Monday, November 29, 2010

Teacher Videos

In my job, part of the success of training teachers is providing them with sustained support AFTER the training.  I am spread thin, so I create little videos to help guide teachers through individual steps of each of the programs we have in my county.

If they can help you, WATCH THEM!

Deleting History in Skype

If you are in a situation in which close quarters may allow others to hack into your SKYPE account, you can delete your previous conversations with others by changing one command when you are in SKYPE.

When you are logged into SKYPE, there is a menu bar across the top of the screen that starts with SKYPE, CONTACTS, CONVERSATIONS, etc.  Click on SKYPE.

Go to PRIVACY and click.

In the pop up screen, about two thirds of the way down on the right there is a setting for HISTORY.

Change Keep History for:  NO HISTORY.


Click SAVE at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Protecting Your Computer

In my experience, managing the protection of your computer is the key to long lasting, uninterrupted service.  Many people think "well if I run this antivirus software, I am good."  You are protected to a certain point, but there is more you can do to really keep from having headaches later.

First off, you should really consider three factors when protecting your computer.
  1. Antivirus Software - You should have a program installed on your computer that serves as an antivirus program.  If you have Suddenlink internet services, they offer Mcafee for free.  (You get a free email account, so when you sign in to manage your account, you can search to find the free McAfee download.  If you do not have Suddenlink internet, you may want to consider Microsoft Security Center.  However, I have not checked thoroughly, but this protection may be limited to private home use and must be purchased if you use it on a work computer.
  2. Firewall - If you have cable internet or DSL internet, your computer is constantly susceptible to viruses and trojans.  I run Threatfire on my personal machine to basically act as a barrier between my computer and the internet.  You can use Threatfire for free in a personal, individual situation and not pay for the service.  However, a business would be required to purchase a license to utilize Threatfire in a business environment.
  3.  Spyware/Malware - As my safety net, I use Malwarebytes on my machine as well.  I run an update once a week and then let Malwarebytes scan my machine for viruses and trojans that may be hidden on my machine. (Your temporary internet file folders are a hotbed for activity.)
Your browser is another place where you can protect yourself from attacks.  Open Internet Explorer (even if you run Firefox) and change the settings below in order to safeguard against viruses occupying your cache.

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click on TOOLS and then INTERNET OPTIONS.  (If you cannot find the TOOLS menu option, right mouse click in the gray area at the top of the browser and check the MENU BAR option to show the File, Tools, Etc. selections.)
  3. Check the box for DELETE BROWSING HISTORY ON EXIT. (It is on the GENERAL TAB.)
  4. Check DELETE under Browsing History. On the next pop up box, make sure every box is checked and then click DELETE.
  5. Click on SETTINGS beside of DELETE under browsing history.
  6. Check AUTOMATICALLY under "Temporary Internet Files"
  7. Change DISK SPACE to 100.
  8. Change HISTORY to 0.
  9. Click APPLY.
Hopefully, this will help protect your computer against unwanted attacks.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Essay Contest with Cash Prizes for Students

What's Great About America

Opened to students ages 13 - 18, students have the ability to win cash prizes and instructors be invited to New York City.
Thought I would share!

New Virus

My system found and cleaned a new virus on my laptop today.

The filename for the virus was A0021483.exe

If you search for this file and find it on your system, be aware that it is a virus.  I will keep a running list on the menu selection on the right so that you can check to see if something you have found is something that is on my list.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Reality of Technology Use in Schools

This article was passed to me by a principal who is also a friend.  I have to say, I agree with what the findings were.  The old belief was that if we put technology in the classrooms, the teachers would automatically use it.  We also believe that younger teachers will automatically be adept at integrating technology.

I challenge you to read this article because I will be referring to it when posting in the future.Scholastic Article - 5 Myths about Educational Technology

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fighting the War on Technology

In the past two weeks, I have had to deal with more viruses and trojans that I care to mention.  Four years into this job, and the last two weeks have made me a believer.  I am going to offer some tips that I have found (through tears and sweat) that may help you if confronted with one of these maligned bugs.

Malwarebytes Anti Malware 
Make sure you have this installed on your computer.  This program helps to find even the most pesky of viruses.  However, the new smart viruses disable Malware when they infect your machine, and some are even good enough to hide when Malware is allowed to do a scan.  If you think you are infected but Malware does not find it, then you need to go to the next program.

rKill will stop virus programs from running (essentially taking away their ability to hide) which then allows Malwarebytes to locate them and remove them during full scans.  Think about rKill if you are trying to open a program and something is running in the background that keeps your program from launching.

RegVacRegVac is a program that will help to clean up your registry.  Make sure to optimize your PC first before you start the removal process.  You can run this program in trial mode without ever having to purchase the product.  Keep running RegVac until you have 0 entries.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nickelodeon Promotes Inappropriate Content

I am not a techie who believes in locking down the net for the greater good.  How can we raise responsible internet community citizens if we keep everything behind locked filters and never demonstrate appropriate internet behaviors? 
Because I have this open access policy, and faith that it is the responsibility of every provider of content targeted at children to maintain their integrity and self police the information they support, it makes me very angry when I find flagrant fouls of common decency.  That is why I must put Nickelodeon on BLAST!!
On the Nickelodeon website, there is a small drop down button that says MORE.  If you choose ADDICTINGGAMES.COM, the screen refreshes and you see an ad at the top of the screen that states "You are now leaving Nick.Com".  Fair enough, but what happens next is the issue that I have with Nickelodeon and it's parent company, Viacom.
One of the things that I teach students (and adults) in my profession is to never click on any floating ad that appears on the screen.  Advertisers have gotten slick with their advertisement practices, and the more it shines and glitters, the more likely someone is to click on it.  (Why do you think Vegas is so popular with it's flashing lights and bells and whistles in the casino?)  So students and adults have been trained to ignore ads that proclaim 'you have won a free purse! Click here to claim prize."
Once the advertisement that you are leaving disappears, a gray toolbar remains at the top of the screen for    On the right hand side of the toolbar, the Nickelodeon emblem remains.  Does the previous disclaimer really override the fact that has the nickelodeon promotion at the top of the page?  Isn't this a problem with truth in advertising?
 Here is where the inappropriate content arises.  Scroll down the page and look at some of the games offered by    If you look at the Life and Style games, you will be shocked at what your children are offered to play.  Naughty Beach, Naughty Elevator, and Candy the Naughty Cheerleader are just a few of the games under the toolbar at the top of the page that states NICKELODEON.  Notice that the top right of the toolbar doesn't promote the parent company, VIACOM.  Anyone playing any of the games under the heading NICKELODEON are definitely not experiencing games that are directed at Nickelodeon's targeted audience!
I have no answer as to how to combat such a violation in the decency of internet content for children.  All I know is this..  sites make money off of the ads they can host and the clicks you make on their site.  Boycott Nickelodeon and until they take the protection of our children seriously!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Schools out for Summer!

The little kiddies are at home for the summer, and you wonder to yourself... what do I do with them now?

There are so many options parents have at their disposal to ensure Silly Sally or Adventurous Johnny stay out of trouble and reamin on course to be ready for the upcoming school year.  Although summer conjures thoughts of playing outside until dark and the absence of touching a book until September, there are some healthy alternatives that kids in which kids can participate to help alleviate the loss of skill over summer break.

Check with your local library.  I always love the word free, and there are ususally at least a couple of programs offered by the library to entice kids into visiting the library and developing their lifelong love of reading.  These programs are not usually great for working parents, because they are always during a weekday and last no longer than a couple of hours.  However, if you can find a way for your child to make it to a program, they are secretly getting a little bit of school when they don't even know it!

Another option is to find out what summer programs are being offered by the school system.  Federal funds exist for School Boards to offer one program during the summer to help children combat the loss of achievement that can sometimes happen during summer months.  These programs do not go the entire summer, and they are usually set up in a more relaxed learning environment than during the school year. 

There are many great sites for kids to visit and play academic games on the internet.  My first word of caution is to monitor what your child is viewing on the internet.  If you have a computer at home, move it into a place that where contents can easily be checked with a mere glance.  Also, if you do not have internet at home, the local library offers free internet service with a mere scan of your library card.  Before you allow your child to engage in learning via the web, it is important to sit with them and pull up a web page.  Show them that content located on the side of the page, or boxes that flash and are usually very enticing, are nothing more than ads that can sometimes install spam on the computer.   A little big of planning in the front end can save much headache in the future.

I know of sites that provide activity that is geared towards national standards for all grade levels.  For now, I will post one that is geared towards K - 2.  Keep checking back, as you never know what you might find!

Activities for grades K - 2

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What Have I Been Doing...

Many new things are in the works for technology and education. Let me catch you up to speed.
I have been working at a K-2 school that houses 600 children. I love my job! The teachers have started implementing technology into their everyday curriculum, and I am finding new ways to address student needs. We have been using Odyssey (by Compass Learning) to measure student achievement towards standards in Math. I fell in love with Odyssey many years ago, but I am renewing my vows with Compass Learning (so to speak) in light of my new understanding of how Odyssey can revolutionize the data management system that is lacking in everyday education.
I emailed the CEO of Compass Learning, and I recently heard back from a designee of said CEO that wishes to discuss how I think Compass Learning can become the Google of education.

Interested by that thought? STAY TUNED.... if you are in the same boat as many other schools and teachers, the idea that Compass Learning can be your one stop shop for Data Management might revolutionize the way you think and the amount of money your system is bleeding.

Back from the Here After

A change in job and a change in attitude has sparked a resurgence in Mutter's world.
All things cool I will discuss - come and see me!