Oops, I did it again.

So my blog and I have had a love-hate relationship. Earlier this week, I just went to pop into to check on one thing, and got a white screen of death from WordPress. It was a variable passing error or something crazy. It did give me a list of the file that was causing the error. It was apparently part of the theme that I had installed.  I’m not sure what happened to cause the error, but I had updated a few things a few days earlier, so maybe something broke during those updates. At any rate, I couldn’t even access the login page directly via URL. I was pretty much scuppered. So after I got home from work, I tackled it again. In the end, out of frustration, I went in via FTP and simply deleted the entire folder for the theme. I didn’t know if that would completely destroy the site or not, but I was out of options. When I went to the direct URL for the login page, I was presented with the familiar WordPress login screen. Hooray! I logged in, and was immediately met with a message that the ‘current theme was broken’ and that WP had automatically reverted to a default theme. Since I had deleted the other theme, being ‘broken’ was a bit of an understatement, but I appreciate the effort. 

So I learned to be more careful how and when I update things. I do have backups made of the site, but had no idea how to start with a reinstall, so I’m much happier with this result. I think I’ll stick with the default theme for now. It’s simple and clean. I just put my own header pic on it, and that’ll do. Until the next time I break something. 

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Security Woes

You know how you have things that you mean to do, and you keep putting off? Yeah. I’ve been meaning to beef up some of my account security with new passwords and stuff. It was on my list of things to do for the end of the year. But, as luck would have it, I was forced I to an early change. Somehow, on the night of the 25, someone accessed my email account from Albuquerque New Mexico. Since, I’ve never been to NM. It sure wasn’t me. Guess it was a wrong turn at Albuquerque. The hacker/bot then proceeded to email a ton of people some spam mail with links and phishing things.

So, after being notified by the ever vigilant @dougpete, I quickly changed passwords, the assessed what damage had been done. I also updated security on my email and other accounts.

Lesson learned. Never put it off.

And I apologize to anyone who got the spam from my account. It shouldn’t happen again.

Upgrading blues

I saw recently that WordPress had released a major upgrade to version 3.5. But I hadn’t bothered to upgrade my site until just yesterday. I noticed that Dean Shareski had tweeted that he noticed some things had seemed to be not working on his site after the upgrade. I took a look at my site, and lo and behold, had the same issues. The updated Media Uploader button won’t work, and the ability to toggle from WYSIWYG editing to Text/HTML editing wasn’t working either.

So, off the the WordPress forums I went, and found that a number of folks had the same issue. After some digging through some posts and very technical information to try and troubleshoot it, I found a post where they suggested disabling ALL the plugins on the site, and seeing if that fixed it. Then turning them back on one at a time to see which one broke everything.

I don’t use a lot of plugins, but I do have a few for my widgets and stuff on the sidebar, spam protector etc… So, when I turned them all off, the site worked, and I was able to regain all functionality.  So I started turning the plugins back on one by one, and then trying a test post in draft to see if it worked. I finally found that the plugin I was using to display Flickr images in the sidebar was the one that made everything stop working. So now, I’m on the hunt for a new Flickr widget. Any suggestions?

As I was troubleshooting this, and going through a logical, step-by-step procedure it struck me how I didn’t really even think about how to approach the problem, I just did it. I guess having a basic programming understanding and some logical troubleshoot skills comes in handy. I wonder if everyone would have approached this problem the same way?

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Echos of #ecoo11

It’s been a few days now since the end of #ecoo11. It was quite possibly the best conference experience I’ve had. The 3 days were filled with learning, laughing and conversations with some of the smartest and most dedicated educators I’ve ever met. I’m not sure that I can do justice to things that are in my head, but I thought I’d try to add a few highlights to those that have been made already.

Highlights List

  • Presenting sessions with the likes of @danikabarker and @ITnorma (who was generous enough to fill in as co-host for our recording of This Week in Science and Education podcast)
  • Attending sessions with folks like @shannoninottawa, @gcouros (via Skype), @pmcash and of course keynotes @willrich45 and @snbeach
  • Thanks to the organization skills of @aforgrave, jamming in the glassed-in fishbowl-like area on Friday night with @kevinhoneycutt and @waltguitar
  • Hearing the results of that jam later on #ds106radio
  • Sharing a Minds on Media station with @techguy1717 as we explored Photoshop and other tools to work with images
  • The general feeling of community and fun that pervaded the entire conference.

Of course, you can’t post a bit about ECOO11 without thanking all the organizers (and there were a lot!)  Particular thanks and hugs to @brendasherry and @peterskillen for their inspiration and perspiration for the year leading up to it.

As for those echos, there are projects beginning that saw their birth around tables and over coffees in the rooms and halls of ECOO11. I think that we’ve realized that only having a few days of these conversations is not enough, so things are cooking up that will enable them to continue and lead us right back into ECOO12.

Can’t wait to see what happens next. And I’m not talking about next year. Keep your eyes peeled for the newly minted Critical Thinking Chat on Twitter (#CTChat) courtesy @taniasterling and @digitalnative 

Oh, and there will be Edupunk.

#ecoo Guitar Jam

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End of a (Short) Era

The Daily Shoot ended last week. For those that don’t know, Daily Shoot was a photography club of sorts. They would post a daily challenge for photographers to attempt. We’d go out, find something that was related to the challenge, and take pictures.  I started it on January 1st, 2010 as a way to attempt to do a 365 project, whereby I’d do one particular thing every day for an entire year.  It was sometimes a hassle, and often the picture was a stretch of the assignment (to say the least), but I did it for the entire year.  It was so much fun that I continued on in 2011 and haven’t missed an assignment since I started. 

Here was my first shot from January 1, 2010.2010/365 Jan 1

After that, I went 649 days in a row taking a photograph and uploading it to the Dailyshoot site. Well, uploading it to Flickr, and then tweeting it to the Daily Shoot site.

Last week, the curators of the site announced that they could no longer manage to maintain the site, and were shutting it down. I was both a little sad, and happy.  Sad that I no longer had the daily kick in the pants to make a purposeful photograph, and happy that I was now free to take shots everyday that I wanted to take.  I will admit that in the course of the (almost) 2 years, I’ve learned a ton about taking pictures, connected with lots of great photographers (and people) via the Flickr community.  None of that would have happened unless I took the leap and started the 365 Daily Shoot project.

I’m now looking for other projects, and have already found several that I will join and continue to shot pictures each and every day.

Thanks Daily Shoot! We’ll miss you, but you did well.

Concerns Based Adoption

I’m working on a project where we are going to be gathering input from our teachers around the rollout of our 1:1 laptop program. I dug through some papers from my MEd program, as I had looked at the CBAM model in one of my classes. I found this paper that I wrote, and don’t think I posted it at the time, but thought I’d share it now.  It’s  discussion of a research article (PDF) on CBAM.

Teacher Concerns During Initial Implementation of a One-to-One Laptop Initiative at the Middle School Level.

This article discusses using the CBAM model to assess the concerns that teachers may have with respect to their participation in a program that provided both teachers and students with laptops in a one to one ratio.   I selected this article because it’s something that exactly mirrors a project we have in our school district right now, as we are rolling out a project that will result in all teachers getting laptops, and we are considering a CBAM approach to dealing with some of the upfront concerns that teachers will have.   In addition, this kind of approach could lead to different ideas around professional development.

The results show that teachers have widely varying concerns as was expected, and that most of those concerns were in the Self and Task levels of the model, which in my opinion was not surprising. They were mostly concerned with how the program would impact them personally in terms of the teaching, and how they would ‘manage’ the classroom with the change in technology as well as integrate it. I find this to be spot on with my personal observations about teachers and technology in the classroom. Whether its the concern over how to modify their existing planning to include tech, or personal concerns about not knowing enough about the technology they are implementing, it’s the kind of thing that slows or prevents many changes.

In terms of the use of the CBAM model in this case, it was useful to assess the various things that teachers where struggling with. But as this was an academic research article, I was left wondering if there were any actual actions taken by the administration or support staff to help support these teachers and alleviate some of their concerns. In the discussion, the author mentions implications of the research and that recommendations were made to the administration to support the teachers, but there was no mention of whether or not this happened.  They did mention that follow up studies should be undertaken to ascertain if there was a shift in the concerns that were originally identified.

The most fascinating aspect of the paper was in the conclusion where it was stated:

Prior research implies that the use of technology in some way encourages this shift toward more student-centered or constructivist classrooms. In other words, the technology causes the shift. An alternative explanation is that the introduction of a one-to-one computing initiative requires a shift toward student-centered practices.”

Isn’t that interesting? The introduction of an innovation like laptops may actual cause or require a shift in pedagogy to a more student-centered classroom.  Could that be the source of some of the resistance as well?

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Donovan, L., Hartley K., and Strudler, N.  (2007). Teacher concerns during initial implementation of a one-to-one laptop initiative at the middle school level. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 39(3). 263-286

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WordPress iOS

Hey, I like it. I just updated the WordPress iOS app on my iPad, and I’m trying it out. I’ve got my external Bluetooth keyboard going, because I really don’t do very well typing on the iPad. It’s ok for a quick tweet or two, but I much prefer a real keyboard. WordPress just updated their app, and I thought I’d give it a whirl. I like that they made a few things much easier than their previous version. We can now bold words very easily, as well as other tasks like making a link to an outside page. I know a little bit of HTML, enough to get by, but not having to think about it makes life much easier with this.

20110925-211022.jpg I think it has always handled images ok, but I pulled one of my library to upload and see what it look like and how it deals with it. If you blog, and have a WordPress blog and an iOS device, it might be worth updating your app, or getting it for the first time to give a try.

Third Times a Charm…

Well. I’m back. I’ve learned a bit about WordPress security, and have done a few things that I hope will prevent another problem.

We shall see.

I’ve not imported the posts from the last install, as I’m a bit gun shy at the moment. Small moves.