Oh Natalie …

In the month of February of 2011, Natalie Munroe of a Pennsylvanian school district was suspeneded with pay. The cause, she had a personal blog where she said some very unflattering things about her students and colleagues. These things were not that nice. Check out the interview on Good Morning America. While people are debating whether Natalie should be fired or not over what she posted I can see past that to a larger, more important point. Read on past the break to find out what that is.

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Chuck Norris – a true IT innovator


We here at IT Babble love to give shout outs to true innovators in the field of technology. You know people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Byrne, but today we are saluting the greatest of innovator in just about any field. Chuck “mother f&#$ing” Norris. Read on past the break to discover the 14 ways Chuck Norris has influenced technology.

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Blogger-How to set up your class blog – THE VIDEO!

Yet another video that will help you get your class blog off the ground. This video will show you exactly how easy it is to set up your blog with blogger.com. Just follow these quick steps and your class blog will be up and running. Hope you have as much fun blogging with your class that I do. Happy blogging.

Creating a reusable rubric in Word 2011 (Mac)

Hello blog readers. If you’re a teacher who has a large number of students you probably use rubrics or checklists to assess students from time to time. Rubrics are a great way to assess students. A good rubric is not vague, concise, and gives clear expectations. However, grading with paper rubrics can be a bit tedious and wasteful. Microsoft Word (in fact just about any word processing program) has the answer. You can turn your rubric into a template. This will allow you to open up each time and it will be blank and ready to fill in. Still, I yearned for more, such as fields to enter text into, drop down menus for scores, and with Microsoft Word I can do that! Read on past the break to learn how you can make easy, effective rubrics to help you speed through grading those projects.

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Let’s go to school! Maybe not quite yet.


I recently responded to a post Less Do, More Think, where Jerri Kruse warns the educational community about rushing blindly towards technology integration. I agree with many of his points, and there have been some good comments left on my post. Thanks everyone, but alas I am afraid that Jerri’s fears are being realized. My wife showed me this article from the NY Times. It’s a quick read, but I couldn’t help but smack my forehead, close my eyes, and slowly shake my head. Read on past the break to find out why I, Jerri, and a few others are more than a little concerned.

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Parent Conferences – How can technology make it better?


It’s conference time in my neck of the forest and I’ve been reflecting on how this process could be made better with a little technology. This time can be stressful for all the parties involved but why? Conferences should be time where the education team (parent, teacher, student) work on strategies to reach the student’s potential. I know technology is not the answer to all the problems in education, but it can certainly be used to make it better. Read on past the break to see how I think technology could be used to make this process a little better.

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What’s in a desk?

I was perusing Lifehacker today when I saw this post/video about desks and how some very creative people relate to them.  Check out the video yourself and see if you are one of these people? Do you need a desk, a workspace where you feel at “home”? I know I do. I try to circulate during the class and engage my students, but when all is quiet there is no place I’d rather be than my desk area pictured below.

After school I pack up my laptop and go home every day to do more work at home, but I greatly prefer my desk at school. I guess when I’m there I know I got to work, I’ve got a focus. What about you Babble Nation? Are you a desk person, or can you just head to Starbucks with your laptop, a cup of Joe, and some ideas?  We hear at IT Babble love those comments and ideas, so post away!

Aaaaaand action!


I started a unit on video production today with one of my middle school classes. We have been preparing for weeks for the day that we would get to use the coveted Mac lab. Learning about the different cameras, the Mac operating system (AKA Snow Leopard), and how the two interface. Needless to say the kids were very excited. I don’t know if it is working with a cool looking computer, the size of the screen, making videos, but whatever it was, it was a real roller coaster of a class. Read on past the break for what happened.

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Hey! Where’d I go?


As a good little educator, I try to read a number of blogs to help keep me up to date on some of the trends that are going on and how people are using these new ideas in their classrooms. One blog I discovered was Frasier Speirs blog (spiers.org). Mr. Speirs is a computing teacher at a private school in Scotland and has drawn some notoriety as he implemented a one-to-one iPad initiative in his school. Pretty cool huh? I blogged about this a little earlier and let me tell you I may have been wrong and am eagerly reading his adventures into this unknown forest. I recent blog he just posted concerns the future of the IT teacher. Read on past the break for more tech goodness.

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Best of the Best: OpenOffice


The first free and major competitor to Microsoft Word is OpenOffice. It was originally managed by Sun Microsystems, but Oracle purchased Sun and is now running the project. To be clear OpenOffice is totally free and contains not just a Word processing program but also a spreadsheet (like Excel), a simple drawing program, a presentation program (like PowerPoint), a database program (like Access), and an equation editor. That is a whole lot of productivity in a free download huh? This post, I’ll be focusing on the word processing part and how it stacks up to the reigning champ Microsoft Word. Read on past the break to see how it may work for you.

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