Monday, March 31, 2008

Personal Professional Development

As I have entered into this world of the weblog or the blogosphere, I have already seen the benefits of what it can do for me by using this tool. While on Twitter today I saw a reference to a post by Ryan Bretag that truly made me stop and think about what I have or have not been doing about professional development and how do I help others in the same area. Most of my professional development was limited in my mind to going somewhere and listening to someone or participating in a hands on workshop of some sort or another.

Ryan's post actually opened my eyes to the fact that if I am invovled in some type of learning no matter where or when, then I am helping to lift myself up past the bar which some have set for me professionally. Can I get a certificate as a result of what I learn in the Twitterverse? Probably not! In the blogosphere, I doubt it, however, the ability to share and learn is there just the same and in some cases it is more personal. The great thing is that instead of just one person's input, it is very easy to get several on the same subject.

So, the next direction for me is to try and help those on my staff figure out a way to get in some PPD and help them to find a way to share with others and keep away from getting cited for "teacher malpractice." I need to help them keep up with the changes in they way of the world , especially the 21st Century Learner World, so they too can raise their hands.

So many wonderful reads out there and so few hours in the day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Resources and Tools

I arrived back at home and I am glad to be here. I have already received a couple of emails from people that were in my sessions so today what I am going to do is post the tools we use at BD. These will be a combination of items that are accessible to teachers and students. Where possible I will also make sure they are linked so you can click them and get information.

Before I begin I would like to mention Miguel Guhlin who is linked on the main page and his topic which I read this morning titled "Intensity of Authenticity" where he mentions that in all of his blogging he has received few responses. I mentioned to him in my comment that sometimes I personally feel I am not worthy(?) to post due to not being at the level I perceive him to be. I do know that there have been many occasions where his post and musings have lead me to have discussions with other people however, be it in my building or with others in the Diocese.

That said, here we go. We are a Novell networked school, we have almost 230 Windows based machine on our network. Our current supplier is Daktech Computers for both laptops and desktops. We are able to purchase monitors from them as well and they supply us with digital/analog, flat View Sonic monitors of at least 19". We have also purchased laptop carts outfitted with a printer and a wireless hub from them to complete those packages. We use Edline Corporation for web based grades as well as class pages for parent - school communication.

Jackson Software for Grade Quick Web
Administrators Plus by Rediker Software along with the modules for Discipline, QSP for Cafeteria, SNAP for the nurse's office, Concourse for the Library and Admissions Plus.
Windows Operating Systems and Office 2003 & 2007. We currently run XP Pro on all machines.
Macromedia for web classes, graphics animation and graphic art classes. Macromedia has been purchased by Adobe and we are going through that licensing now.
Quia for online test making and taking.
Twotrees Technologies for web mail for all faculty and all students. Twotrees also does our content filtering, pix firewall and has done our webhosting.
ArcView software from ESRI for our GIS program.
SMART Interactive whiteboards. We also use Airliners From SMART, Synchronize
NEC Projectors for use with the SMART IWB's.
Geometer Sketchpad for Math
TI Smartview software for math with the SMART IWB's
Audacity, GCast and Photostory for podcast creation
Naviance with the Guidance offices
Discovery Channel School for United Streaming
SAS in Schools by Curriculum Pathways. for plagiarism checking.
Avid & iMovie for Broadcast Journalism classes

Our library has an extensive database that is subscribed to for the student so I will link you to the librarian's page and you can scroll down to see some of the tremendous work that she has done.

I welcome any input as to other alternatives to these items posted. This is a portion of the list of what we use at BD. I hope this helps.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Day After

Yesterday was my presentation "How we Used Technology to help Transform the School" and I was very honored to have 25 people show up. I look forward to getting the evaluations from the committee. The reason for being glad that 25 people showed up is that there were 21 presentations going on as well as the keynote, all at the same time. The keynote was Daniel Pink so that is why I was happy to have 25 folks. We had some good discussion about how we did some of the things we have done so I was pleased with it. I hope to hear from some of the people that were there.

As I talked with some of the people that helped organize the event I found out that they were thinking there were only about 5000 people in attendance. This dissappoints me in general. I do plan to get more involved witht his organization to try and help make a difference.

I showed a couple of different videos that many of us have seen and used before but I want to create a link to them for those that were in the session in case they want to use them back at their schools.

"What if..." by Karl Fisch.
"Did you Know" by Karl Fisch
"A Vision of Students Today" by the Digital Ethnography Class at Kansas State University - This is the Teacher Tube edition.

These can be wonderful starting points but it is all about the tools that are available to all of us. I am beginning to play with things like Google docs and the tools that they have available. We shall see.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why did I wait so long?

As I write this I have been preparing for a presentation at the NCEA Convention this coming week in Indianapolis, IN. The National Catholic Education Association awarded me with a Secondary Education Department award for significant contributions to American Catholic Secondary Education back in 2004. As a result of that award, this year I got a call and I was asked if I would be willing to give a presentation on the topic of my choice at the upcoming Convention? I replied yes and since then I have been an absolute blank on how to present what I want to talk about.

My chosen topic is How Technology helped to turn around BDHS. When my current principal came to Dunne 13 years ago, we were on a decline and had been going that way for a while. We were down to 242 students in grades 9-12 with a major monetary deficit and a building that was also in decline. When she entered she said we were going to become a technology specialized school and be one of the best. From that point on all focus was on using and integrating technology in every aspect of the school and curriculum. I was fortunate enough to get tagged as the Director of Technology about 3 years after she arrived. My credentials - a willing workaholic that wanted to see the school succeed and just enough geek in me to want to make it happen. At the time I was the head of the Theology Department (yes we are a Catholic School), the defensive coordinator for the football program, head baseball coach and now tech director.

Since then we have been recognized in several areas as well as increasing enrollment from 242 to 650 in grades 7-12, recognized as a SMART showcase school and Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School as well as several awards for the work our GIS department has done mainly as a result of the students and their efforts.

If I had been doing some sort of blogging about this as time went on I could have easily gone back through my written thoughts and brought it all together easier. Well, the record has been started so I need to make the most of it. I do know that since Kate Dailey has been at BD, work has been fun and a challenge but all good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What is your favorite tech tool?

While I am in my 31st year at BD, needless to say I have seen many changes. Obviously the best one we have all seen is the explosive growth of technology to the point of it being with us at all times. From the cell phone to the iPod(be it iPhone, iTouch, Classic or Nano) to pda's in whatever flavor from Blackberry to Windows to Palm or should that be in your palm, we continue to figure out ways to use these items not only for our own lives but for the betterment of our lives.

What should a school look like as a result of all of this? Check out Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's wiki as some of the best try to create the best. Mr. Gates, want to fund a true dream? Check it out by clicking on Sheryl's name above.

While the guru's continue to come up with the ideas, I am still trying to figure out ways to use the tools that I have been given so that the tools are not seen as such, but rather a pleasant, inocuous way of getting through life. I sometimes have difficulty remembering the product in my pocket that rings also takes pictures, sends email, send text messages, allows me to keep up with the "twitterverse", check flights, weather, stocks and so much more that I sometimes forget to use it for those very things. I also need to remember to keep my head up and participate in life itself. Don't get me wrong, I love the technoverse I live in but I also need to celebrate the life I have been given and the people that cross into my life on a regular basis.

These people that cross in and out of my life are the greatest teachers and are in my life for a reason. I hope I can continue to honor them throughout my life and give back to them in the same way they have given to me - openly, honestly and very willingly.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The water is fine or is it?

As I write this I am grateful to people like Miguel Guhlin and many others that I have been introduced to by him, though not personally. As I have gone to make comments on other's blogs and their musings, I have felt bad since I did not have a "web address" to add when leaving a comment. Tonight I read Kathy Cassidy's blog and thought it is time to dive in to the pool. While I always felt better standing in the shadows and helping other people get there, I felt it was time enough for me to join in and try to make a difference, that lead by example type of thing.

What kind of difference? Who knows, one idea, one person, maybe start a movement...well let's just stick with keeping my head above water and only stirring enough thought and maybe enough trouble to stay out of the really hot water until the right time.

I am a Director of Technology for a Catholic School in Dallas known as Bishop Dunne. I have been there for 31 years as a teacher, coach, administrator and I am fortunate enough to have been educated there many moons ago. I am a 1972 graduate of the school. My entire family - 5 other brothers and sisters - graduated from BD.

I was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church in the summer of 2006 and I have been assigned to Holy Spirit in Duncanville, TX. Needless to say that is where staying out of the really hot water with some opinions comes from so I guess I will stick with what is going on in the ed tech world that I know and experience.

If you are a twitterer, I am paulrwood. Back soon hopefully with some more from my world as I hopefully share my vision.