Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Splashtop Is Awesome!

This holiday season many folks are purchasing tablets and smartphones. As these devices begin to replace laptops, and make desktops even MORE obsolete, the transition can be a bit tricky. One of the biggest issues is that these mobile devices do not have as much storage as their larger, less mobile ancestors. Cloud storage will become more widely used once people get the idea that saving things remotely is both secure and easy. Until then it sure would be nice to have a way to access all of our desktop/laptop files on our new mobile devices.

Well, along comes Splashtop. Splashtop is an incredible app that you can easily download to your tablet computer or smartphone. Once that is complete, and you are set up, you simply download Splashtop Streamer (free) to all of the desktops and laptops that you want to access remotely with your mobile device. Not only can you access your files, but you can actually take control of your computer as the Splashop App mirrors your accessed computer. You can open programs, move files around, and freak out anyone in the house. They will think a ghost has taken control of your computer. That is worth the app price alone.

For Apple folks like myself, this gives you a cheap way to play flash video, one of the huge drawbacks of Apple's mobile devices. The last time I checked, it was only 99 cents in the App Store. It is $4.99 in Android Market. It would be a bargain at $20 because the app allows you to enjoy all the portability of your mobile device AND all of the storage and applications available on your desktop or laptop.

Splashtop also offers Splashtop Whiteboard, an app that can turn your new iPad into an interactive whiteboard.



I highly recommend these apps for teachers with smartphones or tablet computers. I do have one word of caution for teachers considering this app as a way to access their school computers. You may want to see if you are able to download Splashtop Streamer on your school computer first. Your district may block it. If so, I strongly encourage you to be assertive and insist that this application be unblocked. How incredible would it be to have access to your work computer from a mobile device? You could access attendance and grading applications as well as all files stored on your school computer.

For more information, visit www.splashtop.com

Todd Scholl is the Coordincator of Communications and Technology at the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retentionm and Advancement (CERRA). If you have any questions or comments, send them to schollt@cerra.org.




Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Future of Education





Those of you who attended my session at The Fall Recruitment Workshop know that I have been studying the work of Ray Kurzweil for several months. My first exposure to Kurzweil was in a documentary called Transcendent Man. That documentary can be streamed instantly through Netflix. Below is a trailer for the film. I highly recommend it.


After I viewed this thought-provoking movie, I purchased Kurzweil's latest book entitled The Singularity is Near. This fascinating book delves deeper into the concepts outlined by Kurzweil in the documentary.

I also began investigating transhumanism, post humanism, and artificial intelligence. There are many wonderful resources 
online if you find yourself as intrigued as I am about these future possibilities.

Some may argue that this topic is irrelevant to the Teacher Cadet curriculum, but I think this is being short-sighted. Whether Kurzweil's theories are correct or not, education is poised to be profoundly impacted by the exponential growth of computing power. Our profession is likely to be completely revolutionized by one-to-one computing. Our failure to acknowledge this is a disservice to our students. 

The cadets in classrooms today will be teaching in a vastly different environment than the one in which we currently find ourselves. This is, perhaps, stating the obvious, but we can no longer simply teach Piaget, Maslow, and other traditional content while waiting for the next curriculum revision to provide us with the updates we need.

The Teacher Cadet curriculum will need to be constantly updated, like a smartphone application. As the education environment undergoes rapid, comprehensive changes, our content will need to reflect those changes instantaneously. That will require each cadet instructor to become a part-time researcher. You will need to continually equip yourself with new knowledge, new skills, and new methods. Without this, your cadets will be at least one step behind peers whose teachers DID make this effort.

So that is part of the reason I have made this blog. I will attempt to do some of that research for you. But to make this work the way I envision it, there must be collaboration. When you stumble upon a film, a book, a link, and article or an application, please share it with me. Together we can can keep the curriculum updated and prepare our students for a future that is coming at us faster than we can imagine.

Contact Todd Scholl @ schollt@cerra.org



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome

Welcome to the Teacher Cadet Technology blog. On this blog I will be posting technology news and tips specifically geared for Teacher Cadet instructors. I hope you will take the time to subscribe to this blog and share anything you find particularly helpful.