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!

Friday, September 14, 2012

iPhone 5 - Are You Upgrading?

Apple - iPhone 5 - The thinnest, lightest, fastest iPhone ever.:

Really like the new iSight Camera with panoramic picture capabilities and the A6 processor chip.  LTE wireless is something I need to learn more about too since Apple claims that it will provide for download speeds faster than most typical wireless connections.

Another cool feature is that now people can Facetime call over their wireless connection without hacking their phone since a wireless connection is no longer required.

What does everyone think; will you upgrade soon if you already have the iPhone 4S?

More news and reviews are available here http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/new-iphone-5-release-date-news-and-rumours-721534

Video Comparison of the iPhone 4 vs. iPhone 5

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Friends, Likes, Share, +1, Embed, Comments, & Now Pins

Technology and the Internet have allowed us to stay so connected that information is literally at our fingertips at all times.  However, trying to manage all of these connections and what we have shared about ourselves online can take a lot of time, knowledge, skill, and patience.  

What social media tools are the best, important, or worth our time?  I don't claim to have the answer to this dilemma but for now; I'm doing everything I can to stay up to date with most all of them since I teach digital media and computer classes to high school students who are using these services regularly for daily communication and interaction.  They also use them to get their news or information so if you aren't connected in these ways, communicating with them effectively might be difficult.  In case you did not know, teenagers consider email and web sites old-hat.  If the local newspaper, in our case the Sierra Sun, wants the younger generation to read their paper, they better Tweet or Facebook it.  Moving from print to a web site no longer makes an organization modern or tech savvy.

I just recently was 'invited' to Pinterest and signed up for my account.  Now I am asking students who already have been 'pinning' media for sometime now, how exactly I should be using this new social media tool.  If you have some good advice, please share below by commenting.  

When should I Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, blog it, Google +1 it, or just add it to my flickr or Picasa albums?  Please HELP!

My new Pinterest page is http://pinterest.com/truckeeteacher/  


Wolverine Pride: Nevada Twilight Meet: Running at Night!

Students in my new Digital Journalism class are starting to publish their first article posts to our high school blog, the 'Wolverine Pride'.
Wolverine Pride: Nevada Twilight Meet: Running at NigPublish Postht!

Friday, September 7, 2012

President Obama's Speech & Vision for Four More Years

Last night our President delivered a speech at the National Democratic Convention.  In it, he outlined his vision for our country and what his plan is for the next four years if he is to be reelected.

Watch the speech and please comment below with your thoughts regarding his speech and vision.  What should democracy look like?  How can we be great citizens of this nation?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Safety Tips for Blogging

It is always fun starting a new class and getting my students fired up to WRITE by turning them into bloggers.  However, this excitement is also counterbalanced with fear since it is a big responsibility as an educator to make sure students blog safely and create media that is positive and beneficial to their lives.  What should they write about?  What pictures are OK to share?  Can they or should they upload video that contains footage of other students?  Do they need permission forms signed by other students and their parents that they feature in one of their posts?

These are many of the questions that I ask each time I start teaching a new group of students to be citizen journalists by blogging.  Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are never black and white but there are some great resources available for students, parents, and teachers to access to help navigate this new writing medium.  Hopefully, as long as some simple rules of safety are followed student bloggers will have a positive experience sharing their news with others and add another asset to their digital portfolios that will go with them throughout life.

Here is one online resource with some basic safety rules for young bloggers.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Impressive Student Digital Journalism Web Site: Silver Chips Online

I'm fortunate in that I get to teach a new course here at Truckee High School titled 'Digital Journalism'.  It is pretty amazing to see the quality of student journalism going on today by students across the country and available online.  Check out this high school journalistic news site, it is crazy good!
Silver Chips Online: ( http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Diigo Group for Truckee High School

Just used Diigo to create a social bookmarking group for my technology classes at Truckee High School.  This is a cool new way of sharing and cataloging web sites relevant to my classes for students and parents to access.
Check it out!

Your first steps with Doodle on Vimeo

Ever play email ping-pong when trying to schedule a meeting with multiple folks?  If so, Doodle might be a service worth trying out.  It is free and you are not even required to register for an account.  It also syncs with major calendar services like Google, iCal, Outlook, and others.

Check out this short video introduction.

More about Doodle - CLICK HERE!

So, what do you think?  Has anyone used this service and how did it work?  Does anyone recommend an alternative application for calendar scheduling and collaboration?

Doodley Doo!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Do you need a BA, MA, MBA, JD and PhD? - CNN.com

Going to college...why?  

Great article below about why students should go to school and how society's perceptions of the value of an education have changed.  With the recent dramatic increases to the costs of an education politicians, students, parents, and others are calling for more accountability to insure that the costs are justified.  Others are afraid that this singular focus on accountability is narrowing student learning to simply a means to get a job or a good paying career.  The problem here is that getting a job does not necessarily create fulfillment for people.  Educators often argue too that we need to look at schooling as more of an opportunity expand our minds and find inspiration to become life long learners.

What do you think?  Both sides have strong arguments and as the cost of going to school continues to increase I think this debate will only broaden.  Please comment below.

One final thought: "We make a living from what we get. We make a life from what we give."  Winston Churchill

Do you need a BA, MA, MBA, JD and PhD? - CNN.com:

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In the Know - Using the Internet to Stay Informed

Too much information and news, not enough time, can't decide what to read?

There is so much information available for consumption today that much of the struggle to remain productive and knowledgeable about the topics that matter most to you is figuring out how to manage all this content.  The Internet, which has exponentially increased the amount of media, luckily does have great web 2.0 sites available for free that can help people manage information, stay focused, get connected, and be informed about what matters to them without 'killing' their entire day.  So, take a look at some of the useful web sites listed below to help you get started at being a more informed and productive person.

Twitter - use this social media tool to follow and connect with people and organizations that share content relevant to your interests.  This allows you to filter the type of information and news you want to see.  Follow me at www.twitter.com/jonhalvorsen

Google E-Reader - choose to subscribe to blogs and web sites so that their new content comes to you in an easy one-stop place to read and share with others.  You can organize all of your subscriptions into folders for easy access by topic.  This allows you to no longer bookmark all your favorite sites for accessing since all of the content feeds (RSS) to your E-Reader home page.

Diigo - Collect, highlight, and then remember what it is you need.  This site allows users to do so much more than other social bookmarking sites like http://delicious.com/ by focusing on E-Reading and providing technology that allows readers to create sticky notes, add highlights, and incorporate pictures and documents.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Google Reader - A Useful Tool

Using Google Reader makes it so much easier to stay up with all the blogs and web sites I follow.  Here is an example of a post I received in Reader about my kid's elementary school.  I was at this event and it was awesome!  Excited that our school is using social media and web 2.0 technologies to spread the message about all the great things going on on campus.

Truckee El’s Open House a big, green success:
Right on the heels of Truckee Elementary’s big show at Earth Day came our annual Open House,held on April 26. As in past years, this event gave parents the opportunity to see first-hand what our kids have been up to at school, with a tour of the classrooms, guided by the students themselves.
But this year’s Open House was truly a special evening, as we celebrated our Going Green initiative, co-funded by the Shane McConkey Foundation and the Truckee Elementary PTO. Open House provided the perfect venue for the official unveiling of our beautiful, green-oriented lobby mural, complete with artistic contributions from every student at TES!  Local artist and lobby muralist Sara Smith (www.saralsmith.com) was in attendance to provide perspective and answer questions. For weeks, Sara’s been not only the artist-in-residence, she’s been a teacher-in-residence, engaging and guiding children with their own works of art. We’ll miss Sara!
This year we added to the green-themed fun with a major new event: Family Science Night. Our partner in environmental education, SWEP (Sierra Watershed Educational Programs) was on-hand with parent and teacher volunteers, as well as our own student-staffed Green Team to run several science “exploration stations” in the cafeteria. Parents and students alike shared in the fun … and learning.
Big thanks go out to SWEP, the Envirolution Club, the Green Team, and all the parent and teacher volunteers who helped us out … we couldn’t put on events like this without you! It was certainly worth it … check out the sights from Truckee El’s Open House 2012 here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How to Use Google Reader to Keep Up with Your Favorite Blogs | Michael Hyatt

Stay current in less then 30 min a day following hundreds of blogs with an RSS feeder like Google Reader.
Google Reader has allowed me to stay informed about many topics I'm interested in both professionally and personally in a time efficient manner.  No longer do I have to 'bookmark' my favorite blogs and web sites.  Now, I just have to visit my Google Reader page and all of the content I'm interested in is feed to me via RSS technology.  I highly recommend using it.  Watch this video to see an introduction to what it is all about.

Read more about this tool and learn some great keyboard shortcuts here.

How to Use Google Reader to Keep Up with Your Favorite Blogs | Michael Hyatt:

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Monday, April 23, 2012

How Your Social Media Profile Could Make Or Break Your Next Job Opportunity - Forbes

How Your Social Media Profile Could Make Or Break Your Next Job Opportunity - Forbes:

It is becoming more important for everyone using social media to think more carefully about what they publish since more businesses are jumping on the Social Media bandwagon.  Read this article about how what you share could affect your chances at landing your next job.

Students - comment below with your thoughts regarding this topic.  Make sure to include your FIRST NAME and initial for your LAST NAME.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Power of Film Combined with Social Media to Create Change

Watch this video about the power of film combined with social media and how people can make a difference in the world. This group, Invisible Children, visited Truckee High School a couple of years ago. http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/

Now, one of their members has produced a short-film about their cause that has gone viral with tens of millions of people watching the video in just 2 days.

KONY 2012

After watching this news feature and short film, how do you think this viral video might create 'change' for the good?  What cause or issue are you passionate about that you could create a short film about and share with social media to educate more people about it?

Please comment below!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Battling to make a loved one’s life meaningful after death

Watch this video!
Battling to make a loved one’s life meaningful after death

Why is it so hard for people, not just teenagers, to put their phones away while driving? Texting while at the wheel is not only dangerous to oneself but to all those using the road including other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Keep those phones away and stay focused on driving!

Each day 15 people die and 1200 are injured due to accidents involving a distracted driver.
For more information about the dangers of "Distracted Driving" please read http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Distracted_Driving/index.html

AT&T Don't Text While Driving Documentary

Who is driving distracted?

WARNING - The following PSA contains graphic content and demonstrates the harsh realities of texting and driving.  Watch or show with caution.

So, once again, why is it so hard for people, not just teenagers, to put their phones away while driving?   Please comment below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Top Blogs of 2011

What is your favorite blog?
Here is a list of some of the most popular blogs from 2011.
Click here!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

State of the Union Speech - President of the United States

Below you will find the link to watch the 1 hr speech by our President earlier this week. In this speech, he says a lot about education. Watch the entire talk and then comment below on your thoughts regarding his plans and hopes for education in our nation.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Blog? I’ll Tell You Why!

Students - read the article below and then comment below this post on my blog and tell me how you think you could use a blog in a positive and productive way as a student. Explain in detail and think about your future both academically and professionally (career).

Why Blog? I’ll Tell You Why!