I’m Baaaaaack! Took break due to…..

Packrat…MENTAL EXHAUSTION! Instead of blogging, I’ve been hitting the pavement exercising both running and cycling. However, this summer I will work on a life balance and factor blog writing in the equation.

Now that testing and the 2013-14 academic school is finally over, I can do some reflection and planing for the next school year. Some summer projects I would like to work on:

  • Integration of fitness and nutrition with current CCSS math curriculum (especially since it a part of the health literacy component of the 21st century framework )
  • Delve into the hype of Rasberry Pi and make “heads or tails” of it
  • Decide to either use my Edmodo, Moodle or iTunes-U with my classes.
  • Work on a EdTech publication! It’s time to share with the world all of the useful knowledge in my head
  • Either dye or pluck out all of the gray hair from my head due to stress (just kidding)

I am planning to attend to CMS Summer Institute (#CMSSI14) for two weeks. I am a little excited about this conference and of course I will share my excitement here. Enough of my rambling, let me get back to boxing up my classroom…

Pack rat powers, activate!




Reflections on #edcampSC

Today I attended edcampSC in Rock Hill, SC. Before I forget, I am just going to briefly share my “take-ways” from this conference.

Session #1: How to engage parents
Facilitator: Bobby Lynch

  • Strengths of Remind101 – allows to txt w/hyperlinks
  • What ever way in communicating with parents, consistency is the key to success
  • Traditional methods of communication with parents via newsletters is still effective with puzzles and/or brain teasers
  • Look for ways to allow bidirectional communication including anonymous feedback
  • Teacher was successful in using padlet to have students create artifact and have parent interaction with it
  • Another teacher had success in posting high performers on stars on the wall. Students were very eager to have parent to come to school to share accolade
  • Blogs are a great resource in communicating with parents and to receive feedback from them. (Weebly was mentioned)
  • ConnectEd was agreed by all to be annoying and a “turnoff” to parents
  • Focus groups including parents to address issues seemed to help with communication

Session #2: Using Non-traditional web/app resources in the classroom (Apps as creation tools and Google apps)
Facilitator: Me!

  • foursquare.com – Could be used to have parents to checking at school functions where teacher have evidence of their attendance and can give student incentive
  • craigslist.com & ebay.com– Students could discover and compare purchasing items on this site vs local store. Discuss or debate the pros and cons of ordering items online; or have an assignment having students findin someone they know that has purchased items online and share findings
  • Train students how to research and be an informed consumer
  • Other websites that were mentioned: freerice.com, playspent.org, and readwritethink.org

Session #3: What about students who don’t have tech @ home with
Facilitators: Heather Rollings & Derek McQuiston

  • Record video or audio of lesson on DVD – Classroom Redbox
  • Set student expectations of Internet usage using contracts
  • Someone mention this project (http://wigle.net/) that displays wifi coverage
  • Offer alternate assignments that do not require technology; or if teacher requires an assignment to be completed using technology, students need an interval of time to complete assignment to find access to Internet resources.
  • Remember that it is not about the device, but about the learning
  • TPACK was mentioned
  • Ipad = Manipulative on steriods

barcampCLT 2

I was very fortunate to be in the attendance of BarcampCLT2 at Area 15. It was great being around people that are so much more geeky than me. And to think that I was once on the path of coding righteousness. I don’t regret being an educator but I do miss the joy of debugging code and troubleshooting network/server issues.

I learned few off the wall things, such as Blackberry users felt the shameful of their devices. Also, Oprah seems to be the benchmark of your Twitter Coolness. (Anyone joined after her is to be considered unoffically lame.) Oh, almost forgot to mention that men that knit are way cool.

I will share a few takeaways from the sessions that I attended.

1. iPhone App Dev Roundtable

I received some inspiriation to get on board in creating iPhone
apps for education, however an Apple laptizzle is required.  It was mentioned the iPhone for Dummies book was a good read. The process of getting an app approved for the App Store was communicated as being very difficult. Pushing apps via ad hoc for clients was mentioned as a work around.

2. Making $$$ Online

This session was a little similar to last year. Here’s a sample from YouTube…

3. 45 Questions in 45 Minutes

Some good info popped up here. Some discussions on Google Wave, FireFox, and Android took the show.

4. Managing Your Social Networks

Long story short, use an RSS new reader aggregator to gather all your Web2.0 sites. Outlook was mention as a good RSS reader becuase it allow you assess RSS feeds behind secure logins.  Also it was discussed the importance of adding value to tweets by linking your social networks.

5. Simple Content Management

The presenter actually went through the stage of registering a site domain, hosting, and dumping CMsimple in a directory to making it live. Very nice… especially since CMsimple does not require having to deal with databases where CM packages such as WordPress and Drupal require.

Sessions that I wish I could have attended:

How to create webcasts that don’t suck
The Rabbit Hole
Google Page Ranking

Overall, this was another successful unconference. I highly recommend you to check one out that’s near you.

T.I.’s Hottness for 2009

If you thought that I was going to talk about Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., I apologize in misleading you.

However, I just briefly wish to share what I saw at the Texas Instruments booth during NCTM09. The photos below seemed to be all that really caught my attention.

On the left, I got my hands on the new TI-73. This model was designed for the middle school. The updated version of this calc has an increased space for memory to load more apps – where the previous version did not allow. Also, it is officially now sexy like the TI-84s.

To the right, you have the Navigator system designed towards the TI-Nspire. As you can see, the wireless hubs are actually attached to the back of the calcs instead of having the calc hooked up to the wireless hubs. That data cable is gone! Click on the image for additional information and to find out when this system will be released.

T.I.’s theme apparently was “Math Rocks!” I had the opportunity to take a picture beside an autographed guitar signed by the Jonas Brothers. Woo hoo!


The New & Improved TI-73


Wireless TI-Nspire Navigator

Reflections on BarCampCLT (1-24-09)

Today was my 2nd experience with an unconference. BarCampCLT allowed people to bring topics to the people, and through a voting process organized the sessions. If you are a very structured individual, you might have issues with this conference format. However, I had the opportunity to sit on the following presentations. Here are some major points to share with you.

1. Twitter

  • This tool is considered as an information buffet; Only take what you need!
  • tweetdeck was overwhelmingly the apparent the choice of twitter client
  • Be weary of the disruptive elements if you use twitter under your brand – People are known to falsely retweet

2. OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)

  • XO2 is not under development yet – still considered as an artists rendering
  • OLPC discovered that $$ was not an issue for customers
  • Recommended reading: End of Poverty (Jeffrey Sachs) & Innovator’s Dilemma (Clayton M. Christensen)
  • Before OLPC, there was NO netbook market
  • Strength: Cannot beat it’s rugged design & run on very little power
  • Weakness: Networking aspect – Not stable when networking 20-30 XOs; glitch discovered at a conference
  • SW developers & educators are in demand with project; Have you tried XO’s GUI? Get Sugar today!

3. How to make $$ online

  • You should have been here!

4. LinkedIn & Facebook

  • What is your brand?
  • Discussed usage of FB & LinkedIn
  • FB limits you to only 5000 friends; fan page is unlimited
  • In conclusion: Who you are=FB What you do=LinkedIn

5. Resume Killers

  • Resume should go no farther than 10 years back
  • Know your niche
  • +1 versions of resume; customize for market
  • If still employed, you can post anonymously to job search sites and should ask for at least 10% increase

6. Videocast/blog

Look for audio from the above sessions later over here.

Happy Friday, Foo!

Today is a teacher workday in my school district. So I am taking an annual day to reorganize and refocus. Tomorrow I will be attending a BarCamp conference to take a small pulse of local nerdom or nerdativity in Charlotte. So far, I have not seen any topics posted on the BarCamp blog related to education; possible podcasting and video usage, maybe… However I will take good notes as usual and try to do a decent write-up on this event.

NCCTM08 – Day 2 & 3 (10/30-10/31)

I am really enjoying myself at the NCCTM conference this year. As a math educator, I cannot afford to miss this conference each year as compared to the national conference (NCTM). I find that I have more applicable “take aways” as compared to the other conference, not to put it down; However that has been my experience.  It seem like all the sessions that I attended focused on theme (maybe except one I attended) of  Habits & Experiences.

Here a list of the sessions that I attended. Please comment if you wish for me to share the info from any of these sessions.

Day 2

Using Formative Assessment for Problem Solving to Improve EOG/EOC Performance
Michael Gallagher – NCDPI

Revisioning Mathematics for Teacher Education
C.E. Davis – NCCU

KEYNOTE:Engaging in and Reasoning About Important Mathematics
Glenda Lappan – Michigan State University

The Mathematics of Decision Making: MINDSET & AFM
David Royster – UNC-CLT

Developing Algebraic Reasoning in the Middle Grades
Anthony Sapp – NC Teacher Academy

Beyond FOIL – Alternative Methods for Multiplicating and Factoring Polynomials
Todd Rackowitz – Charlotte


Day 3

Using the Last Five Minutes Constructively
Cindy Myers – Thomasville

Fun, Fast, and Fabulous
Anna Crooke – Caldwell

Co-Teaching in the Middle School Math Classroom
Leta Hartley – Caldwell

City Planning for Middle School Students
Patrice Cook & Donna Dodson – Chapel Hill

Web 2.0 Technology and Tools in the Mathematics Classroom
Victor Leith – UNC-Charlotte

Brain Based Teaching Strategies: 10 of the Best Strategies of NC Math Teachers
Teresa Costner – Catawba

My Favorite Mathematical Arguments Plus a Few Bad Stories and Jokes to Help Middle School Students Learn
Wayne Drummond – Buncombe