Monthly Archives: February 2011

Help Save Texas Public Schools – Texas Ed Tech Advocacy

This will be the first post in a new series about the devastating news of a lack of educational funding for 2011-2012. The number of educators affected will easily surpass those in California that were RIFed or had a position that in danger of being cut. Texas has a ‘Rainy Day Fund” that could be used to compensate for the budget deficits although  the Texas legislators don’t want to use this fund to support education. Billions, not just millions, are in danger of being cut or not renewed in a host of areas related to education, primarily educational technology, for the next school year starting in August 2011.

From the Texas Ed Tech Advocacy website:

Position Statement: Save Education and Technology Funding

In 1991, the Texas Legislature created a funding stream of $30 a student1 that is dedicated to equipping our schools with technology and the resources and training to use it.

For nineteen years, this funding stream has helped finance the increasing need to integrate technology into the education of Texas children, as well as provide the technological infrastructure that is required to run a school district in this digital age. These funds help to provide the network, equipment, digital content, Internet access, and professional development that today’s students and teachers need to prepare for tomorrow’s economy.

The 72nd Texas Legislature and every legislature since has known that a dedicated source of funding is needed to assist Texas public schools in implementing the State Board of Education’s Long-Range Plan for Technology.

The plan states:

“The goal in teaching and learning must be to empower young citizens to live and learn in a continuously changing 21st century environment and to enable this citizenry to effectively interact in a global marketplace. The globalization of society creates an educational challenge extending the goals of teaching and learning in the 21st century far beyond the walls of the classroom and confines of a traditional school schedule. It is the responsibility of this state’s leadership to respond to these educational challenges by providing direction, equitable access, and resources to secure the future of the state of Texas and this nation.”2

In the current economic crisis, it is even more important that the legislative leaders provide equitable access to resources that are essential to equipping this generation with the 21st century skills that are necessary to a thriving Texas economy as well as to ensure that students are globally competitive.

We understand that budget shortfalls make it difficult to increase the funding to meet the current needs of schools, but it would destroy the progress that schools have made if the funds area completely eliminated. We must not go backwards! 

We are asking that the Technology Allotment remain at $30 a student and cuts to Education be minimized.



1 Technology Allotment – Education Code (TEC) Chapter 32 §32.005(B)
Long-Range Plan for Technology 2006-2020

To support with an e-Signature: 

e-Signatures will be compiled and sent to Texas Legislators along with the position statement.


Fun, Interactive Opportunity for Classes in Texas from Discovery Education

Source: Discovery Education

Texas teachers have a unique opportunity to join Reed Timmer, Discovery Channel’s lead STORM CHASER and Meteorologist on March 2nd. Reed will take students on a  tour of the National Weather Center to investigate weather at its most extreme. Students can virtually go on a whirlwind Tour of Extreme Weather similar to Storm Chasers without leaving the classroom or having to secure special equipment!

This event is available for ALL Texas students for districts that are members of their ESC regional videoconferencing network.

Register for this free event at: or contact me through this blog for more information or assistance registering.

How cool is that? Join us!

Achieving Harmony with

I have recently started using a MS Outlook Plugin and have come to love this plugin. It is called Harmon.ieand it helps bring ‘harmony’ to your email app and Google docs. If you use MS Sharepoint, the plugin will work with MS Outlook and Sharepoint. I use it strictly for Google docs and Ms Outlook and just love it.

Although I am not a huge fan of MS products, I am a heavy user of MS Outlook. I use it as my RSS reader, email client, calendar program, and organizer of my contacts. When I create a Google doc and want to email it to collaborators, I can do that from within Outlook. The screenshot is of an email with the sidebar showing. You can access all of the folders, now called collections, like you would online. I haven’t noticed a lag or had my Outlook crash since I installed it several weeks ago.

It took me awhile to get the hang of it and to understand the features of the plugin.I took a screenshot of my inbox with the sidebar and pasted it here. I discovered how to use the feature to set collaborators after sending each collaborator 9 invites to one document. Despite the mess it created, I learned how to use the features and am totally loving this plugin!

Additionally, I can upload a document to Google docs when I send the email to my outbox andcan choose whether the collaborators. I can also select which of my folders, or collections, I want to post the document to in Google docs. I no longer have to create the doc, upload it, share it, email the collaborators or find the link to the Google doc to include it in an email weeks after I had originally created the doc.  Such a timesaver!

At the moment, the plugin is free and I have seen where MS Outlook can be purchased for educators around $49 and as low as $19. If you are using MS Outlook, I encourage you to explore this free plugin. I haven’t found another plugin that is free that saves as much time as this one app and is as inexpensive this one is. Can’t beat free!

What web tool or resource do you use that is a huge time saver for yourself, your colleagues/staff, your family or your students?

Elluminate Bootcamp – Coming to a Computer Near You

The co-founders of the Flat Classroom™ Project and I are hosting several technology bootcamps over the next few weeks. I am hosting an Elluminate Bootcamp through LearnCentral on February 10th at 6pm CST. You can access the

session and event page at the links below:

If you have ever wanted to learn how to moderate an Elluminate session, or run a student summit for the Flat Classroom™ Project, then please join us. Thanks!