Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Live Mesh: your files everywhere you want them

Here is some amazing software that every Computer Using Educator needs to install.

It is called Live Mesh Beta from Microsoft and the tag line on the website is 'Synchronizing life: sync, share and access the information you care about- wherever you happen to be.  There are so many possibilities with this software.  The feature list is so deep and I can't think of any other simple application that does so much.  

  1. Sync files between two or more computers.  LiveMesh uses any messenger account that you already have.  Once the client is installed your operating system will have an option to 'add folder to Live Mesh...'.  Selecting this option will start the sync process.  When you get to any other computer with live mesh installed the folder will be there but semi-transparent.  Clicking on the folder will allow you to select the location that you'd like the folder stored on that computer.  That's it, the folders are now synced between the computers.  Add a file, make a change and it is replicated across all computers.
  2. View files online.  This is an amazing feature.  Even when I'm not on one of my computers with LiveMesh installed I can still log into mesh.com to view and open my files.
  3. Share files.  Once you you have selected a folder to add to LiveMesh you can then invite other members to that folder.  You even have three permission levels of owners, contributors and readers.
  4. Remote control another computer.  There are lots of free applications such as VNC that allow remote desktop.  The challenge is knowing the IP address of each computer you want to connect to.  LiveMesh takes care of all this.  From the same website mesh.com, there is a tab called 'Devices'.  Simply select the device such as work laptop and click 'Connect'.  It is the same as sitting at that computer.  The interface is quite slow but this is useful for the times where you just need a file or information from another computer.
  5. Work on Mac and PC's.  While I haven't tested the Mac client there are lots of posts on the LiveMesh developers blog about how this works and information about the fixes they have put into place to get this running.  This is big progress for Microsoft to build an application that works right on a Mac.  Can someone test and let me know how it works?
  6. Lots of storage.  Even in the beta version there are 5Gb available.
If you are looking for resources and support, here is the getting started guide and an overview to read.

What uses have others found for Live Mesh?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What is your Professional Development Passion?

Big Ideas in this post:
  • Be singular in your Professional Development focus.
  • Professional development needs passioncommitment and accountability.
As educators, there are many areas of our practice that we would like to improve, change, revamp and even discard.  This is the time of year, during the final learning stretch before the summer break, that we think about our focus for the following year.  As educators, we take time to reflect and think about what worked with students, what to do more of and what to change.

Our district staff development department had a planning session with my favourite mentor Sharon Jeroski. I went away with a renewed belief that to have effective personal professional development, educators need to select one single focus, find a group of similarly minded educators that want to work together.  In other words, professional development needs passion, commitment and accountability.  There are always many aspects that we want to change but to be successful we need to focus on one singular item each year.  In our district, here are the broad topics for our action research learning teams that educators select as a focus of inquiry: assessment, critical thinking, diverse learners, ESL, french, healthy living, leadership, literacy, music, numeracy, social responsibility and technology.

We at the Computer Using Educators of BC hope that your focus includes the integration of technology into classroom instruction and that you will join us at our annual fall conference.  Our theme this year is "Turning the Classroom...on the Edge of 2.0".

Feel free to comment on this blog post.  What is one thing you would like to implement, tackle or take on next year?  What is one problem that you would like to change?  What significant thing would you like to accomplish?