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November 21, 2008

Two links to share.

How to help our public schools with technology? (from Slashdot - "News for Nerds")
Speak up, educators! How could those from the computer world help you with technology in the schools?

A Web App For Real-Time Collaborative Writing
This could be a very cool tool for writing collaboration with older students!

November 13, 2008

How will we fare?

I'm watching the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on public television. Henry Paulson is on the show. I'm not sure that he's sure that the billions of dollars being injected into the banking/monetary system is doing much. "Until the correction in housing pricing is done, we won't be able to get much better," Paulson reports.


I'm concerned that whatever happens, more wealth is being created for the upper whatever percent of people. We have billionaires and millionaires making money while the middle class and lower class face numerous financial issues. Jobs are being lost. I don't know what the answer is. I think the problem that got us here is the unbridled promise of profit. The system seems only to be interested in profit, not the well-being of people, the economy as a whole, or even long-term wealth.

As someone here semi-employed, with a Ph.D., looking for work in a university, probably a public one. I can't help but wonder how public institutions will be affected by the financial crisis. Will our public school districts be able to continue providing education? So many of the rural school districts are already on barebone funding. In Minnesota, they are limited as to how much they can tax through property taxes unless the people of the district giving them permission to go over the normal tax rate through a referendum. These are not passing in some districts. Some have indicated that they will need to close down as a district and consolidate with another district. I wonder if other universities, like the University of Minnesota, will declare a system-wide hiring "pause". This doesn't bode well for young academics.

November 12, 2008

Did you know?

The film can be downloaded at Shift Happens, a wiki. This is also a great site for ongoing discussion regarding the short film, "Did you know?"

Things I've learned about 2nd graders

I've been working with a group of second graders at an after-school program at a South Minneapolis school. I'm not trained as an elementary school teacher, this is younger than most kids I deal with in my usual youth work. These are kids who are labeled "at-risk". I'm not fond of that term, but it's what is used. They come from below-poverty level homes or have already been identified as falling behind in school. I only have 6-8 each day, but it wears me out. I've learned a few things from them....

1. Do 2 directions at a time - not more. Example: Put your paper in your bag and sit down at your desk. What doesn't work: First, put your paper in your bag, then put on your shoes and coat, and take your backpack to the door and get in line.
2. They still are really into having fun...losing a minute of "fun time" at the end of the day is a serious threat.
3. I've got three girls that can be super-nasty to each other. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to get them to work is to get one of them out of the mix. Two can get along ok, usually...there are only 3 girls in the program. They turn super-nasty to everyone else when they get nasty!

That's all for now.

November 11, 2008

A new presentation...a new blog

I'm going to be keynoting with this presentation this evening in River Falls, Wisconsin at a media specialist forum. This is one of a growing number of professional presentations I am giving. I've never been given the honor of a keynote address before, so I'm looking forward to it. Link to presentation follows.

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