SO IT BEGINS – MY NEW FOCUS

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When I decided to change the focus of my blog to reviewing more software and web applications that I use in my classroom and personally.  As part of this change in direction, I wanted to get a baseline of the software and web applications that I am using right now as I start down this new road and I have accomplished that project in my “What am I using Now” series:
1. Productivity suite (mail, calendar, contacts, todo):
2. Office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide show, notebook):
3. Social media
4. Internet browser
5. Blogging (blog host, blog writer)
I have also included a table that encompasses the other tools that I am using in addition to the five major categories above.
I added what I was using back in May 2008 from my

WEB 2.0 APPLICATION BUTTERFLY

post, so you can see what I was using back then.

TYPE
Software/Application
Software used May 2008
Productivity Suite
Combination of Google’s gMail, gCal, Contact and Apple’s Mail, iCal and Address Book.I have a new TODO or Task Manager that I will be blogging about next week.
Mail Manager/Calendar/Task Manager – I would prefer one synchs easily with gMail/gcal – prefer an integrated package than three separate one, but would consider 3 separate if what I am really looking for.
Ex. Outlook, Thunderbird, Spicebird, Zoho (if they ever get mail going)

Office Suite and Notebook
Combination of Google’s Google Docs and Microsoft’s Office for Mac 2011 and
NoteShare
Online office suite – requirement it must integrate intuitively and easily with Office 2007.
Ex:  Google Docs, Zoho Office,  Thinkfree
Note taking software:  I really, really like M/S OneNote, but the inability to share with others and lack of web application (so I can use different computers and still access my information) makes it just a little less than ideal.
Ex. Zoho Notes, Evernote, Google Notes
Social Media
Twitter (TweetDeck), Facebook, Diigo/Google Bookmarks
Twitter – Twitbin – integrates well with Flock as a sidebar
Browser
Google Chrome and Apple Safari
Web Browser – Flock – Love it – works for me.
Blogging
Blog Writer
Blogger
Still looking
Blog – Edublogs – Just changed from Blogger – love it so far
Blog Editor – Flock Blog Writer – gonna give it a try
Music
iTunes
Music – iTunes – don’t really like navigation, compatibility issues etc. but have an iPod
Photos
iPhoto with Picassa as a backup online, and Duplicate Annihilator
Photomanager:  Must be easy to use and able to re-size pictures.
Desktop Photomanager:  Win Photo Gallery, Picassa,
Web Photomanager:  Flikr, Photobucket, Picassa,
Video
Photo Booth and iMovie with a little from Jing and QuickTime with VLC available when nothing else works.
Video – VLC – Need to learn more about it, but it works pretty intuitively.
Maintenance
Clean My Mac
CC Cleaner
eReader
Stanza, Barnes & Noble
None
Online Backup
DropBox
None
Diary
Chronories
None
VOIP
Skype
Skype

and Infinite Campus as our school-wide data management system.
I wonder how this list will look at this time next year?
Some things that I will to look at when reviewing software or web applications:
  • Do my students have access the product?
  • Is it intuitive and easy to use or is there a steep learning curve?.
  • How much does it cost?
  • What are the other options that do the same function?
  • Whether it synchs well with my iPhone.
  • Does it actually get used in my classroom
  • On occasion what students think about a particular tool
I know that I plan to try a lot of new software/applications, but will also look at old reliables that might be overlooked in the present race to find something new and fantastic.  Just because something is new, it does not always mean that the new software or application is better than what we are presently using.
I am also approaching my one-year anniversary of changing from a die hard Windows based user to a Mac at the end of this month.  I love my Mac and how it just works!  I don’t have to mess with the settings or system – I just use it.  I don’t think that I would go back to using Windows based machine, unless it was forced on me for some reason or other.  Given that I am a convert to the Cult of Mac what am I using and what do I really miss from the Windows world will be something I look at also.
Why do I believe that I should add “yet another voice” to the number of people reviewing software or applications?  I have been using computers since back in the late 1970’s and have always had an interest in what software is useful or not and playing different games on them.  So I am an older guy who might offer a different perspective on how software is used and viewed.
The final reason is that playing around on the computer is what I am passionate about and spend much of my own time online looking at new software and applications.  I love the challenge of learning how to use them and figuring out if they are useful in my classroom or personally.
Yes I will still write about what is going on in my classroom on occasion and keep up with Special Education, but those will not be the focus of One Foot In Reality.
So here is to my blog’s new focus – reviewing software and applications on their applicability in the classroom.
What have you done to make a difference today?

2 thoughts on “SO IT BEGINS – MY NEW FOCUS

  1. As I look at your list, my first thought was wow- he uses a lot of technology! Then I looked again and realized that so do I and many of my colleagues. As your (and my) list grows, we both know a lot of teachers who's small lists don't change. I don't believe that technology will 'save' education but it is definitely a tool we need to connect to our students and to make our teaching more relevant. Your new blog focus can help inspire teachers to try new tools and to think of the purpose of why they are using them to help their students learn. Thank you for your blog. I look forward to the new focus.

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  2. Deana – I really think that many teachers would be surprised at the amount of technology they are using personally and in the classroom. I believe that we should keep current, but sometimes the newest and greatest thing is not what our students need or want to use. It is up to us to find out what is best for our individual classrooms as no two are the same. We can learn from others, but we still must ultimately decide what we need to use.I wish that I had put what I was using for software in Jan 2008 and since I have that info, I might add a third column to what I am using tonight.Thanks for taking the time to comment.Harold

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