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EdTech Update





Off to Kota Kinabalu!


I am leaving tomorrow morning to participate in the EARCOS conference being held this year in Kota Kinabalu - on the northern coast of Borneo. This is my second time in Malaysia, the first time being a three city tour in the late 1990s doing workshops for the US State Department for pre-service teachers. While I was on Borneo on that trip, I visited Kuching so Kota Kinabalu is a new city for me.


The flight there and back will be long, but I know that once there I will be enchanted with being in a new place. New foods. New smells. New sounds. I have three days before the conference begins and will spend them walking the city, going on a snorkeling "safari", and doing a jungle hike. I am a really GOOD tourist.

And I will enjoy being with my expatriate fellow teachers, librarians, and administrators later in the week. International conferences have a great vibe and I look forward my 4th EARCOS event (2006, 2007, 2012, 2015).

What's an endless flight when there is such excitement at the end. (I always remember how much tougher those who had to make ocean voyages had it than we do, complaining about being cramped up for a few hours!)

Looking forward to seeing some friends from the East Asian region!



The power of a handwritten thank you 

While I have never made a secret of the fact that I do NOT miss classroom teaching, preferring to work with adults, it is fun to get back in the classroom now and again.

Last month I read Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk to second grade students at Edward Neill Elementary School. As both a librarian and a writer, I deeply identify with Sam and was happy to share the book with a class of very interested and engaged kids. The cards in the photo above (and more) came in the interschool mail last week.

While the reward of doing these sorts of things is actually in the doing - it's just plain fun - I was pleased to see the handwritten cards as well. Written thank yous are sort of a big deal in my family. (I am not saying you'll never get another gift if one does not send thanks for the previous gift, but I wouldn't take a chance with a couple relatives.) Anyway, my children and now grandchildren seem to be thank you card writers, and I am pleased.

My job is to promote and help people use digital tools. I, personally, would rather send an email or text than a letter or make a phone call. And yet, I also understand the power of seeing a handwritten message, of hearing a human voice, of having a face-to-face conversation.

Call me old fashioned, call me sentimental, but I still like people better than things. And handwritten notes.


A shared love of mythology

On hearing my nearly five year old grandson was getting interested in Greek mythology, I stopped at Barnes & Noble and picked up a copy of my all time favorite version of the myths - the one you see above.

As I remember, I bought copies for both my own children. The pictures are wonderful if a little silly at times - the Kraken that tries to eat Andromeda looks like a giant earthworm with human teeth, but the text is a straight forward retelling of the most popular Greek myths.

Yeah, Bullfinch and Hamilton might be more comprehensive. But for my money, the D'Aulaires got it right in a very memorable way. Oh, that and the original Clash of the Titans movie.

Fun to share a beloved book with another generation.