The iPod Factor

If it were not for my iPod I can't imagine how I would keep up with all these new and great things I am finding on Web 2.0! I recently replied to a blog entry on LeaderTalk about iPods and it got me to thinking of all the ways I have been using mine lately.

Originally I purchased my iPod because I thought it was cool. Sounds just like the kids doesn't it?! I had to have the video iPod as well do be able to download movies, news, blah, blah, blah. As you can image none of that happened. Downloaded a couple of songs then left it laying around for a couple of months.

About a month ago, when I started blogging, my friend and developer of Fusion Finds, led me to the W.O.W. 2.0 webcast. This is a live webcast every Tuesday night with a live chat room that you can interact in with other visitors. Crazy fun time! Great information and positive environment for weekly PD. This is sponsored by EdTechTalk and you can listen too. This webcast is geared for teachers but I have enjoyed it tremendously. At first I didn't know how to join in the live webcast and chat so I was downloading shows to my iPod, hince "the iPod factor" in all of this.

Below I will list some of the podcasts I subscribe to and/or sites I download from frequently. I change my mind all the time and sometimes listen to the whole thing and other times tune out after the first few minutes. It just depends on the topic.
When do I listen? In the car, on walks, when I am putting my daugher to sleep and she wants me to lay down with her. I wish I could say when I am working out but that went by the wayside this year and it something I will have to get back into.
When do I have time for this? After my family has gone to bed for the evening or my daughter is napping on the weekends.

I have learned so much from podcasts interviews, webcasts, etc. And the amazing thing is that it is free!
Podcasts on my iPod right now: I welcome other suggestions as well.
The Tech Teachers
The TechTeacher podcast
Dangeroulsy Irrelevant
Connect Learning, with David Warlick
The Infinite Thinking Machine
Moving at the speed of creativity
EdTechTalk

GTD Update

It has almost been a week since I started reading the book Getting Things Done and reading about GTD on lots of blogs. What a difference a week makes! Just purchasing the labeler alone has saved my life. If all I do is get all my folders, piles, and papers labeled my life will be simply glorious. Okay, I know that is taking it over the edge, but you can all relate.

My advice....
GET A LABELER. AC adapter that plugs into the wall and is within your reach. I filed a rather large pile (okay, as tall as my desk) the other day in less than two hours! Now I just have to get everything alphabetized like the book explains and I will be on a roll.

The relief that I feel already is amazing. My Circa notebook is on the way and I am sure it bring even more relief to my cluttered life.

Melinda

Getting Things Done

As I reflect on one of my most challenging weeks in my professional career, I have vowed not to revisit weeks like last week. You know what I am talking about...........mad parents, car accidents in the parking lot, bus write-ups, visits from school bored :) members, inside recess for days, etc. Principals can understand me.

After spending what little free time I had this weekend catching up on my favorite blogs, I came accross some "chatter" about the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. This peaked my interest as I frantically tried to find out more about this. By the end of the evening Saturday night I had the book in my hands and by Sunday morning I ordered the Levenger Letter sized notebook. This sounds just like what I have been looking for and hopefully will not be just another organizational system that I dicard for something new in a few months.

I am so excited to get started I can hardly stand it. What I am hoping is that some of you out there will share your GTD journey with me or point me in the direction of some great ideas. As much as I would love to follow the GTD rules to the "T" I just have to start somewhere. This morning I began filling my "in box." Unfortunately it is state testing time and I am not going to be able to spend the 2 full days on this process. I have not liked my current organizer for a long time now so I have gone back to my clipboard and using Outlook templates. Much better for me and I think this will fit in nicely with my new Circa Notebook. I came across a great site DIYPlanner that has some great templates I would like to try as well.

If anyone wants to go through this process with me please comment and we will keep in touch. My office pile were becoming mountains and my life was getting out of control. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. For those of you already living my the GTD rules you may know something I don't know but I will find some way to master these tools and become organized again!!!
Melinda

The Excitement is Contagious!

As I look back at my first post, March 30, I have to laugh at how much I have learned since then. I thought I was a blogging pioneer. I have been pleasantly surprised that the trail has been blazed before me! Thank you Bob, Janetta, and Glenn for getting me off on the right foot! These people have an amazing presence in the blogosphere. Once I figured out Bloglines, Google reader, rss, subscribing, commenting I have been crazy trying to collect as many blogs as I can find. I consider myself an explorer, the "Christopher Columbus" of the blogging world! :) I stand in awe of all of you flikring ellimunators!

(Disclaimer - I am playing around my "presentation" so don't be alarmed if my blog is a little "off" sometimes. :))

Just like teachers and children, when administrators get excited about something they can run with it. I try not to embarrass my "expert" friends by opening and closing chat room doors. :) (Janetta and I got in on a WOW 2.0 live webcast Tuesday night for the first time!) but I can't worry about that, I have to jump in with both feet. For those of you who are ahead of me blazing trails, I'm coming and will eventually catch up, or not. It doesn't really matter as long as I share the excitement with others. You have to start somewhere!!

Tune in someday in my blogging journey for state testing ideas. Great ideas from Peptechtalk tonight on our Skype chat!

Back to exploring!
Melinda

THE POSSIBILITES ARE ENDLESS!!!!

I have to admit that I haven't been as excited about something like this in a long time. However, keep in mind my comments are going to be very "raw" so-to-speak since I am such a novice at the virtual collaboration realm. I am apologizing now for my slow but straight-up learning curve.

A BIG THANK YOU to GEMalone (I hope it is okay to put that name in this blog?) last night for skype-ing with me for the first time. I am especially grateful to him for being so patient with me as I slowly traveled around the web with him and my friend Janetta. He is the type of principal we/I need to get us started on this journey. If we can all be so kind in this type of collaboration the "Skype's" the limit!!! Sorry, I had to do that.

I orginally began skype-ing with my family at Christmas time. We bought everyone webcams because we live 4-6 hours away from all our family. That was in December and we are still skype/phone-ing because my mom hasn't figured it out. It is pretty comical with me and my laptop, head phones, and webcam talking to my mom on the phone while we are both on skype. 4 months later and my 1st collaborative skype is with my techie friend Janetta, and a the PepTecTalk "guy"in Washington! But now I know him! Very exciting. Bear with me as I get off on tangents sometimes. Sorry!
As a new principal to the virtual collaboration let me give you a timeline of how this has all come to fruition(is that a word?) for me.
Novemeber - Attempt to blog. Our tech team was really trying to get all our administrators to blog instead of sending tons of attachments. Weekly district blog The Pride, my daily blog for my staff WEE (Willard East Elementary)
December - Webcams for everyone for Christmas!
January - Hooked up with the webtv channel in our town to start a weekly video podcast for him to post on webtv. Currently I am not able to keep up with this weekly so I called him to ask if we could do a regular podcast instead. This is in my "to-do pile."
March - Blog-a-rama!!!! Finally go the hang of it. I used my blog as one of my artifacts to turn in for my Doctorate application. Yes, they accepted it as a scholarly project!!! Then I will have to bullet the following because it all happened so fast. (By the way I have to include the disclaimer that I have a 1 1/2 year old daughter who doesn't sleep because I think she thinks she is going to miss something. Not sure where she gets that! :) Most of what I have done in the exploring arena has been after 8PM CST. Anything I say or do after 8PM cannot be held against for lack of sleep purposes.)
  • Start searching other blogs. I googled something about Principals blogging and was surprised not find a whole lot. At least it is not labeled as a principal blog. Which lead me to name mine "The Principal Blog" May not be very original but at least I am trying.
  • Create "The Principal Blog"
  • Play around with avatar characters meez.com. Just a fun random tangent I got off onto.
  • One of my teachers has used online polling with his kids so I dove in to figure this out. Created a poll at zoho.com for my teachers to vote for next years theme. THEY LOVED IT! Of course I spelled something wrong on the poll and they just cracked up.
  • Janetta talked about bubbleshare so I went to a workshop with some of my teachers and bubbleshare-d my pictures so the rest of my staff can see the products from the workshop and create them on their own.
  • Whew!!!! That's a lot so far and I am still not done.

I will have to continue later. I write all this to say..................so many principals would die for this type of collaboration but have no idea it is out there. It is also risky putting yourself out there for others to read about your thoughts. I am just like the kids...........What if I spell something wrong? What if I sound stupid? What if I break an unspoken rule of blogging and/or virtual collaboration? Is my blog post too long? :) If I have these questions I am sure others have these questions too.

Even with all these questions I will keep plugging along in this fun and exciting virtual world!!!

I am off to "Skype" someone!

Melinda

Administrator modeling technology

I attended a workshop with my teachers this week. I carry my camera every where! I took pictures of everything because I wanted to be able to share all the great ideas with my teachers. My tech director referred me to Bubbleshare this week to try. I am not sure about Bubbleshare but the concept is great.
My teachers can see the products from the workshops very well in these photos. We plan to present the information as well as sharing these photos, but this gets them the info more quickly.
As a principal I have to model technology and try new things if I want my teachers to try new things.

This album is powered by BubbleShare - Add to my blog

Skyped At Last!!!

In addition to blogging I have been downloading and listening to podcasts as well. These two things have provided me with more professional development in the past month than I think I have had in 3 years! My newest venture is Skype so I can listen to the WOW podcasts live on Tuesday nights.
I am really excited and do not want to overwhelm my teachers with this stuff just yet. This is so far from their reality right now. I am blogging my daily bulletin and my 4th grade are now bloggin with their students. I am downloading podcasts onto my iPod and listening to them on my way to work. The best thing I can do right now as a principal is have conversations about this and answer their questions when they ask what I am doing. I am their vehicle. They will see my excitement and want to find out what I am so excited about!!!
I am working my way to blogging about technology leadership but I have to get past the exploring stage I think. As well as getting past being worried about how I sound in my writing. Now I know how the kids feel!

To share, or not to share?

I have just recently started sharing my blog links with my colleagues. I am not yet that confident in my blogging and how I am using it but I get more excited every day. I did share with a fellow principal tonight at my night class and I think he can help me tweak blogging to better serve my staff. But just in case I have viewers I feel like I need to give credit to all the blogs that have lead to where I am today..........Fusion Finds, Dr. Jan's Blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, R2TechnoBlog, W.O.W. 2.0, and The Pride.

Getting the hang of blogging

Over the past few days I have been reading up on blogging. I feel really comfortable with my Daily Bulletin version of blogging but I am still not confident about creating a school website with open comments. My "daily bulletin" is an informational site for my teachers with daily "news." Comments are closed because teachers just email me or come to me if they have any questions.

I had an anonymous online input but I think allowing it to be anonymouse was my problem. I still need to work on how to supervise my blog and if I can require them to name themselves with their real name. It is not that I do not want input. It just seemed like it was an open forum to gripe. How do I get away from this? I want to know how people are feeling but it gets hard to get "chewed out" so to speak, online so often. I want blogging to be positive and rewarding and benefit my school.

I absolutely love reading other Principal's blogs and have "borrowed" many ideas. I haven't seen any blogs used as a Principal site that communicates to parents yet. A fellow principal friend of mine is in the process of creating one but it is still "newsy" and not so much a conversation. I will keep plugging along.