Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Foot in Each World... Literally and Figuratively

It has been some time since I have posted on this blog for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I have been trying to hit my stride at my new job as the Administrative Vice Principal at Woodside High School. It has been a long month, since school started on August 21, but I tell people I see around campus that, "I am still vertical."   I am also teaching a few nights a week back in my old stomping ground at Capuchino High School in San Bruno for ROP(Regional Occupational Center) in the Cisco Networking Class. It has been helpful to keep my hand in the teaching arena, since I felt at different points in my career that some administrators didn't have enough of the classroom perspective to genuinely appreciate the art and craft of teaching. I do believe that teaching has an artistic / craft facet to it, not to say that non-artists can't be great teachers, but those who have the knack tend to hit their stride much more quickly than those who don't. This is something I need to remember as I begin the process of evaluating teachers over the next few months.

I am also starting to see part of my role as a bridge builder between my old role as a teacher and a technology coordinator to school site administration and district level administrators.  We are currently at the crossroads in the role of technology in the educational process.  We have many teachers who have done remarkable jobs in using technology to make the content and curriculum accessible to their students and allow them to exponentially increase their personal growth.  There are others who have not moved in this direction, and while they are not bad teachers, they do limit the amount of growth their students could experience if they introduced some of the resources available today.  The issue is that the door is already wide open, (see previous blog post) the longer we wait to bring all teachers into the conversation, the longer it will take to hit our collective stride as educators.

I have for years been a PC person.  In my early years in dealing with technology, I was an Apple user.  In fact one of the last things I did in High School in 1980, was to unpack the first Apple IIe's and set them up at Menlo-Atherton High School.  In the mid-1990's as I began to become more involved in educational technology and tech integration, I found myself using the Windows platform more and more.  By the time I started teaching a Computer Repair class in 1999, I was completely over on the Windows side of the continuum.  My colleagues in the Google Certified Teacher's group referred to me at the 'Token Windows Guy."  Over the past few years, I have found myself wanting to drift back more and more to the Apple platform for a variety of reasons, the biggest being the ability to create web content much easier and having a suite of integrated apps to do that was very valuable to me.  Not that I couldn't do all of this on the Windows side of the house, but it was just pre-packaged on the Apple side.  About 2 years ago, I was able to get a Intel iMac in my office at Capuchino.  I was able to do things in iMovie and other things I really liked, but disliked shuffling media back and forth from a Windows machine. 

So, in my new position at Woodside, I was able to make a clean start as far as technology goes, and what did I do?  I planted myself firmly in the middle.  This is my first blog post from my new MacBookPro running Parallels in Coherence Mode.  So, what does that mean?  I have both operating systems running at the same time sharing the same desktop.  I have the Apple Dock on the left vertical edge and the Windows task bar on the right vertical edge of the screen.  I have been able to have applications in both operating systems at the same time and switch between the two and share files between the two operating systems, as long as they have that same host application. 

The goal today is to get the Google Reader account down to zero... It has been hovering around 1,000 the past two weeks, so let's see if I can get there.  I bet there will be some cool stuff I will want to share along the way! 

FYI:  I am presenting at ILC2008, with two of my former Capuchino colleagues on October 15.  Hope to see everyone there!