Take a look around and check out some of my ramblings.

On the right side of the page is a navigation bar with links and other things related to education and technology.

If you have time visit my Texas Education Exchange wiki!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The EDUCAUSE SWR Conference 2010

The EDUCAUSE conference was exciting!

I attended a pre-conference seminar titled Meeting the Challenge: Designing Engaging and Active Online Courses. It was presented by Dr. Patricia Mcgee of UT San Antonio and Dr. Leah Wickersham of Texas A&M Commerce.

The Wicked Problems of Online Course Design and Delivery were introduced and the top ten were presented. The discussion revolved on how to avoid these problems.

An e-learning tool box was presented as well. It is located on the web at http://elearningtools.wetpaint.com/.  In this toolbox are resources for educators.

The opening remarks were presented by Dr. Darcy Hardy, Director of the UT Telecampus. Her presentation was titled The Forever Changing Role of IT in Online Education. She spoke as a user of technology and explored how IT and academics should work together to solve problems with innovative solutions.

Oh, and to make the week even more special an airplane flew into a building in my district and I found myself and the rest of my fire company on the scene for approximately seven hours!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional Conference 2010

Boy does time fly! When I first registered for the EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional Conference 2010 back in November 2009 it seemed like a long time until the event. Well, as I write this it is less than a week away!

The following description of the conference is taken directly from the EDUCAUSE website:

"This year's conference, "The Ever-Evolving Role of IT," will explore the creative, effective, and sustainable ways that the higher education IT community is transforming infrastructure, enterprise services, and teaching and learning while coping with financial challenges. It has never been more important for us to provide reliable, efficient, and timely IT solutions while effectively and transparently communicating what we're doing for customers. This conference will provide real-world examples, insights, and discussions regarding ways to succeed within the educational environment.

Preconference seminars begin the morning of February 17, with the full conference program February 17–19, 2010. The program follows five key tracks:

•E–Research and E–Scholarship

•The Evolving Role of IT and Leadership

•Managing the Enterprise

•Teaching and Learning

•Corporate and Campus Solutions"
I will be attending on February 17 and participate in the pre-conference and the regular seminars. This will be exciting! There will be a post sharing what I will learn.
Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Teacher Resources - HotChalk

HotChalk is a learning environment for K-12 teachers, students and parents that includes a learning management system (LMS), a rich library of teacher-contributed lesson plans, premium digital content, and professional development for teachers in a Web-based environment. Available through any Internet browser, the HotChalk Learning Environment is an easy to use system and brings teachers, students and parents together to improve education.
Check out this website by clicking here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Digital Nation a Frontline Episode from PBS

My son and I watched a Frontline episode titles Digital Nation on PBS.org. It seemed appropriate that we played the show on a laptop computer connected to the Internet wirelessly while sitting on the couch in the living room.

He is a digital native (running through the forest naked grunting native) and I am a Digital Immigrant (arrived via airplane not ship). Both of us think we're tech savvy. It is possible that he may be more so than me. I said it is possible, but since I am the Dad it is not likely. ;-)

Back to the show. During and after the program we had really good discussions. I am coming from the "go play in the backyard" childhood and he is living the "have a Macbook, iPhone, Adobe CS4 suite" childhood. Because of our differing childhoods (he is 14+) it was easy for each of us to relate to those people and ideas that represented our beliefs.

I will always be a believer that everything changes and evolves. Change isn't free. There is always a cost associated with it. As we barrel deeper into the 21st Century the changes seem to be coming at us ever quicker and the losses appear to be great.

Often times technology is portrayed as being the demon that is stealing our minds. There are some who will cite that the young people of tomorrow are not reading books, loosing the ability to write cursive, do not have the ability to write whole sentences, have a short attention span, and addicted to technology. Maybe it is really an issue of responsible uses of technology.

Perhaps it is our responsibility, both individually and collectively, to make good decisions. For instance, in my youth reading books was all I wanted to do. I would read one book after another. I was a chain-reader. In fact, according to my mother I would not get enough sleep at night because of this addiction.

I had to learn, as all humans do, to back away from the books! Really, I had to learn to stop reading when it was time to retire for the night. It wasn't the reading that caused my problems, it was the poor decision-making. "Put down the book and go to sleep" can be updated to "turn off the computer and go to sleep!"

So the conversations my son and I had revolved around personal responsibility and good decision-making skills. As a parent it is my responsibility to teach him sound decision-making skills and to take responsibility for them. Those skills apply to all facets of life, not just tech gadget use. We teach our kids to eat healthy, don't smoke, don't drive too fast, do homework before play, and on and on. The common thread in all these themes is to make good decisions.

But what do I know? Watch the program and draw your own conclusions and have your own discussions.

Frontline - Digital Nation on PBS.org

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dual Credit for Texas High School Students

A Texas high school junior or senior may take college courses and receive dual credit, that is credit toward graduation from high school and college credit. Tuition and fees are waived for qualifying courses. A high school student could earn up to 12 hours of college credit at no cost (other than books and supplies).

Dual credit frequently asked questions

Interested high school students should contact their high school counselor to get more information.

Opportunities for Texas junior and senior high school students to take college courses while in high school are available. Below are links to various institutions that offer dual enrollment courses. Many institutions waive tuition and fees:

Texas Technical State Technical College Tech Connect - offers online courses

Texas Virtual School Network - offers online courses

University of Texas at Arlington

University of Texas at Permian Basin - offers online courses

State U (collaboration of UT Arlington and Lamar College) - offers online courses

Click here for a college locator!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Texas Veterans' College Tuition Exemption

 Dear Texas Veterans,

You may be able to pay for yours or your children's college tuition with the Hazlewood exemption. The exemption waives tuition at state colleges and other state supported schools. This can be used forassociate, bachelor, graduate and post-graduate level classes as well as law and medical schools.

Below is information about the Act from the Texas Veteran Commission, http://www.tvc.state.tx.us/Hazlewood.html.

The Hazlewood Act provides qualified veterans, spouses, and children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition and fee exemptions at state supported colleges or universities. (Spouses only if the veteran is disabled or died.)

To be eligible to receive a Hazlewood Act Exemption, a veteran must:
  • Have been a Texas resident upon entry into the military, entered the service in the State of Texas, or declared Texas as his or her home of record;
  • Have a military discharge of honorable or general, under honorable conditions;
  • Served at least 181 days of active duty service (excluding training);
  • Not be in default on an education loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas and not in default on a federal loan if that default is the reason the student cannot use his or her federal veterans’ benefits.  
Additional information and requirements can be found in the following pamphlet:

Hazlewood Act: Frequently Asked Questions

Transferability of Benefits (Legacy Program)

Eligible veterans may assign unused hours of exemption eligibility to a child under certain conditions. To be eligible, the child must:
  • Be a Texas resident,
  • Be the biological child, stepchild, adopted child, or claimed as a dependent in the current or previous tax year,
  • Be 25 years or younger on the first day of the semester or term for which the exemption is claimed (unless granted an extension due to a qualifying illness or debilitating condition), and
  • Make satisfactory academic progress in a degree, certificate, or continuing education program as determined by the institution.
  • If a child to whom hours have been delegated fails to use all of the assigned hours, a veteran may re-assign the unused hours that are available to another dependent child.
Veterans' spouses are not eligible to receive a transfer of unused hours.

For more info visit http://www.texedex.com/!