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Chris selected as K12OnlineConference keynote speaker Each year the K12OnlineConference provides tremendous professional development for free, and entirely online. This year, they have selected me as one of their keynote speakers. I am thrilled to have been chosen and look forward to participating in the conversation. Read the full post announcing all the keynote speakers here.

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Two quick links on Cognitive Load Theory I've been fielding lots of questions lately about Cognitive Load Theory. Here are two quick links that may be useful. First is an article talking about the practical implications of CLT on the design of learning. The second are some "recent" (as of 2003) developments regarding CLT. Happy reading! Update: I clarified the second...

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Practical advice on kids and Android app development After hearing about my students' success developing an Android app, I've gotten several emails asking for more details as to how I practically worked with my kids. Here are some pointers that I offered to the first person that emailed me, perhaps they are of some use to you. Please note that your mileage may vary. It's ok to not be...

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Publishing an App Inventor app to the Android Market As I mentioned earlier, my students and I published an Android app to the Android Market. See those links for more information on the background. This post is decidedly technical. First, once we finished the coding process, we packaged the app for to download to the computer. This is an option in App Inventor. This downloaded an .apk file....

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Designing and publishing an Android app with kids This post is designed to provide some context around how/why we decided to build this app. The more technical details of the code and how we published it will come in a future post. My students and I recently completed and published an Android app, and here's how we did it. First, the genesis for this goes back to a question I asked...

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Schedule Google Voice calls in Google Calendar with GVCallScheduler

Category : General

UPDATE: I just tried this again and it works fine (as of November 9, 2011). One change from the instructions below. If you are getting the Hello World message, you likely added a new application using Google App Engine Launcher (a program you install in the instructions). To fix this, simply click Add an Existing Application and browse to where you unzipped and edited the files. Then deploy. Happy calling!

I often find myself wishing I could schedule phone calls using my Google Voice account. If this were possible, I would not have to worry about being at the particular phone that has the Caller ID my caller anticipates. For example, let’s say I want to schedule a call with my dissertation advisor/mentor. In his phone, the number that is saved for me is my Google Voice number. This is partly so that I can easily record calls with him since there is so much dense information being discussed. He has agreed to allow me to do that any time, and Google Voice has a pleasant warning that call recording has begun.

Since he is a busy professor, we often schedule calls around his flexibility. Let’s say we wanted to schedule a call for a certain time one afternoon. This means that I have to remember, usually with some sort of calendar reminder. This is easily accomplished by using the reminders in Google Calendar. But what if Google Calendar could dial the number for me, too? That would make things a bit easier and my life a bit more productive.

Enter GVCallScheduler. GVCallScheduler allows you to do just that. You enter a certain code with the number to be called, and it initiates the Google Voice call for you at the scheduled time. So now instead of me having to manually dial my professor’s number at the designated time, the call happens automatically. Easy!

Here is how to install GVCallScheduler:

(NB: All links open in a new window to make it easier to work on it while not losing this page)

1. Sign up for an account with Google App Engine. This should be as easy as entering your existing Google account password.

2. Create a new application by clicking create an application.

3. Name your application something memorable, and write down the name.

4. Download the Google App Engine SDK (Software Developer Kit) for Python. Make sure you download the Python one, not Java. Download whichever one works for your computer, be it Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. The rest of this post uses Mac OS X as an example but the instructions do not differ for either other OS. You need to install the software also. You’ll need this later on.

5. Download the latest GVCallScheduler code.

6. Unzip the zip file. I unzipped it into a folder on my desktop to make it easy.

7. Open the folder and edit the file called config. The file will appear not to have a file extension. That’s ok, we need it that way. On Mac OS X I used Textedit to edit it. On Windows, I used Notepad or Notepad ++. Any of the above are fine, just make sure it does not append a file extension when you finish editing. Here are two screenshots to help you see a better explanation and an exemplar. (click to make them larger)

8. Edit the file app.yaml making sure to enter the exact name of your new app. This is what I told you to write down in step 3. Enter only the name, not the rest (i.e. if you named it coolcalls, enter just that. DO NOT ENTER coolcalls.appspot.com).

9. Minimize your web browser. Open the Google App Engine SDK. You installed this in step 4. Your screen will look something like this.

10. Click File -> New Application. Name the app the same name you called it earlier when you created it online. Click Choose to navigate to the folder you unzipped in step 6.

11. Click Deploy on the Google App Engine SDK main screen. You should see a terminal window (or cmd window) running commands. This takes a minute or so. Be patient.

12. Visit your app page by typing in http://YOURAPPNAME.appspot.com – you will need to authorize it once.

13. Refresh your app page (YOURAPPNAME.appspot.com) and it should say “GVScheduler is up and running – OK…”

Making it work

Now that you have it set up, we need to walk through how to schedule calls.

Simply add a calendar event at whatever time you want the call to originate. Add this phrase to either the title or description.

GVCall=phonenumber

In this format GVCall=18035551212

You will notice my screenshot doesn’t use that, but it’s a good idea.

So that’s how to schedule calls with GVCallScheduler! Good luck. If something doesn’t work, read the directions again. If it does work, let me know in the comments.


Phone booth image credit Mike Cattrell.

Presentation to Educators in Mexico

Category : General

I recently gave a presentation to a group of technology-learning educators in Mexico through a program called Jornadas Tic. Here is the video of the presentation, if you are interested.

II JornadasTIC Chris Craft from Mayeutic on Vimeo.

Webminar: Tutoría online con aplicaciones 2.0

links for 2010-03-19

Category : Feeds

  • CapSee is a small utility that lets you see when you bump the caps lock key. Identical to the built-in Mac OS notification bezels, like volume and screen brightness, CapSee presents a bezel whenever you enable caps lock… preventing the accidental caps lock forever!

What do kids need to know upon leaving 6th grade?

Category : General

I’ve been thinking a lot this year about what I should teach kids. After a quick chat with my buddy Nic Finelli I have changed my thinking to where it likely needs to be.

What do I want my kids to know (or be able to do) when they leave 6th grade?

I am thinking this particularly in terms of technology. I know what I want them to do in my Spanish and Latin classes.

But what about tech?

So I turn that question to you.

What should a 6th grader know and/or be able to do when they leave 6th grade?

I am staring down the barrel of a cool new opportunity for the next school year. So this is more than just theoretical, I need to be able to answer this question effectively. So help me out, eh?

Schoolwide announcement system

Category : Educational Technology

My school has installed a few projectors and televisions in spots around the school and wants to put it to use. And I need help.

They are looking for an online service (so they can show to the public as well) that would allow multiple users to add announcements. These may be as simple as a social event coming up or a congratulations for a student. They would also like to have curricular review mixed in.

I can’t think of a good way that would allow multiple users to add to the system. Do you know of a way to accomplish this?

Thanks in advance…

My daughter interviews an Australian

Category : General

I am interested in the nature of global connections. That should not come as a shock if you know me.

Yesterday, my daughter came home interested in Australia. It turns out her teacher’s mother came in to talk about Australia. Evidently she has traveled there.

Being an American (and overly US-centric I admit) I had no answers to her questions. I suppose I had to options.

1. Find the answers myself and give them to her.

2. Let her ask someone who would know.

I reached out to Jason Hando, who lives in Sydney, Australia. Jason and I met a few years ago online as we were exploring the educational uses of Second Life. Jason ended up being a critical part of the building of Life Round Here.

Jason happened to be available so we Skyped. I recorded the interview and sent it to my daughter’s teacher. She was floored and plans to show it to her class and perhaps beyond. Here is the interview if you care to watch. It’s about 8 minutes.