Nice post about the words we use.. I'm reading a book my friend Angela Maiers recommended about "Why" and this post relating to Dan Pink's book, Drive, relates to it as well. A nice post from Bill Powers over on Edudemic "Another point Mr. Pink made in regards to the WORDS we use is that many times organizations and people focus to much on How something will be completed when we should be focusing more on the WHY we are doing what we do. I can’t think of a better way to explain our purpose and drive as educators. WE should focus on WHY are WE doing this. WHY are WE teaching this concept? WHY is this an important topic to teach OUR students? WHY do WE allow OUR students choice in producing and creating to show learning? WHY did a particular student act out? WHY do we include character education in what WE do? WHY – I could go on and on."
The RFID tracker on student badges caused quite a stir when a student refused to wear one on religious grounds. I do think this is only the beginning, not on religious grounds but all it will take is for someone to compromise a school network and use it to locate a child for a snatch and grab and it will all blow up. Most schools, I don't think, take hacking seriously and are not equipped to handle such sensitive data. I understand the need for RFID trackers but they do make me uncomfortable. The way I read Revelations, I would refuse to have a chip of any kind put in my hand or forehead -- but I understand that she considers this a precursor to such things and indeed, she may be right. I understand her religious beliefs on this matter, however, the verses concerned are in revelations and up for interpretation, so if you're curious and want to determine what you think, you'll want to read Revelations for yourself. Meanwhile, here's a synopsis for what happened, "Sophomore Andrea Hernandez was notified in November by the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio that she would not be able to continue attending John Jay High unless she wears the badge around her neck like all students. The district said the girl, who objects largely on religious grounds, would have to attend another high school that does not employ the RFID tags. The devout Christian sued, and on Tuesday a Texas federal judge concluded the 15-year-old’s right of religion was not breached. That’s because the district, the court ruled, eventually agreed to accommodate the girl and allow her to remove the RFID chip while still demanding that she wear the identification like the other students.
Dress codes are touchy. My school is pretty simple - jeans only on Fridays. Men should have shorter hair. Women should be modest and not show cleavage or wear clothes too tight. I think it is vital to remember, particularly if working with adolescents that being immodest introduces an element into the classroom of sexuality that can be a distraction. While a teacher can't help if he/ she is attractive, he/she can help whether he shows too much skin. This is a hot button, but I do agree with Rae that as teachers, if we want to be treated as professionals, that we should dress as a professional. We each have to define what that means for us, but certainly, if you're dressing like you would for a date or to "look hot" I would question your motives. I had a great conversation with a male friend who is a teacher about this topic and he told me, on the request of anonymity, that he wished I would mention this from time to time. He says that he has felt very uncomfortable when staff members or teachers have nipples hanging out of their shirts or such short skirts that they are flashing and that it isn't professional but also a distraction. While he's happily married, I totally agree with him. If we want to focus on our work, let's be professionals. Be beautiful but be covered. Some may think this crude, but I've heard it before the B3 should never be free: Breasts, Belly and Bottom -- keep them COVERED. ;-) Meanwhile, read this great article on Huffington from my new friend Rae Pica.
A fascinating conversation this week about a proposal in Canada that certain universities be designated for "excellence and research" and others JUST academics. I agree with the author of this op ed that such a proposal is completely clueless that excellence can happen anywhere and everywhere greatness is combined with a person who shares openly and such greatness is no longer confined to ivory towers. Looks to me like some are trying to guarantee the existence of certain ivory towers without understanding that a fundamental shift in education is happening. I would say two tiers, but a blended be the second -- a blend of bricks and clicks and a flattening of courses between colleges that cover the same topic - one prof at a college may lecture Monday f2f with others listening from another place and another on Thursday in reverse and beyond. The combinations are endless and opportunistic as education is being increasingly divorced from the requirement to be in a "certain" location. Read more... "In a column this week, Mr. Aubin suggests that Quebec create two classes of universities — higher-funded institutions oriented toward research, and lower-funded universities that would focus only on offering a solid academic program. Using Maclean’s magazine’s ranking of Canadian universities as a basis for creating these two tiers, he puts McGill University and Université de Montréal in the first category, where they would “actively pursue excellence,” and relegates universities such as Concordia and Université du Québec à Montréal to the second, where they would “not aim for stardom.”
e-ink on one side and a full display on the other -- Yota phone -- that's right Yota will use the force its close namesake Yoda would watch with curiousity. We are moving to devices with dual displays and even different types of displays. What if an iPad was a kindle paperwhite-like display on one side for reading - a lower power requirement with an HD power-sucking display on the reverse side? Interesting. this review from Mashable talks about the Yota phone which is a fascinating thought. Either way -- e-ink is in the future for schools, don't doubt it for a moment. Librarians should be considering how students will be able to check out books on their edevices for many reasons including the inevitability of the demand. I was just talking today with a teacher talking about how Learning Ally, a company contracting to provide service for the US government talking books program, is so much better as an app on the ipad. Harbinger of things to come.
This is a big deal that someone better fix quickly. We are supposed to disable Java - I see many sources saying do it NOW, but in the blended classroom and one where we're using Gradebook systems like PowerSchool that are Java Based and online classrooms like Blackboard Collaborate that are Java based, we literally can't do our jobs without Java. Please, say it isn't so. Get a sick computer or not do your job. This is a problem, but I need to let you know and share this so IT directors can follow this very important issue: "Hackers could exploit the flaw to install malicious software or malware that could make users vulnerable to identity theft or allow their computers to be exploited by "botnets" that could crash networks or be used to attack web sites. "Note that applications that use the Internet Explorer web content rendering components, such as Microsoft Office or Windows Desktop Search, may also be used as an attack vector for this vulnerability," the warning adds.
Kyle Dunbar is running a virtual book club. The first book is Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds. This website includes a blog that talks about the takeaways and the recordings that they are discussing. Please feel free to join in and mark your calendars - they are meeting on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm. I hope you'll join in. It is vital that you and I both connect with other classrooms around the world. Students are the greatest textbook ever written for each other - they need to connect and learn from each other. You'll meet other educators and model the kind of learner you want your students to be. If you want your students to innovate YOU must be innovative. If you want your students to collaborate YOU must be collaborative. Here's the schedule: January 7th – Meet the Flat Classroom, Chapters 1 & 2 January 21st – Connection and Communication, Chapters 3 & 4 February 4th – Citizenship, Contribution and Collaboration, Chapters 5 & 6 February 18th – Choice and Creation, Chapters 7 & 8 March 4th – Celebrating, Designing, Managing a Global Project, Chapters 9 & 10 March 18th – Rock the World