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EdTech Update





Is the thrill of getting a package in the mail gone?

O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street,
Oh please let it be for me!
O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' down the street,
I wish, I wish I knew what it could be! Music Man - "The Wells Fargo Wagon" lyrics

I send my grandchildren a package of goodies on Halloween and Valentines Day. A little candy (trying to cut back), t-shirts, some spooky toys, and this year a box of pumpkin flavored oatmeal sends just a little reminder that Grandpa is thinking about them. And selfishly gives me a chance to try out all the Halloween decorations in the store.

Despite the fact that I could bring this stuff to the kids and hand them to them in person, I again boxed this year's goodies up and mailed it.

From my own childhood, I remember the thrill of getting a package in the mail. Whether a birthday gift, something stupid ordered from the back pages of Boy's Life, or book I could not get locally, finding a package in the mailbox at the end of the driveway was really, really exciting.

But is that the case for today's kids? I wondered about this as I picked up a package of the doorstep that I knew was a set of pants hangersI had ordered online to simply save me the effort of a run to Target. Big whoop.

Had Willson's Wells-Fargo wagon come around everyday, would anyone, even in River City, Iowa, have been excited enough to sing about it?

What else has become so common place that it gets a yawn instead of a song? And more importantly, what will today's kids remember as exciting?


Yes, I will unfriend you if you are a Trump supporter

The following graphic showed up on my Facebook feed a few days ago:

In a normal election, I could buy into this. An election based on ideas and values and different paths to a better future for our country.

But sadly, this is not a normal election.

I have always defined politics as values put into action. And I myself cannot be categorized as a Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, libertarian or whatever the opposite of liberaraian might be. Happily in the past I have felt I could vote for the major candidate of either party and feel like I was voting for a decent human being.

But with Mr. Trump, this is not the case. (Yes, Hillary has some issues, too). This is a man who I would not leave alone in a room with my children or anyone else's. This is the school-yard bully. This is the kid who when he sees he is not winning, tips over the game board. This is a man who makes me feel embarrassed to be male. Embarrassed to be an American. If you support Trump, you are opposing every value I hold dear.

If you support Trump I will unfriend you on Facebook. I will unfriend you period.

This is not about politics. This is about what it means to be a decent human being.


BFTP: 22 dangerous statements for techs to make

I took librarians to task a while back about statements they often make that are dangerous for their careers. I'd forgotten I'd even written it until someone recently left a comment on the post. But it got me thinking.

Are there dangerous statements technology directors, technology integration specialists and technicians make that could be hazardous to our vocational health too? Have you caught yourself saying any of these little sound bites lately?

  1. It's not in the budget. (People hear: Your need is not important to me.)
  2. That's not my job. (People hear: Your idea is not worth trying.)
  3. It's against policy/CIPA/FERPA etc. (People hear: I will use the threat of illegality as an excuse not to do it.)
  4. It can't be done. (People hear: I don't know how to do it and I am too lazy to figure out how.)
  5. It'll cause security issues. (People hear: Security is more importance than your convenience and utilization.)
  6. It takes up too much bandwidth. (People hear: I don't want to deal with kids getting into YouTube or teachers using Pandora.)
  7. The kids/teachers would just abuse it. (People hear: Everyone but me is basically irresponsible.)
  8. It might break. (People hear: Everyone but me is untrustworthy.)
  9. It's so cool I'm sure we can find a use for it. (People hear: The technology is more important than the educational use.)
  10. I don't have the staff to support it. (People hear: Your need is not important to me.)
  11. I don't have time to do it. (People hear: Your need is not important to me.)
  12. We only support Windows (or Macs).  (People hear: You only support then platform you know best.)
  13. It's so easy no training is needed. (People hear: If you had any brains you could figure it out for yourself.)
  14. We can't give ____________ administrative rights. (People hear: Everyone but me is basically an idiot.)
  15. Teachers shouldn't use the equipment/the Internet for personal uses. (People hear: I think you are a slacker and need to be micromanaged.)
  16. Buy it. We'll figure out how to replace it in 5 years. (People hear: Having something new and shiny is more important than building a sustainable program.)
  17. It'll set a bad precedent. (People hear: Individuals are less important than procedures.)
  18. The kids will always know more than we do about it. (People hear: You are not as smart as a 5th grader.)
  19. Technology would solve all your problems if you learn how to use it. (People hear: Spend your time learning to use technology on the chance it might solve more problems than it creates.)
  20. You should be spending your own time learning this program. (People hear: Technology use is more important than your family, hobbies or other commitments.) 
  21. You can't bring your own technology to school to use on OUR networks. (People hear: Everyone but me is untrustworthy.)
  22. Silence. (People hear: Your request is so unimportant that it doesn't deserve a reply.)

I will be the first to admit I have said and probably will say again some of these statements. In fact, I've said them enough that I am sort of surprised I am still have a job or anybody who will still talk to me.

My goal for next year is to always answer a request with a "yes" and then discuss the how's and implications. But at least start with "yes."

Any other dangerous statements for technology people to utter?

Original post August 16, 2011