SRP Leadership Conference – Saratoga

I had the privilege of meeting about 40 of New York State’s wonderful SRPs (School Related Professionals) this morning in Saratoga.  As is typical of our members, they were giving up a weekend to attend a conference and learn new skills and update their knowledge – to the betterment of students across the state.

My group this morning was amazing – they kept me busy with great questions, good attitudes, and a great sense of humor – thanks Dudes!

As promised, here is a copy of my presentation (minus some personal info about my family – I know you’ll understand) for you to copy, use, or whatever you wish.  Keep an eye on the Social Networking Links on the right side of this page for updated tutorials, videos, and how to’s regarding social networking sites – I’ll be updating this soon to cover Facebook’s new privacy changes last month.

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ED 39 Presentation – 6/4/2011

Had an excellent time with some new tweeps at the ED 39 meeting today (Desmond Hotel in Albany).  I promised a copy of the presentation (ED 39 Twitter-Presentation)  and a few other items:

Thanks again for your attention so early on a Saturday morning.

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Long Island Local President’s Conference – 5/25/11

I had a great time last night in Woodbury at the Long Island Local President’s Conference.  I spent the evening meeting some old friends, making some new ones, and talking about Social Media with Melinda Person from the NYSUT Legislative Department.  It was well worth the trip from Albany.  As promised, I’ve uploaded the Powerpoint slides we used and you can find the Social Networking links with tutorials and videos I mentioned on the right.  Thanks again for the invite!

Dave Adkins’ Presentation

Melinda Person’s Presentation

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Greetings: Professional Issues Forum on Health Care

Today I had the privilege of presenting to some great people at AFT Professional Issues Forum on Health Care  held at the Desmond Hotel in Albany.  The topic  – Electronic Communications: Ramifications of Social Networking.

Thanks again to the particpants, who were wonderfully attentive – even though it was a sunny Saturday and we were indoors! 

We had many good questions and I promised links for Social Networking and Facebook privacy settings.  Look to the right under “Resource Pages” and you’ll see the links!

Here is an updated link just for you!

Top 25 Facebook Apps for Healthcare Professionals

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More fun with a Flip Cam

Last month I wrote about using a flip cam for some simple video production (

I met some folks from WEAC (Wisconsin Education Association Council) Monday – and I visited them several years ago.  I shot some video at a rally in Albany several weeks ago – “We are Wisconsin” – and I’ve been helping them remotely with phone calls into the state. 

After talking to them and hearing first hand about their battles to preserve collective bargaining, I jumped on my laptop and edited the video from the rally into a short movie.  I used Pinnacle Studio and saved the movie to an MPEG4 video format.  I then used this file to upload to the nysutonline youtube channel.  This seems to provide better quality – both audio and video.  You can check it out at

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Electronic Communications/Facebook

I had the pleasure of travelling to Niagara Falls last night to deliver two presentations today at the Western New York Leadership Conference.  Both sessions were a blast, and the participants had great questions and added a lot to the day – for that I am grateful.

We discussed email, computer use, legal issues, and also spent much of the session on Facebook.  I’ve provided a link for anyone to use to download the PowerPoint presentation. Feel free to use this in any way you wish.

Thanks again to everyone involved!  Feel free to leave comments to add to the discussion.

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Lights, Camera, YouTube


On February 4th this year, I attended the UUP Rally at the New York State Capitol to be part of the group supporting UUP, SUNY and higher education.  It was an easy choice – I’m a UUP member since I’m an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Albany teaching in the Evening MBA program.   See pictures of the rally here

I took my flip cam (video camera) to the rally to capture the event on video.  After shooting video, editing it and then posting it on YouTube, I thought this would make a good topic on the blog.  Here is the end result of my efforts -

Video is a great addition to your website or to send as a link in an email.  It communicates action and activity in a very effective way.  With cheap equipment, free software, and YouTube as a place to publish there is no reason not to use this compelling medium.

Let’s start with the basics.  I used an inexpensive video camera ( that costs around $150.00.  It’s easy to use, plugs directly into a computer through a USB connector, and comes with software that lets you edit and post to youtube. The software allows you to trim clips (control where they start and stop) so you can cut the beginning and end of clips to use only the good parts.  You can also put titles in the beginning and end to make your videos more professional. 

I used a small tripod ( to get a nice steady shot.  I shot a few shots of the rally marchers, the speakers, and the crowd.  Many years ago – more than I want to say – I graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications (Syracuse University) with a degree that included classes in video production.  Naturally, I wanted to bring my A game to the project, so I used a more featured software package called Pinnacle Studio ( that costs around $60.00.

However, you can get away spending nothing on software.  If you did not get software with your camera or want more features, check out to see a list of free editing software.  Pinnacle has a version called Spin that is easy to use, yet still has some nice features.

To learn more about editing, head to for a great tutorial on creating videos. For specific instructions on your software, head to and search on the terms video editing and the name of the software you are using. 

When you are finished with your video, it’s easy to create a youtube account and upload your creation as long as it is under 15 minutes long and no larger than 2 gigabytes.

I’ll keep this thread open – send me a comment with a link to your video so we can all share it.

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Social Networking/Facebook for Members

I’ll be at NYSUT’s Community College Conference 11/6 in Saratoga speaking about Electronic Communications (email, social networking, blogging) with a follow up second session specifically on Facebook.  I dawned on me that I should post the materials before I go (trying to be green!) and also to engage the NYSUT members there to help me build an online resource for all of us to use.

Here are the materials – along with descriptions of the sessions:

C. Electronic Communications – Part 1 – Presentation-1

This two-part session begins by exploring college electronic communications systems and the union’s use (and potential misuse) of the employer’s system. Computer use policies, employer monitoring, systems and software security, and contractual limitations and considerations will be discussed from various perspectives: legal, labor relations, information technology. This session continues in workshop Part II.

I. Electronic Communications – Part 2 -Presentation – 2

This session is a continuation of workshop I and focuses on the ramifications of social networking technologies such as Facebook and Twitter, looking at current developments in how faculty and staff can safely use these public forums and maintain appropriate boundaries with students. Discussion topics include privacy settings, case law and other considerations.

I’ll be posting tomorrow with some of the questions from the group, and also I’ll create a Facebook resource page with links to various resources.

Until I put that together, here are some quick links to get started:

Video – How to use Facebook’s privacy settings

Video - Controlling Applications & Websites

Educators Using Facebook – a Facebook Group for trading info

PBS Teachers – Facebook page for Teachers

Do you know of any good online resources?  Please post as a comment and I’ll add to the resource page.

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Today’s Topic – Tech Tool for Teachers

Sorry about the alliteration….

I’ve been the proud owner of an iPhone for about a year.  I recently added the iPad to my tech arsenal and I’m almost ready to cut the cord and leave my laptop behind.  This is a big deal, as I seldom go anywhere during the work day without my laptop – it even goes on vacation with me.  Now that I’m getting used to my iThings, I’ve discovered a number of great tools available for on this platform that can help our members, including an app that many of you can use to make reading and answering email messages easier.

More and more of our communications are happening via email.  Parents find it easier than calling, and it helps our busy schedules by allowing us to respond to messages on our own schedules when we have a spare moment.

Many of the K-12 schools in New York State rely one of the twelve Regional Information Centers (RICs) for their email.  This typically means you are running GroupWise email software, and most RICs have installed WebAccess,  software that allows you to check your email from any Internet connected computer through a web browser.   Since your iPhone is also a web browser, you may have already tried to get to your email this way. 

It’s not easy to use the smaller browser, and some find it very frustrating.  A software company called Ghost Pattern Software ( has written several iPhone applications that allow a much easier method of accessing your GroupWise based email account.  I use their software on both my iPad and iPhone, and it works on an iTouch, too.

To download their software, use the App Store icon on your iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad) and search on “GW Mail” .  You will see a free “lite” version (GW Lite) and a more featured version called GW Mail that sells for $5.99.  You can download either one of these and start reading and responding to your GroupWise emails. 

To setup your account, you need to know the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of your mail system.  Typically it is http://some domain name/gw/webacc.  For example, staff at my local school district is (I used XXXX to mask the actual address for security reasons).  You can check your address by accessing your email on your computer and noting the URL shown in your browser.

After you jot down the URL for web access to your email, configure GW Lite or GW Mail by entering this info along with your username and password.  Now you can check email messages without a computer by using your iPhone, iPad,  or iTouch.  You are now free from your computer and can read and compose email messages whenever and wherever you carry your device.

Head to for a posting that includes lots of other great tools you can use in your classroom, school, or workplace.  I’ll be adding applications I discover that can help our members and I’m asking you to share your experiences and ideas about software that helps you in your work.  Don’t despair Droid users, buck up Blackberry buyers, and wait a while Windows workers: I’ll be adding links to all these platforms, too!  (sorry)

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Classroom Technology: Skype

Over the past decade, high speed internet connectivity and local area networks (LANs) have become available at the institutions our members work in.  This internet capability has allowed a number of technologies to flourish and support the educational process and the students we serve.  Older technologies that were expensive and complicated have been replaced by newer internet based tools that can be used cheaply and easily.

One such technology is video conferencing – also known as video chat. In the past, expensive systems were installed in specialized rooms to allow students to communicate via sight and sound with other students and resources in distant locations.  Many schools utilized this form of “distance learning” to allow students to take courses with low enrollments in a cooperative fashion.  For example, if only a handful of students wanted to take a foreign language class a school could not offer, they could attend a virtual class with other students from other schools to create a full class with a remote teacher.  This was especially prevalent in smaller schools – especially rural ones.  NYSUT currently uses this technology to connect with new members across the state to help them navigate the teacher certification process.

By now you’ve probably seen Cisco commercial featuring actress Ellen Page.  In this ad she visits a classroom that is going on a virtual field trip to visit students in China – courtesy expensive video conferencing equipment from Cisco.  This type of equipment is amazing, but not necessary.  You may already have the tools you need to allow the same type of video conferencing from your workplace, or can obtain them for very low cost.

If you have access to a computer and an inexpensive webcam ($30 – $100 for the HD version) you can connect with other computers around the world.  Many newer laptops have this camera built in.  The Apple MacBook Pro models come with these cameras, as do many Dell PC’s and computers from other vendors.  Software is available for free, and many educators are using Skype on their Windows and Macintosh computers to provide this learning tool.  Educators are using Skype many ways, including allowing students to video chat with book authors, go on virtual field trips, practice language skills with native language speakers, learn from guest lecturers, and demonstrate science experiments.  Check out this article to get some ideas on the many ways teachers are using Skype in the classroom.

Many of the educators using Skype are creating online communities so they can connect with each other to work together in their classrooms.  Various websites and services exist to make the task of finding other teachers and classrooms easy.  One such company, called ePals ( has listings from all over the world and includes a profile on each classroom that wants to connect so you can find a match.

Using Skype is not difficult, and it does not require a special room, only a computer connected to high speed internet, a webcam, and speakers and a microphone.  There are many training videos and other online resources available to show you how to get started with Skype and use it in your educational setting.

If you are using Skype, please comment on this article online so we can learn more about how you use it!

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