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Stop Cyberbullying Day March 31, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in stopcyberbullying.
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andy   My online colleague, Andy Carvin, who does not know me (but should) declared Friday, March 30, to be Stop Cyberbulying Day and asked, through his blog, what we were doing to raise awareness about Cyberbullying.

Well, I’ll tell you Andy, I drove two hours up to Phoenix to speak at the inaugural conference of the Arizona Professors of Educational Administration. This group is a subdivision of a national group, NCPEA.

My talk covered the basics of Web 2.0 and School 2.0 then veered quickly off into the many social networking tools that school administrators should be conscious of if not regularly using.

We eventually got to the horror stories. I showed the Star Wars kid video. I showed the Angry Teacher in New Jersey caught on a camera phone. I told them about online tools in virtual environments that can take over your avatar and cause it to act provocatively and potentially embarrass students. I told them stories about students taking photos of classmates in restrooms then posting them online before the student had even flushed. This recently happened in Cave Creek, Arizona, so it hit home.

Then I shared with them the fork in the road at which we are all standing. Do we, as Superintendents, shut down school sites to web mail? Do we shut out access to MySpace and Facebook? Do we clamp down on every aspect of the Read/Write web that make us uncomfortable?

Or do we do as, for example, Eisenhower Middle School, that set up a course for students in Grade Six to discuss ethics and cyberbullying? Do we use our roles as educational leaders, which is what Principals and Superintendents are, to actually lead, teach, and engage students on how to address these technological changes?
By the time I left for the drive back to Tucson, I believe I had planted some seeds of common sense in the minds of some people who can make a difference.

How’s that, Andy?


Going to MI March 27, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in General Comment.

emu   Today I made it official with the College of Education and announced to the Dean that I was going to accept the Letter of Offer from Eastern Michigan University‘s Department of Teacher Education. I had a great time visiting EMU a month ago, despite the cold and the one morning of “freezing fog.”

Those I had the pleasure of meeting at EMU were devoted to their field and concerned about the development of the students in their charge. I am looking forward to being part of their extended family.

I took some time to look around Saline and parts of Ann Arbor to get a sense of real estate prices. On the last day, the houses I looked at were all shrouded in fog and looked isolated and alone. However, earlier in the week, when it was sunny, the town looked like a happy and warm little place. Everywhere I looked I was reminded of growing up in my little town in Ontario.

My wife and daughter are excited about the impending move. There are some plusses. My wife can continue to work on forensic accounting thanks to FedEx. My daughter will get an extra long summer because schools start later in that state. Our whole family will get to experience turning leaves, rain, snow, wet and fragrant spring, and humid summer. I am looking forward to that. We will also be only a three hour drive from my parents, sisters, and nephews back in Ontario.

Now that I can speak more freely about the move to Michigan, I can begin to write more about the job and the technology challenges and successes that face teachers and schools in that state.

I Am a TechHead March 22, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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techhead Hello, everybody. My name is Michael and I am a Tech Head.

Hello, Michael.

Today, I saw a message was waiting for me on my telephone. I could have pressed, at most, seven keys and heard the message without lifting the headset but instead I opened my e-mail where the telephone message was sent as a .wav attachment and was sitting in my mail queue.

For some reason, it is way cooler to listen to your voicemail as an e-mail attachment. It’s like making tea on a Coleman stove on top of a mountain. Same tea, but way better because you made it on a mountain. If you don’t get that then move along, there’s nothing to see here.

Earlier in the day, a Vista patch knocked out my sound driver (again) so, even though I could have listened to the voicemail on my telephone, something easily accomplished, I searched for a patch, downloaded and installed it and restarted my computer, using perhaps fifteen minutes worth of time and energy.

That surely must make me a Tech Head.

Where’s Michael? March 12, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
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gag   A few people have recently asked me why my daily blog entries have vanished. The answer is frustrating and simple, but not frustratingly simple. I have found that some of the most interesting things I do these days are proprietary, private, or personal.

Proprietary. I have been asked to help with a project that involves virtual reality, the local Science Center, and a team of really bright folks. The problem is that they are applying for some big grant money from an organization I am not at liberty to talk about to fund a project whose centerpiece is a tool that I am also not at liberty to discuss. You see? Proprietary projects have shut down one avenue of sharing.

Private. I review employees, observe programs, and review grant applications for large multi-national corporations and since most, if not all, of that information is private I have to safeguard it from disclosure. I recently interviewed for a faculty position in Michigan and would love to share insights into that process but since I have not yet heard from them I have to show a little restraint and not muddy the process. I don’t know if the search committee reads my bloggings.

Personal. We all deal with inner demons and work through life lessons and although I would love to share my inner workings with readers whom I know and do not know, I have limits. My own inner stressors are mine and a blog is no place for them.

So what’s left? Right now, not too much. But I tell you what. When I come across some interesting software or web site, I will fill you in.