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#NeedARedStamp

A few years ago there was a great Twitter hashtag #NeedARedStamp about errors that students continually make and how it would be easier to just stamp your usual response on their papers.  Check 'em out here!

I need a red stamp.  But not for kids' math papers.

Everybody and their cousin has tweeted the latest  (in this case NYTimes) opinion piece "Laptops are great. But not during a lecture or meeting" at me.  And quite frankly, I'm too busy doing real work to spend a lot of time on a response.  So I include below a response I wrote earlier this summer as part of a discussion on another professor that said the same thing. I think I buried the lede, so I've bolded it in this posting.

And I haven't even dug into the #digitalink possibilities that these professors ignore in their ham-fisted "device bad" response.

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[personal references omitted]

You’re likely speaking to the wrong group – I doubt that most of our pedagogies rely on the passive…
Recent posts

"Geez, it's so easy!" - Skype for Business for Education

I had a teacher message me on Monday saying that he was having a guest talk to his class from Bogotá, Colombia and what would be the best way to web-conference with her and record it?   The absolute easiest way for anybody to do that is with Skype4Business, a business-level version of Skype  -- it's surprising robust with weak internet connections and provides almost any option you'd expect for web-conferencing.  We have used it each summer to teach French and now Math to students around the world.
The result today ... he runs up and says "Geez, it's so easy!"
Office365 -- the Microsoft productivity infrastructure -- is free to schools, and Skype4Business (Skype4B) is included in that, Don't worry about the "business" nomenclature... it's got the teaching add-ins you'd expect like screensharing, attachments, colalborative Word/OneNotes, quizzes/surveys all built-in.
Here's the guide I gave him: 1) Head on over to Office365 -- http://por…

BYOD. It's not about the device until it's the device.

I had a great conversation today with a tech director who was asking how we dealt with our 1:1 program and what my thoughts were on BYOD.  So I thought I write my thoughts down here as well.
We have been 1:1 since 1998 - now, I didn't start at Appleby until 2001 but all my previous schools since 1996 were 1:1 so I consider it a continuous experience.  We cycle our devices every two years; we considered moving to a 3-year-cycle but our devices get so much use that they begin to display signs of extreme use by the end of the 2nd year that it seems to be a trade off of keeping them serviced versus a new device.
When we sit down to think about the new device, we do debate, "Should we go BYOD?" and both the IT side and the Classroom side bring forth arguments. Invariably we realize we can't go BYOD without damaging what happens in the classroom.
We use our devices essentially every minute of the academic day, and then whenever we do work outside of class.  All, and I mean…

Write anywhere

As folks know, I'm a big fan of #digitalink -- as a math teacher, as an aspiring creative person, I always want to scribble. I write on everything at home, and always have.  The back of envelopes (when people use to send them), post-it notes, boxes... I scribble everywhere.  I also doodle a lot when I'm bored. Lots of geometric figures, fractals and attempts at people.
But it's also math -- math is drawing, sketching, inking the patterns & graphs we ask them to provide the algebra for.  And algebra! Lord, the notations.
That's why, when we were rebuilding our classrooms and someone asked me my opinion, I asked specifically for desks that would allow whiteboard markers.  And it's been great!  My students aren't encumbered by the limits of paper or the laptop's screen and they don't have to go up to the board to collaborate.  They use the desk-top and a whiteboard marker.  In this digital age, they then use the Office Lens app on their phones to push…

Web Content into OneNote

Getting content into OneNote is incredibly easy ... since every page acts like a clipboard, just drag&drop or use the INSERT ribbon.
You can use the smartphone app OfficeLens (which takes pictures of "real" content, cleans it up, and pushes it right into OneNote) or you can use the WebClipper -- a browser add-in for Edge, Chrome & Firefox on Win/Mac devices which captures any webpage, cleans it up, and pushes it right into OneNote. Both are amazing tools ... but there's more than one way to skin a cat! 
If you're using Edge browser, there's an even more powerful alternative built-in -- the "Make a Web Note" button (pink emphasis added). 

Now, I know there are folks in the crowd smirking at the thought of Edge browser.  Well, I use both Chrome & Edge simultaneously -- because while Chrome is a good general-use browser, Edge offers some great opportunities for productivity & creativity, including the WebNote.  And, Chrome is a huge memory …

Using OneNote to create a Choose your own Adventure book

[I did have 3 hours of Parent Teacher Conferences tonight, but I wanted to make sure I got my November daily post in!]
I spent way too much time as a kid reading through the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Like these folks (link) I would map out the different paths to see what possibilities existed in the text. If you haven't ever read one, the format is pretty simple (well, to the reader).  You start at Page 1 and read a few paragraphs that are on the page, describing your situation. In "The Cave of Time" you're out hiking in the woods and come across a cave that you decide to explore.
 After turning to the next page (as instructed) you are then required to make a choice, which will require you to jump to a much further page in the book (say, 18 or 27 as in the example below).

From there you keep reading one page at a time, with the bottom of the page asking you to make a choice (or sending you to another page without choice).  As you can see from the narrative stru…

Who are you?

In preparation for my next blog post (I'm blogging once-a-day in November!) we should talk about who you are.  In today's cloud-based services, you need an identity.  It's typically based on your email or your phone number. 
One option is your Microsoft Identity. Most folks already have a Google, Facebook or Twitter identity... and this is the same idea.  Having a personal Microsoft Account does not mean you have to get another email or really do anything except register to get your Microsoft "space" and allows you to use cloud-based services like Word, PowerPoint, Excel & OneNote.
If you don't already have a Microsoft Account, attach it to one of your existing emails.  If you're okay with it, I would recommend creating a new email through this process (even with the same name @ outlook.com) but I've also just attached it to my gmail account.
Do NOT use your School email.  It will work and you could do it, but then you can't tell just by looki…