One Laptop Per Child

Wouldn’t it be great if every child, everywhere, had her or his own laptop computer to use? Not just any laptop, but one specifically designed for children that was rugged enough to withstand harsh environments, did not need constant software upgrades and had an operating system that was easy to learn and came packed with educational software. Well, that is the goal of the One Laptop Per Child project and they already have a few prototypes out there. Today’s post looks not just at the organization, but also at the new possibilities their success may bring and the consequences it could have for some of the world’s poorest people.
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What is RSS?

TeacherJay was going to write a post on this, but Iain Magee has already on a very nice job of explaining this concept for the casual reader. Long gone are the days when checking for new content meant typing in that URL again and trying to figure out if you had read the latest post or not. Today we can “subscribe” to a lot of sites, especially news sites and blogs, to get the latest content. TeacherJay is an avid reader of many different RSS Feeds. Some browsers have integrated feed readers, or you can use an aggregator such as Google Reader, or Bloglines. So happy reading, and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, too!

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PowerPoint Blackbelts

Although they are a little bit over-enthusiastic about the wonders of PowerPoint, this video pod from CurrentTV does show some good information on how PowerPoint can be used and definitely some good tips and what to do, and what NOT to do with a presentation. TeacherJay has been using for PowerPoint for about 12 years (sigh – he can’t believe it’s been that long) and could probably be termed a PowerPoint Blackbelt himself (though he would prefer NOT to be known that way). The program’s primary function is to present information in an outlined fashion with audiovisuals. Because the Microsoft empire charges some exorbitant rates for one of their flagship products, TeacherJay also wants his readers to know about a free alternative. OpenOffice.org‘s Impress is similar to PowerPoint and can do all of the functions that teachers are most likely to use. It can also save your presentation as a SWF Flash animation to make embedding into webpages a little bit easier.
 Use OpenOffice.org

Meebo Room

TeacherJay has added a Meebo room called, The Lounge, as in the Teachers’ Lounge (but that was too wide to fit properly) on the right sidebar of the site. With the Meebo room readers of this blog can chat with TeacherJay, or even with each other.  The best part is you don’t even need a Meebo account to use it.  Try it out.

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PHP/MySQL for Your School’s Website

In this article posted on Techlearning’s eZine, the author provides a nice list of ways that using the popular server-side scripting and database combination can do some great things on your school’s website, such as create a podcast library, an alumni database, allow student publishing of work, or an easy method for teachers to update their class pages. While the school’s technology administrator will likely have a learning curve to get familiarized with the new technology in the end it will create an environment that is much friendlier for students, teachers, and staff. Although some administration will be added, time to update the site will be greatly reduced. W3Schools provides a PHP Tutorial, and a MySQL Tutorial to get you started.

TeacherJay has seen a number of school of websites that looks like they were put up in the late-90s and have barely received a touch-up since. No school technology coordinator has the time to update all the individual pages that a school may have and in a time when teachers are becoming more and more web-savvy themselves there is no need to. Utilizing PHP/MySQL in a school’s website could boost its functionality and allow teachers to do a lot of the updating themselves freeing up the IT staff to do other things.