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Lost week

I should never read computer magazines.

When I got back to my office from our state mid-winter conference on Tuesday, there was a stack of journals on my desk - including recent Macworld and iLife, both extolling the virtues of MacOS 10.5, aka Leopard.

leopard_box_125.jpgWhile I am neither a drug addict or alcoholic, I empathize - I do have operating system abuse issues.  A new one comes out, I have to have it. No self-control whatsoever. What really intrigued me about Leopard was its new TimeMachine transparent back-up system. Like most busy people, I make a back ups of my files far too seldom.

(On a side note, I always wanted to ask a computer programmer to write a little program that would at random intervals display a message in big letters on my computer screen  - YOUR COMPUTER JUST CRASHED. WHEN DID YOU LAST BACK UP? Even better than a weird noise coming from your hard drive to inspire a back up.)

I should have known better. My computer is a two+ year old 1.5 GHz PowerPC G4 with only 768MB of RAM and a paltry 60GB hard drive at about 90% full. Things were working just fine with 10.4. But there were those shiny new features!

I installed it Tuesday and have been tweaking ever since - setting things back the way I like them, removing or updating helper apps, deleting files, making back-ups (TimeMachine works great - all teacher computers should have a program like it), and running little clean-up apps like Cocktail hoping to speed the system up. In a real bonehead move, I used the default settings of a program called Monolingual to remove unused "languages" from my computer to free up some hard drive space.  (I had no idea Manx was a language - tailless cats can write?)  Now a number of  web pages don't seem to display. Use this program with care!

Things seem to be running fine again, although a little more sluggishly than last week.  

I have asked to be taken off the departmental routing list for new computer magazines. In the immortal words of Dirty Harry, "A man's gotta know his limitations."

Oh, I did have an idea as I was waiting for installation, back-ups, virus scanning etc. and listening to the AG Senate hearings. Wouldn't a simple answer to whether a procedure is torture be to apply the procedure to the person who is defining it for, say, an hour? With the procedure ending any time he admits that it IS torture. Is suspect the list of things that qualify as torture would grow rather rapidly.


On the Horizon

horizon08.jpgVicki Davis at the Cool Cat Teacher blog reports that the 2008 Horizon Report from Educause is now available. I've enjoyed past issues of this publication that predicts those technologies that will have a major impact on education in 1 year, in 2-3 years, and in 4-5 years. I always find in these reports stuff wasn't even on my radar, let alone on my horizon. So to speak. Worth a read.

I took advantage of another Educause resource this week when I heard the term "google jockeying" used during a presentation. Since I was listening with my laptop open, I had to google the term and came up with this: 7 things you should know about... Google Jockeying published by ...  wait for it ... Educause. This is just one document in the long list of the 7 things your should know about ... series. These one-page, double-sided papers on technologies and technology uses (often social) include a scenario, a definition, and a "what are the implications for teaching and learning" sections.(I just saw that Ryan Bretag has the list on his blog.) 7 things are great to share with your less than 100% tech-oriented staff members.


Remember as well that Educause produced Educating the Net Generation in 2005. The first two chapters of this online book are still the summaries of demographic research done on today's kids. 

Happy reading. 



Intellectual Freedom 101

Just last week I was complaining that I felt like a lone voice in speaking about intellectual freedom. And today I get this via the AASLForum listserv:

The current (Nov/Dec) issue of Knowledge Quest, the AASL membership journal which probably arrived in your mailbox this week, addresses the theme Intellectual Freedom 101, focusing on the many issues we face dealing with intellectual freedom in the school setting. Providing a thorougKQW362PrintCoverLg.jpgh introduction and education on current IF issues and how to handle them, this KQ issue features fundamental IF documents such as the Library Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics, articles such as “Getting Started with Social Technology in Your Library” by Annette Lamb, “Preparing for a Challenge” by Ann Martin, “A Patriot Act Primer for School Librarians” by Barbara Bailey, "Championing Intellectual Freedom: A School Administrator's Guide" by former principal Jeff Gibson, an interview with children’s author/illustrator Laurie Lazarro Knowlton (author of Red, White, and Blue), and a guest editor’s column by Helen Adams, chair of the AASL Intellectual Freedom Committee. And did you know that much of this outstanding journal’s content is also available online via KQ Web at  Do yourself a favor and spend some quality time delving into both the print and online journals!

Is AASL a responsive organization or what? I know I am looking forward to reading this issue and the online materials as well.