The site has moved forward in the beta process. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

http://beta.teachers.yahoo.com/

I wonder how it compares to Google for Educators. I guess we will find out.

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Back towards the beginning of the year, I was offered a position with the school district’s central office.

Needless to say, I accepted and no longer run “The Lions’ Lab” but will maintain this blog and its edu/tech focus.

I’ve gone from running the lab and maintaining the PCs in one school to overseeing the hardware and software maintenance and support needs of 12 schools and various offices around the district. I’ve quite enjoyed the new position and do, at times, miss my old school. However, I think this is going to help me keep up with the latest in technology and its place in the education field.

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The 2007/2008 school year is about to be underway.

Look for lots of additions to this blog.  Thanks to EduBlogs.org and coffee…

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Each year, I am required to take a database (MS Access) that contains every piece of hardware and software that the school owns. Anything that has been moved to a different location, room, or maybe transferred to the district warehouse has to be updated or removed. Any new hardware has to be added to the database along with any software — even software that was pre-installed on new PCs, that is, if it had a license purchased for it.

I rarely enjoy approaching this task. In fact, I dread it. I did not create the database that we are using. I inherited it. In my opinion, when it’s compared to the size of our school, it seems unusually large. So this year, I am considering doing an inventory of the inventory.

The school district has never really made it a point to provide in-depth training on how those of us who are responsible for the yearly inventory should go about getting it completed and turned in on time. So each year, I’m left trying to sort things out on my own, trying to make sure things are as accurate as I can make them, and hoping to get it all done before the deadline.

I have very little support from my colleagues. In the past, I’ve made efforts to collaborate with them, either in person or via email. I even went so far as to create an online forum that, I thought, was easy to navigate, easy to use, and had the potential to grow into a community that anyone in the field of education and technology could benefit from. All for naught… So, when something like the daunting task of yearly inventory comes around, I feel like I’m lost at sea. Asking the people at central office for help rarely helps, as they are small in number and have little time to help with a problem that isn’t a serious or pressing issue.

I can’t help but wonder how many other people are out there that have to deal with this sort of thing — be it the annual inventory or the lack of help/support/communication from co-workers, colleagues, and the like.

Am I alone or are there others out there? If I’m not alone, then what can I/we do to change this? Ideas, anyone? Or am I a falling tree in the woods?

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Coming soon.

(HT: TeachAndLearn via Twitter & Bud the Teacher)

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One of the things that I’ve been thinking about doing over the summer is providing hands-on workshops for teachers. These workshops would cover things such as, but not limited to:

  • The school computer lab
  • Software that the school owns
  • How to publish a web page
  • Using PowerPoint in the classroom

I asked our principal about this and he was open to the idea. A couple of issues do arise from this, however. One is the credit that teachers would be hoping to receive for attending such a class and the hope that it would go towards their professional development. The second thing would be my compensation. I can’t be sure of either one.

So, this week I will put out a survey and see what kind of interest exists, if any, for this sort of thing. After that, I will take the next step and contact the district department of professional development and ask them about the concerns that we have, should we decide to move forward with (i.e. get approval for) these workshops.

Have you ever done something similar to this? Maybe you’re on the other end — what type of workshop(s) have you attended (and enjoyed) or would you like to attend?

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CftSR LogoEarlier this week, I (somehow) ran across a podcast that covers the world of technology in an education setting. Casting from the Server Room has been a very informative as well as entertaining listen this week. The current episode is #59, so I’m obviously a late-comer. No issue for me, though — I’m downloading the past episodes and soaking up them up like a roll of Bounty!

If you’re in the world of education and have a hand or an interest in technology, let me highly encourage you to check it out.You don’t have to actually own an iPod in order to listen to a podcast. All your PC will need is a media player of nearly any flavor and a set of speakers.

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“…imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

I don’t know if it’s true or not. Nonetheless, TeacherTube is an educational themed imitation of YouTube. Were you to spend a couple of minutes browsing around, you could find some precious video gems, such as:

I’m convinced that, with a little time and more participation, this site can become a very useful tool for increasing the use of technology in educational settings. I just hope that the participation increases in a short amount of time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go make a rap video about how to add a stick of RAM to a PC.

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Almost every PC here at school runs on Windows XP (SP 2) and is loaded with Microsoft Office 2003. In fact, we just got a new shipment of PCs in this past month and they all came pre-loaded with Office 2K3. However, with Office 2007 having recently been released, I thought I would install it on my computer to see how it fared and see if I wanted to install it lab-wide.

Well, I don’t.

I think I’m going to stick with what we’ve got for now.

It’s unreal the amount of resources the new version requires. I’ve had 2003 running from the moment it was released. I’ve never once had much of a problem out of any of the programs within the suite. At the most, the only problem I’d ever had was Outlook 2003 running a little behind if I had a lot going on. Otherwise, things went off without a hitch. This is not the case with Office 2007!

It takes well over a minute for Word or Excel to start up. Outlook 2007 is a horse of a different color. For a program with the purpose of increasing productivity, it prevents me from any increased productivity due to the amount of time I spend waiting for it to start-up, open the compose message window, or to shut down.

My friend Chris hasn’t had a lot of positive experience with this latest version either.

Why, MS, why?

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Welcome to The Lion’s Lab. I am “Mr.” Andy. I’ve been a computer lab technician for 4 years now.

What is a computer lab technician, exactly?

I’m glad you asked. :)

It’s my job to take care of just about every computer here at our school, which is a lot since we have Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. In the computer lab, we have about 25 computers. It’s my job to take care of the computers, the software that’s on the computers, and a lot of other things — most of which are related to the computers in some way.

Why blog?

I started this blog to share a lot of ideas or tips and solutions that I’ve learned over the years. I also thought that this would be a good way to meet other that worked with education and/or technology.

(Please be sure to read the README.txt information.)

Here goes nothing…

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