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I love my job. Period. I dig in and really get involved. Unfortunately, I also lose track of time. And with amount of work I need to do on a daily basis, this is not a good thing. It fouls up the flow of not only myself but all the other people in my department that count on me. Something needed to change (mostly me).

So, I resolved to find a solution. And what a simply elegant solution it is too: an eggtimer for my iGoogle.

Without going into the various merits of the plethora of personal homepages (i.e. mashup) available, let’s just go with iGoogle for the moment. If you don’t have a personal homepage, feel free to check out iGoogle. If you already have a gmail account, try logging on with that to see if you already have access to it. You can then go under Tools>Options>Main and set it as your homepage (FireFox).

iGoogle has a variety of gadgets that can be added to the homepage. The one that has worked so well for me is called Timer by Poturi.

Timer by Poturi for iGoogle

Timer by Poturi for iGoogle

You input the amount of time you want to use and it counts down for you. When it gets to zero, not only will it flip back to your home page from whatever webpage you were on, the browser will flash, a small pop up will appear, and it plays a sweet little “tingaling”.

Let’s just say that it gets your attention.

Why not use an real honest to goodness egg timer? Mostly because I don’t have one. And since I’m on the computer quite a bit, this works really well for me. I stop what I’m doing and move onto the next item on my ever growing “To Do” list (for which I use “Remember the Milk” but that’s another Tip!).

Do you have any WAHM tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Creating characters, directing their lives, dreaming up new and interesting places for them to visit has always appealed to me.

However, I’ve always found it a daunting task. It is a lot of work to write a novel. I have every bit of respect for authors who can put stories together (and do it well).

But I still want to write a novel. Just not by myself. So I thought it might be fun to create (and cool to watch unfold) a wiki for a community written novel.

Anyone can sign up for the wiki and then add a word, sentence, page, graphic, etc. to the novel. I don’t care what your particular skills are. I firmly believe that each of us has a spark of creativity inside. Some just burn brighter than others. It’s still there, though.

Anyway, think of it as a great social experiment, if you will.

I invite you to come and get your creative juices flowing over at Once Upon a Time: A Wiki Novel. You’ll have fun. I promise.

Interesting white paper on podcasting in education. Apparently, audio only podcasting for review purposes serves students much better than lecture-type audio recordings. In particular, RSS feeds make it much more likely that students will download the podcasts and listen to them.

Reviewing lectures is a great study tool. It isn’t, however, a replacement for attending class or interacting with other students, whether they attend online, f2f, blended, or otherwise.

Download the original whitepaper, Teaching with Technology White Paper: Podcasting.

Consensus: Podcasting Has No ‘Inherent’ Pedagogic Value

 

Told through the hilarious adventures of a new avatar, this “how to” guide is a great read in addition to being a well written and informed intro to Second Life.

Be warned, this PDF file is a big download (about 7 MB).

SecondLife Drama

You can file this one under the “what the hell was he thinking” category:

A flash drive with information on about 8,000 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students was lost by a mathematics professor while on vacation in Madagascar, the Corpus Christi Caller reported.

The flash drive may hold Social Security numbers and other information for students of all classifications and majors enrolled during the spring, summer, and fall of 2006, according to Marshall Collins, assistant vice president for marketing and communications at the university.

The drive was owned by Department of Mathematics Chairman Blair Sterba-Boatwright, who took it with him on a two-week vacation and discovered it was missing as he was packing to go home, Collins told the Caller.

University administrators notified via e-mail students whose information may have been compromised. A university investigation is pending and will begin early next week led by Interim Provost Robert O. Kirby.

Paul McCloskey, “TAMU Corpus Christi Prof Loses Flash Drive With 8,000 Student Records,” Campus Technology, 6/18/2007, http://www.campustechnology.com/article.aspx?aid=48635

Apparently, Sterba-Boatwright was evaluating student performance in mathematics while on vacation. First off, it was a vacation. The entire point is to NOT work.

Secondly, what possible reasoning could have justified taking that much sensitive info out of the country and then NOT returning with it?  Apparently, he thought it had been erased. Uh huh. Like 8,000 files on a flash drive isn’t noticeable when viewed on the computer while working on vacation in Madagascar.

Maybe I’m being harsh. Goodness knows that I work at odd hours and on my days off. But, and here’s the difference between us I guess, if I’m going to take the time to go to an entirely different country for two whole weeks to relax on vacation, I’m NOT going to be taking any kind of electronic devices with me, except maybe my cell phone. But that’s just me.

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