Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New User Interface For Chromebooks

Google just released version 19.0.1048.17 on their Chromebook Dev channel which includes an all new user interface.  Here are a few photos of what this looks like:

We will begin testing out this new version of the ChromeOS on one of our nine carts starting tomorrow.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Don't Get Stuck Digging Ditches

My father repeatedly told me when I was a young boy that if I wanted to dig ditches for a living then I should dig ditches, but he didn't want me to get stuck digging ditches because I didn't have any other options.  That always seemed to make sense to me every time he said it.  Now that the tables have turned and I am a father of three wonderful kids, it is one of my hopes and dreams for them to be able to make their own choices and do the things they enjoy.  Moreover, being an educator and a district administrator, this is something I hope for all children and students.  A big factor to obtaining this goal will be their education.  So, what kind of education will they need?  In a recent lecture event delivered by Tony Wagner to the THINK Global School, he shared some of his findings related to what business leaders are looking for in employees today.  Since, as Mr. Wagner suggests, "knowledge has become a free commodity" and "now, suddenly, everyone has access to all of the information in the world at their fingertips" it only makes sense that education should be different.   Mr. Wagner's research has resulted in the development of what he calls the Seven Survival Skills for Careers, College, and Citizenship.  Those skills are the following:

  1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  2. Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
  3. Agility and Adaptability
  4. Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
  5. Effective Oral and Written Communication
  6. Accessing and Analyzing Information
  7. Curiosity and Imagination
If these are the skills that employers are looking for, shouldn't it be the responsibility of educators to foster their development?  Often times I find myself getting too wrapped up in what I'm doing that I lose sight of the big picture.  I always try my best to remember to take a step back and ask the simple questions.  Why am I doing this?  What am I trying to achieve?  What really matters?  Tony Wagner's seven survival skills will certainly become answers to some of my questions and help me stay focused on that big picture.

I highly recommend all educators watch Tony Wagner's Creating Innovators lecture event to learn more about his seven survival skills and their impact on education.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Augmented Reality Glasses Coming Soon???

Although much of my time these days is either spent planning and preparing for our district to go fully 1:1 next school year when we issue Google Chromebooks to almost all of our students or coaching my seven year old son's two different soccer teams, I do try to keep an eye on the future.  At the rapid pace that technology is evolving, it's almost impossible to keep up and yet I feel it's my job to make sure my district is prepared for, well, who knows what.  The who-knows-what that I've been most interested in are the developments being made with augmented reality.  Wikipedia defines augmented reality as being the "live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data."  There are already a number of products on the market that utilize augmented reality and I truly believe that they could become the next major transformative tools in education.  So I found it both funny and ironic today that, during a presentation to our faculty, our Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction (@LeydenASCI) used a video clip from Back to the Future showing Marty McFly on a hover board and suggested that that this type of future may not be all that far away and then soon after the presentation learned that Google announced that they have begun testing their new augmented reality glasses.  I quickly remembered an inspiring video I came across a few years ago from a graduate student titled Augmented Reality - The Future of Education and am excited to see how his vision is now close to becoming a reality.  Thanks Google!

One students dream back in 2009...

is getting closer to becoming a reality today thanks to Project Glass.