SMART? or DUMB! I don’t know.

As you likely know, SMART is now charging for their new software above Notebook 11.4. I get it, and I understand that they need to produce a new revenue source now that their hardware has reached near saturation in the market.  However, this decision will have implications on how we proceed in Watertown USD. Continue reading

Why BYOD Makes Sense: Thinking Beyond a Standardized 1:1 | Edutopia

Why BYOD Makes Sense: Thinking Beyond a Standardized 1:1 | Edutopia.

This Edutopia article brilliantly articulates what we have been saying all along regarding individualized educational routes.  BYOD just makes sense, but it doesn’t come without headaches and dissonance.

Make sure you watch Ethan Young’s response to his school board if you haven’t already done so.  It is an impressive address.

▶ Project Loon: The Technology – YouTube

▶ Project Loon: The Technology – YouTube.

You might call it Loony, but talk about thinking outside the box! This is the poor man’s satellite network.  Love ’em or hate ’em, nobody has more risk takers than Google.  Nobody is as ambitious as Google.  Nobody has a more aspirational CEO than Google’s Larry Page.  Nobody is as willing Continue reading

First Take: If High School Wasn’t Compulsory, Who Would Go?

First Take: If High School Wasn’t Compulsory, Who Would Go?.

This article indicates that according to a Gallup poll last year, only 28% of the kids who enter a public high school report being engaged in the experience.  That is a horrendous indictment on our noble profession!  With the tools available, the volume of information at our finger tips, and the glut of research to support new and better ways of instructing students in an individually prescribed manner, why do we continue to prop up a one-size-fits-all solution?  Why do we cling to outdated and demonstrably ineffective system of teaching that is failing 70% of our audience?

If you went to the emergency room, and the doctor treated your infection by attaching leaches, we would scream malpractice.  It is past time to stop fighting for the status quo to begin to provide value for all students.  Rather than throw another 100 Billion at a broken system, let’s redesign the system.

This is a good article that sparks thought.

Malware 101

Bottom Line:  DO NOT open a file sent to you via email or downloaded by your from the Internet unless you a.) know and trust the person who sent it (or the website from which you downloaded it), and b.) were expecting them to send it (or you found the site through legitimate means).  The exception is…well, there is NO EXCEPTION.  When in doubt, do not open it.

That is all you need.  If you don’t have time for another one of my diatribes, stop now, or forever hold your complaint.  Seriously, if you read beyond this point, I don’t want to hear how long winded I am.  I don’t want to hear how I just like to hear myself type.  You do not have to read any further.  Go back to your work.  Please.

However, if you want the “education/training” regarding malware avoidance, you may read on, but if you follow the above “Bottom Line”, you will not infect your computer and thus potentially lose data, passwords, or identity.

Continue reading

Can You Make Yourself Smarter? – NYTimes.com

Can You Make Yourself Smarter?

Think your IQ is set in stone and immutable?  Perhaps not.  The long-held belief that fluid intelligence cannot be changed is being challenged by some ground-breaking studies by University of Maryland researchers, Susanne Jaeggi and Marin Buschkuehl.  They have identified types of exercises that not only help to improve performance in the practiced skills, but there is evidence that these exercises can “transfer” into non-related skill sets.  That is contradictory to what has been believed for over 100-years of psychology.

On a similar note, you might be interested in Carol Dweck’s Mindset Theory. (The video is long and tedious, but contains good information.)  I am reading her 2006 book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” and it is profitable to helping to understand how to fulfill one’s potential.  An excellent book.  If interested, I have copies to share with colleagues at WUSD.  This applies directly to student learning, coaching, relationships, and even in how I work with my children.

There is no “One Best System”

Some would argue that the video below makes good points, but goes too far.  Some would contend that it doesn’t go far enough.  I’ve shared this documentary before and I strongly suggest you go to http://kidsarentcars.com and watch all nine segments before drawing any conclusions of your own.  Please watch closely though.  I have had some colleagues that tell me that it blames teachers for the woes of education.  That is simply not the case at all and once I proved that to them, it led to some very fruitful discussions on what is wrong and right about the state of public education.

The documentary, in fact, lauds good teaching and gives many examples.  SPOILER ALERT:  However, it does indict many practices of bad unions (not saying they are all bad, but the ones highlighted in this documentary seem to deserve the criticism heaped on them) and bad politicians that seemingly see the role of education as providing jobs for teachers rather than educating children. When presented with cold, hard facts, they never seem to let the facts get in the way of their objectives.  “The problem is that we just don’t have enough money…if only we had more money, we’d have more success. Do it for the children. (pull heart-string now).”

You’ll be shocked to hear I have my own opinions.  Continue reading

The Teacher’s Guide To Using Badges In Your Classroom | Edudemic

This article gives some good advice on utilizing badges in the classroom to motivate student learning.  This is a subset of a larger gamification topic that I’ve talked about before.  If you are interested in learning more, I have added a few additional links below the link to the Badges article.  Let me know what you think.

“Some students are not motivated by grades. Yes, this includes your brightest kids. Some kids could get an A on any test you give them, so they do not see the need for homework. Why do an hour of work every night when they know they are going to get an A on the test? Now you have a student who gets Fs on all his homework and As on all his tests. It turns into a C average, and he doesn’t care. How do you motivate him to do more or do better? The old-fashioned way – you give him a badge.”

via The Teacher’s Guide To Using Badges In Your Classroom | Edudemic.

Seth Priebasch

James Gee


Jane McGonigal

James Portnow

Gamification Explained

Gamification in Education

‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’ – Knowledge@Wharton

“In the educational process, students should be offered a wide variety of ways to learn, among which they could choose or with which they could experiment. They do not have to learn different things the same way. They should learn at a very early stage of “schooling” that learning how to learn is largely their responsibility — with the help they seek but that is not imposed on them.”

via ‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’ – Knowledge@Wharton.