Friday, July 31, 2009

2nd Crazy Week - Google Voice

I just had my second crazy week as a CTO. The first week was when our email server went down. This time it was our phone system. On Monday, my office started the transition to a hosted VOIP phone system. We were expecting the phones to be unavailable for an hour or two. Turns out, it is more like a week.

While the phones were down, if you called the Technology or EC department you heard a message that the numbers had been disconnected. I didn’t like that, so I had the numbers forwarded to our Central Office. Our Central Office gets a ton of calls already, and our calls were slamming them. I had to figure out a different solution.

At this point I remembered I had a Google Voice account that I had never used. If anyone was with me when this happened, I think they would have been able to see a light bulb turn on above my head. I actually signed up for the service when it was called Grand Central. With a Google Voice account, you get a new local phone number, then you set that number to forward to a variety of numbers. For example, if I were to use Google Voice for my personal number when someone called it, Google Voice would ring my cell phone, home phone, and work phone. You can even customized what it will ring based on the caller id. If my mom called it would ring all of my numbers. If my mother in-law called it would go straight to voicemail.

Straight to voicemail is the feature I used this week. I had the EC and Technology numbers forwarded to my Google Voice account. I sent up a voicemail message explaining our phone situation and invited the caller to leave a message. Any they did. Every time a voicemail was left, I received an email with the option to listen to the message. I would listen to the message long enough to figure out who it was from and forward the email on. It worked perfectly.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Summer Reading List

summerreadingI’ve been looking at a lot of lists out there and am working on getting my summer reading list going – the six below are the ones I want to read most!

Here are two lists I found helpful:

What is on your summer reading list?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Head Aches and Geek Things that Excite Me

This has been a crazy week. It all started last Thursday afternoon. Our email system went offline because of a hard drive failure. I knew then it would not be up the next day. That is when my headache started. Saturday and Sunday, our email was sporadic, but I thought the worst was over. Monday morning rolls around, and our email is still down. My head ache returns.

By Tuesday, our email system has been moved to a new server but we were still having issues with outbound mail. Most of that was solved before the end of the day. Finally on Wednesday my headache subsided and I felt that I could show my face it public again.

By now it is quite obivous I have nothing to write about. So, I am just going to share some things that have excited me.

1. The Dell Latitude 2100 Education Netbook. I am not a big fan of netbooks for me personally, I prefer my laptop and iPod Touch. I see the benefits for education. Dell has released a special netbook for education. I want a set and it has been a long time since I have said “I want” and “dell” in the same sentence.

2. The Palm Pre. Our cell phones are on the Verizon network and I am not happy with the selection. BlackBerry is not an options. Saturday, June 5th, Palm is releasing their newest phone the Pre. It is only on Sprint, but Verizon already let the cat out of the bag and said they will be carrying the Pre in 6 months.

3. Apple’s WWDC. On June 8th, Apple will most likely be talking about the new iPhone. There have been rumors of it being available on Verizon, but I am not holding my breath. I am still excited to see what the updates are and when I can get them on my iPod Touch.

5. Twitter: I am a bipolar twitterer. Sometimes I love it and think it is great, other days it is just a distraction. Today I am liking it. I especially like this video out of UT Dallas. I would have loved a classroom like this growing up. I would never raise my hand or participate in a discussion in school, but I would have participated like this.

It is a good time to be a geek.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Reading on my iTouch

stanza I am really enjoying reading on my iTouch and I have to say that I was a “paperdork"(Aaron’s fabulous term) before I downloaded Stanza on my iTouch.  Stanza is a free reader for your iTouch/iPhone.  I’ve tried out many different free apps on my iTouch but Stanza for me is the best.  The only thing I don’t love is that you can’t annotate text yet but I know many users have asked for that function.

feedbooks I especially like that while in Stanza you can download ebooks right to your iTouch/iPhone with their Online Catalog.   The Online Catalog links to many different online sites but by far my favorite has been Feedbooks

Feedbooks is a universal e-reading platform compatible with all mobile devices where you can download thousands of free e-books, publish and share your own content, and create customized newspapers from RSS feeds and widgets.

epub2goOne of the other great things (thanks Kim) to do with Stanza is to use ePub2Go to convert your PDFs.  You simply go to the ePub2Go site and either upload or link to a PDF you want.  Once you have uploaded your PDF and it has been converted you will get an option: “I'd like an e-mail sent to my iPhone so that I can download the book to Stanza.” Then you just open your email, click on the link, and the PDF is downloaded into Stanza. 

Also don’t forget to check out some free manuals to add to your iTouch/iPhone using ePub2Go from

Stanza -
Feedbooks -
ePub2Go -
The Manuals -

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Videos to get them thinking and talking…

Two great lists of videos were put out this past week and I just had to blog about them.  Showing a variety of videos this year has been one way I’ve really gotten my teachers, administrators, and students to think and talk about new ideas in technology and education.  The two lists below are great resources and I’m so thankful to Scott McLeod and Alec Couros for putting them out there! 

Top 20 TED Talks podcasts for busy school administrators

80+ Videos for Tech. and Media Literacy



Friday, May 22, 2009

Are you a “Green Educator”?

1592903964_7d35eec274_m There are some very interesting posts going on over at ISTEConnects.  The first is a post by Wes Fryer Handouts at Educator PD Workshops.  This post is near and dear to my heart as I’ve been trying for the last couple of years to move away from printing whenever possible!

The second post I wanted to mention was by Joe Corbett - Share your Tips on How to be a Green Educator.  This post evolved from the responses to the one above and is collecting data on a Google Doc.  If you have a second please go over and add your thoughts!

Image Attribution
Image: 'Soy distinto ¿y qué? / I'm different,+so+what?'

Sunday, May 10, 2009

NECC 2009 and DC Capitol Hill Visits

3018986888_a69c1d59c9_m If you are going to NECC this year I strongly suggest going onto the NECC 2009 site and registering for any of the activities you want to go to.  I went on this weekend and things are filling up fast!  I really want to do the DC Capitol Hill Visits (only $25) but have a SIGILT meeting at the same time – going to see if I can do both.  The DC Capitol Hill Visits sound awesome and I would encourage everyone to think strongly about doing them!  Here is the blurb:

Join your NECC colleagues and Make Your Voice Heard on Capitol Hill! ISTE is taking advantage of NECC being in the nation's capital by providing you with the opportunity to go to the Hill and share your ideas and success stories with your Senators and Congressional Members.

A "Hill Visit" package includes:

  • Scheduled appointments to meet with congressional staff from your state. ISTE will arrange scheduled meetings for you to meet with staff for your congressional representative and senators. The number of appointments will depend on staff and space availability—a minimum of one and maximum of three appointments will be made for you.
  • "Boot Camp"—on-site NECC sessions that will prepare you for your congressional meetings to ensure that you are armed with talking points and are confident for your meetings.
  • Bus transportation to and from Capitol Hill (some walking will be required from the capitol bus stop to the congressional offices).
  • A ticket to the VIP Congressional Reception to be held the same evening at the Library of Congress.
    FUN and a T-Shirt! Hill Visits are a lot of fun and a great way to meet colleagues. Each registrant will receive a T-Shirt to wear to their meetings to show ISTE's strength on the hill.

Hill Visit coordinators will contact you just prior to NECC with specific information about the exact time and location of your meetings.

Anyone else out there considering doing this?

Image Attribution
Image: 'United States Capitol'

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