Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google Apps for Schools

There are so many different applications that Google now provides. And now you can tie a few of those to your own domain. We used them at the end of an online class here at ESU 10. It was pretty successful. I'll highlight a few of them today.

Domain Control Panel allows you to set up your domain to use the tools below. You can setup your own accounts, passwords, etc. You also manage the settings for each of the services to best fit the needs of your district.

Start Page is a service that allows you to set up a dashboard that is specific to each individual that has an account on your domain. The cool part about this is it is completely customizable by the administrator of the domain. You can lock in certain sections and have parts that are editable by the account holder.

Gmail is a revolutionary new web based mail application. It is built on the foundation of "conversations" or what you might know as threads. It also uses the Google search piece so it is much easier to find messages you may have archived. I really like the Labels feature which is sort of like sorting your messages in folders but better. Check out an overview.

Google Talk is an instant messenger that can be either a domain only service or one that is shared to the outside world.

Docs and Spreadsheets is a wonderful tool that allows for team collaboration. Students or teachers can share documents together and add their knowledge to the project. The documents can be share collaboratively so that others can edit the file or they can be shared as view only so it can be shared with anyone. In our experience here at ESU 10, it has become an indispensable tool for meetings and other collaborative events.

Calendar is a pretty straight forward calendar application that has powerful sharing features. I like the option to discuss events within the calendar. I also like to embed the month view calendar into other web pages. Very nice.

Lastly, Page Creator is the web page application for the domain. This is a nice application and fairly simple to use. The downside that I see at this point is that there is not an application for each account within in your domain. The web pages are shared with all the accounts and so anyone can make changes. I look forward to seeing some better collaborative controls in terms of what can edit what.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Maximum Impact - Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell - Author of "Blink"

1| "Coup d'oeil" - At a glance. Quality of Judgment
2| Separate knowledge from understanding. Summons of experiences and knowledge. Wisdom without understanding. Instinctive mode.
3| Judgment is fragile - needs to be protected. Put leaders in positions where there judgment is possible.
4| Judgment is frugal.

Don't let your eye corrupt your vision.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Maximum Impact - Boone

Herman Boone - Coach of the Titans

What an inspiration. Herman had a couple of very powerful points I want to share.

Embrace Diversity
Don't let diversity get in the way of the success of our students.

Trust is the emotional glue that binds us together.

Goals happen with teamwork. Teamwork starts with talking to one another.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Maximum Impact - Bradshaw

Energy! Wow... this is how I would sum up Terry.

Terry Bradshaw - Four time Super Bowl Champion

Terry was a very high energy speaker. He was so fast and full of information I mostly sat and tried to listen. I did pick up a couple of key points.

Stop and pay attention.
Listen to the still voice inside of you.

And, what I think is most important:
Be willing to try new things!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Maximum Impact - Strickland

Next are my notes on Bill Stickland, considered one of our greatest "Social Innovators."

Bill Strickland - Social Innovator

Bill is head of the Manchester Craftsman's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh. His core set of values centers around the fact that if you build something world class, you will act world class, if you build prisons, you'll act like a prisoner. Give kids a chance by building them world class facilities.

Building world class facilities needs to incorporate art, music (jazz), nature (orchids) and brilliant architecture. These feed the soul.

The arts are a bridge to walk across to a new life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Maximum Impact - Sanders

Here are my notes from Tim Sanders, a senior level executive at Yahoo!

Tim Sanders - Author of "Love is the Killer App"

Tim's whole basis for leadership grows from building emotional relationships with others. Develop a positive mood state.
Positive people people have more DHEA and this results in better performance.

Leaders need to "Lead the mood state" by:
1) Give your people a cause. Give them purpose.
2) Give your people a life.
a) Environment - Give them a good place to work. Natural light, comfortable furniture, pictures/paintings, etc.
b) Life balance - for example, no work on Sundays.
c) Make a friend, be a friend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Maximum Impact - Maxwell

Today I'll cover my notes from John Maxwell's presentation.

John C. Maxwell - Author of "Talent is Never Enough"

John's new credo is "Talent Plus."

You have talent which is God given. Then you have choices to enhance and bring out the most in your talent. 6 of those choices are as follows:

1) Belief lifts your talent - believe in yourself. Behave on the outside what you believe on the inside. Believe in yourself, your team, and your organization.

2) Character protects your talent

3) Initiative activates your talent. "Alls well the begins well." Start... NOW!

4) Passion provides energy. John had a great story about getting 300 people to his small rural church. On the day of his goal, he had 299. Had to go out and find another person and ended up bring two more back because he told them they would be hero's.

5) Preparation positions your talent. Be prepared for when opportunity knocks. You never know when that will happen.

6) Teachability expands your talent. Learn, learn, learn. Learn from your failures - don't dwell on them. Have a teachable spirit.

Other notes: What are you doing to invest in yourself? In others? - Put your money where your values are. His example was don't pay kids to do chores, pay them to read!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Maximum Impact - Intro, Sanborn

I attended a seminar last Friday with several colleagues at New Life Assembly in Kearney. It was a simulcast event by MaximumImpact. This year was host to several great inspirational/leadership speakers including Mark Sanborn, John Maxwell, Tim Sanders, Bill Strickland, Terry Bradshaw, Hermon Boone, Jackie Freiberg, Malcom Gladwell and Bernie Marcus. I would like to write about each speaker and highlight my notes from them. I'll start today with Mark Sanborn.

Mark Sanborn - Author of "You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader"
Notable Quotes: "Positively M.A.D. - Making A Difference"
Ask great things from 1) yourself 2) others.
Do things you're good at - do them with those you enjoy being with.
Focus on what you can do - not what you can't.
Only you control 1) How hard you work, 2) How much you learn, 3) How close you get to your customer/colleagues, 4) How creative you do business.
Take responsibility over action - Own the Results!
Lead not out of obligation but because of the opportunity - leading cause of burnout.
Have no regrets - regrets come in the form of saying "I wish I would have" NOT "I wish I wouldn't have."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Information Literacy

I mentioned I would talk about several issues Alan November brought up at his Keynote at NETA. One of the pressing topics in our age of information is "Information Literacy." What is the grammar of the Internet. What do we need to teach our kids about finding information and its validity. You can find any version of the truth you want on the Internet. How do you sift through all the rubble?

Alan November has a very compelling story about a student, Zack, wanting to write a story about the Holocaust never really happening. He brings up several great ideas of ways to teach students to validate information. I found this page very useful in researching this topic:
Here you will find a quiz on how information literate you are, web sites to check out and use as a teaching tool, and tips on validating a site.

Here are a few sites with good information on how to validate a web site:
I hope you have a chance to take an in-depth look at teaching our students the grammar of the Internet. It will be a valuable resource they will forever use.