Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Your Mission: Keep Learning!

Welcome back to school!
As we begin to gear up for another year, we have spent the last several days working with staff and teachers to "get them up to speed" on the changes and improvements that have occurred during the summer.

In our back to school "learning" sessions, we provide a brief overview of the web-based services for which we are fortunate to have subscriptions. Being a "technology trainer," I am most appreciative of the wonderful online tutorials at Atomic If you have never visited this website, (or haven't visited it lately), make some time to go there soon.

There are many free tutorials available without a subscription, such as the beginning-level tutorials in each topic, AND, for a limited time, visitors have access to a workshop series on how to use pbwiki (a super easy to use wiki site -- free for educators).

Atomic Learning has also recently aligned their offerings to State standards, and have provided a search tool to find topics or lesson accelerators by State, subject and grade.

Our local ISTE affiliate, the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE), provides all members with a subscription to Atomic Learning. The cost of ICE membership is less than an individual subscription to Atomic Learning, so you might want to take a look at joining ICE -- which provides additional benefits, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded educators!

Keep learning!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Apple Releases iLife 08 !

I've just spent 20 minutes viewing highlights of Apple's newest release of iLife 08. iPhoto has been updated with some great features, such as the ability to organize photos by "event." iPhoto automatically sorts photos by events according to the day photos are taken. All the photos from one event can be skimmed through in a small preview window. When viewing the photos in a single event, iPhoto provides a "hide" feature for pictures that you just don't want to throw away, but you might not want to view all the time.

In addition to some new printing templates, I was most impressed by the new Web gallery for sharing photos on .Mac ("dot Mac"). Photos can be published/uploaded with a single click and viewed on any web browser in a variety of ways -- (reminds me of viewing photos in Flickr) and high quality downloads for printing are available as well.

The best feature is that others can add or upload to your gallery!! I have been a .Mac subscriber since it was first given away free (currently $99 per year) and now .Mac subscribers are being given more webspace, increasing it to 10GB combined storage for mail and web publishing! Yay!

iMovie has been totally recreated to allow "super-fast movie creation" using a built-in library of video clips that you can skim through to select sequences as easily as selecting text. Drag and organize sequences in the new project window and share your finished masterpiece in your .Mac web gallery, reportedly in higher resolution than DVD. Or, publish directly to YouTube is also an option in the Share menu. Among the formats the iMovie now accepts is DV, HDV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and AVCHD.

Of course, iWeb is still available for publishing websites that include blogs, podcasts, and photos in creative albums. However, now iWeb also provides web-widgets for adding interactive content such as embedded YouTube videos and "interactive Google maps." Google's Ad-Sense program is also available as a widget, if you choose to use this (I hate ads on webpages).

GarageBand 08 has a new feature for musicians. Take the "stage" with a hand-picked virtual band, (just turn on and off instruments) to create music using your own instrument, voice, etc.

Check out iLife at Upgrades are $79.

Be sure to note the system requirements: iMovie requires OS X 10.4.9, and an Intel processor, a Power Mac G5 (dual 2.0GHz or faster), or an iMac G5 (1.9GHz or faster). iMovie HD 6, previously distributed with iLife ’06, is available for download for those who have purchased and installed iLife ’08 at

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

8 Random Things Meme ... I've Been Tagged...

Ok, a bit of fun before we begin the new school year. A blogger meme has been circulating and I've been tagged by Lucy Gray.

Here are the Rules:

* Post these rules before you give your facts
* List 8 random facts about yourself
* At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
* Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged.

My random facts:
1. I was a Bleacher Bum in 1970 (left field of course).
2. ... it was easy because I grew up on the north side of Chicago.
3. I married my high school sweetheart (30+ years ago)
4. ... we met working in a fast-food restaurant.
5. I'm left-handed.
6. I bake the most awesome-ist apple slices!
7. I'll drive to Milwaukee for Leon's custard on 27th Street.
8. I can spell and say the longest word in the dictionary: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconeosis

I am tagging:
1. Vinnie Vrotny
2. Wes Fryer
3. Scott McLeod
4. Miguel Guhlin
5. Bud Hunt
6. Eric Langhorst
7. Sharon Peters
8. Dean Shareski

Have fun!