Paper is dead

November 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

Amen, Will.  Amen.

We have taken a very small step in this direction in my district.  Last year, I decided I had had enough printing, hole-punching, and putting into binders.  Every year we would do this, hundreds of times over to put together our booklets for our new hires.  And every couple of weeks throughout the year, we’d scramble to print off another copy, hole punch it and get it into a binder before an impromptu new hire training for one or two people who were hired late.

I decided we were going to put everything on CD.  It made so much more sense.  It was less to carry, a lot less paper, it could be created in seconds, instead of 30 minutes like our booklets, and if we needed to change anything, it was a matter of changing the text, and re-PDFing the document.  No more having stacks of paper that we couldn’t use because they didn’t contain the latest change.

I’m hoping to get our district break even more of its paper addiction in the coming year.


It’s like being back in the classroom

November 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

If you didn’t know already, my job is sort of a catch all.  An Instructional Technology Specialist (at least in my current distrcit) is responsible for a lot of things, from training teachers and helping them integrate techonlogy in their classes (which is supposed to be the main focus of the job) to fixing stuff that breaks, to making decisions about hardware and software.

I’ve had two incidents over the past week that made me feel like I was back in the classroom.

The annoying part of being in the classroom.

We had a training for teachers to update their web pages on a campus.  One of the teachers came in late.  And not just a few minutes.  TWENTY minutes.

I can understand if you have to travel to another campus, you might get stuck in traffic or something, but this teacher had to walk down the hallway.

Not only that, but this teacher then proceeded to be disruptive through the entire training, talking to other people, not paying attention, so that she had to ask (more than once) for me to repeat instructions I’d just given.

In addition to that, this same teacher (and another teacher in the room) received phone calls during the training and proceeded to take the calls while I was talking.  And they didn’t bother to whisper, either.  They were talking full voice on the phone.  I finally just stopped talking because I knew I’d have to repeat what I just said anyway, and said, “I guess we’ll wait.”

Having a phone turned up so that it rings during a training is bad enough.  Taking the phone call is rude, but taking the phone call and not leaving the room while instruction is going on is flat out unacceptable.

However, because my job is 70% public relations, I had to keep my mouth shut.

But I wondered if those same teachers would have accepted this same kind of behavior from their own students.  I’m all for teachers being treated like the professionals that they are, but if your own behavior wouldn’t be acceptable in your own classroom, don’t expect me to treat you any differently than you would treat your student, and don’t act surprised if I do.  Luckily for them, I kept my cool.  Next time, maybe not so much.

The other incident happened today.  I’m reading through RFP (Request For Proposal) responses.  I won’t say what they’re for, but let’s just say there was a big difference in the quality of work provided.

Some of the responses went into great detail about how everything we’re requesting works.  Others just gave a quick overview.  Some of them flat left pieces out.

Some of them looked like they really wanted our business (or in the classroom sense, wanted an ‘A’) and others looked like they were just throwing crap at the wall to see if it stuck.

It’s amazing how much adults are like kids at times…


November 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

Have you seen what we’re up against?  Is it any wonder why the director of science curriculum resigned?  When you get extremist whack jobs and people who don’t live in the real world making decisions in the educational system, things are going to get very, very bad before they get better.


November 6, 2008 § Leave a comment

Just a quick note: this is not technology related.

In my office, the woman who sits directly across from me has two children that attend school in our district.  We were talking about the election the other day and she was telling me how her daughter’s teachers (6th grade) had been very vocal about who they were voting for in the election.

What kind of classroom environment does that make?

In this election, I can imagine it would make going to school very uncomfortable for some students.

When I was in the classroom, I always sought to make election discussions as non-partisan as possible, and let my students hash it out with each other, on much more civil terms than many of the people online and TV.  I tried to teach them that it was OK to have differing opinions, that it was part of what made this country such a great place to live.  That we could disagree with our leaders and not fear any type of retribution.

I even sent out web sites last week to all of our teachers that they could use in their classrooms that were non-partisan and presented facts about the candidates, since facts seemed to be so hard to come by in this election.

My colleague’s youngest son even got the idea that if a certain candidate was elected, said candidate would take away recess from all students.  Now I’m not sure if that came from another student or the teacher, but if it came from the teacher, what a shame.

We’re supposed to be teaching our students to think, not making them good little followers.

A great weight

November 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

I am so proud today.  I stayed up late last night, and when I finally did go to bed, it was with a renewed sense of hope.  A renewed sense of freedom.  A renewed faith in this country that I call home.

I have seen, over the past couple of months, the kids of lies and venom that have torn apart this country for the past 8 years.  I have seen them firsthand, and I am proud to live in a place that has finally said “Enough!”

I know these things do not change overnight, but I am hopeful that with the changing of the guard will come more integrity, more openness, and more of a sense that this country is everyone’s country, not just those that can afford to contribute to political campaigns.

I am glad that we have elected someone as our leader who has a message of hope, instead of a message of hate.  A message that everyone is patriotic and American, not just those that agree with him.

And just to bring it all back to the name of my blog…I am glad that we have elected someone who knows how to use technology to bring people together and spread his message, and doesn’t see it just as a way to spread lies and spy on the people he leads.

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