Welcome to Modern Educator

Here on this blog I hope to get a conversation going amongst students, teachers, administrators, and parents about who, what, when, why, and where we should teach technology skills for the 21st century. I am technology teacher at Truckee High School in Truckee, CA and currently teach classes like digital media, e-learning, applications, and keyboarding -- yes...still important! :) Please Join the Conversation!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spotify - The soundtrack to your social life! - YouTube

Spotify - The soundtrack to your social life! - YouTube:

Music has now gone social and artists and listeners are constantly changing the ways in which they share and listen to music. Social media has definitely bridged the connection between fans and their favorite artists. Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, recently was quoted saying that it would be foolish for musicians today to sign with a traditional record label company. He cited the band Foster the People as a prime example of a group that used the Internet and social media to build their fan base and popularity directly with users. The power of sharing with others has now enabled each of us to have the potential to reach the masses without the help of traditional marketers. The same thing could be said about print publishers as well now that authors have access to blogs and other services to publish their own material directly and share it with others.

Check out the video below about how "music has gone social" with the relationship between Spotify and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sales of iPhone 4S top 4 million

Sales of iPhone 4S top 4 million
That is a lot of mula$$! Seems ironic when we are in what many economists call the "worst depression since the Great Depression". Regardless, I think it demonstrates the appetite society has for new, more powerful and innovative technology. Life is becoming more intertwined with the Internet each day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Steve Jobs made the ugly world of technology beautiful"

"Steve Jobs made the ugly world of technology beautiful"; this morning on the national news I heard an anchor on NBC quoting this Tweet he had read last night after the announcement by Apple of the passing of their C0-Founder and leader, Steve Jobs. This tweet really grabbed my attention because I think it elegantly sums up why Steve Jobs impacted our lives so powerfully. Not only did he make computers and technology better looking, but he also made them cool and easy to use. No longer were computers and programs reserved for computer "geeks" and technologically savvy programmers and the like. Mom, Dad, son, daughter and grandma and grandpa could now access the benefits in life by being able, or at least comfortable to try, to use computers and the programs that run them.

Since this death is being called the "End of an era" I thought it was important as a computer teacher to have my students read, discuss, and reflect and blog about this amazing innovator and person and how his visions and work changed their lives. I had them start by reading the following article and highly recommend it.

'End of an era': Apple co-founder Steve Jobs remembered

The students really seemed to understand the significance of the passing of Steve Jobs because of the impact his technology innovations had on their own lives. When I did a quick survey of the class and asked them how many of them had an Apple product, every student raised their hand. The products he helped create at Apple had reached every single student in my class, including myself. Many of them had iPhones but almost every one of them had an iPod or iTouch. Obviously, his business savvy and vision for technology has been extremely effective and by just surveying my one class here in Truckee, CA provides that proof.

For me personally, my first computer (see pictures) was a Macintosh SE SuperDrive which had a 30 mb hard-drive. One of my students commented; "sick, you could almost store 5 songs on that bad boy". Crazy, I know, but I paid about $2,000 for my Mac and wrote every college paper in my four years as a student at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA from 1990 to 1994 on that "bad boy". My students were even more shocked when I let them know that not only did I not have the Internet on my Mac but that I did not even see my first web site until 1995 when a good friend showed us AOL on her laptop after dialing in on her phone and attaching it to the computer. I also learned in the article about how Steve Jobs landed an internship with HP before graduating from college. This was powerful because I'm constantly teaching my students about the benefits of networking and finding internships. I also learned that he worked for Atari, the first gaming system I got my hands on as a kid growing up in Urbandale, IA. as I mastered the skills with my favorite games Asteroids, PacMan, and DonkeyKong. I was also amazed to learn that Steve was put up for adoption by his biological parents and adopted by a middle class working couple in Los Altos, CA.

In conclusion, my students recognized the impact and success one person can have by thinking out of the box, being passionate, working hard, and following your dreams like Steve Jobs did. They also understood and commented that they know the future holds many more innovations and changes ahead in regards to how we as humans live our daily lives and use technology to assist us with routine functions as well as creating new opportunities for living and communicating. I hope they translate this into a passion to become life-long learners and to have dreams and goals to be part of the future and where we go.

Rest in Peace Steve, you will be missed but not forgotten!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Truckee Alum at President Obama's Town Hall with LinkedIn: "We are in this thing Together" | The White House

Earlier in the year we witnessed the President of the United States holding a Town Hall meeting live on the Internet from the headquarters of Facebook. Now, fitting to his speech topic about jobs, this past Monday the President once again held a Town Hall meeting live on the Internet from the headquarters of LinkedIn, the premier social media service for career professionals and employers.

These type of live-online meetings incorporating streaming video and social media interaction are a powerful and growing trend. If you missed the meeting, follow the link below to see what you missed. I would also be interested to hear from those of you who participated in this LinkedIn Town Hall meeting and what you thought. Do you like the format? It sure seems like a great way to include more participation by more people. However, only time will tell how much impact it will make on the political process. Hopefully the citizens voices will not only be allowed but listened to. Please comment below and share your thoughts.

President Obama's Town Hall with LinkedIn: "We are in this thing Together" | The White House:

'via Blog this'

NOTE: On a side-note...very exciting to see one of my former computer students and basketball players here at Truckee High School sitting in the crowd underneath the letter "i" on the LinkedIn Banner. He is an employee for LinkedIn and LOVING his job! Way to go Josh Furr!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Future of Job Hunting with Social Media

Did you know many people landed their last job on Twitter?
Most people today have heard of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media web sites.  However, many have not thought of these Internet sites as modern day tools that can be used by people to help find a job or career opportunity.  Everyday the news is full of dismal stories about the rate of unemployment and the poor economic outlook for jobs and job creation.  That is why successful employees today need to be life-long learners and users of modern technology like web 2.0 services.  The days of finding your dream job in the classifieds of your local newspaper have most likely passed.  Today, job seekers need to hunt down their own opportunities and often create new ones by networking with other professionals in their industry through social media services like www.linkedin.com , www.facebook.com , and www.twitter.com

Using sites like these allows people to participate in online conversations about their job industry and interests.  These conversations allow people to get to know others educated in these fields and see their accomplishments which might one day lead to more direct communication and possible job opportunities.  Think about it, when a manager for a computer programming company needs to hire a Java language expert, would they rather pay to post an advertisement online or in a local news source or just access their online social communities where they already have connected and gotten to know other professionals with the skills, knowledge, and experience in the field they are hiring for.  I think the answer is obvious.

So, take the plunge and visit LinkedIn to learn more about using social media to enhance your career possibilities.  Why wait....give it a try.  However, successful candidates will still need a great resume just as in the past.  Now, people just have new ways to share it convincing employers to look at it and give them a call for an interview.

Links to information about resumes
More news about social media and job searching
Just for fun!
If applying all these modern web 2.0 skills to your job searching does not prove effective, you can always resort to other creative means - LOL

Click here to visit the authors Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ability For All to Make a Difference

Today in class I introduced students to a web site where anyone can create a "Cause" or choose to "Join" one.  This site incorporates the latest in web 2.0 tools since users can share their causes with others via social media and raise money with online payment tools like PayPal.  This kind of web site allows all of us to have a voice and gives us the power to inform others about topics that we think are important.

Find out more at http://www.causes.com

Have you ever joined a cause or created your own?  Please share your answer by commenting below.  Was it helpful?

- ClassNoteUtopia Notes and Student Community

How Web 2.0 Sites are Changing the Way "We Do" School

Ever since I started teaching many of my students have complained that they don't get paid for going to school. Well, I always tried to explain to them that the education they were receiving was their payment. However, now they can earn CASH for their work. Others can also choose to pay for the information they need. Students can now download notes for their specific classes, sorted by school and professor. It is becoming more obvious each day that the goal of education can not be teachers transferring information to students but rather, teaching our students how to access, manipulate, organize, share, and utilize information to solve problems and accomplish tasks.

Watch this video to see what NoteUtopia is all about.

Check out more information or sell your notes here!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wolverine Pride: Are You Ready For PowderPuff?

Wolverine Pride: Are You Ready For PowderPuff?: PowderPuff 2011 between the Junior and Senior girls is next week, Wednesday the 21st in Surprise Stadium. Get ready for the action and come...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wolverine Pride: Lib Dub - Seniors!

Wolverine Pride: Lib Dub - Seniors!: First ever Lib Dub by senior students at Truckee High School!

Blogging Video

I found the following video on YouTube about blogging helpful.  I would really like to make some money off one of my blogs someday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend!

Labor Day weekend is a great time to sign-off from summer by doing something fun outside before buckling down for the fall and another school year.  The three days provide enough time to head out of town somewhere exciting, visit family, or just have plenty of time around home for a "stay-vacation".  That is exactly what I did this year with my family....we just had fun here locally around Truckee.  The highlight was spending a day out at Jackson Meadows Reservoir with my kids and parents water-skiing and hanging out.  On our last runs of the day late afternoon we were the only boat on the lake!  There was also smooth calm water so you could literally ski great runs anywhere in the lake.  The good time was capped off by the smiles on my kids faces.  One of my son's got up on skis for the first time and my daughter was able to learn how to salom ski (one ski).  Good memories.

Assignment: Blogging about Labor Day  10 pts.

Answer the following question below in the comments of my blog and write your first name and last name initial at the bottom of your paragraph.   Example: Jon H
1.  What was the highlight of your Labor Day Holiday weekend?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SmugMug - Professionally Market & Sell Digital Pictures

Several individuals I know use SmugMug http://www.smugmug.com/ to host their digital photos.  This web site will allow you to sell your pictures online for a fee.  People can browse through your albums and select the prints they want to add to their carts for purchase.  They offer professional printing services and the photos are sent to the buyers address.  They can purchase them securely with a credit card and the profits are added to the sellers account.

The site also allows users to share photos on many different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others which will assist photographers in building their customer/fan base.  Sites like SmugMug are cool tools that professional and amateur photographers alike can use to build their portfolios and careers.

Here is the link to a local photographer, Lefrak Photography, who captured images from our high school graduation last weekend and shared the images with all for free.  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wolverine Pride: Introducing the Chromebook

Wolverine Pride: Introducing the Chromebook

Designing an ePortfolio Assignment

From a blog post I wrote for the Wolverine Pride Blog - http://truckeepride.blogspot.com/2011/05/designing-eportfolio-assignment.html 

Students in my Web 2.0 Class develop ePortfolios to demonstrate and reflect on not only their learning in my class, but in life. They will each leave my class with a tool that they can continue to update so that they can not only reflect on their learning and successes but share them with others. Think college admissions, perspective employers, or future class or work projects.
Here is a resource article from the Learning Objects Community to help teachers think about how they can use ePortfolios in their work with students.
Designing an ePortfolio Assignment

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tahoe Truckee Youth Music Program Recital

We have awesome kids and programs in our community schools. Thanks to all the high school student musicians who volunteer their time to teach kids who might otherwise never have the opportunity to receive music lessons.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Zion National Park: Need to know facts

Blogs and smartphone and iPad Apps have changed the way many get their information. Here is a blog I was notified about from the Zite App for iPad. www.zite.com

Love this place! My family visited last Thanksgiving and we hope to return again soon.

Zion National Park: Need to know facts

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Take Action!

Do you care about something and think that there is a need for action on its behalf?
From http://www.causes.com/ to http://www.facebook.com/ groups, social media is changing the way people advocate for change and share their voice. Below is a campaign to support public schools that was started by grassroots efforts to organize people nationwide to take action on behalf of education. What is your cause? Social media has provided powerful tools to anyone with Internet access to start a conversation. So, what are you waiting for?

Save Our Schools National March and Call to Action: July 28 - 31, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photo Storytelling

"A picture is worth a thousand words" .... so, what about using a bunch of pictures to tell a story!  Special or ordinary events can be captured on film to create memories or to share the experience with others.  Taking photos has never been so easy either since most all of us have a camera on our cell phones.  So, give it a try and tell a story with pictures. 

To get you started; I have included a link below to an article to read and a video tutorial to watch. 

The Secrets of Storytelling Photography - http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/storytelling-photography/
Read this article to learn about how to take good pictures for telling a story that share similar techniques and structure to any good storyteller by including photographs that speak to our emotions.

Photo Storytelling Video Tutorial

Digital Media Students: Assignment 5pts - Your Story Topic
Digital Media students, please comment below and share your topic that you selected to tell a story about with your 20 pictures.  Make sure to include your first name only in your comment post so I can make sure to give you credit.  Next, take those photos that include an introduction, middle, and ending to your story.  Have fun with this and good luck.  We will share each of our stories with the class, including myself!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Technology Today - What Does it all Mean?

Watch the video below and then comment on what this all means to you as a student.  There is no right or wrong answer; just explain in detail what your reflections are after watching and processing this video.  Make sure to include how it relates to you as a student and your learning needs in school.

Friday, April 1, 2011

DJs and Web 2.0

Today in my web 2.0 class we explored a social media site for DJs and music mix affectionados - http://www.mixcrate.com/  Here, DJs and music fans can like, comment, share, download, and upload their favorite music mix playlists.  Just another example of a web 2.0 site created for a specific segment of society that allows them to interact around their shared interest; in this case, mixing music.

Student Reflection Assignment
Class, please comment below on how you think this site, mixcrate.com, could benefit DJs.  Also, do you think the site has potential to make money?  How so in addition to selling advertisements?  Last, for extra credit you can post the link here to your favorite mix you found today when browsing the site.
Just sign your comment with your first name. Mr. H

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

President Obamas's Speech on Libya

Today in web 2.0 class we discussed the use of social media and web 2.0 technologies by the White House and President Obama to get his message out to the people.  Students watched his speech about the military actions our nation has taken in Libya and listened to his explanation of why they were necessary and justified.  Students then watched other news video on the situation to see for themselves what is going on right now in this country and to try to understand firsthand how it relates to them back here at home.  They also listened to differing viewpoints on whether or not this was the right decision by the President to help them decide for themselves what they thought. 

After that, students blogged about their reflections below to my prompts and we discussed how to join in these conversations online in safe and responsible way.  This is an important issue with digital citizenship.

Watch the President's speech here:

Assignment for students
Now that you have watched the President's speech and researched the situation online on various news sources; please respond the following prompts.  Please sign in anonymously and just sign at the end of your post with your first name.  Mr. Halvorsen

1.  Do you think the President made the right decision? Why - explain.
2.  What do you think the United States and UN should do now in Libya?  How would your choice affect the future of this nation and the rest of the Middle East which is very unstable politically right now?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Creating an Online Private Identity - Avatars

Today in web 2.0 class my students and I discussed how to create an online identity, with personality, while still protecting our privacy.  To do this, I had them explore different web sites where they could create Avatars.  Avatars, as one student explained, our a "digital self".  Some sites even provide tools to help you animate them and add voice.  You can either record from your phone, computer mic, or type text and have the site generate a computerized voice saying what you typed.  Pretty cool ...... and the students had a blast creating their avatars in class as witnessed by all the giggling!

Check out my avatar I created for the Modern Educator using http://www.voki.com/

Some other good sites to explore are: http://www.buildyourwildself.com/ , http://www.manga.com/ ,  http://www.tektek.org/dream/ 

Reflective assignment for my students:
Now, write a blog posting about your avatar. Tell which site you used to create it, how you made it, and why you chose the options you did. When you tell which site you used, be sure to make the site name a hyperlink so that your visitors can easily click on it to visit the site. Whenever you refer to another website or page in an online posting, create a hyperlink to make life easy for your readers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

How do you sell more of a product or promote your organization or business by using web 2.0 technology without flooding your customers or targeted audience with direct advertising?  There are many different strategies, techniques, and tools to use that can assist one in achieving these goals.  Web 2.0 and/or social media are here to say (experts agree) and students hoping to have a successful career in marketing or business development are going to need to learn these 21st century skills.

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about this topic: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122884677205091919.html

Please share your thoughts below about this topic and any ideas on how you think web 2.0 can best be used to promote a product, brand, or company/organization without turning off your potential audience?  COMMENT!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Your Pictures and Geotagging May Map Out Your Every Move

You need to be aware that your GPS enabled cameras and smartphones record the exact location (within 15 feet) of where you took your photos.  Now, if you post/share those photos online you may be giving someone a "roadmap" of where you are at and/or your daily travel routines.  This web site, http://icanstalku.com/ , is trying to bring awareness to this issue by surfing twitter pics with GPS coordinates and then posting the users whereabouts online on their web site for the world to see.  Remember, sharing photos online with Twitter is sharing them with the WORLD (very few people keep twitter private) versus Facebook or other picture sharing services where you can choose who is allowed to see them (on Facebook you should really have your picture privacy settings set to "friends only" and use friend "lists" to manage more specifically who can and can not see what).
Watch this news clip.

I wonder if Sting and the Police would have ever thought their song "Every Breath you Make" would have ever become such an easy to do reality like it is today since so many of us post our "every steps".
Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEnJDaqT3-0 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twitter - Purely Social or a Way to Get a Job?

Goday in class we discussed http://www.twitter.com/ and reviewed the security settings available to its users.  Students learned that they can "protect" their tweets so that only users who they approve to follow them can have access to their profile and tweets.  Students saw this as a good way to use Twitter if they were going to use it for purely social reasons with friends and family.  Watch this video about using Twitter to connect socially with followers.

However, we then discussed how many people are using sites like Twitter and Facebook to network with other professionals in similar careers or with those whom share similar interests in order to build up a network of connections.  These connections might prove to be beneficial to people when they are looking for jobs or other opportunities.  To develop these connections however with sites like Twitter, users must begin to follow others whom tweet and share similar interests or job skills.  They also need to start allowing other users whom they do not know personally to follow them so that these people have access to their tweets and can begin to share information, ideas, news, reflections, or other insights with their online community.  Once they do this, they may come upon jobs or other opportunities being tweeted by people or companies they follow.  They could also just put out their own tweet - "I need a job!"  Read this article for more detailed information about how people are using social media to get a job they need or want. 

I found my job on Twitter

Sunday, February 6, 2011

20 Tech Skills Every Teacher Should Have....Do you?


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Google Docs in Plain English

Today in Web 2.0 class I took my students on an exploration of Google Docs to see the power they have at their fingertips to create, edit, and save files online....in the "cloud". We discussed the benefits to moving our files to the cloud - access from any Internet connected device...including mobile phones, secure file backup, intuitive organizing tools, as well as other things the students thought of. But the most powerful and important feature that we discussed was the ability that Google Docs gives its users to collaborate and share with others. Students saw the benefits of this when working with other peers on group projects and for sharing study guides and reflections when preparing for exams.

The video below is a great short explanation of what Google Docs is and how it can make its users more efficient and effective with their work. Most interesting is the brilliance the developers had when they switched the thinking around in regards to email attachments. Rather than sending email attachments back and forth with others when collaborating on a project, why not create one document in the cloud and give everyone you wish access to it. Now you can work simultaneously or at different times and see everyones edits immediately. I am now reconfiguring my class curriculum to incorporate the use of more Google Docs versus having students email me their work. With over 100 students per day emailing me I think I may be able to save at least an hour per day by moving to this format. Just go to my Google Doc "home" and check all the work right their one single document versus say.....34 student emails. Even if I just spend 1 minute per email this is a time costly practice so it is exciting to explore how this can better serve my classes while at the same time teach my students extremely relevant 21st century technology skills!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Music Students at Truckee High Doing Great Things

Students at Truckee High School who have a passion and talent with music are passing it on to our younger students at Truckee Elementary by teaching students who can not afford music lessons for free.  On Tuesday evening, these young students at Truckee Elementary had an opportunity to show their parents and friends all that they had learned in a music recital.  It was truly awesome to see how much they had learned and how much they had progressed with their instruments.  Then, these students and their parents had a special treat and were able to hear their student teachers play their own instruments and see what a love for music and a lot of practice will do.  These high school kids are truly doing "great things" for this community.  Thank you!
Zoe, a student at THS plays for her students and the recital audience.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Google Reader - Stay Informed Efficiently

 Google Reader is a great web utility to use to efficiently manage all of the blogs you follow. Rather than remember all of the web site addresses for each of your blogs or subscribe via feeds, which bookmarks a blog on your computer in your Favorites tab, Google Reader tracks all of the posts uploaded to any blog you subscribe to using "Add to Google". 

Now, with all of your blogs archived in this cloud based utility you can access them on any Internet enabled device like your desktop computer, laptop, iPad, or Smart phone.  So, whenever you have a few extra minutes you can peruse through a lot of information specific to your interests.  This will really help anyone to stay more informed with topics important to them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Facebook and our Social World - Online and Offline

My wife and I debate Facebook and its relevancy in our lives on a regular basis.  We both have Facebook accounts (along with 1 out of every 10 people in the world) but only I use this social media site on a regular basis.  I enjoy connecting with friends on a daily basis online from close by and with those who live far away.  My wife on the other hand seems to still want that face to face contact with her friends and is not interested, nor necessarily comfortable with sharing her life with them online.  Needless to say, it provides for some interesting and passionate conversations at the dinner table.  Even more interesting when my 12 year old daughter joins in the conversation. 

Some say Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, had a simple but revolutionary idea that resulted in 600 million people signing up for his companies web site, http://www.facebook.com/ - "where others saw the Internet as a network of computers, Zuckerberg saw it as a network of people."  Time Magazine

He is reshaping the Internet into a system based on gathering information from trusted social connections versus random data providers.  He is connecting people together to continue their daily lives online versus the Internet of the past where users were living virtual lives hidden behind screen names and avatars. 

As I reflect on the recent article in Time Magazine, Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerbeg I find this social concept of the web quite enlightening.  One of my students told me after reading the article in my web 2.0 class that; "it makes perfect sense Mr. Halvorsen, I don't buy clothes that the fashion experts tell me to wear, I buy what my friends are wearing."  Looking at that, I guess the fashion as well as all industries now have to move quicker and embrace this online social networking phenomenon because they can not wait for word of their products to spread from trade show, to the big city stores, and then to the stores in neighborhoods across the U.S. or the world for that matter.  These companies who first have "our" friends talking about their products on Facebook and other social media sites are the ones who are most likely to succeed since Zuckerberg seems to have proven that three "likes" by our trusted connections online is worth more than a thousand recommendations by experts and corporations.  I think we still want to know what the experts think; we just seem to want to hear that source of information through our friends network.  Today, users of the Internet are expecting, possibly demanding, that the news come to them via social networks versus requiring them to go out and research it on their own.  This transformation taking place, lead by Facebook and other sites like Google, is creating an entirely new set of skills and knowledge for today's workforce.  Students today should be aware of this and be exploring what it is that they need to learn in school to be successful in this new tech-social era.  All kinds of new jobs are popping up like social media management and programming web 2.0 applications.

Not convinced that this concept is a powerful one?  Watch what takes place each minute on Facebook 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year all across the globe!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Even the President of the United States has a YouTube Channel

Why would students need to study digital portfolios and learn skills to use services like YouTube, Facebook, and blogging.......hmm....maybe we need to ask President Barack Obama.