Search this site
Other stuff

Follow me on Twitter at:


All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

Locations of visitors to this page

My latest book:

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Fan Page on Facebook


Must-read K-12 IT Blog
EdTech's Must-Read K-12 IT Blogs





RCE 1 and 2: And not Or and Look for Value

“The answer to most multiple-choice questions is Yes.” Walt Crawford

If you can't stand someone because they can't tolerate others, does that make you hypocritical? If so, should you tolerate their intolerance? AnswerBag 

In a recent blog post, I visited the Radical Center of Education and suggested some principles for achieving this enlightened state of mind and how it will result in a change philosophy that may result in change actually occurring.

  1. Adopt an "and" not "or" mindset.
  2. Look for truth and value in all beliefs and practices.
  3. Respect the perspective of the individual.
  4. One size does not fit all (kids or teachers).
  5. If you think it will work, it probably will.
  6. The elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time. Or is it that you can't leap the chasm in two bounds?
  7. To travel fast, travel alone. To travel far, travel with others.
  8. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know."
  9. Measurement is good, but not everything can be measured.
  10. Know and keep your core values.

 Adopt an "and" not "or" mindset.

notor.jpgI've already written about this first principle and I'll not beat it to death. It does seem that education is increasingly polarized and we ought to all be thinking a lot more "and" rather than always "or." The scarcity mentality most of us live with in public education contributes to a lot of "or" thinking since it seems we often can't afford the "and."

Look for truth and value in all beliefs and practices.

Just so you know, I am not going for canonization or anything, I find following my own advice here is tough - really tough. My first reaction to most people who are idiots with whom I disagree is to dope slap them now and listen later.

What is difficult to reconcile, however, is that people I often think need to be dope slapped aren't dopes at all. In fact, more than a few are a heck of a lot smarter than I am.  So how does one account for a situation in which two intelligent people disagree? Well..

  1. One or both could be uninformed about the topic at hand.
  2. One or both could be misinformed about the topic at hand.
  3. But most likely, those in disagreement bring different values or perspectives to the topic, thus giving specific facts, experiences or arguments more or less weight. Looking at it this way, all evidence ought to be seen as having value.

It is dangerous to mistake disagreement with stupidity - or even ignorance. We must listen, learn, and even, gasp, moderate our own views if we are to retain the Radical Center of Education. In order to find areas of mutual agreement, one needs to keep climbing the abstraction ladder until both parties find a common goal, even if there never is a consensus on the steps needed to reach the goal.

A corollary to this that I find difficult is assuming a hidden agenda or unstated ulterior motive on another's part. Yes, I certainly do think that those who advocate for vouchers are actually advocating for the demise of public education, but one can only effectively argue with stated goals, not those we devise for others.

Two "side," each stubbornly and blindly adhering to a single tenet will not result in change. When both sides move to the Radical Center, based on finding value in each other's views, change will happen. 



Managing the OLPC project

My G1G1 XO came a week ago. This came in yesterday's e-mail.



Your XO laptop is on its way.
We're happy to inform you that your XO laptop has shipped.  In order to  help you get the most out of your experience with the XO and One Laptop per Child (OLPC),  here are some important links.  Please save this email for reference. 

To find out everything you need to know to get started with your XO laptop, please click here <>  or visit <> ......

We hope you enjoy your XO laptop!
OLPC Foundation
P.O. Box 425087
Cambridge, MA  02142

I hope this mission and genius of this project does not get defeated by a lack of management. It happens.

Oh, this e-mail DID include the information needed to get the T-Mobile complimentary HotSpot service for a year. Look for it. 



NETS at ALA Midwinter

pope1.jpgGoodness. The event described below feels a little like the Pope attending Christmas Eve services at the Lutheran Church. But I'm glad it's happening. AASL and ISTE need work together more often. Like I've said again and again and again.

Kudos to both ALA/AASL and ISTE for making this happen!

And thanks for David Barr for the head's up on this event.



Media Specialists and Librarians: ISTE wants your input
A Shared Vision--A Shared Voice for Educators in an Increasingly Digital World

Attending ALA Mid-Winter? Join us to Refresh the NETS for Teachers

Join Paula and Don and share your thoughts about the Refresh of the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS•T) in a Town Forum style meeting.  

Date:  Friday, January 11, 2008
Time:  2 pm to 4:30 pm
Location:  Doubletree Hotel in Philadelphia
(See map:
Room:  Regency Room

Bring your own laptop to this interactive, collaborative session to refresh the NETS for Teachers! Register in advance at <> .  If you're not attending  ALA Mid-Winter, you can still lend your voice to the NETS•T Refresh!  Visit <>  to give us your feedback!

The NETS•T were originally released in 2000.  Now, we are seeking input and feedback from educators, thought leaders, and the private sector on the NETS•T so they reflect the demands and needs of Digital Age learners.  

The next generation of NETS•S, released in June 2007, raised the bar high to achieve greater technology-integrated learning.  We want your help to do the same with the teacher standards, performance profiles, and essential conditions. Find out more about NETS at <> .

Special thanks go to ISTE 100 Members sponsoring this initiative including Level One Sponsors: Adobe Systems, Apple, Intel, and Pearson; Level Two Sponsors: Promethean, Inc. and SMART Technologies.

Lynn Nolan
NETS Refresh Project Director