Friday, April 25, 2008

Web 2.0 for Administrators

After attending a technology leadership academy with Patsy Lanclos, I've been pondering how Web 2.0 could help school administrators. I'm a former district administrator and my husband is a campus administrator. Here are a few Web 2.0 ideas that may help administrators be more productive.

1. Wikis - Wikis are a great way to collaborate with others. I have used wikis to conduct online book studies and to collaborate on group projects while taking graduate technology courses.

2. Blogging - Blogs help us reflect with other administrators, educators, and/or community members. If you use Blogger, you may want to remove the Navbar so that the "Next Blog" feature does not appear since there are many inappropriate posts on Blogger that you don't want people to have access to via your blog.

3. Google docs, ZOHO, - great ways of working collaboratively with others by sharing documents. Google docs has many templates to choose from or you can create your own. ZOHO has a large suite of productivity and collaboration applications. provides free online file storage that you can share with others.

4. Google calendar - My family shares information about our schedules using Google Calendar.

5. RSS feeds - I use Google Reader to get the news and blog posts I want in one place.

6. Podcasts- Record weekly/monthly superintendent or campus principal messages, messages to new substitutes on your campus, messages to parents and student, etc. Employees or community members can listen to your podcast on their computers or iPods.

7. Skype - free computer-to-computer calls can be used to interview applicants who for whatever reason are not able to meet face-to-face on the day of the interview. For example, I know of a district administrator who interviewed an applicant using Skype because the out-of- town applicant was committed to presenting staff development in her current district.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I recently set up a Google Reader and absolutely love this new tool! RSS feeders are an excellent way for frequent Internet users to get updated news and articles -- the information I want to keep up with--without having to spend time searching. Basically, when a new article is posted or a change is made to a webpage that I have subscribed to, the RSS keeps track of recent changes and delivers them to my Google Reader account. The video below explains RSS in "Plain English." My question is why aren't more educators using this with their students? Let's say that a group of students were doing a science project. Those students could create an RSS feed that would bring news about their topic to their reader as soon as it was published instead of speding hours searching for the information.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Frank McCourt

On April 10th, I attended an academic lecture at Lamar University presented by Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt. I have to admit, the only reason I attended this lecture was because it was an assignment in the technology course I'm currently taking. I'm more of a kinesthetic type learner, and was really dreading this lecture; however, I was surprised at how the speaker held my attention with his poignant and colorful stories. I've already ordered his books, and highly recommend attending his lectures if you have the opportunity.

Frank McCourt shared with the audience that he was born in New Yorkto Irish immigrant parents. Unable to find work, his family returned to Ireland, where they sunk deeper into poverty. Three of the seven children died of diseases. McCourt himself nearly died of typhoid fever when he was ten. Despite the horrors of McCourt's childhood, he lectured with humor. After quitting school at 13, McCourt alternated between odd jobs and petty crime in an effort to feed himself, his mother, and four surviving brothers and sisters. At 19, he returned to the United States and worked at odd jobs until he was drafted. After receiving a college degree, he taught high school English in New York City. At first he had trouble teaching; he shared colorful stories about his "unruly" students in a tough high school. Eventually, he says he stopped being a dictator and developed a sense of humor. To help keep his students' attention, he told them stories of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Frank McCourt became a very experienced teacher at a prestigious high school and ended his teaching career after 30 years.