Sunday, July 13, 2008


My computer was in the repair shop after a couple nonstop Stick days in the heat--blew out a fan and a power supply. Worse than falling behind in my assignments was being cut off from family, friends, and Google!

Add to that disruption the four weeks away from home without Internet access, and you begin to understand what an imploding experience the class has been. I would love to follow every link, try every option, beef up my blog with cogent comments, Power Points, cartoons, slide shows, pull quotes, drop letters, tool lines, original Photoshop-enhanced photos all warholled, and much, much more, but I am burned out and have done all I plan to do at this time. I can envision many days next school year when the classes will be on task and I will have time to poke around some more--assuming I can recall my user name, blog address, and password. I think I will add those to my substitute bag right away before I forget them.

As far as the experience went, besides the obvious time drain, I anticipated more comments from other
participants than were forthcoming. Perhaps I will get more as other people continue with their blogs, or perhaps, like me, they will not take the time to read through a bunch of blogs belonging to people who took the class at an earlier time, whom they will not get a response from, or whom they cannot identify. I don't know the members of our class, and I don't know how to distinguish their blogs from those out of district. Could I branch out a little and learn from an avatar from elsewhere? Of course, I could. But I would much prefer hearing how teachers locally plan to use the tools, how they think, and what they say and leave them encouragement. The list of participants was so long that I read only a smattering of their blogs and left few comments.

Besides having a more manageable group of people to respond to, it would have been helpful to have more face to face and personal sharing time. While it is a pain to have to be somewhere at an appointed time, I would have learned more if I hadn't had to read and write everything. Speaking and listening is a more expeditious method of communication sometimes. Clearly, some classes run that way, for their group photos are on Flicker. But that's so Old School!

I am getting the tiniest glimmer of why people put personal info on their profiles; it provides something for the anonymous stranger to hang a hat on. "I like sandhill cranes, chocolate chip cookies, and Elvis." Whoever cares? But being forced to try to make sense of someone based upon the little they write makes even a detail like sandhill cranes significant in ferreting out a personality.

Personally, I would prefer to save my brain power, scarce resource that it is, for solving a puzzle like how to create political will to institute Alternative Shoreland Standards, switch to alternative energy sources, or impeach the President. But wait...Hook a seeker with a cute avatar, explain/entertain them with a YouTube video, invite them to contribute to a wiki, and voila! another convert to the cause.
Would I sign up again? Do you mean would I give up a sizable chunk of my summer to sit glued to the computer for hours day after day for twelve lousy CEUs? Not likely! Not unless the time commitments were clearly stated up front and the CEU protocol were followed. Mike, you owe me at least 30 CEU's
! I know I don't get the cash incentive, but you could at least award a reasonable number of units! Oh, yes, and do you reimburse for the $270 computer repair bill?

Have a great summer, all. The class is truly a worthwhile experience if you care at all what your kids are doing.


The Twain Blog and the snippy response to it linked as Dangerously Irrelevant just makes me tired. Why, I ask. Because there is a central core truth to both their arguments that I'd rather not face: I'm busy, but that can't be an excuse.

I am so very grateful that Edina Public Schools provides technology specialists to work on-to-one with teachers to help them through the burgeoning options that kids seem to master in a flash. In 2003 one of my last students asked to use a classroom computer. Why? She wanted to work on her blog. What's that, I asked. She told me, but it has taken until this summer to really find out.

I cannot imagine ever having had time to take this class while teaching. Mr. Professor exhibits little memory of or empathy for the demands on a classroom teacher, yet I grudgingly admit that he is right. Teachers still need to learn, and in my limited exposure as a substitute, it appears to me that in great measure they do. My guess is that this fall will bring department blogs, avatars along with photos on ID badges, and RSS feeds from the Admin. I'll just have to wait and see.


So that's what Ning is!


I joined my family group on Facebook. I do not like the site because of the log that shows who visited when. I'm not a fan of that tracking stuff.

I have had a page on MySpace for some time. I use it as a discipline for writing, but I haven't been very disciplined as there are only a handful of entries.

MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdock, reason enough to discontinue using it. I like my energy capital to go to causes I support.


Yes, I have considered creating a podcast. In fact, this is one of the tools I have discovered in 23 Things that I am most likely to use for my work at EHS. I haven't worked out the details, but I'll know where to go for the technology. Mike, do you have a sound studio? A good mike? Minimally, what would you suggest for a home studio? (I can Google it.) I just have to shape the idea more fully and clear it with the Admins.


I will not be visiting YouTube anytime soon. (See Thing 3 below.)

However, students ask to show the class a clip from there all the time. Sometimes I do. Then I heard the school policy changed. I guess it's acceptable to StumbleUpon but not to YouTube? I'm a little confused. Substitutes can be a bit out of the loop on policy changes like that. That's one reason why a blog/wiki for substitutes would be so helpful. [I'm all over that idea, so back off.]

Perhaps other subs never consider showing a YouTube video, but I often find them helpful.

Let's say I'm supposed to discuss Book 13 of
The Odyssey. By Book 13, 94% of sophomores have found their shortcuts to the reading assignments, so they haven't read it and are not going to love discussing the next chapter with a substitute.

To put them in the proper frame of mind, I go to YouTube and show them the
15 second summary of the entire epic. Some students will still be daydreaming or talking, but when they hear everybody else roaring in laughter and calling "Show that again!", it snaps them awake. I can ask them to identify the scene from Book 13 in the video, and we're on our way to discussing what the teacher wants us to.


ELM is fabulous. It has really changed what one can accomplish in a small town public library, like McGregor, or Aitkin, or Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

There is simply no excuse for students returning from travels without their homework done, and I plan to tell them that.

And we'll simply ignore the fact that I did not work on 23 Things on a Stick the entire time I was away from home. Thank you.