Twitter, my Nemesis

Why I don’t use Twitter:

1.) My opinions cannot be condensed to 140 characters

2.) Strunk & White’s ode to punctuation

3.) #hashtags and their rules are a monstrosity

4.) Justin Timberlake told me so

So I say:

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Professional Development changing standards

If there is one thing the NCLB taught us, that would be poor metrics and evaluations leads to teacher and student underperformance.

Bill Gates agrees, there should be a fairer way to evaluate a teacher in the classroom. Let’s use our resources and invest our money into technology that drives better professional development and evaluation metrics.

Many companies offer PD courses for employees seeking certifications and skills training. Courses are conducted onsite in a neighborhood facility, via webinar training or within an online learning management system.

PD organizations nationwide:

International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) – Making connections with professional learning opportunities

MindEdge – Massachusetts owned company offering narrative learning-based courses blended with innovative technology for Higher Ed clients (Check out their blog for the definition of interactivity in learning)

Educational Technology Training Center – Associated with the Richard Stockton School of Education, ETTC offers professional development aimed at increasing student achievement

Recycled Art

At the deCordova Sculpture Park installations are built with their natural environment in mind. The landscape and industrial materials like rebar, bricks, aluminum, and glass are incorporated into the designs. Most notably set on its sixty acre property is Untitled.

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Composed of broken bricks and wrapped steel, this sculpture signifies the deconstruction of civilization. The Indian artist said his work “addresses the constant cycle of building-destroying-rebuilding and explores the relationship of rural and urban life where technology, globalization and materialism collide.”

What if we took the same idea of using recycled items and turned them into functional pieces of art? What would these creations look like?

Need a notepad?

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How about a thumb drive?

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Do you fancy a picture frame?

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Or a hanging key hook?

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These Steampunk artists created collages from USB ports, motherboards and memory chips

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British artist Susan Stockwell even constructed an entire map of recycled motherboards

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Frankly who knew old computer parts were art? This would be a great STEAM project to learn the insides of a computer and a great way to introduce art appreciation.

Google’s Fall Rollouts

You could go to one of the many Google blogs and be distracted by flashy ads invading the side panel of your screen and be bombarded by Facebook notifications of useless polls and updates. Or you can let me highlight Google’s big announcements below. Still here? Good.

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Quickoffice
Editing a Microsoft® Office document, let’s say Excel, is not that easy on a Google Nexus tablet, or any Android device for that matter. Sure it’s easy to view a document with Smart Office, but you cannot make changes. Google introduces Quickoffice, free to use and easily integrates with Office and Drive.

Note: Everybody likes free swag. So when you log into Google Drive from your Quickoffice account by September 26, 2013, you’ll receive an extra 10GB of Google Drive storage.

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Google Keep
I use my Google Keep post-it app daily and now it syncs seamlessly with Google Drive. Also recently rolled out, Google Keep features time and location reminders you can set to your checklists. For example, I can make a grocery list on my tablet in Google Keep and with a click of a button, it is accessible on my PC via Drive to print out for the grocery store. I can also be notified of such a list when approaching the destination thanks to Google Now location reminders.

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Open edX
Google teamed with edX to “further innovate” the open source MOOC platform. Both companies have the same goal: to accelerate education by making it accessible through technology. With this shared vision and Google as a contributor to edX’s new website MOOC.org, students will hve access to quality learning.

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Chromebooks
In an effort to make college education more affordable and accessible, Google is partnering with colleges to offer reduced priced Chromebooks. Twenty percent of school districts deploy Chromebooks with Google towering the market at the $300 price mark. This school offers Chromebooks fully equipped to its students with a price tag under $200.

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Google Translate
The latest version of Google Translate for iOS recognizes handwritten text in nearly 50 languages. I can literally use my stylus to handwrite umlauts or Chinese characters rephrased letter by letter.

New Hampshire’s Best Known Secret

There are two event websites I use for niché groups and networking – Meetup and Eventbrite. These sites are useful to finding activities in your area. This week I attended a 3½ hour NH Salesforce User Group (via Eventbrite) held at the FIRST headquarters.

I will gladly use this time to capitalize on “New Hampshire’s best known secret.” So you know those segways that public safety officers and annoying tourists scoot about on? The Human Transporter was invented by Dean Kamen of DEKA, and noted friend of inventor Ray Kurzweil. In an effort to get students (ages 6-18) more excited about STEM careers – engineering, robotic design, and animation, Dean Kamen started the nonprofit FIRST. Inspired students plan and then construct working renditions of moveable models with LEGO® Robotics, and often work with scientists to solve real-world problems. Competitions aspire students to gain 21st Century skills including creative problem solving and fosters lifetime exploration of science and technology for children, our tomorrow’s leaders.

Back to the User Group…

A user group is essentially like-minded people gathering around a table of donuts and coffee (sadly no NY bagels) sharing ideas, tips and tools of the trade. I listened, I shared, I observed. We discussed best ways to use Salesforce to attract different audiences, how we can bridge the gap with mobile communication and by using the CRM platform to its greatest potential, see substantial ROI. As an audience member, I was most impressed with Southern NH University’s College for America demonstration as I saw first hand the student portal, paying close attention to how the organization optimized the system for their user. An opportunity to see inside some of New Hampshire’s most promising companies and a chance to learn about SF best business practices, this was an event I will have to wait until next February to attend again.

Copyblogger’s 10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

Like this infographic?

Correction: Celebrate with champagne, a bottle of Smuttynose or pitcher of sangria.

Copyblogger focuses on one good point, mimic the style of the greats. Steal with great pleasure. Don’t plagiarize, but sincerely admire and praise to no end. With this blog, I’ve tried to find authors with a particular writing style that appeals to me — stream of consciousness — from Hunter S.Thompson and James Joyce to José Saramago’s punctuation-less prose.

My credo: Write ’till your heart’s content. Look to other writers for inspiration and who respect the craft. Respect yourself and your talents. Don’t fear the red pen because constructive criticism is what will make you a stronger writer. Take a step back once in awhile – a fresh perspective can present pivotal changes in your story. Save all old drafts, even if to lock them away in a box at the bottom of your closet; they will be useful one day. Immerse yourself in language: diction, syntax, tone and voice. And share, even if you’re afraid.