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Curriculum Mapping, Your Biggest Mistake

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato Curriculum mapping is not a mistake. However, schools seem to make the same mistake over and over when implementing and using curriculum mapping tools. How do I know? Because I always hear different people, from different schools, make the same statements. …

What is Important is Seldom Urgent

By: Tony DePrato | Follow me on Twitter @tdeprato Before jumping into this post, here is some background on former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower who developed the methods discussed below. I found an excellent synopsis for those unfamiliar with his legacy and prominence: Eisenhower was the 34th President …

Start At the Wall

Holidays are a very interesting time if you work in technology leadership or support. Ideally, people want to have some time-off. Therefore, making a list of essential projects to finish starts months before the holiday plans. Then a list of “what to do if” scenarios needs to be created and …

Freedom VS Structure

I left it alone. Everyone was using it. Everyone had the permissions needed to customize their space. So I left it alone. I set some guidelines. I spoke to everyone about best practice. I even made exemplars and samples so people could have a visual representation of what best practice …

Behaviour, Non-Negotiables, and Devices

I had a meeting recently about some behaviour issues related to students using iPads. These meetings are not unusual for me, or anyone who manages technology. For that matter, this is common for anyone working in education. Students have “things” and “do things”. Everyone has issues with behaviour. During the meeting, …

Lesson Plans : Essential and Often Forgotten

Last week was a transition point in the year. After introducing a new position at the campus, my time has finally be able to shift away from pure technology, and back to educational technology. This has been a struggle for me for more than two years. The work was needed, …

Research First, Angry Email Later

Despite the title, I am not in favor of sending angry emails. I use to be known for my emails, sent out of frustration, and also justified in content. However, in hindsight, I regret all of them that could have been communicated face-to-face, or after the frustration had faded. I …

How to Help Your Dude Named Ben

If you are not aware, “A Dude Named Ben” refers to the generic and often ignored systems administrators who work at/in organizations. When the IRS lost all their emails, they claimed total ignorance, and had no idea who their tech people were. This video is entertaining and can explain the origin …

Are You Planning a Maker Space?

I was having a conversation with a tech director from another school , and we were discussing budgets and resources. The amounts were fairly staggering for bandwidth, subscriptions, and network support for content management and VPN. Shortly after the conversation, I started to question my priorities. What was driving my …

2015 – Bad IT Planning is Still Going Strong

Consider this question: If you want to run an event, start a new curriculum, communicate better with organisational stakeholders, audit for efficiency, train a group of people economically, or simply show a movie to a large group of people, would you do those things with technology? Would you require support …

Gestalt Thinking and The IT Department

Last week I spoke to someone who was doing some consulting work at an international school. They were trying to assess what was causing the various problems. It was not money or resources. It seemed the administration was trying to make things work. So as we began to speak she …

Options Lead to Issues

“Walk on road, hmm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later… get squish just like grape.”~ The Karate Kid, 1984 I am a strong proponent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for students and personal ownership of the tools needed for professionals to get their …

Opportunity vs Experience

I was in a meeting. I dislike most meetings. Not because I dislike people or discourse, but because most meetings seem unfocused and more for ritual than utility. In this particular meeting, we were presented with some self-guided learning options for students who need to be challenged more. That means …

When Does a Project Need to Die?

When does a project need to die? I notice things that are broken. I often see people working on projects that have gone on so long, that the project is invalid. Time and money keeps being poured into the project, but there is no end insight. In the past I …

Offense Wins Games, Defense Wins Championships

Richard Dent, Chicago Bears Superbowl MVP Catchy title- but statistically not accurate. I trust the people at Freakonomics a bit more than I trust my family screaming at the TV on Thanksgiving. So is this post about statistically irrelevant phrases? No. It is, however, about offense vs defense. I spent …

Google Searching in China- Did I PWN It?

Before moving to China, everyone told me about how it was impossible to “use the internet”. I heard stories of schools using VPNS and losing 75% of their speed just to access Google search and Google products. I personally experienced teachers claiming they could not run their classes unless they …

Are Universities Falling Behind in Maintaining Standards?

A recent article on Slashdot.Org – Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician’s Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation, explained how a statistician struggled to implement a system that would account for grade inflation. He found many professors were grading too easily, and irregularly. The articles is good, and the research is also interesting, but after …

Get Your PING ON

I am declaring war on all network technicians and engineers. I am doing this because they are ruining my life, and the lives of children…THINK OF THE CHILDREN! As always I was coming home from a day of asking, W*frack, and I sat down to watch a few old episodes …

Wish Lists and Half Measures

I recently started helping a school plan a fairly large IT budget. The scope is not only broad in the areas this budget will impact, but the projects will span from 2014-2018. Before I began planning I asked to see the previous budget and documentation prepared by the previous IT …

The Situation

Resources are always an issue wherever I work. Maybe I could find somewhere where that is not the case, but so far I have not been able to be that lucky. There was a battle this week over some resources. A person actually cried. Normally, I make people cry, but …

Single Missions vs Swarm Logic

Single Missions vs Swarm Logic from “The BYOD Playbook” , available soon on the Kindle and iTunes Stores ____________________________________________________ In 1973 the Hughes Glomar Explorer was secretly commissioned to do one thing- raise a sunken Soviet submarine from 17,000 feet of water. The project was so amazing that if you watch a …

Is your IT Resource Management ready for BYOD?

Before overloading a campus with people using individual devices, everyone knows they need to make sure they have “enough” WIFI. They also know they have to have enough bandwidth.  These points are usually the center point of discussion, but really before BYOD can occur the IT resources need to be …

Change & the 50%

“There were no easy answers and whatever road you took be it high, low, or more likely somewhere in between, half the people would hate the result and half would applaud and the hell of the thing was in a way they’d both be right.” ~David Baldacci, Divine Justice I read …

An Experiment ?

Today a teacher came to me with an issue. They wanted to rip some DVDS – legally not for boot-legging. I showed them some software, which I had listed on the software resource page, that would help them facilitate this on their new Macbook. Now you need to know that …

Help Crowd Source MATH DATA for NWEA MAPS

Hi all. I am gathering DATA related to NWEA MAPS in the MATH category.  I am looking for overall scores by grade from 2009-2012.  The contribution format is very flexible. After it is all done I will share it. CONTRIBUTE HERE Thanks in Advance Tony DePrato

Flame Virus,Cyber Weapons and the Cloud

The Problem Recently there has been press on a new Cyber-Weapon called FLAME. Now many of you might be wondering why I called it a Cyber-Weapon. Well here are a list of things it can do: Record audio from your computer’s microphone. Take screenshots of your screen. Record keyboard activity, …

Content is KING just ask Gordon

I can say without any hesitation that every school leader, guidance counselor, technology developer, and soccer mom needs to spend a marathon weekend watching nothing but Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay. I have watched probably 125 episodes of Kitchen Nightmares. I did so originally because my brother said watching Ramsay …

Operation Overlord…The War on Office and Email

There was a good response from the last post related to transitioning from email as a major tool for collaborating. After a meeting with some people we decided a few things: 1. We do not need to try and compare an OFFICE package to a cloud package, instead we need …

It’s 2012 Stop Using Attachments

I am deeply concerned about the forward motion of my school and the workflow practices that the teachers at my school are married to. I say married, because it seems like it is going to take an attorney and court of law to get them to leave behind 400 mb …

Demo This

On a very regular basis, annoying sales people penetrate the switch board protocols and arrive at my extension. I am normally not inclined to entertain cold calls because when I need something, I research it and find suppliers. A few years ago I dealt with these people by just saying that they needed to …

Opportunity Cost

According to Wikipedia – Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the next best alternative forgone (that is not chosen). It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone Basically it means that you could have done one thing, …

The Proof

When ever I help students with math, I always have them do proofs. I want to be sure they understand what they are doing, and not just working a pattern. The word “proof” is a very powerful term, and being able to use it means that one has been able …

Setting Goals without Making Loopholes

I notice people seem to set goals for their IT development that are either undefined, too general, or too specific. This causes a waste of resources and time, and often a declaration of SUCCESS! without any real results backing-up the excitement. I think common sense can tell you where I am …

The Cost of Doing Business

I had a heated argument last week with a teacher about printing. One of the issues on the table, and the one that stuck in my mind, was that the teacher wanted to have all their students print projects.  Normally this is not something that is even discussed. Students have …

Specifications

For the last month I have been having demos installed on-campus so our community can test new projection and interactive display technology. I have even roughly budgeted to redo 25-50 classrooms a year for the next three years. However during our last formal round of surveying, I have found that …

Recently I looked into going with a VPS Server to expand my school’s online services. My current assignment is outside of North America, so I ran into numerous issues with the billing. So I looked into some other options and realized that we could create what we needed using a …

Anyone can hire a consultant

It is difficult for school administrators to know what they are getting when they recruit someone to lead their IT programs and/or manage their IT infrastructure. After all if the person comes with a good reference then they probably can do the job. However this may mean out sourcing every …

Invest in People, Bandwidth, and Servers

Invest in People, Bandwidth, and Servers Sometimes making IT related decisions is tough. Everyone seems to have a solution or idea. This includes co-workers, vendors, and friends outside of school. So I believe you need a philosophy to shape your decisions, and my decisions are driven by this: People need …