Sunday, August 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by The Blake Slate.
Congrats to Ashley for earning her high school diploma. This is what teaching is really all about, helping students see their potential and not allowing them to give up on themselves.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Playlist: How to create a vodcast

How to create a vodcast
Steps for offering video on demand
By Christopher Breen

Podcasts are so last month. If you want to get in on the hip trip, you'll turn your attention (and camcorder) to vodcasts--Video-On-Demand-casts, that is. No, this isn't stuff of the future. By following the steps I'm about to outline you can create and distribute a downloadable vodcast today.

Ok, we never mastered podcasting. So, maybe we should jump right into vodcasts? Got to try this with my students...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The future of broadcasting

As a teenager, I worked at a local FM radio station (1972-73). The only part of the broadcast schedule they would let me work was from 6 A.M Sunday morning, until 1:30 P.M. that afternoon. I would occassionally work other schedules to fill-in. It was a magical job for me. A miserable summer spent mending a broken arm from sliding in home plate while playing baseball and a reel to reel reocorder and microphone had given me the bug. I hooked up a record player using patch cables to the recorder and practiced announcing the hits like Dick Clark on his American Bandstand show. I asked a friend of mine about working at the radio station and he told me I needed a FCC Radio Licenses to work there. He gave me the address and I mailed off for the documents. Knowing all the time, I would be the next Wolfman Jack. Fast forward...podcasting? It ain't as easy as it looks. I have tried it. I still do not have the talent of Wolfman Jack and never will have the voice of a Dick Clark. But, I still love the mixing and controlling the audio input. I will be attempting to create some podcasts this coming school year with my students. I want to teach them how to create the podcast. Maybe they will catch the bug. That is what I love about teaching.
owrede_log: The future of broadcasting

NCHSAA Honored Mr. Ray

I found this picture of Mr. Ray on the Maxton City website. Seems Mr. Ray is a Town Commissioner.

NCHSAA: "Ray Oxendine
Ray Oxendine has been an athlete, teacher/coach and administrator
during his years of involvement with the NCHSAA.

A graduate of Pembroke High School, Ray went on to Catawba College
where he captained both the football and baseball teams, graduating in
1962. He taught and coached at Greensboro Grimsley and then did the same
thing at the college level for a decade at Catawba, where he was the Carolinas
Conference baseball coach of the year twice.

He wound up serving as principal at a number of NCHSAA member
schools, including East Montgomery, West Montgomery, Purnell Swett, South
Robeson and Scotland. And besides his involvement with the NCHSAA in that
capacity, he continued to work during his career as an outstanding baseball
umpire, working a number of state championship series.

Oxendine is a member of both the North Carolina American Legion
Baseball Hall of Fame and the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame.

I know it is old news, but I just learned about it. (Feb. 2002)
The Hall of Fame plaques are on permanent display in the North
Carolina High School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame room, located
in the Simon F. Terrell Building in Chapel Hill which houses the Association

My Favorite Principal?

This coming week will be a busy one for our family. Our youngest daughter leaves to go back to college. She has two more years. Teacher workdays begin for the wife and me. Both of us have new administrators this school year. This should be an interesting year. My principal is a veteran, but my wife's is a newbie. No one likes change. Lots to learn about the way they operate. All this makes me reflect on my favorite principal was this guy, who was a Native American, Mr. Ray Oxendine. He was a former baseball player and coach. It is a local custom and a token of high respect and friendliness to address adult males using “Mr” and their first name.

Each morning, “Mr. Ray” would tie on his running shoes and clip-off 5 miles. He stood 6' 8" and did not have an ounce of fat on his body even at age 55. His voice was loud, yet humble. I can remember the way he walked the halls while teachers taught their classes. He would just appear out of nowhere like the classic Indian Tracker stalking a deer in the woods. He did not say a word. He put his hand under his chin and nodded his head as he listened to the lesson in progress. If he saw something he liked going on in your classroom he would catch you in the hall and with those big athletic hands, give you a whack on the back in the traditional baseball coach way and ask something like..."ya kids learning anything?" And wait for you to start talking and he would listen to you like he really meant it. Smiling and nodding, because he had already made up his mind if the kids were actually engaged in learning in your classroom. I loved teaching there. But some things change fast in schools.

During the summer, my “Mr. Ray” was replaced. I never really understood why. Some said it was politics. Which was probably true. I learned a long time ago, if you coach or mess with politics and you teach school, you better live in a mobile home cause you are going to move. The new principal came over from the middle school. He was a more business-like principal, no more like a preacher. Personally, I had no big concerns with the change. I had a job.

Reflecting back, I really missed “Mr. Ray.” I did not feel appreciated. That school just felt like a cold, meat market. I did not feel I had a "supportive connection" with the new principal. I made it only half that next year in that school without “Mr. Ray.” He moved to a school that was a longer drive to each day. Hating to drive more than I loved to work with Mr. Ray as my principal, I found a job teaching near my home. Things have a way of working out.

Still, change is not always for the best, but it is unavoidable. I have read the book-"Who Moved My Cheese", and have to admit I am one of those that does not really embrace or seek out change. On the other hand, I am always trying new computer strategies with my students. I do not know if it is worth all the effort some must be.

If this was printed in the newspaper, “Mr. Ray “might read it. He never liked computers. They were just too new-fangled for him. Wonder where he is today?

Hope he is still running.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

PowerBook Updates in September?

Final curtain call for PowerPC-based PowerBooks? - Apple Computer is believed to be prepping one final update to its PowerPC-based PowerBook G4 product line that could be unveiled at the end of next month, AppleInsider has learned.

Rumors are interesting. I am not sure if this is going to happen. I may be ready for a new PowerBook, but not this year. Tip, never buy the first model of anything...
read more | digg story

Slideshows Without PowerPoint?

I ran across a blog that contained an interesting use of CSS. A slide show format based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With one file, you can run a complete slide show and have a printer-friendly version as well. The markup used for the slides is very simple, highly semantic, and completely accessible. Anyone with even a smidgen of familiarity with HTML or XHTML can look at the markup and figure out how to adapt it to their particular needs. Well, that may scare you a little, but after you give it a try, it is almost as easy to use as the popular presentation software packages. Anyone familiar with CSS can create their own slide show theme. It does not have all the whistles and chains that might be available, but it has some really cool applications. One application would be to add the slideshow in a web page.

Interesting stuff! Check it out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A page of WebCams

A page full of hidden webcams.

read more | digg story

Whiteville City Schools Moodle

Whiteville City Schools Moodle
After serveral month's on research and development, our system finally has a Moodle site. No brags, just facts. Thanks to Brad, Gus, and Anthony for their hard work.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Is Bigger Really Better for Our Children?

"Peace and Diversity, in the Bronx, is one of 53 small high schools that opened last September as part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's effort to remake public education in New York. And in a way, the students' essays are a metaphor for the inaugural year of the small schools: far from perfect, but with notable achievement and a lot of hard work still ahead. New York City's experience is being watched by districts nationwide that are following its lead in creating small schools as an antidote to alarming high school dropout rates. The hope is that schools with fewer than 500 students will create a more intimate learning environment, improving attendance and achievement by making it easier to identify students' needs. Themes like peace and diversity are used to make school more engaging, even as the curriculums focus on basic requirements, not vocational training or electives. More than a month after the school year ended, there are few hard statistics on the new small schools. Attendance figures have yet to be audited, promotion rates yet to be finalized, results of Regents exams yet to be published by the state. But anecdotal evidence suggests better numbers than at the large, failing schools that small schools are replacing - admittedly not a high bar to clear, since the four-year graduation rate at those schools was 35 percent."

With this in mind, should North Carolina look at all our consolidated schools with a microscope? Are our overcrowded primary, elementary schools the real reason our poor children are being "left behind?" Is this the answer or just another reform-of-the-month for education? This article leaves me with more questions than answers. Pretty heavy for a Monday.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Mini Pal for Mac Mini

If you are looking for a new computer for your kids or are thinking about retiring your old PC and just need a work horse computer to surf the web, check your email and other home and small office duties, this is a neat choice. I have used one in my classroom right beside my G5 and was impressed with its over all performance. I like the mini Pal because it adds ports and needed storage. This would be a great addition if you are a budding photographer or have one in your family. Make sure you save up for the Photoshop software. There are cheaper alternatives for editing photos. Many users have raved about Photoshop Elements. It has lots of features and is easy to use. Oh, you might be able to do most of the photo edits you need with iPhoto. By the way, it comes with the Mac Mini.
AcomData introduces the mini Pal for Mac mini. With available storage up to 320GB, 4 USB 2.0 ports and 3 FireWire ports, the mini Pal extends the capabilities of your Mac mini. Mini Pal is the same size, has the same shape, and features the same case materials and finish as the Mac mini.

Tax-free day (Sunday-today, is the last day in NC, SC and online). This AcomData might not be tax-free unless you can buy it at the Apple Retail Store. I have no idea if the stores have these cool external drives. No, this is not a commercial, and no I do not get any money from these companies. I just had to think out loud about this combo.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

OPML in the Classroom

RSS, XML, Blogs, Wikis, Moodle, social bookmarking and now OPML. Actually opml has been around since the 1960s. Dave Winer and a community of developers are working on a neat new tool for blogging. The OPML Editor has some really neat ideas. I have been thinking about how it might work in my classroom. The part that I like the most so far, is the way it enables the sharing of links and other resources. One use I am thinking about is when students create a concept map using Inspiration, they could upload the document's opml to a "chapter 3, section 1" folder. This would help in the creation of a student e-portfolio. We currently host folders on our server for students to save their work, but this does not work from their home. With OPML and a student blog, students could access their folders 24-7. This is good and bad. Students like to store things like mp3s and rock star photos, and stuff that is not relevant to atomic structure or quadratic equations. Social software has a few issues as it relates to classroom use. There are also some advantages too. Thus, it is the role of the educator to enlighten the learner as to the valid uses of the technology in the school environment.

20 basic technology skills for educators?

Just a few weeks before week start back to work, and I ran across this interesting article by Laura Turner, in the Journal. From reading Alan Levines's CogDogBlog, he "barks" about the inclusion of Zip disks and lack of "social networking tools, the personal creation tools, the information consumption skills that are to me much more important." As I scan this list, I think back to all the teachers that have asked me to help the fix their computer and all that was wrong with it was the janitor had unplugged it during the summer so he could move the cart it was on to sweep the spider webs from under the cart and buff the floor before school started.

My concern is more how these skills on this list can help teachers do their job. The list is annotated. To the classroom teacher, time is money. KISS--keep it simple stupid works for me. Now, if my fellow educators can find the time to read this list and reflect on how they can use technology to enhance the positive behavior of all their problem children and kids that come to school hungery, not for knowledge, but for anything but.

Here are 20 basic technology skills that all educators should now have:

Word Processing Skills
Spreadsheets Skills
Database Skills
Electronic Presentation Skills
Web Navigation Skills
Web Site Design Skills
E-Mail Management Skills
Digital Cameras
Computer Network Knowledge Applicable to your School System
File Management; Windows Explorer Skills
Downloading Software From the Web (Knowledge including eBooks)
Installing Computer Software onto a Computer System
WebCT or Blackboard Teaching Skills
Videoconferencing skills
Computer-Related Storage Devices (Knowledge: disks, CDs, USB drives, zip disks, DVDs, etc.)
Scanner Knowledge
Knowledge of PDAs
Deep Web Knowledge
Educational Copyright Knowledge
Computer Security Knowledge