Mapping Out An Apple Vanguard Group




An exciting part of  the Apple Academy I attended in June is the chance to create and nurture an Apple Vanguard Group at our school. I have been working on how to organize, promote, and manage something like this so it is manageable and enticing for my colleagues.

I happen to get a message from Mindmeister yesterday with a notice about the new Mindmeister Academy so I took a few moments to go through the fundamentals course. I had to create a map as I proceeded so I created the one below. Mindmeister is an awesome tool as it works on any device and offers collaboration. I want to promote the use of it more to our students and teachers as there is power in mapping your thoughts.

I have embedded it here in what is called the Presentation mode which to me is much like a non-dramamine needed version of Prezi.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

Both a GET and an AFT with NDAs

GoogleEducationTrainer badge RGB       AAcertficate200 


My summer is off to a great start already. Over the last 7 months I worked at becoming a Google Education Trainer and last week I attended Apple Academy in Cupertino, CA. I met some great people at the Academy and learned a lot about providing professional development with colleagues instead of at colleagues. While at the Apple Academy, I learned I had been accepted into the Google Education Trainer program. As I was only blocks away from Apple HQ, and using Apple equipment, I did not mention it to anyone by Pete who I instantly connected with when I got to the hotel. I had to tell someone and besides my wife, I figured he as a safe bet.

I signed the NDA (Non-Discloure Agreement) with Google on Thursday and another one with Apple on Friday to make the week a real twofer. I am so excited to be recognized by both of these leading companies who are using the wealth of resources to move education forward. I look forward to helping Durham Academy do even more with Apple’s products as I am limited to using the wealth of curriculum they provided with just my school. I plan to start an Apple Vanguard Group at school. I also know we can harness the tools and resources Google offers for Durham Academy and I am willing to work with other schools to help them as well. This is expected of me as an authorized Google Education Trainer. I have already worked with a few other schools and non-profits through my new consulting business Digital Karl and look forward to more learning opportunities. 

Apple Academy Bound

Image from

I will be spending the next week in Cupertino, CA just across the road from Apple, Inc. headquarters in an intense workshop where I will learn about all things Apple. I will be able to bring all of this knowledge and curriculum back to my school to help train my colleagues and school. The chance to attend is a great honor as I had to apply to be accepted. Actually, I had to be invited to even apply so a tip of the hat to my Apple Representative; Tonia Aldridge for the invite. I plan to absorb as much as I can about not only the technology but also the motivational approach to take with helping our school leverage all of the resources we have at our finger tips.

My plan is to create an iBook based on my iPad Passport Google site so my students and teachers can have it on their iPad and not behind a log in screen since the actual site is private. This would also allow access without an internet connection. In preparation, I have been making a lot of videos as I have essentially needed to get ready for next year before I left for the academy.

Below is an example of one I made and if you want to view more, you can check out my YouTube channel.


Here is to a week of learning!

Happy 30th Birthday Mac


For those of you older then 30, today was a big day in terms of the history of the computer. 30 years ago today, The Macintosh Computer was introduced leading to a drastic change in how we use computers and other forms of technology. For those of you under 30, this is the foundation that lead to the marvels you hold in your hands today.

Where will the next 30 years take us, and what part will you play in shaping it?

Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh which shows his marketing and presentation genius.


This American Lie

Retraction | This American Life 1

I feel really bad for the entire This American Life crew who were taken in by the story teller Mike Daisey and his fabricated monologue which morphed into a highly touted journalistic report. Ira Glass does a nice job of talking us through the retraction and as I listened to it, I could hear his anger and sadness for having been manipulated. It is all so easy to get manipulated like this when we are faced with some facts that force us to face something that we had hoped to keep hidden both from view and from our collective conscious. You can read more about what was true and what was story by listening to both of the radio podcasts aired by This American Life. I listened to both on my Apple iPod as I too am a conflicted soul. I love the shiny devices and want to believe that we can keep getting new versions while also having no downsides. That is the fundamental point of consumerism and if we stop believing this, we will both hurt our economy while also appearing to be anti something.

January 6, 2012 show with Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

March 16, 2012 show with Retracting Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Apple does make great products and folks who use them, (me included) love them. This is not a zero-sum game in that we need raw materials to make them that must come from somewhere by someone’s effort. Do we all think that every particle that goes into a digital device has no adverse side effects? Or is it that we no longer care or contemplate where our “stuff” comes from as all we can think about is the desire to have it and how soon can we get it?

I have no answer to these questions, but believe we must give voice, like This American Life and Mike Daisey, have tried in their own way. We are all connected globally by these devices so I think we should connect mentally as well. When you get a new device that was manufactured by someone, think about what their life may be like. How it helps your life is important as well but not the only equation to consider.

Apple is trying to both make great products while also improving the lives of workers who build the devices while trying to improve their lives. They are being more transparent with audit information. How about other vendors who also use Foxconn? How about the Chinese government?

Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball does a great job of tearing apart Mike Daisey’s story and his recent admissions on how what he did is not so bad.

We should also remember our history as this type of selective memory has happened before and will happen again. While trains are not what they used to be, they certainly changed the course of America in the 1850s. I seem to remember that even then we had Chinese workers doing some building for us.




Consider Me a Crazy One

FlickrCC  jobs

I sent this message to all teachers at my school this morning and thought I would share it here as well.

I wanted to thank Durham Academy as an institution along with Sheppy Vann and Ed Costello publicly for sending me and others to hear Steve Jobs speak at past MacWorld conferences. His company has impacted my teaching in ways I could never have imagined when I first used his technology in 1993.

I have always liked this message from one of their ad campaigns and I think it is a worthy view of how we look at our students and school.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

The Crazy Ones. Wikipedia. October 6, 2011. [].

The world is emptier today for those of us who push the clouds.

Thanks Steve and Apple employees.


Is it a Toy? Is it a Bird? No it is a iPad



I have been part of a group of teachers who are looking at the iPad to investigate how our students could learn with them. I love it and see benefits, but think I agree more with these two blog posts. I am guilty of promoting cool tools without working as hard to adjust the teaching styles or the learning environments. Does a SMARTBoard on the wall make the learning different by itself? Is it transformational or just easier to control the computer?

I shared these links with our crew as I have yet to answer the deeper question of how will my students learn differently with this device? Is the iPad the best tool to put in the hands of students? While I like my iPad a lot, I have wondered how I would teach my class if each student only had that device. I think this is an important question to answer before or if we take a leap. I could teach some of what I do now but not the “heavier” lifting topics. For instance, no VoiceThread due to lack of Flash support. Creation is limited or at best restricted and I believe learners need to be creating more and consuming less.

Cathy Davidson has a great post about the iPad and how it alone will not change anything if there is not also a change in learning and teaching style.  How would our students learn in new ways with this device? Could they learn more if they either had a laptop or a desktop?

Without the right pedagogy, without a significant change in learning goals and practices, the iPad’s potential is as limited (and limitless) as the child’s imagination.†† That’s great on one level–but it misses the real point of education as well as the full potential of the device.† What iPad and all forms of digital learning should do is help prepare kids for this moment of interactive, complex, changing communication that is our Information Age.† This is the historical moment† that these kids have inherited and will help to shape.† Are we preparing them for the challenges we all face together simply by spending our tax dollars on iPads?

Read all of her post at

I am not sure where we will go with iPads as there are still some hurdles to overcome with content creation. Would it be the best tool for all students or are there grade levels where it makes more sense and some grades where it makes less sense. I agree with Mark Belinsky.

“But the iPad will leave students between a computer and a hard place. Indeed, it is a third device. And one that I’m quite fond of. But it’s a poor substitute for computer learning”…. It’s not that I want to deprive young students of these experiences, but when I think of the potential for interactive curriculum, there is so much more than what the iPad can offer. And it can be delivered faster. While the lack of proper mutli-tasking might be good for focus, it certainly slows things down. When I’m researching for an article or a report, I have the virtual equivalent of having books and articles scattered across my desk. When I have several devices, I often do, relegating a content type to each device. Kids who are in the process of learning what the world has to offer don’t need to be doing so with the brakes on.

Read all of his post at: