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, September 25, 2013

Google Class - Back to School Night Presentation

Following is a Google Presentation I put together for Back-to-School Night to inform parents about what their students are learning and experiencing in Google class.  Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.  I am always looking for guest speakers so if you have experienced using Google products in your own line of work, please consider sharing with my classes.

Thank you,

Jon Halvorsen

Friday, September 20, 2013

QuickOffice is Now Free!

Google has made QuickOffice free now for mobile devices.  Does anyone have input to how this software compares to OpenOffice which many teachers at my school use on our Apple computers or the Pages App that we use on our iPads and iPhones?  Appreciate the input.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

AirServer in the Classroom

I may have just discovered one of the coolest pieces of technology for use with my students in the classroom in a long time. Ed Hilton, our district technology coach stopped by my classroom yesterday and showed me how to use AirPlay on my iPhone to mirror my phone with my classroom desktop iMac using AirServer. Now I can move about my classroom freely displaying my iPhone screen to my students since my desktop computer is projected for student viewing on a large screen TV. Using my remote control LanSchool software I can also display my iPhone onto the screens of all 34 of my student computers. This is awesome since many of my lessons involve the use of Google Drive applications which I can run on my iPhone using the Google Drive App. Plus, students think this is really cool since I can also stream music from my phone through my desktop speaker system and control the volume using my phone controls. Kind of fun playing around with SIRI to as you move about the class when you need information quickly.

Check it out or stop by my classroom to brainstorm how you could use it in your classroom.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Student Blogs

Today students are setting up blogs in my Google class on topics of interest. It is my hope that this interactive platform will excite their interest in writing and reading since it will allow for sharing and connecting with others who share the same interests.

Are you an educator who has used blogging with students? Please share your own experiences with this or problems and concerns you have had to deal with.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Have You Purchased a Used Smartphone?

Many of us have probably purchased or considered buying a used cell phone on www.craigslist.com or www.ebay.com but how do you make sure the phone is not stollen property.  As a child I was told that a "deal to good to be true is probably not true" but when faced with another two year service plan commitment to get an updated phone from my provider these used phones for sale online become really tempting.  On the flip side, I'm sure you or someone you know has also been the victim of a cell phone theft.  This is a fast growing crime that has plagued society and presented law enforcement with a new crime to fight.

Recently Apple has introduced its new iPhone 5 C line and the S model includes a fingerprint security system.  Experts say this is a step in the right direction towards protecting people from thieves who steal phones for resale on the black-market.  Read and listen to this story by NPR about the cell phone black-market problem.  However, what happens if it does not work perfectly and you can not get access to your phone?  Just thinking out-loud.

Have you had a phone stolen?  Have you purchased a used phone online?  Please share your experiences with this topic and what you have done to protect your own phone and/or to make sure what you purchased used was not stolen property.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blogs Provide a Place for Students to Connect and Share

One way I have been able to incorporate more reading and writing across the curriculum in my technology classes is by introducing my students to blogging; both as consumers and as producers.  

Once students see the possibilities around sharing their ideas and having discussions with other people interested in similar topics they not only write, but become excited about the power of the written word and the way blogging allows them to connect with others and become part of an ongoing conversation around their interests.  Blogs also make writing more exciting since students can include embedded images and videos and share links to other authors writing about similar topics.

One excellent blog example I use to gain my students curiosity with this tool is http://unofficialnetworks.com/  

This blog is all about skiing and the life that surrounds it and since I teach in a ski town where most of my students have season passes(several alums even ski for the US Ski Team) to one of the mountains this blog features; it is a natural lead in.  The kids eat up the content since they relate to it and share a passion for the sport and lifestyle.  They also quickly see how it keeps them informed about local events, people, and industry trends which only makes them more excited about the ski season.

So, check out the link below to learn more about getting your students blogging and see how you can use these tools to increase your student's literacy and communication skills.  No matter the subject we teach; it is all educators responsibility to help our kids be better readers and writers.

If you have some great ideas about using blogging with your students please share by commenting on this post.  One issue I know always makes some teachers hesitate to incorporate blogging in their curriculum is online safety.  There are lots of wonderful resources online about teaching students how to use blogging and the internet responsibly and safely but please share how you address this topic in your class since we can all learn from each other.  I know I always feel better doing something that I know others are doing as well versus be a 'lone ranger'.