Saturday, December 29, 2007

A new home for my website and blog

I did it. I bought myself a domain name and I have moved my professional website to a new location. I would like to welcome you to Shawn Wheeler’s Digital Portfolio located at This site will serve as a home base to the many projects I find myself involved as well as hosting my blog Shawn Wheeler’s Thoughts on Education & Technology which is now located at

Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year.


End of an era

I have been in the technology side of education my entire career. First in the classroom with 7th and 8th grade students and now I work with adults. During the past ten years, I have seen a number of changes, including and probably the most significant, the explosion of the internet. When I first started, fewer people had access to the internet and there were even fewer web pages. We created pages in raw code using simple text or note pad. Finding a location to host a site was even more of a mystery and finding people who knew how to run a web server was nothing short of finding a needle in a haystack. These skills soon became a job necessity.

Like most educators, I found resources (people and books) to help my educational process. When high-speed internet service came to my neighborhood, I signed up. I built a server (from parts) and began running a web server. Over time, I learned more and more about web servers, building web sites and how to bring web pages to the classroom where teachers could rule their own web site. In fact, I went so far as to document the process for others to learn from (
See The World Wide Web and Your School District). I soon found myself as a network administrator in my own home.

For eight years, I have operated a web, email and DNS servers from my home. Why… Because I could and it was fun. Overtime, these little humming machines transformed from learning tools to maintenance projects. Time for a change.

-DISCLAMER- This is not a paid advertisement and I am receiving no compensation for this post.

I began looking for new location for my web sites to live. I hit the jackpot with this little local company named
GoDaddy. Through this company, I was able to move my domain registration which included DNS management for less money than I was paying to Network Solutions. (Check one, service I don’t need to run in my home.) I also discovered they would host my email service for $19.00 a year. (Check two, services I don’t need to run in my home.) Finally, I was able to move all of my family and new professional web and blog sites to Godaddy for $7.00 a month. (Check three, services I don’t need to run in my home.)

With all of this content running on someone elses equipment, I no longer need a business class DSL service in my home. A phone call to Qwest netted me a six times faster connection to the web for a savings of $40.00 a month.

I have no regrets for running all these machines in my home for so many years. They were great teachers and I have taken a wealth of knowledge from them. Don’t be afraid to try something just for the sake of learning and don’t be afraid to say thank you to one teacher and move to the next subject.

Notice: Shawn Wheeler’s Thoughts on Education & Technology has a new home. Visit the new blog site at or subscribe to the RSS feed at

Shawn also has a new home for his digital portfolio. Visit his new site at

Reading and Learning on the GO

On occasion, I sit down and read a real book. You know the type with pages that you can turn, hold, smell and sometimes even injure yourself. However, most of my reading comes in the form of web sites, blogs, PDF files, email etc… A few years ago I bought an iPod so I could become a podcaster. (Shhh don’t tell anyone but you don’t need the ipod. Click here to see what you really need.) Not long after that, I discovered Having been a longtime fan of books on tape this was a perfect fit for my new tool.

Last month I went to the doctor for my annual physical. The doctor walked in, chatted with me for a few minutes then told me what I knew. Shawn, your blood pressure is up, your weight is up and I am betting so is your cholesterol. I can give you meds for you blood pressure but I think you can fix it if you would do something about it! In not so many words, my doctor told me to get off my fat (insert word here) and exercise. He also told me to push away from the table a little sooner. To think I paid for this abuse.

I live a little over a mile away from one of the
Phoenix Mountain Preserves where my daughter and I occasionally ride our bicycles. This past week, I tried something new. I went for a hike in the preserve and it is beautiful. However, my mind often runs 100 miles an hour and exercise doesn’t help slow it down, that is until fatigue kicks in. Then I start thinking about how tired I am as well as the pain in my legs, back and chest as I try to suck in more oxygen. Then my thoughts turn to stopping, heading back to the car. I know, I will walk to that next cactus. Did I mention I live in the desert!

To combat that little voice telling me to stop, I put on my iPod. As I trek through the pristine urban desert, I occupy my mind with audio books and podcasts. Remarkably, I have found myself walking even further and further. Could it be I am getting in better shape or is my mind better occupied?

If you are wondering, my iPod does have music on it but what would be the fun in that.

Notice: Shawn Wheeler’s Thoughts on Education & Technology has a new home. Visit the new blog site at or subscribe to the RSS feed at

Shawn also has a new home for his digital portfolio. Visit his new site at