Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Money Saving Advice

I thought I had better get a post out there, being that rule #1 of blogging is having regular content. Things are busy, getting ready for the school year. I have been using my Google Calendar quite frequently, finding it working out nicely. My favorite feature is that I can get choose to have text messages sent to my cell phone (and I can control when they are sent). I can use the extra reminders.

By now, some people may be getting sick of my Google ramblings, but just in case that isn't the case, I have a quick story how Google is saving people money (I know they are getting richer, believe me):

I know a lawyer in the Brainerd area that used to pay $3000 annually to have his "web page" searchable on the site, For the $10 sign up fee using Google, I will be making him a custom URL site that will more informative, give he and his employees email accounts, calendars, docs and spreadsheets, chat and a customized start page (all web based and accessible from any computer, whether a Mac, PC or Linux OS). That is right, $10 (not including paying me to set it up). In turn, I can teach him to update his page if he likes, and he doesn't have to worry about a redesign every year or so. Now, the sites don't have crazy Flash graphics or PHP, but they make him easy to find the first place people look, on the web. We will do some experimenting with Google Adwords (to see if we can get some additional traffic looking at his site (which I can follow with a web analytics product).

People think that I am really smart technology wise (I know I still have a lot to learn), but I have figured most of this stuff out playing around, using trial and error. I like Google products because I think that it helps almost anyone look technology savvy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Virtual Worlds a Passing Fad?

Virtual worlds are being developed as we speak. The game Second Life is gaining a lot attention, and I have been "in world" about five times thus far (Gary Gynoid is my character. I find it funny that there is debate about Second Life being a competent technology. Virtual worlds are multiplying daily. If you don't believe me, check out this review on all the different virtual worlds by categories.

As I often state, it is of great importance that we don't look at emerging technology with our "this is the way education has always been" glasses. Technology has already drastically changed the institution know as "school." And... will continue to do so. Student live in this wired world. A world that I think will eventually change the role of teachers.

Personally, I am excited for the future. Excited that my sons will be able to collaborate with a fellow student in China by simply turning on their computer. What's next? I will try to keep my ear to the ground.

Keep those minds open,


Monday, August 06, 2007

Bad Blogger with a Google of Excuses

I apologize for my lack of posts over the summer. As teachers, we always think we will have so much free time, which never seems to be the case.

I can update you on a few of the things I have been up to, which pertain mostly to Google Applications. (Google Apps. for those in the know)

At the end of July, I did a presentation with Nick Ryan (a fellow teacher at MNCS) at EdVisions Summer Institute concerning collaborative technology. You can check Nick's thoughts out here. If you want to check out some of the web-based software we played around with, click here.

Additionally, Cain, Broden and I spent 16 days in Florida. While we were there, besides mowing lawns and enjoying utter relaxation, I build a website using Google Apps. for my friends Chris and Colin. You can click here to check out the simple site. For $10 I was able to buy the domain, build a site and get up to 200 web based (gmail) accounts, as well as a few other features. Put Outlook to bed I say. Of course I had to purchase also. ;)

Right now, I am having a lot of fun with Google Documents, which looks like a simplistic piece of software at first glance. I keep discovering new things you can do with it. The collaboration possibilities and ease of use for websites makes this a great discovery.

School is rapidly approaching, the summer is flying by. I will try to get back into the swing of things for the school year.


P.S. Enjoy this slide show made on Picasa of a day at the Water Park in Florida.