiles is not dead or going away anytime soon.   Just look at how big of a deal Apple’s iTunes App Store has become.  Several new applications pop up in the iTunes store daily. 

Top all that off with the fact that classroom computer hard drives keep getting bigger each year (does anyone even need this much storage).  Then add the fact that alot of K12 educational PC applications have been around since the 20th century, they are almost always stable and work despite building Internet speeds or any Internet connectivity at all.  To sum it up …. locally installed (client server or standalone) educational software is still important in 2008.

Now despite all of those facts I rarely notice anyone in my Twitter K12 micro blogging network talking about the software they have installed on their computers.  Surely someone out there is buying and installing software in their classroom or on a school office computer for the new school year.

So based on all the above I decided I would start the ball rolling and create a post that listed the software we have been loading on our Windows XP base images this summer.  Our base image is the root of all the other images (K3, Intermediate, Middle School, High School, administrative, etc.) we create.  So in the list you will see very little department or school/classroom level software.  I will leave the list of applications from those images for future post(s).

Core:

McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.5
Java 6.7
Silverlight 1.0
Rosetta Stone plugin
Microsoft Virtual Earth
XP image resizer
Windows desktop search
CD burning/DVD software – Software that is shipped with the computer

Software:

Microsoft Office 2007
Internet Explorer 7
Google Earth 4.3

Multimedia:

Windows Movie Maker 2.1
Audacity and Lame MP3
IrfanView – graphic viewer for Windows
Microsoft Media Player 11 for XP
Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0
Adobe Flash 9
Adobe Shockwave 11
Quicktime 7.5
Real Player 11
MP4Cam2AVI

Now that you have seen my list let’s start a conversation.  Let us know what software you have installed on your school’s computers.

Centering the Web 2.0 conversation

web 2.0 centered conversation

There is a conversation already started that talks about Web 2.0 integration into K12 schools and the classroom.  Teachers around the world has already embraced the technology and are discovering  ways to intergrate it’s vast potential  into their classrooms.  School administrators and IT departments need to join the Web 2.0 conversation to form a complete “centered team”.  Implementation of Web 2.0 without this necessary centered conversation in 2008 will limit Web 2.0’s potential in the school house.     

First look at Secure Computing

Secure Computing There is a company out there named Secure Computing.  They say they want to be “your trusted source for enterprise security”.  Yesterday I sat down with them to see if they could be our trusted source for K12 security.

Web Gateway Security Secure Computing products are broken into solutions sets.  The solution set presented yesterday was based around their Web Gateway Security solution.

Webwasher Everything in their Web Gateway Security Solution seems to based around the product Webwasher.   Like most security products in the Web 1.0 world, Webwasher does URL fitering.  Their marketing says this “First reputation based URL Filter eliminating security exposure, limiting legal risks and productivity losses caused by in adverted or unauthorized employee access to inappropriate, malicious or distracting Web content.”

There is another module of Webwasher that addresses “Anti-Malware”.  They use this module to bring the Web 2.0 conversation into their marketing conversation.  From a marketing standpoint brilliant.

Other modules include AntiVirus, SSL Scanner, Content Reporter, Instant message and Peer-to-peer security and SecureCache.

Buying all of these modules together is not cheap or in my opinion smart.  Because their architecture is module based it allows you take a la carte approach and build the solution that works best for your school district as you go.

My next step is to get one of their appliance’s in my district and open the hood to see what it can do.

Still relevent

A few years old, but still useful – “Learning to Work with IT” :

http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=best_practices&article=30-1

How did I miss this?

TOP 100 TOOLS FOR LEARNING 2007
By Popularity

http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/top1002007.html

It is interesting how Microsoft doesn’t even show up on the list until #10.  Times have changed. 

Audacity, a podcasting favorite is # 11.

 Lots of free tools in the list including Cute PDF Writer,  a PDF Conversion tool.

My visit to Thomas Edison Tower Museum

This is a video I created during my visit to Thomas Edison Tower Museum in September, 2007.