Chrome Extensions

Each week on a Friday, I get to spend 30 minutes with an amazing young man – my ES Technician – Khun Tua.  Recently we’ve been sharing our knowledge and discoveries on the iPad and the Chrome Browser.

Here’s a few things we’ve been sharing:

Chrome Extensions:
Chrome has a vast variety of extensions to make your experience with the Chrome Browser slicker, quicker and easier.  Switching between Most Visited & Chrome Apps is as easy as a click at the bottom of the page.
Chrome ExtensionsThese are the extensions that I now have installed for quicker access to the things I use the most.  Very easy to install, very easy to access.  I’m especially enjoying the pinterest extension at the moment – it’s really appealing to my creative/visual side (more to come on that later!) 


I’m not quite sure how many faithful readers I have left ……. but to those of that still have me in your RSS feed or those of you that stop by in the hope that I’ve updated my blog …….. I say thank you.  Thank you for checking by or for reading this post.

No parking

Image by JetSetWilly

Somehow, my blog has managed to end up on a “block this site” list within Thailand.  It’s been very hard to get to the bottom of why and it seems that (thanks Jeff Utecht for the brilliant explanation and many, many thanks to the always helpful Chris Craft) my BlueHost hosted website on a shared IP address has had it’s said Shared IP address blocked by the MICT in Thailand.  Try to find out why has been next to impossible so I’m guessing that it’s not my site that’s causing the blockage but probably one of the 100 sites that share the same IP Address as me.  (I have doubled checked my blog and it’s content to ensure I’m not offending anyone and I’m pretty sure I’m not!).

Enter BlueHost’s Active Chat – extremely helpful and efficient service within 2 minutes I’m chatting with someone at BlueHost explaining my dilema.  The solution:  Pay $30 per year for a dedicated IP address.  Mmmmmm, I was kinda hoping you could switch me from that server ……… obviously not.

So I’m seriously considering doing that.  It’s made me take a step back and reflect on whether I want to continue blogging on my own domain ……. in fact, it’s made me really think “do I want to continue blogging in general?”  (Given that my contribution to my own blog over the last 9 months has been abysmal to say the least!)  Turns out I do.  I’m not ready to let this blogging thing go yet.  I do have much more to share.  I do love helping people and I do like writing when I’ve got something that I feel is worth saying/sharing/explaining.

Right now, I want to make sure that the Shared IP Address is the only reason why I’m experiencing difficulty getting to the backend of my blog.  I have this nagging feeling that there’s a bit more to sort out  as I can’t even get compfight to load right now!

I’ll keep you posted ………. hopefully …………

How Do You (Digitally)Bring Parents into Your Classroom?

As we begin our second semester at ISB, I’ve been reflecting on quite a number of things. One of which is how do you bring parents into your classroom (digitally speaking)? 

One of the things I really like about my position as ES Technology & Learning Coach is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of colleagues, all of whom are in different places in their own personal technology journey as well as different grade levels of students.

Every classroom in the ES has a class blog.  They are “windows into the classroom” and used in a variety of ways.  Here’s some of the things our teachers do to bring parents into the classroom digitally:

  • Newsletter posts (no more paper)
    Some teachers create a newsletter pdf for parents to download – some write the newsletter right in a post
  • Class Magazine (using Youblisher)
    Embeds in a post and turns pages just like a magazine.  G4-5 students take turns at creating the magazine rather than the teacher.
  • All links are in one place – the class blog!
    This requires the students & their parents to visit the blog to access information
  • Homework posted on the class blog
    Sometimes the student homework is to get their parents to comment on a post! Kids love it when their parents have to do some homework too!
  • Use the email subscription widget – (Especially excellent to have ready at Back to School Night)
    This handy plugin makes it easy for parents to sign up with their email account to receive an email whenever the class blog is updated.  As the teacher, you can also see who is signed up to receive this kind of notification
  • Facebook Page (Parents can “like” the page & receive status updates)
    Some teachers have trialed the use of a class facebook page as a “snapshot in time” into the class – due to our policy of discouraging our ES students having a facebook account – only the teacher logs in and updates this page – although wouldn’t it be great if it was a student’s class job to update the class facebook page 4 times a day with what was going on – images & reflections
  • Each class has a Collection on our school flickr account
    This collection URL does not change so it’s linked on the class blog – everytime a new set goes in the collection, the link automatically shows the latest images!

    There’s some of our ideas.  What things does your school/class do to digitally bring parents into the classroom?


Life We Got

Ok, so I really should be updating my professional blog, travel blog AND photography blog with the zillion and one idea posts on my list – but I find myself procrastinating AGAIN and watching inspiring video links from Facebook instead!  It started with the gorgeous Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her amazing The Beckoning of Lovely (5 part video) (see previous post) and progressed to this wonderful video below.  I am missing being in the classroom with students so much and this is why!



11/11/11. On this day, at 11pm, (US time) the film below is set to be released on YouTube.

By the way … we are truly lucky to have Amy Krouse Rosenthal visiting ISB in the new year! I am very excited to meet her! Click on her name above to access her site.

Of course, today is even more special as it is my son’s birthday – he’s 10 (wouldn’t it have been so cool if he was turning 11?).


Presentation Zen

One of my most favourite professional development books is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.  He has a Presentation Zen website with plenty of information and tips too if you can’t quite get your hands on the book – A 2nd Edition copy has just been released too – Voices that Matter.

I highly recommend that you purchase your own copy of the book and I highly recommend that you give Presentation Zen a try in your classroom. If you are interested, I wrote a post detailing how and what I first learnt about Presentation Zen during my COETAIL learning journey back in 2009.

Presentation Zen in the Classroom

Currently I use the presentation zen style for PD sessions with faculty as much as I can. When I was in the classroom I used this style in all the Keynotes I prepared ahead for Readers and Writers Workshop visual mini lessons.  The result in the classroom was (I think) better conversations, shorter mini-lessons and increased motivation and inspiration – especially for writing.

Recently at the JIS Technology Learning Institute, I ran a popular session on using presentation zen in the classroom. To give you an idea of what was in this session, I’ve embedded (and linked to) the Keynote (which was uploaded to SlideShare) I used to introduce the basics of Presentation Zen.  After looking at the basics, we looked at an actual Readers Workshop keynote (also embedded for you below) that I’d used in the past.

Next, I asked the session participants to begin work on their own Presentation Zen keynote.  This session was a great way to not only introduce the basics of presentation zen and keynote but it encouraged a really good conversation about Creative Commons and copyright, which a lot of schools are struggling with.

Do you use PresentationZen?

What ways do you use it?