AL DíA: A Cog’s Game

Are you a cog in the machine, a piece of machinery that does only what it must do for the greater good? Well, what’s wrong with that? Imagine building trust without being reliable, trustworthy. I can’t imagine putting my trust in someone who couldn’t get the job done every day, right? Hmm….

A writer who has an angle always appears smarter than one who does not. As such, I try to put an angle in every bit of writing I do. I succeed and fail with some regularity (you tell me which). While looking for the quote, I found myself reading this piece:

Once you have a good angle, the actual writing is a snap, because you know what to put in and what to leave out. In fact, once you have an angle, what often follows is the easiest thing in the world to write: a list. (Source)

The power of the list, fondly referred to as the listicle (an article full of lists), made writing easier for me. For inspiration, I often re-read Writing the Ed-Tech List Article. None of this would have come to mind if Seth Godin hadn’t reminded me of the power of having a point of view.

A point of view is the difference between a job and a career.
It’s the difference between being a cog and making an impact.

The truth is, you can be a cog with an angle. That’s what makes being a cog fun…cogs have an important job. They transfer energy.

a wheel or bar with a series of projections on its edge that transfers motion by engaging with projections on another wheel or bar.

Ok, let’s break that down a bit. A cog transfers motion (energy). It does that by engaging with other elements that get things done. Maybe, the problem with POV is that they confuse making an impact with being disruptive and not getting things done. Maybe, cogs get things done that need to be done…and that makes it all work.


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

AL DíA: STEM Tools, DIY Projects and More

Wow, I had a lot of fun putting this blog entry together on a subject that is near and dear to many people’s hearts. I was trying for a blog entry about STEM toys, but failed miserably. Instead, I stumbled on a treasure trove of STEM DIY projects in Pinterest. A second grade teacher in San Angelo, Tx had hinted that such troves were the source of her STEM awesomeness.

Here’s the excerpt where I share that story in the blog entry, along with a kazillion DIY ideas in Pinterest for STEM Projects:

“Where did you get your idea for that project?” I asked a second grade teacher who was sharing a STEM project at a San Angelo, Tx TCEA area conference. “Pinterest!” she replied with a smile. “I find most of my ideas there.”

You can also find a STEM Awesomeness Padlet featuring lots of great ideas online. I’ll be adding to it over time.


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

Thirteen Insights for CTOs

Ok, I’m sure you are just dying to know what I’ve written about that Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), Technology Directors/Coordinators need to know about. I’m particularly pleased because this series enabled me to tap into my actual experiences as a Director of Technology for a 10K student school district. These were all published at TCEA TechNotes’ blog.

Wait, did you really just write about 20 blog entries? Actually, I wrote about 10 more that were classified as CTO/CIO but I didn’t include them here. You can read them online yourself.

CTO Related

  1. Tracking Digital Coaches and Technicians – Scheduled for 12/20/17 publication
  2. Strategizing Your BYOD Implementation
  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  • When Disaster Strikes Series:
    1. Part 1: Insights One and Two
    2. Part 2: Insights Three through Five
    3. Part 3 – The Game
    4.  Heat Sensitive: Server Room Temperature Gauges
  • Time and Attendance Tracking
  • Securing Data in the Cloud 
  • Digital Fax Solutions 
  • Saving High School Seniors’ Digital Work 
  • Keys to the Kingdom 
  • Grants and Tech Planning 
  • Video Surveillance Solutions 
  • Choosing an Online Payment System 
  • When People Fail Technology: Digital Evidence Search 
  • Surviving a Leadership Transition
  •  I can’t wait to write a few more blog entries on this subject. Time just ran out on me this year.  Sigh.


    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

    AL DíA: STEM Innovators VIP Breakfast

    On January 5, 2018, there will be a STEM Innovators VIP Breakfast in San Antonio, Tx. If you are free, you may want to attend. Here’s the full text of the invitation:

    I’d like to invite you to attend the STEM Innovators-in-Training Experience VIP Coffee & Conversation on January 5, 2018 from 8:00 – 9:30 am at Sunset Station, 1174 E. Commerce St., San Antonio, TX 78205. The VIP event aims to strengthen the STEM ecosystem in the region by bringing community members from all industry sectors together to share ideas and best practices to maximize our collective impact in helping students engage in, love and learn from STEM education opportunities. Time permitting, stay to observe the STEM Innovators-in-Training Experience in action.

    Making the STEM ecosystem stronger certainly seems like a worthy goal. And, the event is FREE.

    Register for this free event at https://www.ten80education.com/vipreg/Select “SAN ANTONIO” from the dropdown menu Don’t forget to invite colleagues, partners and friends that might be interested as well!

    The event also supports students:

    Join Ten80’s team of STEM professionals, regional leaders and professionals in a one-day version of the STEM Innovators-in-Training Challenge.

    On event day, students attend workshops that focus on content & skills related to one of the three critical aspects of innovation: the engineering process, enterprise process and leadership.  They come back together to share lessons learned and to begin collaborating with one another in the challenges posed in each workshop. The challenges overlap so students will be stronger if they work together.

    All students that attend the Experience are invited to continue working on their ideas through the Student Innovators-in-Training Challenge or Community Leadership Challenge.  Students earn prizes tailored to each challenge such as mentoring and/or cash awards to work on their ideas.

     Learn more here


    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

    My GoogleEDU and MicrosoftEDU Blog Entry Roundup

    Over at TCEA TechNotes blog this year, I’ve written quite a few blog entries. Are any of you reading them?

    A BEE’S PERSPECTIVE
    My total blog entries at TCEA are at 232 (although that will change since I have a third part in my series on When Disaster Strikes pending review and scheduling for publication). I wrote 134 of those 232 during 2017. I had hoped to write 365, but webinars, F2F workshops kept me having fun in different ways. Oh well. That will be my 2018 New Year’s Resolution (prob not).

    For fun, I thought I’d take a look back and list all the 2017 blog entries I’ve written relevant to Google and Microsoft.

    LET THE WAR of ROSES BEGIN
    Alas, it is a war replete with the sweet aroma of constant growth. Both Google and Microsoft distinguished themselves in adding new features in response to educator demand. Neither suite of tools is perfect, though some will argue the point.

    Now, before you claim I’m partisan to one over the other, remember that I am both a Google Certified Trainer and a Microsoft Certified Master Trainer. As such, I get to see the best (and worst) of both ecosystems. Both Google and Microsoft are working hard to ensure school districts have the very best they can offer in tools and skills.

    More important than the efforts of profit-earning organizations, are the communities of educators who work tirelessly to make all this technology usable in the classroom. I salute my fellow GCTs, MIEs, MIEEs, and others.

    In the spirit of recapping my 2017 year, here is a list of all my TCEA blog entries that address Google and Microsoft. Ok, coming back to write this sentence after listing all the blog entries. Wow, I wrote 72 blog entries featuring Google and Microsoft. That’s a chunk of the total blog entries (134) that I wrote all year. That’s 54% of my blog entries were about Google and Microsoft.

    Disclaimer: Hey, before you whip out a calculator, this is “evening math” at the end of a long work day. Some blog entries were counted twice since they featured both Google and Microsoft content. No big deal, but that means some of my percents may be off. Oh well. I don’t really care if I’m off a few points. I know, terrible attitude. Call me a curmudgeon.

    WHAT IS THE COUNT?

    In case you’re curious (I know I was), here’s the total count:

    •  Google: Regarding Google Suites for Education, I wrote 26 of the 50 Google-centric blog entries published at TCEA. That’s 19% of the total blog entries I wrote or roughly half of all blog entries written this year (134) that were included in the 2017 Google Blog Roundup.
    • Microsoft: For Microsoft, I wrote 46 total for the 2017 school year. That’s 34% of total blog entries written.

    Ok, I’m not a math whiz. I hope I got the percentages right. Still, I’m amazed at the quantity and diversity of these. For example, I’d predict that my favorite Microsoft blog entries were about OneDrive, Minecraft, and OneNote. Yes, these three are my top favorite tools.

    If I had time, I’d organize these for you more prettily, but for that, you’ll just have to visit the TCEA TechNotes blog and check out the 2017 Blog Roundup for Google and Microsoft. Those will be due out by the end of the year. In the meantime, I hope you find something interesting to read below. I can honestly say that my colleagues wrote better Google related blog entries than I.

    Note: I’ve highlighted my favorite blog entries. Special thanks to TCEA for giving me a platform to share my insights and takeaways.

    Microsoft Blog Entries (46)

    1. Fantastic Voyage: Minecraft Lesson Planning
    2. Five Steps to Game-based Learning
    3. Open Resources for Math and Science
    4. Minecraftian Strategies with Marzano
    5. Improved Teaching with Microsoft
    6. Forms Smackdown: Google vs Microsoft
    7. Ten Ways to Customize Microsoft Classroom 
    8. Using OneDrive to Backup Your iOS Camera 
    9. Engaging Learners with MS Forms 
    10. Five OneDrive Tips You Can’t Live Without 
    11. Designing Minecraft Spaces 
    12. Multimedia ELL Assessment 
    13. Minecraft: Education Edition Tutorial Videos 
    14. Visualizing Our Understanding with Graphic Organizers 
    15. Seven Keys to Blended Learning 
    16. Gamifying OneNote Learning 
    17. Podcasting with Microsoft Sway
    18. Shifting the Conversation: Basic Tech Skills 
    19. No More Death by Powerpoint 
    20. Transform Learning with Text to Speech
    21. Get Organized: Productivity Tips for OneNote 
    22. Creating Worlds of Tomorrow 
    23.  It’s Microsoft Morphing Time
    24. Moviemaker is Dead; Long Live Story Remix
    25. Windows 10 Tips & Tricks
    26. Enhancing Parental Access with OneNote Class Notebook
    27. Remix the 5E Model with PBL and Technology 
    28. Farewell Docs.com, Hello Enhanced OneNote, Forms, etc.
    29. Microsoft Classroom Assignments 
    30. Virtual Space Construction Workers 
    31. Saving High School Seniors’ Work  
    32. Collaborative Projects in PBL
    33. Securing Data in Cloud Storage
    34. Tablet Trek: Tablets in the Classroom
    35. New Powerpoint Translator Makes Captioning Possible 
    36. Get Current on Tech Learning  
    37. Teaching Digital Media
    38. Checklists: Scaffolding Metacognitive Awareness 
    39. HyperNotes? Use Hyperdocs with OneNote
    40. Creative Commons: Make OER Simple 
    41. TCEA’s New Minecraft Certification Course (Level 1)
    42. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Moviemaker Lives 
    43. Creating Six-Word Memoirs 
    44. MS Office Goes Chrome, er, Android 
    45. Twitter Takeaways: OneNote Class Notebook — Scheduled for publication 12/12/17
    46. Our 2017 Microsoft Resource Roundup — Scheduled for publication 12/27/17

    Google (26)

    1. New Chromebook Features
    2. Free G Suite Curriculum 
    3. Forms Smackdown: Google vs Microsoft
    4.  Beautify and Protect Your Virtual Home: Google Chrome
    5. Transform Learning with Text to Speech
    6. Phishing Attack: Evil Google Email
    7. Connect with Google Certified Administrators 
    8. Podcasting Resources
    9. Saving High School Seniors’ Work   
    10. Managing All Your Email
    11. New Google Sites ePortfolios 
    12.  Securing Data in Cloud Storage
    13. Tablet Trek: Tablets in the Classroom
    14. Get Current on Tech Learning 
    15. Research Tools for Young Learners  
    16. Teaching Digital Media 
    17. Empower Learners with Hyperdocs 
    18. Checklists: Scaffolding Metacognitive Awareness
    19. Hyperdrawings with Joli Boucher 
    20. Creative Commons: Make OER Simple 
    21. Math Tools for Chrome 
    22. Digital Whiteboard Solutions 
    23. Provide Custom Email Updates for Parent Communications 
    24. Three Tips for Google Suites Updates
    25. Twitter Takeaways: Five Google Tips 
    26. Animated GIFs: Education in Motion

    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

    Artful Angles Engage

    The older I get, the more discriminating I am when it comes to books and articles I read. I hate spending a single minute on a story that’s going nowhere. Yet, just yesterday, I stumbled onto a piece about writing that made me sit up and take notice. Instead of the usual disdain for a long piece of writing appearing online, I found myself re-reading it, like a condemned man reading a religious tract on salvation.

    Once you have a good angle, the actual writing is a snap, because you know what to put in and what to leave out. In fact, once you have an angle, what often follows is the easiest thing in the world to write: a list.

     Adair Lara’s Find an Angle to Bring Your Subject to Life caught my eye with this quote:

    While children are dogs, loyal and affectionate, teenagers are cats. When you tell them to come inside, they look amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor.

    Thank you, Adair, for coaching. I’m going to keep a copy of your article near my desk and next time I write a longer blog entry, I’ll try these tips out! Thanks so much! The whole article is an ode to having an angle in your writing. Adair offers a few other tips that I’m going to make a note of here so I don’t lose them:

    • Setup: Start with the opposite of where your piece will end
    • Make unlikely comparisons: .”..unlikely comparisons keep your audience tuned in because they want to see just how similar these otherwise dissimilar ideas are.”
    • Highlight conflict or change with opposing viewpoints.  “…write about a quirk of yours—something you always do, never do, love to do or hate to do.”
    •  Highlight divisions or categories. “…dividing people into unusual categories”
    • Contrast tone and subject: “Write about something you hate as if you love it, or vice versa”
    • Be topical, hijack the news of the day (great advice for bloggers!)

    Now, rather than skim a piece, my eye wanders the lead with a simple question: What’s the angle?


    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

    AL DíA: Free eBook: DIY vs Managed Cloud Hosting

    Check out a free ebook from Lambda Solutions. What intrigued me about the book was how closely it aligned with some of my own experiences hosting a learning management system in my own school district. Some of my takeaways for doing that included server setup (not a big deal in a large school district, but smaller districts, what a headache at first), maintenance and security updates, and ensuring I kept up with what I needed to know to maintain it.

    Many organizations that choose DIY hosting do so because they have an infatuation with owning innovative technologies that drive business forward. Having industry standard, cutting edge hosting, requires a significant commitment to stay ahead of the curve (aka, your competitors). In the business of hosting this entails spending significant time learning new technologies and researching/ buying the latest equipment.

    In the end, my experiences as a Director of Technology taught me a valuable lesson–outsource whenever possible. You can hold someone else accountable for all the challenges, and be more nimble about transitioning to better solutions. And, even better, you don’t have to maintain the “server farm” (virtual or not).


    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