Keep It Simple: Yet Another Wrap-Up of Privacy Tools

…as one former NSA official noted, “You have to assume everything is being collected.” (Read More)


I’m not willing to trade privacy (defined by people being able to read all my confidential data, communications) for security.

As much interest I have in encrypting confidential communications and data that K-12 schools are involved in, there seems little point in attempting to do so under the full scale assault of governments–American and British–tapping into the Internet pipe via PRISM, MAINWAY,MARINA, and NUCLEON, as well as their foreign counterparts . You’d think that with all that computing firepower, they’d be able to bring about the “world peace” equivalent when it comes to identity theft!

Not only that, but that encrypted communications can actually be archived and kept LONGER than unencrypted ones…well, that’s too much. 

…specifically to encrypted information, allowing it to gather the data regardless of its U.S. or foreign origin and to hold it for as long as it takes to crack the data’s privacy protections.
The agency can collect and indefinitely keep any information gathered for “cryptanalytic, traffic analysis, or signal exploitation purposes,” according to the leaked “minimization procedures” meant to restrict NSA surveillance of Americans. ”Such communications can be retained for a period sufficient to allow thorough exploitation and to permit access to data that are, or are reasonably believed likely to become, relevant to a future foreign intelligence requirement,” the procedures read. (Read more)

Worse, if you’re using a Windows computer (switch to Linux or Mac), then there’s a definite certainty that you are being spied upon:

A CARELESS mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency have been secretly built into Windows. The NSA access system is built into every version of the Windows operating system now in use – See more at:

Those facts aside–that EVERY communication we participate in is being archived and that encrypted communications are being kept indefinitely just in case–I’d like to encourage EVERYONE to use encryption for their communications, storing files on cloud storage, etc. Send a message to the President of the United States, to the National Security Peepshow Agency. And, it’s still important to protect confidential data.

My go to security tools include the following; I’ve included my advice at the end of each section with a short wrap-up at the end:

  1. Password Protection – Keep track of passwords in a secure way.
  1. Use Secure Passwords – Both and Secure Password Generator can create high quality passwords. Take advantage of this.
  2. KeepassX – This is my favorite password tracking tool. You can save the file on Dropbox–but you don’t have to–then access it from any device (e.g. iPad, Android, Mac/Win/Linux computer). It’s no-cost, free open source, and your passwords are encrypted by a single password.
  3. 1Password – If you aren’t afraid to spend money and save your passwords in the cloud, then this may be the solution for you. They just beefed up their encryption to protect against the NSA.
  4. Advice: Use KeepassX…please don’t store your critical info in GoogleDocs.
  • File Encryption – Protect sensitive files/documents.
    1. Secure Space Encryptor (SSE) – This works great on Android and Win/Mac/Linux computers with its java equivalent. It’s my new go-to tool because it not only lets you encrypt individual files, it also can handle folders! On Android, you can also encrypt text messages, which is great!
    2. – Another phenomenal encryption tool that works at the command line and has a nice GUI. You can use it on Mac, Win, Linux computers and with Crypt4All Android app (slightly limited).
    3. – This is different than the two previous products, since you essentially create a “box” and drop all your confidential files in that. Works great, easy, and should be used in combination with one of the other solutions.
    4. Advice:  My advice is to go with SSE and TrueCrypt for a winning combination. If you use Dropbox,, then any one of the solutions above would work for you. For individuals, you might also consider Boxcryptor. A Windows only no-cost solution is EncryptFiles.
  • Email Encryption – Encrypt the text of your emails
    1. Mailvelope – This is my go-to text encryption add-on for Firefox and Chrome browsers. If you’re using Thunderbird email client, you’ll want to use probably use Enigmail. Both solutions require knowledge of GPG/PGP public/private key encryption and probably will not be a good solution for most people who aren’t serious about encryption.
    2. Get a copy of Fourmilab’s Javascript that does text encryption for you…you can save the page to your computer (right-click and save link as) and use it on your own computer. Encryption uses AES-256 algorithm.
    3. Advice: Type your message, save it to a document, encrypt the document using SSE File Encryption and email that as an attachment or share it as an anonymous attachment through a solution like or
  • Protect Your Browsing Habits - Try to keep where you go online to yourself.
    1. Use extensions like HTTPS Everywhere.
    2. Virtual Private Network (VPN) – You’ll want to take advantage of  a VPN. Read these articles to get some background info. Or, setup your own.
    3. Tor Browser Project – Take advantage of the TOR Browser Project. It protects your location. The Onion Router (TOR) Project makes it easy to surf anonymously. Read their explanation for more information. There are iPad, Android apps you can use for “tor” or “The Onion Router.”
    4. DuckDuckGo - This is one of those browsers that doesn’t track  you. 
    5. Turn Off Google History
    6. Advice: Ugh, this is tough to keep up consistently so be prepared to spend a lot of time on this one. Be sure to Trace Your Online Shadow.

    If we continue to permit this, the ultimate fault and blame will not be with our government or our leaders, but rather with ourselves. (Read More)


    The most flexible solutions for me include the following:
    All these solutions take advantage of AES-256 encryption.

    Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at

    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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    Be an App Smasher #iste13 #ipaded #ipad #iplza13

    Notes: Here is the final draft of materials for an app smashing session I facilitated earlier this month in one blog entry. What is so delightful are the products teachers created, of which only a small sample has been placed immediately below (the other products include multimedia ePubs created with Book Creator app, and comics created with Strip Designer). Kudos to them for their first time efforts!

    Teacher Projects (video only)

    These were developed by teachers participated in a local school district’s EC3 Program, which happens to use iPads to enhance teaching and learning. You can find Mary Ray’s (@mray29) overview of the EC3 program online; she shared it at iPadPalooza 2013 Conference last week.

    Are YOU an App Smasher?

    Be an App Smasher!



    1. Getting Comfortable with the Apps: Level 1 and Level 2 Apps
    3. Writing Workshop – Digital Poetry with Kenneth Koch

    4. Publish your app smashed creation

    Part 1 – Getting Comfortable with the Apps

    Image Source:

    1. Divide up into 7 groups and explore an app (either  Level 1 or Level 2) of your choice.
    2. Pick your team liason and send them to see Miguel.
    3. After playing around with the app, create a cartoon, slideshow or audio-enhanced image presentation that introduces the audience/viewer/reader to what the app’s best features are (in your opinion). Have fun! You will have approximately 30-40 minutes.
    4. Be prepared to share that presentation with the group.
    5. If you really want to enhance your presentation, share a quick brainstorm of how you might use this in the classroom with your students.
    Level 1 – Photo/Video Creation Apps

    Download Links (if you need them):
      1. Camera Roll

      Level 2 Apps

      Level 2 – Photo/Video Creation Apps

      Get the App:

        Part 2 – App Smashing Overview

        Additional Resources
        • Watch this short video walkthrough via ECTV or Dropbox

        Mini-Lesson – Interview with a Beautiful Creature 

        (Duration: 5-10 minutes)

        1. Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? - Watch via ECTV or Dropbox
        2. Butterfly, Does the Blue Fire? | Sample Teacher Feedback (really weak!)
        *Note: These examples are hosted on Dropbox. If viewing on an ECISD device, make sure to authenticate as a teacher first.

        Independent Writing – Writing Your Own Interview with a Creature
        (Duration: 20-30 minutes)
         “Imagine you are talking to a mysterious and beautiful creature and you can speak its secret language, and you can ask it anything you want.”

        (During independent writing)
        • Upload your creation to Edmodo, either the video or the link.

        Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at

        Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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        Constructing eLearning Environments

        Note: This is a revised article…2nd edition I suppose (smile).

        Constructing eLearning Environments

        Creative Commons (ShareAlike-NonCommercial-Attribution) Copyright 2013 Miguel Guhlin

        “A habitude,” shares Angela Maiers in her new book, Classroom Habitudes (, “is the combination of habits and attitudes.” Angela makes the point that as teachers, we often work from checklists. Instead she challenges her readers by asking, “Is the checklist we operate from, our scope and sequence of traditional; skills and lessons, enough for our students to invent, create, collaborate, and solve their own problems?” The 6 habitudes, according to Angela, include imagination, curiousity, perseverance, self-awareness, courage, and adaptability. Online learning environments seem to bring out some of these habitudes.

        In an Introduction to Online Learning course I  facilitated, here are 3 comments participants–some of whom had never participated in online learning–made and include the following:

        • “I realized that online learning gives those of us who work opportunities for continued education at our own time and pace.”
        • “I know that I am an independent learner, but I also know that I am one to respond positively through active conversation with others. I felt that the only way to do that was in a traditional classroom; now I understand that I can have that active conversation through others’ comments and postings.”
        • “This introductory course has greatly influenced how I feel about online learning. Although I was very nervous at first it has clearly given me the self confindence to take on a course of this nature. In addition this course has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences and evaluate those skills I already had. I encourage anyone who is skeptical about an online course to embrace it with open arms and reap the benefits it has to offer.”

        For each of these participants, there was a checklist about teaching and learning that they were working from. Such a checklist might be:

        • Traditional face to face workshops are the only way to learn.
        • I would not do well in an online learning environment because I am not that tech-savvy.
        • When you are online, you lose the affect of a conversation, you are distanced from other people.

        Old habits have, perhaps, predisposed us to learning a certain way, or worse, limiting our understanding of what we believe we can do. This article seeks to share my perspective towards online learning environments in K-12 school districts. It is a practitioner’s perspective and I suggest to you that learning online embodies the habitudes of lifelong learners.

        As director of  technology, I have had the opportunity to set in place several Moodles, Edmodos, and wiki-based courses. Online learning is critical to our future, both for adults and children in K-12. I’d like to see a series of courses that go beyond how to design online learning–although that is certainly essential–to how to best manage resources to facilitate and enable online learning. As an administrator growing his own program, what planning do I need to put in place to ensure success for learners in K-12 environment?
        MANAGING YOUR eLearning Environment

        “What is your vision for professional learning in the District?” It is a question that I have constantly asked myself. Now that I know how to setup a learning management system that allows you to facilitate online courses for literate learners of all ages–how can I combine what I know with what I want to do? I imagine online learning environments that scaffold both adult and K-12 learners as they learn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. First, let’s consider what research has to say about professional learning:

        Research ( shows that “professional learning can have a powerful effect on teacher skills and knowledge and on student learning.” Unfortunately, most teachers who need 50+ hours of professional learning around relevant topics only get 16 hours of irrelevant professional learning. The report goes on to say that for professional learning to be effective, it must meet 3 criteria.

        Professional learning must be 1) Sustained, 2) Focused on important content, and 3) embedded in the work of collaborative professional learning teams that support ongoing improvements in teachers’ practice and student achievement. How do you achieve this?

        Modern LMSs (e.g. Moodle, Edmodo, Wiki+Discussion Board) allows one to create a virtual learning space, yet what happens in that space is even more critical than what happens in physical space. When I try to imagine what online professional learning looks like in K-12 schools for adult learners, I find myself staggering from vendor to vendor, seeking what might work. For example, in an urban school district I worked in, I found that PBS Capstone’s program was too difficult for the majority of the teachers who began the program. 

        Although a minority of teachers completed the year and half long program, the majority dropped out citing the intensity of the program. What good is rigor if you lose the class? It’s a question every teacher struggles with. Instead, we realized we needed to scaffold our teachers’ learning and growth online. It has been the right decision for us but it may not be for district staff more experienced with online learning.

        Here is what our trial-n-error yielded as a possible approach:
        1. Get staff certified as Online Learning Facilitators - this enables staff to better understand what is involved in facilitating an online course and gives you a standard framework to work from when designing a course. This is an ongoing process and I would select online certification/learning courses that are specific to your State or culture.
        2. Construct an Introduction to Online Learning course–about a week long–that can be used as a pre-requisite for teachers who have never experienced online professional learning before. This enables everyone to start from a common perspective, building familiarity with learning management system (which becomes your district standard) and opening teachers’ eyes to power of a collaborative professional learning. No incentive for completion of this course except 6 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) and/or gifted and talented (GT) credit hours. If a teacher does not pass the course, they can take it up to three more times. Pass rate for this course is about 98%.
        3. Implement a technology integration lead teacher program that grants incentives such as an iPad, a 10 week online LOTI Lead Teacher course (affordable courses!), and the opportunity to develop a Level 5 technology integrated lesson.
        4. Purchase online courses that are relevant to teachers’ practice in ways that are relevant to the focus of your District. Since my focus is technology integration, I sought out courses that are relevant to achieving the Texas ePlan:
        1. PBS TeacherLine courses–available for a variety of areas, not just “technology”–for deployment in your district. These courses are 30 hours each, can be converted to Moodle format and deployed in your district. My district purchased 90 hours of content–3 courses–with unlimited rights and had them converted to Moodle format. Our goal is license the content for two years at minimum and offer the 30 hour courses in smaller bites. This is necessary because PBS TeacherLine courses, which run for 6 weeks each, are fairly intensive.
        2. LOTI Lead Teacher courses, which last 10-weeks, enable you to gradually ease teachers into the online learning environment. Frankly, teachers in my experience–myself included–have little stamina for length online courses. LOTI enables you to have conversations about learning and technology over an extended period of time without the rigor of a PBS TeacherLine course, which can be frightening for newbies. Furthermore, the LOTI (levels of teaching innovation) Lead Teacher course discusses how to “harness the power of your existing programs into one united effort to assess, plan, implement, and sustain a systems approach to improved student achievement using 21st Century teaching, learning and leadership.” This can put online learning into perspective.
        3. Third party how-to online learning experiences are widely available. Whether you use InfoSource Learning’s content, or Atomic Learning, the question to ask yourself is, “How easy is it to plug-n-play these technologies into my Moodle?” Will I be able to embed content from these tutorial web sites into my Moodle or will participants find themselves having to log-in to yet another system? It is this last question that encourages me to consider the next option.
      1. Create your own online courses. When I started creating courses, I found myself wondering, “Where are the templates for designing an online course? What are the standards?” Like any teacher developing a lesson, I wanted some framework, a checklist to follow. I recently had the opportunity to review an online course developed by another district on an important subject. I was disappointed at the design of the course. As a result, I spent some time working with two of my team who are actively developing their own courses for use in the District. We set out to developing and revising an Introduction to Online Learning course that truly reflected the values we had learned going through Online Facilitator Training. Our course design is modular (course content and activities like forums, assignments organized by topic), features a syllabus, assignment checklist, and is multi-modal (featuring videos, audio, and text). As we worked collaboratively to revise and design new courses together, it has been helpful to have a set of internal standards to adhere to.

      2. When first launching a learning management system, I was tempted to have one-stop shopping for courses and content. There would be ONE place to find everything. This was as a result of my experience as an electronic bulletin board system assistant systems operator (SYSOP). I had noticed that dividing up your discussion area into too many ways diffused discussion. I have since realized that this approach of clumping things will not work well.

        For example, we had professional learning for adults, support areas for groups in the District, and K-12 students. As a result, I sought to re-organize our approach to  into fundamental areas, expanding on the recommendations of my team:

        • Professional Learning Center (PLC) - This is where adult learners can participate in either instructor-led or self-paced, 100% online courses and earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) and/or Gifted and Talented credit hours. The GT credit hours are done in collaboration with our district’s Advanced Academic Services Office, and the partnership with them has been well worth the investment of getting their staff trained in online learning.
        • K-12 Open Campus - The Open Campus, the title the idea of Sue Harris, facilitates 26 teachers (and growing quickly) as well as impacts 1,000+ students who are participating in online literature circles, classroom specific courses being facilitated by teachers, and more.
        • iTech - This is the Technology Center, a place where support areas and online communities for technology department initiatives are facilitated.

        Finally, it is critical to develop and codify a standard approach to course development. Failure to do so means that everyone will develop willy-nilly, ensuring that end-user experiences will not be as productive, as reflective as they could be. A clean window lets us see the light rather than obscures it. So should it be with online courses. Of course, this is my perspective.

        One of the most important steps that needs to be taken in is building capacity among curriculum and instruction department staff. It is critical because professional development needs are rising quickly and two curriculum specialists can reach many more people over a sustained period of time–which is more effective for professional development than the drive-by face to face workshops that characterize K-12 professional development–via online learning.

        To accomplish that, we need to develop our own district culture specific courses, including the following:

        • How to Facilitate Online Courses in Our District
        • How to Develop Online Courses in Our District

        The purpose of these two courses is to build capacity in our district teacher specialists to facilitate professional learning opportunities, as well as learn how to develop online courses around content that is important to the District. 

        Occasionally, one encounters complaints from teachers like this one:

        Our tech director refuses to even consider #NameOfanLMS as a resource. He won’t unblock it or let me use it with students. How would you respond to those concerns?

        We need to embrace fresh habits and attitudes–or as Angela puts it, Habitudes–of imagination, courage, self-awareness, adaptability and perseverance. Implementing online learning environments in K-12 school districts requires cultivating “elearning habitudes” in ourselves and others. After all, online learning–whether hybrid, or 100% online–is a reality whose time has come.

        About the Author

        As director of technology for a school district in Texas, past president of the state-wide Technology Education Coordinators group in one of the largest U.S. technology educator organizations (TCEA), Miguel Guhlin continues to model the use of emerging technologies in schools. You can read his published writing or engage him in conversation via his blog at Around the Corner.

        Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at

        Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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        Old Friends, Fresh Reflections

        Caption: Isn’t that an awesome team? Instructional Technology
        Left to Right: Stephanie Zunker, Mary Ray, Marguerite Lowak, and Miguel Guhlin

        Yesterday at iPadPalooza 2013, I had the good fortune to encounter the “Mother of TA:TEKS.” For the unenlightened, Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TA:TEKS) were going to change the world, clearly articulating a vision for what children in Texas needed to learn to use technology effectively in an ever-changing world.

        The chairperson for the committee that authored the TA:TEKS was Patsy Lanclos, a technology director that left the field in glory only to return in her next incarnation as a knowledge architect and education consultant. And, she pointed out to me, has authored at least 5 books on the subject of Apple devices in schools.
        In the image below, you can see our chance encounter prompted me to see if I could play an old joke on Patsy, mainly that of introducing her as the Mother of TA:TEKS. My thanks to Mary Ray (prime mover of the along with Marguerite Lowak, Dr. Roland Rios) for playing along in joshing a dear friend.

        Image (Left to right): Gail Lovely (also a welcome surprise), Mary Ray (standing), and Patsy Lanclos (seated)

        As Patsy and I caught up, I found myself sharing with her the value of Crucial Conversation and what’s it has meant in my work. I’m quick to point out that I never attended the Crucial Conversations/Confrontations training, learning from the books I’d read and the conversations I had. Over time, I’ve realized that while these books are very helpful to me, for others, they may not be. After all, one’s brain absorbs what it needs or thinks it needs, and that’s true in this case.

        Some of my favorite take-aways from the books, I keep written in memo pad that I carry around with me.

        Whenever I believe I’ll be having a crucial conversation/confrontation, or simply want to review, I revisit my notes…the following is my “cheat sheet” so I don’t have to read the books over again. However, I would definitely encourage you to visit or Barnes and Noble ( and pick up copies of these powerful books, Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations.
        The authors also have some other titles worth checking out, such as Influencers. I encourage you to take these books a bit at a time and practice their principles in your daily work, whether you are a manager or CEO. This stuff is gold but it’s so easy to skip over it with the mistaken perception that “Oh, this is common sense or I already do this.” You may think you do, but I encourage you to try “the formula” for crucial conversations.
        As I shared with Patsy Lanclos yesterday, I honestly wish I’d read these book a decade or more ago. They would have profoundly changed how I interact with others. Ah well, we get wiser as we get older if we’re fortunate.
        In the meantime, here are my notes from the books…any mistakes are my own.
        Crucial Conversations
        –What do I really want? For myself? For others?
        –How would I behave if I really wanted those results?

        1) Clarify what you really want
        2) Clarify what you really don’t want.
        3) Present your brain with a more complex problem.

        Masking - understating/selectively showing our true opinions…Sarcasm, sugarcoating, couching.

        Avoiding - Steering completely away from sensitive subjects. Don’t address real issues.

        Withdrawing - Pull-out of conversation completely.

        Any verbal strategy that attempts to convince, control or compel others.

        Controlling –  Coercing others to your way of thinking. Cutting others off, overstating your facts, speaking in absolutes, changing subjects, asking directive question.

        Labelling - Putting a label on people or ideas so we can dismiss them under a general stereotype or category.

        Attacking – Being belittling and threatening.

        When you look around, evaluate conditions and realize that it doesn’t feel safe, take these steps:
        • Step Out.
        •Make it safe then step back into the flow of conversation.

        One way to accomplish that:

        “Can we change gears for a minute? It would be good if we could both share what’s working and what isn’t. My goal isn’t to make you feel guilty, and I certainly don’t want to become defensive. What I’d really love is for us to come up with a solution.”

        Conditions of Safety

        1) Mutual Purpose: 
        • Do others believe I care about their goals in this conversation?
        • Do they trust my motives?

        2) Mutual Respect:
        • Do others believe I respect them?
        • What are ways in which we are similar?

        To rebuild mutual purpose or mutual respect, use 3 skills:
        • Apologize – When you’ve made a mistake thhat has hurt others, start with a sincere apology.
        • Contrast – Contrasting is a don’t/do statement that:

        1. Addresses others’ concerns that you don’t respect them or that you have a malicious purpose.
        2. Confirms your respect or clarifies your real purpose.
        “Let me put this in perspective. I don’t want you to think I’m not satisfied with the quality of your work. I really do think you’re doing a good job. This punctuality issue is important to me, and I’d just like you to work on that. If you will be more attentive to that, there are no other issues.”

        • Create a mutual purpose: Use the following 4 skills to create mutual purpose:

        1. Commit to seek mutual purpose.
        2. Recognize purpose behind strategy.
        3. Invent a mutual purpose
        4. Brainstorm new strategies.

        Four approaches:

        1) Make a unilateral public commitment to stay in the conversation until you come up with something that serves everyone.
        2) Ask people why they want what they’re pushing for.
        3) If after clarifying everyone’s purpose, you are still at odds, see if you can’t invent a higher or longer-term purpose that is more motivating than the ones that keep you in conflict.
        4) With a clear mutual purpose, you can join forces in searching for a solution that serves everyone.

        Retrace Your Path to Action

        1) Act – Notice your behavior. Am I in some form of silence or violence?
        2) Feel – What emotions are encouraging me to act this way?
        3) Tell Story - What story is creating these emotions?
        4) See/Hear - What evidence do I have to support this story?

        Types of Stories
        • Victim – Not my fault
        • Villain – All your fault
        • Helpless – Nothing else I can do.

        Flip the Clever Story:
        • Am I pretending not to notice my role in the problem?
        • Why would a reasonable, rational decent person do what this person is doing?
        • What do I really want? For me? For others? For the relationship?
        • What would I do right now if I really wanted these results?

        Contrasting Statements
        “I know this is difficult and I don’t want to upset you; I just want to make sure we consider everything we area dealing with.”

        Tentative Statements
        “I’m beginning to feel that you are an upset with me. Did I do something to make you angry?”

        Share your facts
        Tell your story
        Ask for others’ paths
        Talk tentatively
        Encourage testing.

        Talking tentatively means that we tell our story as a story rather than disguising it as a hard fact.

        Perhaps you are unaware…
        In my opinion….
        I’m beginning to wonder if…
        I’m starting to feel like you…

        Invite Opposing Views
        • What am I missing here? I’d really like to hear the other side of the story?

        Mean It
        • “I know people have been reluctant to speak up about this, but I would really love to hear from everyone.”
        • “I know there are at least 2 sides to this story. Could we hear differing views now? What problems could this decision cause us?”

        Model Disagreeing
        • “Maybe I’m wrong here. What if the opposite is true?”

        Share your facts.
        Tell your story
        Ask for other’s paths.
        Talk tentatiely Encourage testing.

        1) Learn to look beyond content to conditions.
        2) Tone down your approach.
        3) Catch Yourself.

        Share Your Facts
        Start with the least controversial, most persuasive elements from your path to action.

        Tell Your Story
        Explain what you’re beginning to conclude.

        Ask for other’s paths.
        Encourage others to share both their facts and their stories.

        Talk tentatively
        State your story as a story–don’t disguise it as a fact.

        Encourage Testing
        Make it safe for others to express differing/opposing views.

        Try AMPP approach
        Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase, Prime.

        Mirroring is most useful when another person’s tone of voice or gestures are inconsistent with his or her words. Some examples:
        • You say you’re OK, but by the tone of your voice, you seem upset.
        • You seem angry at me.
        • You look nervous about confronting him. Are you sure you’re willing to do it?

        If you do disagree, compare your path with the other person’s. Rather than suggesting that he or she is wrong, suggest that you differ. Start with a tentative but candid opening such as:
        “I think I see things differently. Let me describe how.”

        Agree when you agree. Build when others leave out key pieces. Compare when you differ.

        Ask:  Start by simply expressing interest in the other person’s views.
        Mirror: Increase safety by respectfully acknowledging the emotions people appear to be feeling.
        Paraphrase: As others begin to share part of their story, restate what you’ve heard to show not just that you understand, but also that it’s safe for them to share what they’re thinking.
        Prime: If others continue to hold back, prime. Take your best guess at what they may be thinking and feeling.

        As you begin to share your views, remember to agree when you share views, build when others leave something out, agree where you share views then build. And, compare. When you do differ significantly, don’t suggest others are wrong. Compare your two views.

        When teams meet and generate a host of ideas, they often fail to convert the ideas into action for two reasons:
        • They have unclear expectations about how decisions will be made.
        • They do a poor job acting on the decisions they do make.

        Four common ways to make decisions:
        • Command
        • Consult
        • Voe
        • Consensus
        Suggestions for leaders:
        • Make a list of some of the important decisions made. Then, discover how each decision is currently made and how each decision should be made–using the 4 question method:
        1) Who cares?
        2) Who knows?
        3) Who must agree?
        4) How many people is it worth involving?
        After discussing each decision, decide how you will make decisions in the future…make sure to ask, who does what by when? How will you follow up?
        Talking: “I’d like to talk about something that’s getting in the way of my working with you. It’s a tough issue to bring up, but I think it’ll help us be better teammates if I do. Is that OK? [Describe issue then...] I’d thought I’d bring these up because they send a message that makes me uncomfortable. How do you see it?”
        Learn to look for patterns, don’t focus exclusively on a single event. Practice CPR:
        For first incident, focus on content.
        For second incident, identify the pattern.
        For the third or more, talk about how repeated pattern affects relationships.

        Crucial Conversations

        1. “Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand. This unique combination of thoughts and feelings makes up our personal pool of meaning. This pool not only informs us but also propels our ever action.”
        2. “When two or more of us enter crucial conversations, by definition we don’t share the same pool. Our opinions differ. I believe one thing, you another. I have one history, you another.”
        3. “People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool—even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open. The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more committed action later on.”

      3. Don’t fall prey to a Sucker’s Choice. A Sucker’s Choice is a this or a that, an either / or … etc. The assumption is that you have to trade one thing for another.
      4. Find an “and” solution over “either / or“. Find a way to have it both ways. Challenge yourself to seek the higher ground.
      5. Know what you want and what you don’t want. Stating what you want and don’t want are powerful because they clarify your intentions. Clarifying what you don’t want can be particularly powerful because of the principle of contrast. It can can also help take away perceived threats. Clarifying intentions is an important step because it’s easy to get lost in the content and lose sight of the real intentions. Your intentions guide you through your dialogue.

      6. Crucial Confrontations

        1. When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they’ll hold it well.
        2. If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it’s likely there’s another more important problem you need to address.
        3. CPR = 

          1. Content-what happened; 
          2. Pattern- what has been happening over time; 
          3. Relationship – What’s happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it’s that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. “This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don’t like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can’t trust you to keep the agreements you make.”
          1. People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don’t respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don’t care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).
          2. Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don’t mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.
          3. AMPP = 
          1. Ask to get the conversation rolling; 
          2. Mirror to Encourage; 
          3. Paraphrase for understanding; 
          4. Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.
        4. WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN – Follow-up
        5. Twitter Hashtag Magic – An Example @diben #edtechchat @twubs

          Next week at ISTE 2013, lead presenter Diana Benner and I will be engaging the audience of 152 participants with a problem and approaching it from a Problem-based Learning angle a la PBL-Enhanced Professional Learning.

          Unfortunately, there are going to be a LOT more people in the room than we counted on–150+. Wow. Here’s how the PBL enhanced lesson works:

          1. Introduce folks to the Problem via a video, a scenario they read or have read to them.
          2. Share that to solve the problem, we’re going to go through a few steps.
          1. Hunches – In large group, ask participants to share their guesses about what’s happening in the scenario.
          2. Identify What We Know – Focus on identifying–in the text–what we actually know about what’s happening.
          3. Identify What We Need to Know – Identify what we need to know to help them solve this problem.
          4. Take the questions formulated in Step 3 and prioritize them according to importance.
          5. Identify stakeholders and then divide large group into stakeholders to respond to questions that are stakeholder specific.
          6. Stakeholder groups develop solution from their unique perspective, then share back with the group.
          That’s pretty much the process in a nutshell. With only an hour to do this, chances are, we’ll probably only use the problem engagement to identify questions and stakeholders. The solutions, we hope will come from the resulting interaction.
          One of the challenges with such a large (150+!!!) group is collecting responses so they are meaningful. An approach that dawned on me was to take advantage of Twitter and hashtags (read how to do it here) to capture responses. These responses to hunches, what we know, what we need to know in the form of questions, can be organized in a table.
          To organize the hashtags as a table, we’d need to embed those hashtag searches. makes that possible, as you can see from the image at the top of this blog entry.
          What do you think? Crazy?

          Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at

          Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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          Terrible Twits: Stream Those Hashtag Tweets on One Page with @Twubs #ipdlza13 #iste13 #edtechchat #ectobuzz

          A nice press release from the Twubs folks…the place to go to easily manage hashtags and searches. I have to admit to some level of irritation at Twitter for nuking their API which makes it possible for 3rd parties to connect, including ones as friendly as and others that are swiftly fading from memory. What causes the irritation, you ask? The fact that Twitter did not make a web gadget that offers the same functionality as a site like Monitter. That functionality includes multi-column view of Twitter searches–as well as RSS feeds based on Twitter searches–that you can easily embed in a web site.

          As terrible as that news is, it’s old hat. In the meantime, we can take advantage of, which offers the ability to search on a tag and embed that search in a page…for example, a search #ipdlza13 for iPadPalooza 2013 Conference ends up like this:

          But what if you wanted to see several columns of hashtag searches? Try this…create a table using a free app like Kompozer (or GoogleDocs) then paste in the embed code for a hashtag from…here’s where you can find the embed code for each of the hashtags represented in the table below…be sure to replace the bold hashtag with your own choice!


          #ipdlza13 #edtechchat #iste13

          Twubs Logo
          New Free Tool: Host Awesome Twitter Chats
          We are so delighted to connect with you! We recently launched a new Twitter Chat tool that we thought would excite you. This FREE tool allows you to engage your audience by hosting moderated Twitter Chats. Use the following today:
          • Brand your page with your logo, graphics, and colors. 
          • Messages from hosts are visually separated to make the conversation flow dynamically.
          • Two powerful words: SPAM Blocking!!
          • Embed your Twitter Chat feed.
          • Easily view chat contributors.
          • … and more!
          Make sure your chat is listed in our new Chat Directory:

          In case you did not see our recent front page article on, check it out here:

          This is only the beginning! For this launch, we simply added features. We have a completely new chat solution coming in the next couple of months that will reinvent Twitter Chat.

          For help and more information, definitely watch our “How To” video:
          Lastly, if you have ANY ideas, curiosities, questions, concerns, or just want to say hello, please email us at We greatly value your feedback.
          Learn More about Twitter Chats »

          Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at

          Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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          Copying Music Off #iPad

          A colleague recently asked me the following:

          I recently moved from the UK to the US. When I tried to sync my music, iTunes wiped out all my music on my iPad. Instead of copying the music from my iPad to my computer, it removed all the songs off my iPad. What can I do with my other iPad that has my music collection so I don’t lose it?

          Here’s one response:

          Thank you for sharing your interest in getting music off your iPad without using iTunes (because it wipes your iPad). 

          Here are some promising solutions:

          DeTune (Mac (free))

          SharePod (Mac/Win – Free)

          iExplorer (Mac/Windows ($35))

          Try out DeTune…it’s easy and worked great on my iPad 3rd Gen. Here’s what it looks like:


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