education, technology, and everything else

Archive for the ‘general’ Category

This is an archive

Posted by Miranda on March 4, 2011

This is an archive. You’ll find me at

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and then I ask myself…

Posted by Miranda on March 5, 2009

how did I get here?

Category:DIY – Wired How-To Wiki.

I’m not sure but I know I’ll be checking back often if only to read the list of topics in the DIY category of the Wired How-To Wiki. My favorite so far has to be how to: Turn a Pair of Stuffed Toys into a Speaker System..

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Posted by Miranda on December 20, 2007

My brother sent out gift certificates to this year. It’s really one of the best presents I’ve ever gotten. Kiva is a micro-lending site. You can lend $25 to all kinds of little businesses around the world, people who need a few bucks to repair their delivery truck or a few dollars to buy stock for a little store. Then you can see photos of all the other people who’ve lent money to the person you lent to (nobody can lend more than $25)
Apparently the payback rate is something like 99% but it’s just a really good gift to know you’re helping somebody get a leg up in this world and it’s also just fun to look through see who else is lending to that little business.
So much fun I think it might get to be a monthly habit to lend money there.

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A wiki? What fun!

Posted by Miranda on August 2, 2007

One of the French teachers found me at lunch today. He wants to incorporate a wiki into his french classes. He’ll use the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum in Boston and Saint-Gaudens, right down the road here in Cornish as subjects in his class. Students will study the art and history of the museums, and put all their research as well as pictures, video etc into a collaborative wiki. All in French of course.

So I’m looking for a wiki that I can install locally that will allow all these things. Any ideas?

Another reason why this job is the most fun I’ve ever had….

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Posted by Miranda on July 28, 2007

Librivox “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain”
All volunteer, free content, open source project. With a pretty good selection so far!
Like to read aloud? Volunteer!

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Break Time

Posted by Miranda on March 25, 2007

The kids at the school where I work have been on break for the last two weeks, they will return this coming Thursday. Now you might think that this makes for a nice quiet three weeks but in the IT department the opposite is true.

Quiet, yes, in the sense of not noisy but anything but quiet in the sense of there’s a lot to do before they get back and clutter up the place again.
For one, there’s been the DST thing, the new Daylight Savings Time. Ordinarily all updates to our Windows systems would be pushed out through our SUS server. They were not. SUS isn’t supported anymore and we are behind on updating to WSUS. I’ve wanted to go there for a while but it’s one of those things you never seem to get around to. Plus, that isn’t really my bailiwick, and I haven’t wanted to intrude on someone else’s territory. Guess I will though. Meanwhile, all the administration machines had to be updated manually.
Then we re-imaged all the lab machines. That went well except making the image was time-consuming. We are experimenting with using Acronis TruImage, I like it very well.

We had a wireless survey done of one of the dorms. That was very interesting. This dorm is one of the oldest and largest and has always been a problem child in terms of wireless coverage. The construction contains a lot of wire mesh. The software used, AirMagnet was very sophisticated and both my coworker and I lusted after it. We have been using a free tool, Netstumbler, really we need something better.
I haven’t seen the report yet but I think we will find that we need to move several access points at least. We’d like to replace the present APs, Proxim, with Cisco. We also found a Linksys wireless router in a faculty apartment which certainly was not helping matters. I removed it and wrote him a pretty snippy note.

And then of course there are all the niggling little things that have been on the to-do list forever and don’t get done when school is in session because there is never time or peace to think about them.

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The Uber Prawn

Posted by Miranda on March 4, 2007

This afternoon when I got back from our yearly Town Meeting my son met me at the door. “Come in my room, Mom” he said, leading me into his bedroom. “Meet Uber Prawn!” and he motioned me over to the desk. He had taken the guts out of an old Mac Classic some time previously and now had disassembled an old HP Brio, reassembled it inside the Mac Classic case, and installed Windows 2000 to it to use as a file server. The desktop sported a lovely chinese painting of a shrimp, hence Uber Prawn.
I had to help him with getting the wireless card working and getting it networked with his Powerbook but he now has a Mac/Prawn file server that is a true thing of beauty.
It still needs refinement, he wants to paint the case and install some LED lights and heaven knows what else, but here’s the thing. He wanted to start a blog to document the project. And what could be easier?

Posted in general, prideful mother stuff | 3 Comments »

Say Everything

Posted by Miranda on February 27, 2007

I got turned on to a very interesting article in New York Magazine: Say Everything by Emily Nussbaum via a post by Will Richardson, who got turned on to it via a post in Totally Wired: the blog written by Anastasia Goodwin. Who probably got turned on to it by… well you get the idea. It’s a connected world out here.

The article ought to be required reading for every educator, or for that matter any parent. Because we’re not getting it.

“It’s been a long time since there was a true generation gap, perhaps 50 years—you have to go back to the early years of rock and roll, when old people still talked about “jungle rhythms.” Everything associated with that music and its greasy, shaggy culture felt baffling and divisive, from the crude slang to the dirty thoughts it was rumored to trigger in little girls. That musical divide has all but disappeared. But in the past ten years, a new set of values has sneaked in to take its place, erecting another barrier between young and old. And as it did in the fifties, the older generation has responded with a disgusted, dismissive squawk.”
from Say Everything by Emily Nussbaum

And we have. I have I know. Shortly after I bought my first computer and got internet access, somewhere around 1990 or 1991, I set up a personal web site: Zelda’s. I called it Zelda’s because in those days the idea that what I wrote might be read by anyone kind of scared me, I wouldn’t use my real name. So the idea that for many members of this generation practically their whole lives are public, well it still makes me a little nervous.

The larger point is of course is that it doesn’t make them nervous, they find it natural. Us old folks can’t change it, we can’t turn back the clock. We need to work with it. We might even need to try it, even if it’s scary sometimes. I’m no longer as nervous as I used to be, if I google my name plenty of stuff comes up so I know how it sticks around. I know if you join in to the connected world, if you comment, if you post, if you do almost anything online.. well after awhile you’re going to build up a public history. I accept it just like I accept that Radio Shack is going to ask my zip code any time I go in there to buy anything (I don’t tell them just out of general principles). Nothing is private anymore. Live with it.

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Audio learning object assignment

Posted by Miranda on February 22, 2007

Our assignment in this last two week period was to create an “audio learning object”. The instructor asked us to use Hipcast to upload the audio file and format it with a player. The player is very nice and Hipcast does format the file for streaming which is useful, especially when you can format the streaming for dial-up. I tried listening to the file with theHipcast player at home and it worked quite well. WordPress does not support embedding Flash elements though. You can try out the player over at the Blogger blog.

Here I have just linked to a couple versions.

If you have iTunes you can open this, it’s an mp4, a low fidelity version
RSS: What it is and why you might want to use it
6:05 minutes, file size 1.5 MB

Or you can use this link to download an mp3 of the same file : RSS: mp3 version
file size: 3.4 MB

Or you can read the transcript

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Three Bullet Dave

Posted by Miranda on January 29, 2007

Dave Warlick spoke at an NSBA Leadership Conference and afterward was asked to summarize his message, which he did as follows

  • The nature of information has changed and so too must our definition of literacy change.
  • The market place has changed and so too must how and what we teach our children.
  • Our children have changed and we need to pay attention, respect them, and capitalize on the learning skills they are walking into our classrooms with.

I do agree on all three points, much as I don’t really want to admit it sometimes, but I don’t think teachers necessarily have to change their teaching style if they have good things to say.

Our children have changed. My sixteen year old has literacies that I never would have dreamed of at his age. He isn’t a MySpace user but he regularly discusses things important to him with fellow enthusiasts from around the world on user forums. He knows how to construct and publish a website, make a movie with soundtrack, credits and all that. E-mail is second nature to him. He buys and sells on eBay for pocket money, shipping items all over the US. (He won’t ship overseas anymore after one disaster where he listed an item as shipping included and ended up paying more for shipping than he made on the item). He takes his homework to school on a flash drive.

But with all that, the class he finds most exciting is history and his history teacher does not use technology in his classroom to any great extent, in fact not at all that I can see.

He lectures. And my son thinks his lectures are exciting, and does some of his best writing in response. Go figure.

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