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Showing posts from 2013

Final post of 2013: Google Chrome Omnibox

I stumbled upon this idea on Twitter. This blog post is inspired by Jennie Magiera 's post ,   Karl Lindgren-Streicher's post , and Robert Pronovost's post . The idea is to type in the letters of the alphabet in the Chrome omnibox and see what comes up! A simple but fun activity! A: - I'm an Android enthusiast and geek. AOKP is a custom Android ROM! B: - Need to blog more, but have been doing some! C: - Glad to see my devotional pop up there! D: - Love being able to watch my Dish TV from anywhere! (geekmode) E: - Actually 1 was ESPN, but @edrethink makes me think more! F: - I have mixed feelings on this one. G: - duh H: - not sure on this one. Many other "http" recents, so not too interesting. I: - Message board community for Idaho Tech Educator leaders, J: K: - My school district! L:

My Homework for Dean Shareski @shareski

1. How do you feel about pants? On a seasonal and situational basis, I am a fan of pants. Further, my pet peeve is when people think outdated, or ill fitting "slacks" or "khakis" are more appropriate than stylish jeans. 2. What was the last movie you saw in a theatre? "Frozen" with my family. We rarely get to go to a theatre, so this was special. It was cold outside, and it is a holiday tradition for us so it was a wonderful time. I highly recommend the movie to anyone. Great music, effects, and message. 3. Where are your car keys? In my right vest pocket. I'm in a meeting and it's not warm in this room. 4. What time is it? 11:22AM Pacific Time 5. What’s the last tweet you favorited? Moss Pike @mosspike +1 #Google #eduGeek RT @msvalois: It's official. #google has changed my life! Amazingness! I am in love. #gafesummit 6. Outside of your immediate family, which relative do you like to spend time with? My in-laws. Seriously,

Confessions of a Connected Educator

I am a connected educator. No, seriously, I'm super-connected. I own a smartphone, several tablets, a Chromebook, a laptop, and yes a desktop too, among other devices. I am on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and of course Twitter. I have a PLN that is really fantastic, and I even eclipsed 1000 followers a while back. I know followers aren't everything but it was still a cool milestone! I listen to (and watch/interact with) lots of podcasts like  Techlandia , Teachercast , Principalcast , and many more. I even listen to educational podcasts while I'm running. Ever since the beginning of 2013, when I decided to use Twitter as a PLN, I've been immersed in so many ubiquitous technological social media offerings (which have completely revolutionized my career btw), that I can hardly remember, or imagine where I would be without them. I love being connected. As I said previously, Twitter is amazing. The connections I've made, and continue to make are fantastic. I also

What's In A Name?

* Go Vandals! Came a tribe from the North brave and bold... I wasn't an early adopter, but I joined Twitter early enough that I probably could have had some form of my name. Unfortunately I didn't have the vision to snag any variation of my name. I instead used a form of my original family domain and blog, which is still active and can be found here. My wife and I are both proud graduates of the University of Idaho... the Vandals .  so @vandalgrad it was. Nothing overly creative, but it matched our blog. By the time I was really using Twitter as a place to connect, communicate, collaborate, and grow, I was unable to find a variation of my name that 1. Represented me effectively, 2. Didn't take up 20 characters, and 3 is easy to remember. A little over a month or so ago, before #isf13 , which was amazing by the way, I decided to make a change. With some encouragement  from some eduawesome tweeps like @LS_Karl and @WokkaPatue I quickly selected something that

Still finding my way....

I don't hate writing as much as I used to. Which is why I just can't figure out why it is so hard for me to blog. When I do blog, I always feel better. It forces me to share things that are happening personally and professionally. It's a great experience to share with others that I respect and admire. Maybe it is also the gratification of getting something done. But even then, I think it is more than that. Reflecting and sharing is always good, it's just not always easy. But even given all those things I think the biggest reason I don't blog is because I constantly feel like someone else already wrote it, shared it, or invented it, and probably did it much better than I could ever have done. This is the worst thing we can do when it comes to reflecting and sharing. I was reminded of this while reading a great post by Dean Shareski titled, " Stop Me If You've Heard This Before " in which post Dean states, why we should share: "And that’s why w

Look Like Love

OK, I'm still trying to find my "niche" for this blog. I'm also trying to blog to share thoughts and feelings, rather than treat it like each post must be a well-polished, finished product. So this will be my first attempt at a "just blog it" type entry. This week, while loading up the car to take my daughters to school, I had a thought. Hey, the girls are big enough, they can put their backpacks at their feet in the car and just get out on their own when I drop them off rather than the usual stop, get out, get their bags from the back hatch and off they go. My initial feeling was that it would be easier and quicker. But then it hit me, in that "back to school" nostalgia sort of way. You know, that feeling you get when your kids are starting another school year already, and Summer zoomed by, and they seem so grown up. I needed that moment, in more ways than one. So I decided to put the backpacks in the back, in our traditional spot, because in do

More Than A Platform

If you haven't known me for an extended period of time and haven't read my blog post " A Cold Day In.... Boise ," you would't know how narrow minded and stubborn I was when it came to operating systems and technology options. (sports teams too) I was not a Windows "fanboy," by any means but I refused to use or even acknowledge Apple products. It is true. I was an Android enthusiast (still am) and was determined to use my Android based tablets no matter how far they fell short in the area of apps and functionality in K12, and home too. My windows laptops and desktops didn't wow me, but they worked just fine for what I needed them to do. OK, so I've come clean and admitted my stubborn biases, but please let me explain. As a Windows user, I never really doubted that Apple products like Macbooks or iPads were powerful pieces of technology, but the attitudes of a lot of Apple users really turned me off to all things Apple. Seriously, the words &q

What just happened?!

Something indescribably edu-amazing happened today, and I almost missed it. I've blogged previously about actually using Twitter for something other than pure entertainment and growing a PLN without even realizing it was happening. I also blogged about how this flood of professional educational collaborative awesomeness was a bit overwhelming and how I  was now unable to turn off the avalanche of ideas and concepts that were overloading my brain. As I've previously stated, my Twitter timeline is not a firehose anymore, it's a river. I still treat it like a Facebook timeline, or a DVR however and think I am going to miss something if I don't read every single tweet! (more on that later) So "why the rehash?" you ask. Well, with several non-work, non-computer projects that I had to do, coupled with a family and other duties, my ability to keep up with my Twitter timeline of spectacular educators was lagging at best. I had seen some references and hashtags t

Drinking From the Firehose & Reflecting

Thanks to some encouragement from some of my awesome Twitter PLN, including Rafranz Davis , I managed to bust out a blog post a couple days ago. So as I blogged in " How I Grew My Twitter PLN Without Even Knowing It " a few days ago, it kind of took on a life of its own. For as long as I can remember, I have not particularly enjoyed writing, nor do I consider myself a good writer. But once I reflected and cranked out a blog, I felt immediate gratification and validation upon getting a few comments. It was amazing to feel that sense of community as I read responses and comments. It was one of those "lightbulb" moments where I immediately thought about how authentic and beneficial this sort of activity/process is for our students! I was so moved, that I've decided to reflect and blog again. The writing part is getting a little easier, but there are still some struggles for me as I wrestle with my reflections and thoughts and formulate a coherent plan to shar

How I Grew My Twitter PLN Without Even Knowing It

So far 2013 has been quite a journey for me, both personally and professionally. But in the context of this blog, I'm going to focus on the professional/career side of things. (But hey, if you are interested in the personal side of things, my wife and I have a blog here .) In my tenure as a Technology Coordinator, I've been to a few educational technology conferences such as NCCE and IETA, but due to several circumstances over the last few years, I have not attended many such events. Before January of 2013, I had not attended a conference in roughly 3 years, just long enough to believe I wasn't missing anything important. Boy was I mistaken! Thankfully in January I attended my state educational technology conference in Boise. Little did I know it would be an event that would re-ignite and invigorate my energy to learn more about EdTech and reflect and evaluate all areas of how we do things in my district. The sessions at the IETA 2013 Conference were fantastic, but I

Weighing the Costs of Being Connected

Anyone who is acquainted with me, knows that I am a technology enthusiast. I not only work directly with technology every day, and love it, but I also use technology in most of my personal endeavors as well. So when I made the decision to pull the plug on my Facebook account, it may have surprised a few people. I still remember the moment I made the decision to quit Facebook. It was November, election week and the polarizing political banter had finally pushed me over the edge. I had been struggling with my Facebook experience off and on for a while and had entertained the thought of quitting multiple times, but this time I had had enough, so I deleted my account. Up until a few weeks ago, I've had many mixed emotions since my decision to delete my FB account, and I've even created a new account from scratch, mainly to (re)establish communications with some dear friends, who for some reason or another use FB as their primary way of staying connected. But other than check

Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Thanks to an amazing team of co-workers in our IT Dept, I have been able to attend two technology conferences recently, after several years of not being able to go at all. Having attended both the IETA (Idaho Education Technology Association) Conference and the NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education) Conference in the past, I had some expectations of what I might learn and encounter. What I didn't expect, was to have my educational technology philosophies, practices, and beliefs rocked to the core as I wrestled with new and fresh concepts and discussions resulting from the many sessions, presentations, and conversations. As I think through and process all these powerful concepts and philosophies, I am immediately thankful for my current position as the Technology Coordinator for the Kellogg School District, as well as the path I followed leading up to where I am. While there are a great deal of people in my position across the state and nation that were in the public se

A cold day in ..... Boise

Vandal Bilers reunited... My great friend Eric and I. For those who know me, my Twitter username and profile say it all: @vandalgrad:  Husband, Father, Musician, Educator, Runner, Cyclist, Swimmer, Golfer, Blogger, Tech Geek. Further, those who know me, also know of my stubborn disdain for certain things such as Apple Computer marketing, pretentious Apple users, and even certain sports teams, specifically, Boise State University Broncos. I've made no bones about it repeatedly, ensuring that my stubborn and polarizing opinions were well known by all, even going so far as to make it a point of pride wherever I went. "Who do we hate?? Boise State!" was one of my mottos and I often made it a point to let people know that my 2nd favorite team ever was anyone playing Boise State. But rather than elaborate further on the hate, I'll move on. Recently, a few events have drastically changed my feelings and opinions in these areas and I think you'll probably be shock