Tabaldo on Tech

Teaching with Technology in the 21st Century

image Flicker (Kevin Jarrett)
image Flicker (Brad Flickinger)

Words Every Teacher Wants to Hear

“You inspired me!”

Those are the words every teacher wants to hear. Even if you don’t want to admit it, deep down you know it’s true. Those of us who are currently or who have been teachers, get up early every day and try to figure out ways to inspire our students. Some days are harder than others. We stay up late at night searching the Internet for new lesson plans, new ideas that just might get a concept through to that one student that just can’t grasp it. Teaching is a labor of love that for the most part can be thankless….until it happens.

It happened to me last night. I was sitting at a local high school watching a play, when during intermission a former student, now a Senior, approached me. I asked how school was going and she told me she had decided on a college. I was ecstatic! (I love that fact that most of my former students go on to college.) She named a prestigious film college and told me that her career path in film was because of a project I assigned when she was in the 8th grade. After the 3 minute music video project was over and she had to return my FlipVideo camera, she convinced her mom to buy her a digital video camera and she has been making films ever since. She said that she credits me for helping her find what really inspires her and makes her happy. {whoooosh – that’s my breath being swept away!}

I was stunned! It had just happened. I had inspired a student. Well, I guess it had really happened 5 years earlier and I was just now finding out about it, but I did it! I was on cloud nine. All I could think about is that saying that ends with, “{frivolous things don’t matter} …because I was important in the life of a child” and I really felt like that at that moment. I had made a difference.

This experience means so much to me, more than that student will ever know, but I do know what it’s like to have a teacher that impacts your life so much because I too had that experience. I was in 6th grade and Miss Josephine (imagine petite Filipino with thick accent and perfect posture) was the teacher. She loved to dance and me….well not so much. We had a performance we had to do for something and it was going to be a choreographed dance to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” (great Catholic school song!) Well I refused and was sent to the principals office. After a long and difficult negotiation we agreed that I could work the cassette player for the performance. THAT was the moment that made the techie I am today. From that one decision that I would NOT dance, I was allowed to do something that I would not have ever been allowed to do. I soon ran all the AV equipment for the entire school and that continued until I graduated 8th grade.

Fast forward 24 years and I’m invited to a wedding of a classmate in my graduate cohort. My heart almost stops as I watch my slightly older but the same perfect postured 6th grade teacher walk down the aisle as a godparent of my friend, the groom! When the wedding was over and we were finding our seats for the reception, I watched as Miss Josephine walked perfectly postured to my table and sat down. I almost died. She recognized me but could not quite place me…I enlightened her, and we laughed. What were the chances that we would not only be at the same wedding but that he would seat us at the same table. I was able to finally tell her that she was the reason I was a techie and proud of it. I was a teacher and I was very proud of that!

I wonder if she felt the way I do about my experience last night?  Humbled. Excited. Proud.

I inspired a student!

Look who I ran into?

Miss Josephine & me

Stuff I Recommend

Sometimes I come across a product that I just LOVE, and I want to share. I have a few links posted on the right nav bar under “GADGETS” but I want to really highlight them and a few more.

AppleTV

Let’s begin with the Apple TV. This little gadget is such a great deal. Think of the BANG for the BUCK! For only $99 you get a 1080p HD experience. This little box has changed my life, literally. I can stream from the iPhones, iPads to the big TV. I can watch Netflix or HuluPlus and YouTube. We can access the music, videos & pictures on the Media Server (separate post on the Media Server set up) from iTunes.  The AppleTV will AirPlay Mirror wireless from a Mac with the Mountain Lion OS, I see this as an asset in any classroom.

ZAGG, Inc.

Now let’s talk about productivity. As an administrator and a professor, I sometimes rely on my iPad to take notes in a meeting, or demonstrate a concept to a classroom. Lucky for me with this accessory my iPad becomes even more powerful. The ZAGGfolio is a protective case, a stand and a bluetooth keyboard all in one! When I take notes in Pages or Notes it feels almost like I’m typing on my MacBook. I can whip up a Keynote in minutes, and most importantly as an administrator I can answer email quickly and efficiently. The bluetooth keyboard holds a charge for about a month with moderate usage, and at $79 and a variety of colors, it  is a must have accessory no matter what your job.

NeatDesk

An organized, digital life.

OK – so let’s get organized! I love getting organized as much as the next guy, but who has time? Well I had been wanting one of these bad boys for a while and the price tag is what prohibited me for making the leap. At $399 NeatDesk is a big investment to say the least. So I’ll tell you, I saved up rebate cards and Staples gift cards until the investment could be made and let me tell you it was worth it. I went for NeatDesk because it was able to handle the many different needs I had as a business owner and for my personal paper clutter. The NeatDesk will scan business cards and import then to my Outlook Contacts, it can scan documents like articles and invoices and organize them into appropriate folders/categories that I have predefined, and of course it can scan receipts as well. The scanner is FAST! I began with scanning the bank statements for the last 3 years to date. I knocked this out for  4 accounts in about 5 minutes. It was simple and easy to figure. The software is powerful and can even generate reports for you. There is Neatcloud, a service that will back up everything for you, but I felt it was not worth it since I already back up using Carbonite.

Carbonite Online Backup System


Unlimited online backup for your small business

We all have external hard drives that we back up our data to, right? Well what happens when that external HD fails? Or better yet when your friend/spouse/kid/{fill in the blank} turns off the automatic back up to the external drive and you don’t know it. Unknowingly you take your computer to the shop to have the OS updated and you assure the tech that your data is recoverable on your external hard drive. When you excitedly get your computer back and go to to restore the data, your heart sinks as the last back up date you see is July 1, 2010! This is a true story, it really happened to a friend of mine and two years worth of work was gone, not recoverable! It is a feeling that just breaks my heart.

Those who know me say I’m a back up freak! I have 3 external HDs that I back up to and I also save photos to CD by month/year. But when it comes to my data/pictures/videos/music I don’t delete anything and I don’t risk it either. I have had an external HD fail on me, and luckily I have a back up to my back up. Now, let me explain my back up plan to you: My iMac (the family computer) has an external HD that backs up all the music, data and photos from the individual users. I have a W7 PC that I use for my business that has a small external HD for data back up. Finally I have a NAS drive (or 2) that house all media in the entire house (that’s all music and all digital movies.)  I have 2 NAS drives because one is a back up of the other.  So you are asking yourself where does Carbonite come in? Well, where doesn’t it? I use Carbonite to back all the data on the PC. The PC holds all my business records and even though it is on an external it is not automatically backed to the external drive. Only when I think of it. With Carbonite, I just set the folders I want backed up and it’s done. Period! I know that if there is an issue and I need to restore my data it’s there ready for me. For the price ($59/year for 1 computer Mac/PC) you can’t beat the peace of mind! Try Carbonite Online Backup FREE for 15 days and back up your irreplaceable files automatically and securely. No credit card required!