Sunday, January 31, 2010

Making Books With Mixbook

My daughter who is in 6th grade was recently given an assignment to create a book about Korea chock full of facts. I happened to catch a glimpse of this book which was  about 3 pieces of paper cut in half the short way, stacked, folded, and stapled together. UGH. There has to be a better way.

I immediately thought of Mixbook and how that might be the perfect tool for this assignment. I showed it to my daughter and let her go to town. I think that the results were much better than what she had started. Not only does the final product stand out as an excellent piece of work but it was also a beneficial exercise for my daughter to start learning how to work with the gazillion free tools out there on the web. Here is the final product created by my daughter.

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

It goes to show that students today seem much more well suited for working with the technology. They appear to have a natural flair for it. It is too bad that the resources are not always available in our schools so that students can use these tools more often.

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and Printing

About two dozen new computers were purchased for folks in the office recently. We made the decision to move forward rather than hold back and ordered the machines with 4GB of RAM and the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Professional. We started deploying them last week and for the most part, things are coming along rather smoothly.

The only real issue that I have encountered so far (not a critical one) is that the printers are not always so easy to install. Tried installing through the print server (Server 2003) - Fail - tried installing through add a printer wizard - Fail - In both instances the computer failed to locate the drivers for the printer. The odd part is that the drivers are already pre-installed on the machine.

At this point, the work-around is to install the printer locally using a TCP/IP port. This way, I am prompted to choose the driver and can choose it from the list of pre-installed drivers - Success! For some reason, Windows 7 was not offering me the option to choose a driver but just gave me a fail message. Folks are printing for now so it is not a serious issue but a puzzle nonetheless. Perhaps it will be fixed in a future patch.

One interesting thing that is good for some discussion is that I had recently set up an old workstation with Ubuntu Server 9.10 and configured it as a print server. When I set the printers up on the Linux box and attempted to connect the new 64-bit Windows 7 machines to the printers via the Linux print server, it just worked! I admit that I was amazed. There is only one other Linux box in the building which is running on the Moodle server and does not really interact with any of the other machines. The Linux box performed superior in the Windows environment to Windows itself. Go figure?!

Well, anyway, no doubt that my windows print server needs to be upgraded to Server 2008. Perhaps that would be sufficient to fix my issues on this matter. That is another summer project to add to the list.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Blog Site!

The official launch of my new site. I am really going for the techie look and really loved this iPhone theme. I hope to share some thoughts and ideas on k12 education, technology, tips, tricks, curriculum, and just about anything related to technology and education in general.