Gamification and #GTAV

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On Tuesday, 17-Sep-2013, a highly anticipated video game will be release. If yImageou deal with teenagers, I’m sure that you know what I am talking about. The good people from Rock Star Games will be releasing their next installment of the controversial game Grand Theft Auto 5 (#GTAV). It is no secret that this game has it’s share of negativity in it. However as 21st century educators, we must learn to adapt, modify and flip our lessons to what interests our students to make instruction engaging, relevant and meaningful. For example, now is a great time to have students debate about the violence in video games as the media will discuss in the next few weeks.

Anyway, GTAV is nothing but a open, virtual world or sandbox game just like Second Life, Assassin’s Creed, Sky Rim, or Little Big Planet. My friend David Hutchison has a chapter in his book, Playing to Learn discusses how to make GTA “kid-friendly”. Yes, that deserves a chuckle, or two. He expresses if a teacher wishes to use this game as an educational tool, one must modify the game play and content. David share a great point of view of many game play tasks and other ways to use GTA and other video games for instruction. I highly recommend this book for your teaching pedagogy library.

Gamification is the future of education. I will definitely continue my research and share my finding on this topic. :-)

The Last Days of True Online Anonymity

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Believe it or not, everything that we do online and on our cellular devices is traceable. This is not a bad thing due to dangers people pose to the public and National Security.

The days of hiding behind a proxy server to reserve someone’s anonymity for good or bad are numbered. I started this blog post before National Security Agency’s PRISM exposure. Actually, It should not be surprising that this system exists. It only has been confirmed and specific details of this surveillance system are slowly forthcoming from our government.

The true war is over data, whether or not does it really belong to us if it transferred over air or wire. I’m not sure if I desire to choose that battle to fight because there are other issues that are more pressing. So, if you’re hiding behind burners or proxy servers, Big Brother is OFFICIALLY watching you…

R.I.P. NCWise

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Since about around 2005, my school system has been using an online grade book management system called NCWise. The only thing that I personally did not like about it was the difficulty of accessing my gradebook remotely.

20130620-105110.jpgBeing a proud Mac user, I had to use a Windows emulator with the archaic WinXP operating system to input my grades from home. Praise the Lord that next school year, all of this NCWise stuff will now be replaced by an entirely new system.

Yesterday, I received an email from my principal about summer training for a new product from Pearson called PowerSchool (and PowerTeacher). At this time, I have no clue of what I am in for but I am optimistic that the learning curve will be manageable. Of course naturally I will do some personal research to see how others that are using it and share my finding on here.

If you wish to share your personal experience with PowerSchool, please share!

AUP… Do you know me?

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What does AUP stand for?  Acceptable Use Policy… Believe it or not, every entity that allows you access to the Internet (that you do and do not pay for), yes…that check box… is part of your AUP – Better known as the small print.

As a digital citizen, you cannot take for granted your rights. Take the time to read what you agree to. It may seem tedious but you need to be aware of the terms you legally are accepting.

As an educator, I must be responsible and model this behavior. If your students don’t know the school’s AUP, make sure you introduce it to them immediately (especially when your school district officially kicks off “BYOD” madness.)

Digital citizenship is more than buzz words

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Last week I finished a survey from ISTE on my opinion about the role of schools in teaching digital citizenship. I believe it is not only the parents and schools share the responsibility to train their child on the safety and manage their conduct online. By coincidence, last week Edmodo released a poster  (shown below) that lays out the expectations for online behavior.

As students form their online identities, they need to reflect on how are they viewed professionally. Of course, this may be the last thing on their mind when posting updates on Twitter or FB.

Anyway, it is highly recommended for (high school) students to get on LinkedIn and work on repairing their online presence that they created. This blog post illustrates how this can be done.

How many generations can your old media survive?

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About a week or two ago, I picked up a cable to convert my old VHS tapes to digital format on my laptizzle. Most of my tapes that I’m converting are pretty old. I guess when I have time, I will also convert my cassette tapes via audacity and share them on sound cloud; and my videos on either vimeo or youtube. I’ve scanned as many old pictures that I’ve run across from cleaning out my old house I grew up in. Now I just need to burn them to DVD or continue my quest to move my digital memories online.

My actions of converting ALL of my dusty artifacts to digital format are due to the need of safely archiving (and sharing my treasures with family and friends) and the fear of magnetic media degradation which I’ve experienced with an old 8mm reel-to-reel that I paid Wolf camera to do for me.  (Also, I am not getting any younger). As we get deeper in the new millennium, the urgency to duplicate magnetic tape media becomes more critical due to limitations of magnetic media shelf life. I guess it really depends on how you store the contents of your stuff whether or not if the need to convert is necessary. So, how many generations can your media survive?

Sand or Cement?

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Nowadays, everyone is on the Internet. So, should one stop to reflect their personal online behavior and evaluate their online digital foot prints. Yes, because everything you do, say, act, click on leaves either a foot print that is either cemented permanently or temporarily impressed in virtual sand. What do I mean?

Google yourself, and you will see your cemented tracks. Or anything that you participated or contributed online that is permanent to certain extent that can be recovered by someone other than yourself that you cannot remove. Server logs of your whereabouts online that you cannot access is also virtually cemented and only viewable to a select group of people as if you was a star! Ask anyone that is being sued to downloading movies or music lately.

However, if one can remove your digital tracks, that could be considered a foot print in the sand, which is somewhat temporary unless you or someone else can remove  it such as the cookies of your web browser (cache) and browser history.

Do footprints serve a purpose? Yes… You can discover many things about someone that have or do not have digital footprints. Current and potential employers, significant others, and just ordinary nosy people find joy and sorrow in what people knowingly leave behind.

What if I do not leave any digital footprints? That would be impossible, only if you do consider yourself a non-participant of the web 2.0 revolution or a user that is very restricted with your online activities.

Hashtag Fail

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I went to church today and ran into this flyer.

I was delighted to see my church reaching out to the youth using social media. However, what can be (or go) wrong with this hash tag #LookAtMeNow?  Well, click on the link to see for yourself. You will see tweets that may NOT be Christian focused?

Apparently, very little thought went into the decision to use this tag. My point is when using hash tags, you want to make them unique especially if you are going to use it for a youth revival…

Expungement & Google

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I had a conversation with one of my fellow educators the other day. Somehow the topic about “that dude” that worked for the school system that bit a child came up. I later discovered that the case got thrown out. So now all “that dude” has to do is expunge his record, right? However, I mention that you cannot expunge what come up when in Google.

Also, if the article disappears from the new server over the years, the Way Back Machine is currently archiving everything. Yes, I mean everything. Another reason to stay on the straight and narrow and try your best to stay positive & professional.

What do I use to keep ahead of the game?

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I am sharing three resources that I use daily to stay on top of my game. What game? Keeping on top of the latest tech trends and other info with minimal effort. Two of these resource are great for building your own PLN (personal learning network). I’ll let you figure which one’s I’m referring to.

1. Twitter.com - If you are on Facebook, but not on Twitter, IMHO you are really missing on some really great information. Twitter is really what you make out of it. If you are new to twitter, or never tried it before, I challenge you to try it for a month. But you have to figure out how to get the most out if it. If you need coaching, please follow me and hit me with a DM (direct message) for some guidance!

 2. Delicious.com - People usally bookmark website that are important, right. Having that said, there are many social bookmarking sites, but this one IMHO is the most resourceful (and not blocked at my school) The power of this resource is when you build your NETWORK and see what your friends, colleagues, or anyone is bookmarking. Also, it is very important in how you tag your links. Especially if you need to retrieve a website that you need but don’t remember the specific web address. If you are curious in seeing my bookmarks or even my network, just click here.

3. Popurls.com – I use this aggregator to keep up with the latest and greatest info whether it is national or tech related news.  There are other aggregators just as good as this one, but I guess I’ve used this the longest and it serves my needs.

Please comment and share any of your resources that you use to keep your head above the sea of information…

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