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Question from the Field: How do I mount a projector?

Have I mentioned I love this job? Basically I get to take years of learned knowledge and help people use it. I LOVE IT. Thank you Kentucky Adult Ed and KET for this opportunity.

Question from the field:

We are finalizing our orders for the year and we are thinking about mounting light projectors to the ceiling to use with our mimio and ipads.  I don’t know the first thing about such a thing.  I’ve seen them mounted in schools, but I haven’t the foggiest how to even go about it here.  Can you help me out?

Anica Smith, Calloway Co. Adult Education

Here is my answer for this Kentucky program:

I’m trying to remember specifics about your center’s ceiling and here is what comes to mind: the center has two spaces – one is a large, common, space with a high ceiling that is flat, and the other part of the building has a suspended ceiling.

For the space that is a standard ceiling (e.g., you could find a supporting wood beam and mount something to it) you can use this mount The mount can be screwed directly through the drywall into a supporting beam.  In so doing the weight of the projector and mount will be held in wood and not the drywall.

In spaces with a suspended ceiling you would use that mount along with a ceiling plate  The ceiling plate will allow you to join the mount to it. Further it will have wire for the plate to attach to the ceiling above the suspended tiles so that the weight of the projector, mount, and ceiling plate are not on the suspended ceiling, and, similar to the statement above, distribute the weight in a more load bearing substance.

Depending on the angle of the image of the projector and the height of your ceiling you may need an extension pole, In the menu settings of the projector are “Keystone” settings. These keystone setting can mitigate the need for an extension pole.  So far I have not been in a space where I needed to use an extension pole to mount the projector.

Then you will also need to consider how you will get electric, audio and video to the projector.

Electric is serious stuff and can cost serious money, I’d recommend seeing if your fiscal agent has an electrician they can loan you for this project or find an ideal volunteer.

As for an audio/video cable that is long enough to run from your computer to your projector you can find those at for cheap. Remember when I was at your site the HDMI cable carries both audio and video – therefore if you have a projector with an HDMI input all you will need is an HDMI cable of the length you want.   If your projector only has VGA and Audio support then look for cables of the length you want similar to this

I am not concerned by exposed wires, but the product does look more finished with them covered. Monoprice also has “Cable Management Covers” Although, if a local business does volunteer to help you with the project it may be worth purchasing what you need of this from them as a “thank-you.”

Also, with it being this time of year it might be worth looking at strategies of purchase. What do you need to finish FY13, and what can wait for beginning of FY14. Thinking of this you could hold off on the purchase of an extension pole and see if you really need it. Equally you could spend money on an electrician and some items this FY, while saving other expenses for the new FY. Typically when spending money on services I check to ensure the cost is in line with granted monies – and typically it is.

That is the basics of mounting projectors. Coming soon: I will find videos online and add them to this blog. 

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Derby and Blogging

Well, I’ve been doing a lot of Blogging at Unfortunately I’m not able to follow those of you whose blogs I’ve come to enjoy. SO – I’ve decided to blog more here and then post over: this will be my trying ground. I look forward to seeing you and participating in your blogs more!

Onto the Kentucky Derby!  For those of you not in Kentucky I hope you realize this weekend is the Kentucky Derby – its basically a national holiday here. I highly recommend you drink a Mint Julep, have a Kentucky Hot Brown, and bet on some horses while keeping me in your thoughts.

Here is how to do it in a quick and easy way with fun for all ages. First, what is the derby without betting on horses? Make a “pool bag”.  In a pool bag place 1 name for each horse running the derby (there should be 21). On the outside of the bag label the price of a horse ($0.25, $1, $5 – whatever you deem fit) and SELL ALL TICKETS IN BAG. When the race runs whoever has the winning horse wins the bag! If you have a $1 pool bag, the winner gets the $21 pool… if you have a $20 bag the winner gets the $410 pool.  Fun, easy, and perfect for any age.

Second, The Kentucky Hot Brown: some people consider this Kentucky’s signature sandwich (disclosure – I do not care for the Hot Brown myself). Basically it is an open faced sandwich with turkey, melted cheese and bacon on top.  Here are the directions from whence the sandwich came, The Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville.

And, third, The Mint Julep. In Kentucky you can buy bottled, mint infused bourbon for this time of year. Personally I prefer to make mine. I think they are delicious and refreshing especially on hot afternoons. Here is the easiest way to make one – like a Mojito, except use bourbon instead of rum – crush mint into sugar with a pestle, pour in crushed ice, fill with bourbon, combine mixture (either shaken or by pouring back and forth) and add a sprig of fresh mint for looks. Enjoy!

If you really want to celebrate The Derby like you’re hosting a party here in the Bluegrass then the last thing you need is a TV on the back porch to watch the races. My favorite Derby was at a friends house years ago with the TV on the deck, Julep Bar just in the door and the creek flowing just beyond the yard. 

I hope you have a happy derby, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you next week!


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The Great Migration

My thoughts are moving to a KET sponsored blog. Please follow me to

Much more to come!


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Wow, Kate, great article, and I whole heartedly agree.


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Thoughts on #coabe13 AKA Conference 2.0

Why in this day and age of social media and Web 2.0 are conferences such a singular experience?  People move as individuals from space to space writing their own notes – some tweet, or blog their thoughts… but really, where is the interaction?  Even with our peers, I would argue that it is quite like school: cliques develop among those you know!

So, here’s my thought, let’s collaborate on note taking, make conference pdf’s able to join to your calendar, and then, further, add a common tech experience to allow outsiders in.  We’re going to work from the back forward.

A common tech experience that will allow outsiders in: have at least one common Twitter Wall by registration or some other central area and project the live tweets from the conference. On-line pages like coabeTweet Chat ( will stream your #tag, live.  Working with your conference site it may be possible to further run these tweet chats on monitors in the center. In so doing other participants will learn more about what is happening in the conference, may choose to participate in the twitter experience, and hopefully passersby will learn more about what you do.

Use the on-line PDF to not only communicate what is happening at the conference, but to also reserve space on your calendar.  As I was planning where I wanted to be when it would have been highly convenient to click on a field of text and have it populate to my calendar. In my mind this is as simple as 1) creating a Google Calendar with Session Information, 2) Create PDF of sessions, and 3) select area of session text to place and tell the PDF the area is a hyperlink to the calendar’s public address, which then one can add to their own calendar.  By doing this traffic will be coming to your page before the conference, organizers could even use metric information to know which presenter should be put where, not to mention the convenience given to participants would be highly welcome.

Finally, and what I think would be the biggest coup, make a common note taking experience.  Using Google Drive one can create a common document that as many people can add to as you would like. I don’t know how dynamic this can be, but I think it would be easiest to have “Strand Documents,” i.e. Technology, Numeracy, Literacy, etc. Inside of these documents would be all sessions associated with the strand. Accessing the document people in the sessions could add what they think is of importance, after the conference the information could be switched to a non-editing document, and be accessible by all participants after the conference from the conference site.

Thinking back to the calendar, Strand Documents could be a link inside of the session reservation. In so doing when one looks at their calendar and opens the reminder they will be projected into a space where they can share and record their thoughts.  Further, it would be highly convenient if the calendar could link not just to the strand document, but to the actual session.

From this level of participation I would expect silos to fall, a less cliquey experience, and more collaboration among peers – and really, isn’t this what we want from a convention?

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IPad versus the others

I created this video March 21st. I’ve been trying to upload it from my phone since, but have not had luck. On the 27th I was able to attend a session at the COABE 2013 National Conference that explored the use of Androids in the classroom.  I am not going to say I am married to one device, I look forward to Android  and the Slate bringing more competition to the market – but at this point in time the iPad still wins out for me.


Please let me know if my assumptions are wrong.


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COABE 2013

Well, I’m here at COABE 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. I hope to fill you in on my thoughts and bring you some interviews with interesting people. Ciao!

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Breaking the SOUND BARRIER


Readability of Article

A couple weeks back I had the opportunity to meet with Rodney Johnson of Russel County Adult Education (RCAE). Walking into his instructional space one is greeted by “Program of Excellence Banners” awarded by the state of Kentucky for what looked like the past 10 years: it was like walking into Rupp Arena and it was AWESOME.

I had the opportunity to meet the staff and I was given a tour of his space. Let me tell you, RCAE is not lacking on space. What they are lacking on, however, is noise control.

 The center is located in the gym area of a former high school. The gym has been split into multiple rooms. The main space takes half the gym, and is split between a 30 seat computer lab and a 15 chair group study space. On the other half of the court are 3 classrooms. And beyond those three rooms, where a stage would be is another, computer lab holding 20 computers.

Lots of space. Lots of options for students and instruction. The space has monitors and projectors mounted, wireless access points, etc. What is lacking? Ceilings. 

Noise carries throughout the space like flight attendants delivering peanuts.

During our conversation Rodney looks at me point blank and says, “Barry, where should I spend my money? I have money for technology that I won’t have next year, where should I spend it?” And I did not have an immediate response.

As I was driving away, while staring down the Cumberland Parkway and thinking about his space a crazy, hair brained idea came to me. What if one could block sound WITH sound. What if, instead of physical ceilings, we could make ceilings of sound — white noise — that would quiet the instruction space from the testing space?

And then… what if the program could introduce layered sound.  I will get to my idea of layered sound in a moment, but want to share two bits of information that are important to the concept.

 1)Brain Gym – several years ago Kentucky was going through Brain Gym training. Among other things the researcher said that classical music in a 4/4 beat helped the mind and body sync. Moreso, the music could be sub-audible and still be effective.

 2) White noise – we know this center is be noisy, noisier than court rooms. In modern courtrooms when the two sides approach the bench the judge flips a switch that puts out white noise so the sound from the bench does not carry. Thinking of learning centers could one not use white noise to help keep noise from outside the classroom coming in?

 So now, let’s put idea 1 and 2 together. Using a computer one could have classical music playing in one program, with white noise over top it – programs could purchase CD’s, downloadable music or get free apps to deliver content. Let’s say an instructor wanted to watch a video as well? They could! And they could make the video the dominant sound, so that students could readily see and hear the content of the video, white noise would be blocking out distracting, outside noise; and classical music could be played at a sub-audible level – subversively helping students comprehend better the content being delivered.

Now to work on a cheap, replicable model – I want to know if I could use old computer speakers to make the sound system?


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An Elephant’s Memory

Looking into resources that can benefit programs I came across a pay app for the iPad called Doceri. Doceri will allow the presenter to interact with a computer desktop that is projecting to a whiteboard, or smartboard: it is a very cool product. It has many attributes, but that will have to wait for another article.

Doceri was quickly overshadowed by another app, an app that works across multiple platforms (Apple, Microsoft, Android, etc.) and multiple devices (Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, etc.), Evernote. Evernote is a highly versatile product for both students and programs, best of all, it is free.  As quoted from the webpage, “Evernote: Remember Everything”.

I have been searching for a product that will help me keep track of those people I meet, notes from meetings, as well as notes from e-mails and research. My overall goal is to limit the amount of paper I am carrying to 1) help with organization and 2) save my back.  In researching different products out there I kept coming across the name Evernote. I therefore downloaded Evernote to my phone, and there it sat.

Four days later I was sitting in the middle of a meeting with my legal pad of paper, and about 30 minutes in I said to myself, “Why are you writing this down, let’s see what Evernote can do.” I kept my pad of paper in my lap in case I needed it and started using my smart phone to capture notes – and that is where the notes on my legal pad summarily stopped.

What immediately caught my attention? First, I was able to record the meeting while simultaneously typing into the phone. The meeting lasted 1.5 hours from when I started recording, with a five minute break. Therefore I was, secondly, impressed to have sound files in my Evernote account that tie in with my notes for later review (I did not cover the break).  My mind was blown and I knew had to explore the product more.

At the onset of making the note it had a recommended titled based on the event listing in my computer’s calendar – awesome! After I was finished with the note I was able to “tag” the note, allowing me to use metatagging to quickly search/sort my notes later based off key words I define – awesome! And lastly, did I mention it seamlessly combined an audio recording while I was typing meeting notes… on my phone – AWESOME!

Then those notes made on my phone are automatically available on my work computer, in my online account, on my iPad, home computer, and so on. Heck, I can even send my note to a peer who may need notes from the meeting!

I decided I needed to investigate further, so I’ve been trying other apps that work with Evernote, once again I find the apps highly usable.

Evernote Peek – “Turn your notes, audio and image in Evernote into study materials with Evernote Peek,”  With Peek a person can use their notes in Evernote to become flashcards on their iPad.

If your program is using iPads a student can log-in, and use their notebook’s notes to instantly make flashcards.

Evernote Hello – “Remembering people is hard. Evernote Hello makes it easy by creating a rich, browsable history of individuals, encounters and shared experiences,”

Program Directors, Instructors, country men: are any of you better with names than faces? Have any of you met so many people that all faces and names look familiar? Using Hello you can record people’s contact information into your Evernote account, making it searchable along with any meetings or e-mails you’ve had with that person. Added incentive – after the guest has completed filling in their information they will receive your contact information in their e-mail inbox, seamlessly.

Evernote Penultimate – “Penultimate is the best-selling, easy to use handwriting app for iPad. Lose the paper, keep the handwriting,” does cost $0.99, but it is highly usable and worth every red penny.  As stated above you can write on it using your finger or stylus. The app uses a graph paper background, stock.  You can take pictures with the program, add the picture to your note and then write on the picture… plus you’re able to “tag” it and put it your notebook.

An instructor could easily combine Penultimate to demonstrate math on a projected white board, annotate a graph, etc. Students could quickly do work on the tablet and then “share” it with the instructor – similar to using a whiteboard to do scratch work (2014 GED® skill).

I can’t state it enough; I find that Evernote is a highly versatile app for both students and programs. Not only does the app encourage good note taking, but it encourages people to take and save notes in ways important to them. As always, instructors start using it before you roll it out in class, beyond that cautionary note – Dive In!


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Video as Project Based Learning

In this project “autobiographical digital stories were created by North Lexington [Kentucky] students. Storicraft is a storytelling project that brings artists and youth together to produce and present stories in multimedia form. This initiative is aimed at fostering a connection between participants and media communications experts as a means of training and giving voice to young people.” Click on title to view video.

In the video you will see several youth narrate pictures about their bodies, and how they feel about the use of their bodies. The narrators are softspoken, but their stories have impact when coupled with images: viewers simultaneous relive memories make the videos powerful and fun.

Can this same concept be used in the adult education classroom? I don’t see why not. A class could similarly decide upon a theme (body, architecture). Each person in the class could take images of the theme. Then finally script a narration as to why these images are important to their theme. This step could be completed with a tablet or smartphone.

Afterwards the class could reflect on individual films, as well as the films as a group. From the process of planning, synthesizing, creating, and reflecting larger concepts of critical thinking could be exposed. Similarly the experience of the project could be drawn upon to help students understand outlining inside of writing projects.

—- UPDATE —-

From “The Problem of Student Engagement,” by Shelley Wright of Wright’s Room:

My initial thought is to use a method like Photovoice, which I think authentically gives power to students.  Through photographing the everyday events of their lives and merging these with story, students will share what school is really like.  It is often used among marginalized people, and is intended to give insight into how they conceptualize their circumstances and their hopes for the future.  Photovoice attempts to bring the perspectives of those “who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the means for imaging the world” into the policy-making process.

It is often used among marginalized people… hmm, does that not sound like the adult ed population?

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January 15, 2013 · 12:32 pm