28 Aug

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Integrating an iPad into your Teaching? Get Started the Right Way (Part 3)

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Choose wisely!

As you set about choosing the type of computer you will sync your iPad with, take iTunes into consideration.  Since any iOS device out there is forever dependent on iTunes, making sure that the application works well is a really smart thing to do.

Assuming you have access to a Mac OS X computer and a Windows 7 computer that you can choose between, I’m going to save you the trouble of experimenting….

… sync with your … Mac.

Experience has taught me, computer after computer, regardless of specs, iTunes performs FAR better on a Mac than on a Windows machine.

20 Aug

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On Teaching Leadership

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With so many programs dedicated to teaching leadership skills, one has to question whether doing so actually makes a person a leader. Organization, time management and communication skills are all worth while assets but why do so many people participate in these programs but fail to practice what was taught, be it in actively choosing not to seek a leadership role or by choosing not to demonstrate the skills when required of them?

Sound off in the comments below.

14 Aug

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Our Political Responsibility

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Regardless the time of year, whether there is an upcoming election or not, teachers have a responsibility to engage the politicians that represent them at the various levels of government – local, state and federal.

No matter the level of government a person serves at, he or she is a representative of the people.  So long as you live in the district the board member, the legislator or the senator represent, you are one of those people represented.  Keep that in mind, always.  Make sure you know the names of your politicians. Become aware of your politicians’ standings – both what they go on record saying and what their voting history says.  It is your responsibility to make sure that your local board member and state and federal senators and representatives are knowledgeable about what matters to you and your students.  Be in contact with them to keep them up to date on what is happening with your school and those around you.  Make sure they know how their decisions affects you, your family, your school and your students.

Some tips to help you become politically responsible:

  • Know the names of your local board members, state senators and legislators and federal senators and legislators.
  • Contact your politicians to introduce yourself.  They need to know who they represent.
  • Email them frequently – not every day as you don’t want to be a nag – but frequently.  Let them know the good things that are happening within your school.
  • Educate yourself on candidates’ positions and current politicians’ records.

These are simple steps towards becoming politically aware and responsible.  Take them, regardless of your current state of satisfaction.

09 Aug

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How Did That Voting Go for You?!

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Did you?

While you may not be satisfied with the results of your state’s primary elections (I’m not), hopefully you can at least acknowledge that you voted.  Whether or not we end up with the candidate we believe is the best for the job, we have a responsibility as teachers and citizens to get to the polls to vote.  We have the responsibility to encourage everyone around us to vote as well – we are teachers, after all.

The senate district I reside in spans three counties in the southeast corner of my state.  These three counties contain four towns with a population near 10,000 as well as a number of other small towns with a few thousand people each.  Let’s assume there are ten small towns with 2,000 people each.  That’s 20,000 people, right?!  Add that to the 40,000 from the four semi-large towns and we get 60,000 right?!  Now, let’s assume that a percentage of this population is under the voting age and rule out 20,000 people.  That leaves approximately 40,000 people across three counties left with the ability and responsibility to vote. Now, back to the senate race in my district – the two candidates opposing each other together netted less that 10,000 votes combined.  That is less that 25 percent of the population turning out to vote.

One sincerely hopes that none of those people in the 75 percent that opted not to vote don’t feel as though they have the right to complain about the politicians elected.  That right ought to be reserved for only those that bother to vote.

07 Aug

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Integrating an iPad into your Teaching? Get Started the Right Way (Part 2)

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Choose a strong password

Today brings part two in our series of tips for getting started with integrating an iPad your teaching.  While part one of the series began with the advise to use a personal, non-ISP based email address for your Apple ID, today’s tip continues with initial setup.

Choosing a strong password is import when setting up anything that requires a minimum level of security.  When the possibility of accruing a (possibly huge) bill looms, a strong password becomes essential.

A strong password should not be obvious, no matter how well an individual knows you.  If a person could possibly guess your password based on what he or she knows of you, it is not a good choice.  Put simply, avoid using things like your child’s name, your birthday or your favorite color as your password.

Strong passwords are completely random or psuedo-random strings of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case characters.  An example of  a random password might be:

w9COO0oi1l!#atZa

An example of a psuedo-random password, based on a (made up) birthday of 07/13/56 and child’s name of Douglas, might be:

oGd160u7l5as3

Got any additional tips you’d like to leave for fellow educators new to the world of iPad’s?  Let us know in the comments below.

07 Aug

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REMINDER: Don’t Forget to Vote in Tomorrow’s Primaries

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VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

Fellow teachers, we are all acutely aware how much of a role the political landscape plays in schools.  I don’t have to tell you how adequate funding and support from the state government – from governors to senators to legislators –  is essential to each and every thing that we do for students.  For this reason, I encourage you to VOTE in tomorrow’s primary elections.

While tomorrow’s elections are only the primaries, in many cases election results are in large decided tomorrow due to lack of opposition.  For example, my district’s senate primary winner claims the seat in the state government.  For this reason, I encourage you to VOTE tomorrow.

Plain and simple, do yourself, your fellow teacher, your school and most importantly your students a favor with the act of voting tomorrow.

Filed Under: Politics

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04 Aug

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Integrating an iPad into your Teaching? Get Started the Right Way (Tip #1)

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These steps will help you get off on the right foot with your new iPad

Were you lucky enough to get a new iPad this summer?  Has your school has began supplying them for teachers?  Regardless, as you begin preparing to use the new iPad for the first time here is the first of many tips to help you get off on the right foot.

When choosing an email address to use with your Apple ID, assuming you have the option, don’t use your school email address.  Also, don’t use the email address provided by your home internet service provider.  Instead, use an email address associated with a reputable service provider like Google or Yahoo.  The reason is simple – your Apple ID will be associated with the email address you provide when registering.  If you ever transition from one school to another or change internet service providers, you may no longer have access to your Apple ID.  Access to any apps purchased while using the Apple ID associated with the old email address may no longer be possible .

Again, it is my recommendation to use a non-school, non-home ISP email address when setting up an Apple ID for the first time.

[UPDATE/CLARIFICATION]

I do want to clarify that should you use a school or ISP based email address, you won’t automatically lose access to your apps if you have to set up a new device or reset.  If you are using a school email address, using a personal email address helps to clarify ownership of the app license should there be a need to do so.

Got any tips for your fellow teacher?  Let us know in the comments!

04 Aug

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Back to School Supplies: Pilot’s B2P Bottle to Pen

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While checking out the selection of this fall’s back to school supplies, I couldn’t help myself upon spotting Pilot’s B2P Bottle to Pen.  The pen, with an appropriately striking similarity to the familiar bottle of water, is composed of 89% recycled plastic bottles.  Pairing the opportunity to be environmentally responsible with a great writing experience, the B2P by Pilot should be something both teachers and students are drawn to.

Noticed any unique back to school supplies while out and about this summer?  Let us know in the comments!

 

04 Aug

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Welcome to Teaching.IsYourPassion.com

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With the start of the school year quickly approaching, I want to take a moment to announce the availability of Teaching.IsYourPassion.com, an exciting new resource designed just for teachers like you.  As a fellow teacher with nearly 14 years of experience, it is probably safe to say that teaching is something that you find yourself thinking about at all times of the day, during the school year and in summer – all because teaching becomes a passion, a truly consuming career experience.

Teaching.IsYourPassion.com is just starting to take shape, but in the days and weeks to come you are going to find rich content focusing on all things education, brought to you by a wide variety of contributors with the same passion for education you have.

One of my primary focuses is going to be the application of technology within the classroom.  This will take the shape of exciting application and gadget reviews, how-to’s and a plethora of resources designed to maximize teacher effectiveness over time.

As more contributors start to submit articles, the topics are going to begin to diversify and things are going to get really exciting quickly.  We’d love for you to join us in the journey, so if teaching is your passion, please consider contributing to Teaching.IsYourPassion.com

Kind regards,

- Brian

Filed Under: Announcements

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