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EdTech Update





I don't really want a 1:1 program

Tim Stahmer at Assorted Stuff writes:

Why do we want every student to have a connected device in the first place? If our primary goal is improving test scores, we can probably find better, less expensive solutions.

How should the curriculum and classroom practice change as a result of every kid carrying a powerful communications tool? If teachers continue to lecture, drill, and test based on a largely fact-based program, 1:1 would be a huge waste of money. Very similar to the way we’ve wasted a lot of funds on instructional computing over the past decade and a half.

For those not of the ready, fire, aim mentality, Tim's questions have to resonate.  Although I believe our district will eventually supply school-owned devices to all 6-12 students, I don't want to call it a 1:1 program.

Instead of being device-centric, our initiatives will be based on using our learning management system to provide differentiated instruction and ubiquitous access to resources to all students in all core classes 6-12.

Just  co-incidentally, all students will need a device to get access to these opportunities in order to insure equity.

This is not just semantics. This really is the “why” of adding student devices to the system. While I believe many, if not most, teachers will initially use the LMS at the substitution and augmentation levels, there will be those pioneers who move ahead rapidly - and there is a clear path for all teachers toward more powerful uses. 

Will student devices be use only to access the LMS? I certainly hope not. But LMS use will provide a launch pad that all students and teachers will use. 

Let's not call it a 1:1 program, unless the 1:1 stands for 1 unique learning experience to every 1 student.


BFTP: Dangerous statements librarians make

Sometimes librarians can be their own worst enemies. I shudder when I hear these phrases uttered:

1. But the school HAS to have a librarian/library.

2. The research proves that libraries improve student achievement. (Subtext: So I don't have to.)

3. Kids can't come into the library at _________ time...
           - because I have work to do
           - because I might need to step out and they would be unsupervised
           - because it is MY library and what I say, goes.
           - because I need 4 weeks in the fall and spring to get it ready/shut it down
           - (Subtext: Because they annoy me.)

4. I can't create a good program because I am in a fixed schedule.

5. Having a study hall in the library is out of the question.

6. I let the technology people take care of that (to a teacher who needs help NOW.)

7. Correct bibliographic format is absolutely critical (Subtext: No matter how brilliant the content.)

8. I can't work with a teacher who does not give at least _____ days/weeks/months advance notice.

9. The library catalog information has to conform to _________________ standards and I will spend all my discretionary time cataloging until it is!

10. Computers and the Internet are the bane of reading and rational thought. I refuse to learn about them.

11. Wikipedia/blogs/Twitter/etc. is not an acceptable source of information.

12. If only the principal/teachers/parents knew what I do they'd appreciate me!

13. It's my job to read so if I read on the job others can just think what they want.

14. But ALA/AASL Standards say ___________________________.

15. That kid has shown he can't be responsible so he'll never check anything out from this library again.

16. Computer games in my library? (Subtext: It would just bring kids in and they annoy me.)

17. I can advocate for my own program. I don't need anyone else vocally supporting it.

18. My expertise in children's/young adult literature makes me indispensable to my school.

19. I don't need to collect data about my program. My principal loves me.

20. I don't teach "computer skills." That's the technology department's job.

21. The right job title will make my position more secure.

OK, those are 21 fast ones off the top of my head and are dedicated to Chris Harris who sparked the idea.

I am not convinced that the profession as a whole is in a crisis. But I suspect a lot of librarians (who aren't reading this blog anyway) may be.

And rightfully so.

What other dangerous statements do you hear from your library colleagues that make you wince?

Original post April 21, 2010.

This post was also reincarnated as a Head of the Edge column.


Age appropriate activities - Part 2

Only doing half the 4-day hike to Ciudad Perdida (see last post) had an upside. It gave me two days to do other activities including a costal hike of Park Tayrona. A perhaps more age-appropriate activity.

On the map above, find Canaveral on the northern coast and Cabo San Juan just to the west. An out and back hike of about 2 hours each way, hugging the coast, with a long break for a swim and lunch was the day.

A popular day hike, the route was well marked and much of it was boardwalk and wooden steps. Yes, the hike started with a series of pretty good climbs and descents, but none that took longer than 10 minutes or so - not the hour-long ascents of Ciudad Perdida.

Just one of many stunning views of the beaches. These are not swimmable. Colombia supposedly has the highest costal mountains in the world. Who am I to doubt?

Don't flick your nasty cigarette butts in the ocean because the turtles will eat them (roughly translated).


Caribbean shoreline near the start of the hike. I don't think I've ever taken a photo where the horizon is actually horizontal. Yeah, I know I can fix that with an editing tool...


How much farther? Thought these markers were a great idea for a hiking trail. Hiking, unlike walking a sidewalk or road, takes variable amounts of time to cover a kilometer of distance.

First glimpse of Cabo (Cape) San Juan beach through the leaves of the coconut palms. Workers were gathering coconuts along the hike's route.

View from the lookout above the beach (seen in the previous picture). The beach has very nice facilities including campgrounds, a snack-bar/restaurant, bathrooms, and hammocks to rent for the night. Nice place to spend a couple hours resting up for the hike back.

One last glimpse of the beach heading back to Canaveral (Cane Plantation). Great walk with just enough elevation change and sandy stretches to be challenging without being overwhelming. Even for an old guy like me.


Love those 99 degree days. Needed to record this so my comments about the heat don't just sound like whining. I did avoid rain the entire trip.

Bar at the La Brisa Loca (Crazy Wind) Hostel in Santa Marta. Spent two nights here - probably another age-inappropriate activity - but the place was great. The website photos would have you believe it is party central, but my top floor private "cabana" was quiet. Lots of young backpackers, mostly reading or visiting in small groups.


My favorite early morning coffee vendor. Fifty cents for a small, sweet very strong coffee to savor sitting on a park bench. The vendor himself made a fashion statement. One of the little pleasures of travel.

Oh, and there was that conference thing in Cartagena too. Great event with wonderful hosts and participants. I got just enough of a taste of Cartagena to make me want to go back.

More photos on SmugMug.