The Problem With New Technology

We’ve all experienced it. The latest and greatest gets released and we think one of two things: “I HAVE to have this!” or “There’s no way they are going to get me to spend my money!”

I’m the latter kind of person. I hang onto phones, computers and cars as long as humanly possible. Does it mean I don’t long for the latest and greatest? Nope. I just am a practical, frugal teacher.

Last year, my beloved Camry that I expected to continue driving until well after I paid it off was struck from behind and totaled. I wanted to buy another Camry, but somehow the dealer convinced me to try a Kia Cadenza. “Does it fit a 10 foot board?”, I queried. “Seats don’t fold down, but there is a pass through.” I told him I’d bring it back if the boards wouldn’t fit. They fit. I was sold.

Now comes the latest dilemma: the new iPhones are out. My older iPhone 7 is acting up. Won’t install apps. Doesn’t raise to wake anymore. Refuses to do the simplest of tasks. My phone has plenty of memory. I’ve ditched a lot of apps that I just don’t use. I’ve tried everything I can think of. But still, it’s old technology. And Apple knows it.

Oh, Apple, how you know your market! The newest iPhone 11 comes in at the amazing price of $699.99. While still more money than this old Yankee really wants to spend, it’s still less than what I paid for the current phone I have. And the technology is SO much better!

Don’t even think to ask me if I’ve considered an Android. I won’t. I’m an Apple user tried and true. (Mostly!) My devices integrate seamlessly – except my work laptop which still plays well with them in the Cloud environment.

So what is my problem? My problem with new technology is that I just want my old technology to work. Just plain work. Not planned obsolescence. Not forcing me to upgrade. Not MAKING me do anything!

Alas, my job as a Digital Learning Coordinator requires me to have instant access to everything. Could I function without a phone? Maybe, but it wouldn’t be pretty! I rely on this little device that I use for just about everything. I even occasionally make phone calls. And while I’m not proud of my need for this, it truly has become part of my life. For better or for worse.

I have fought the urge. I have even talked myself out of a new phone several times. I acquiesced and went with my husband to sit at the store to look at new phones. But I didn’t make the move until today. Today the inability to download a necessary piece of financial software pushed me over the edge. I have officially caved.

My new iPhone 11 will be here shortly. Budget blown. But, problem solved. 😎

Thoughts of a Conference Presenter

Presenting at state conferences is always so rewarding. When I accept an opportunity to present, I feel a sense of excitement and a bit of a thrill. “I can’t believe they want me!” Then as the weeks go by and work/home/family rolls along, I begin to think that maybe I shouldn’t have accepted. Maybe it just costs too much since there really isn’t any money in our budget for this trip. Maybe no one will come to my sessions. Maybe I’ll wander around aimlessly feeling lost because I only know one or two people that are in attendance.

Fast forward to the week before the conference. Oh no! I’ve hardly worked on those presentations that I started when I was first accepted. What was the description again? What have I learned about this topic since I first submitted my proposals? What has Google changed that I need to alter from where I was back then?

Even though I may have presented this very topic multiple times, I still have to customize the presentation for the audience and the venue. Some people might think the presentation part of it isn’t that important. Some of the sessions I’ve attended in my career certainly focus on content and not esthetics! But I feel that the visual part of the presentation is just as important as the content.

I recently spent several days learning about The Art and Science of Presenting from Phil Echols @PhilEchols and Chrys Brown from the Office of Professional Learning in Wake County Public Schools in Raleigh, NC. These two excellent presenters provided multiple strategies that I have since continuously employed in my presentations.

Having a consistent template for slides makes the presentation look so much more professional. Providing links to the materials either at the session or before is really important for those that use the app or website for the conference. I’m guilty of forgetting to post the links prior to the sessions!

So why am I ruminating about all of this? Because sometimes attendees think that presenters breeze in and don’t have to do much. Because sometimes presenters try their best and the WIFI doesn’t work or the slides are out of order or they have too much content for the time allotted.

Presentation is a craft and an artform. Am I great at it? No. Am I good at it? I think so, but those of you who have seen me present should tell me what I need to improve on. Your feedback – both good and bad – help me to grow my style and improve my craft. If you have ever attended a conference, please be sure to provide feedback. If you’re a conference organizer, please provide that feedback to your presenters. Assessment is a key component of the process.

So now that I’m headed home from this conference, I am so appreciative of the opportunities I had. I filled my schedule with Music Technology sessions. I heard some great music by High School and Collegiate groups. I connected with people that are actively using technology in their band rooms, classrooms and choirs. And I have met some true pioneers in the field. Thank you, TN Music Educators Association for one of the best conferences I’ve been to in an amazing city full of music. #TnMEAConference

Friday Night Musings

teachers at training As I reflect back on the previous week, I find myself returning to the same conclusion. Using technology and using technology well is an ongoing goal. While some might think I know a lot, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I have so much more to learn.

Maybe it’s age. But the more I work with teachers and principals, the more I realize I need to learn much more than I know.

I have never considered myself an expert. I know a lot about certain things but I have so many areas that still need so much work.

Where are you in your Digital Learning? What are you doing to build your skills?

Fortunately, those that I work for have a vision of building capacity and reaching as many teachers as possible. In our 24 schools, we have worked with more than 475 teachers since the creation of this position. We have begun building relationships that I hope will sustain the work that we have started.

After three days as part of the NCTIES Conference as a learner, partner in education and presenter, I am further convinced that I have so much to learn.

#NCTIES19

How will you sustain your excitement about your latest professional learning? Will you share your excitement when you return to the classroom? Or will you tuck your knowledge away in the “been there, done that” file?

Let me encourage you, no, implore you, to extend your experience. Step out of your comfort zone. Take a risk. Fail forward. Model this growth mindset for your students and colleagues.

Public education is an amazing place. You make it an amazing place. WE make it an amazing place!

Spread the word, the ideas and most of all the enthusiasm that you have for each child, every day. You’ve got this!!

How Do You Organize?

Time is precious. With so many tools available, how do you know what tools will work best for you? Here are a sampling of tools that could help you save time and hassle. Just explore to find the right ones for you.

These are some of my “Go-To” apps. Give them a few weeks and see if they improve your workflow. If they don’t, then they should not become part of your digital toolbox. Enjoy!

Ad Block Plus: https://adblockplus.org/

Add This: http://www.addthis.com/browser-extensions/bookmarklets

Bit.ly: https://bitlysupport.desk.com/customer/portal/articles/2120973-tools?b_id=5612

Diigo: https://www.diigo.com/tools/diigolet

Symbaloo: http://blog.symbaloo.com/bookmarker-en/

 

 

Lenovo L450 Not Connecting?

The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) in Raleigh, NC purchased the Lenovo L450 laptop for every certified teacher in the District. Over 13,000 teacher laptops and thousands of individual school-purchased student laptops later, an important issue keeps coming up: “Why won’t my laptop connect to the wireless internet?”

Believe it or not, the solution is simple. There is an Airplane Mode key that can easily get pushed and the wireless radios get turned off. The secret lies in the F8 key. The F8 key turns the wireless on and off. Students quickly figure this out and staff sometimes press the key and end up turning it off.

f7-wireless-key-l450

f8-key

When you press the F8 Key, you see the image below if your wireless is on. Green for ON (even though the word Off is below the pictures).

wirelesson

Red for OFF. If your wireless is OFF, you will see this:

wireless off.jpg

The On and Off designation is for your Airplane Mode. Airplane mode turns off your wireless function. Seems a bit confusing and maybe it could be a little clearer. I feel as if it’s a little like a double negative in context.

Hopefully the next time that laptop won’t connect to the internet,  you’ll have a quick solution.

 

Getting unusual popups on iPad or Mac?

One of my colleagues had one of these messages pop up on her school iPad. She wondered about it, not really worried, but still had a nagging thought about the threat. These scams have been landing in our inboxes ever since email was invented, but now they are showing up as popups in our browsers and on our screens.
Picture
My advice? Never click on a link or let these things scare you into clicking OK. Always check it out by searching for what is already out there for info. Apple support communities is always a good choice for the iOS or on other platforms, just search in your browser for the message or part of the message.
Another great place to look for the authenticity of an email or error message is to go to Snopes.com – Snopes provides the answers to whether something is a rumor or truthful.

2010 NCMEA Conference

This weekend I will be presenting at the NC Music Educators Conference in Winston-Salem, NC. Please take the survey if you were an attendee at the conference.

The NCMEA 2010 sessions are available for download here:

MIDI in the Elementary Classroom Click here to take the MIDI session survey

Download the pdf version of my MIDI Workshop_c

Wikis, Blogs and Google Docs Click here to take Wiki, Blog and Google Docs survey

Download the pdf version of Wikis-Blogs-GoogleDocs

Garageband in the Elementary Classroom Click here to take the GarageBand session survey

Download the pdf version of GargageBand ’10 in the Elem Class