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

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EdTech Update





Excuses, excuses

excusemaker.jpgThe Top 100 Lamest Excuses for Not Innovating
(Once again via Stephens Lighthouse. How does he find these things?)

Read the list and then here is the challenge:

  1. Make a list of your three most bothersome excuses.
  2. Turn each excuse into a powerful question, starting with the words "How can I?" or "How can we?" (For example, if your excuse is "That's R&D's job," you might ask "How can I make innovation my job?" or "How can I help my team take more responsibility for innovating?"
  3. Brainstorm each question -- alone and with your team.

My excuses..

  1. It's not broken. Why fix it?
  2. It involves a power shift and somebody will get mad.
  3. I don't have the energy. 

In a sense, I object to innovation for innovation's sake. It's a means to an end. Not an end in itself. Is that my 4th excuse?

What keeps you from innovating? What are your excuses? 



A list o' lists

Two great collections of educational Web 2.0 resources have recently become available:list.jpg

  • My friend Donna Baumbach's WebTools4U2 Use is a fabulous, comprehensive compilation of tools in a variety of categories. The collection is the result of a recent survey of over 600 library media specialists, so you know the tools are field tested.
  • Top 100 Tools Spring 2008 Summary PDF from Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day (thanks to Stephen Abrams for the heads up) is a very interesting compilation of popular online tools that compares their ranking from 2007-2008. Jane slices and dices the tools into categories as well and offers a Top 25 list for those of us with a touch of ADD.

I've added these to other illustrious resources that list and describe electronic learning tools on my Dipping One's Toes in the Stream of Social Networking wiki including:

A list o' lists...  Thanks to all the hard work by the individuals who've created and maintained these guides.

So, if you had but an hour and wanted to introduce just the top three most productive online tools for teachers, which three would they be? My nominations would be:

  • Wikispaces
  • Slideshare

And yours? Just three. Just one hour. Just your normal classroom teacher.



Humility builders


Here is the new garage door I installed this weekend on the "shed." Don't look too hard or too close. It's on. It goes up and it goes down. It looks much better than the one I removed. My skinned knuckles are healing nicely. The project didn't require a trip into town for more parts. Nobody called the police on account of bad language. Still this sort of project is definitely a challenge for me.

I woke up this morning wondering who got the "handy" genes in our family. My dad was very mechanical and my mom was a house painter, furniture restorer and the like.  My brother and sister must have lucked out. I know I didn't inherit one lick of ability in this area. Any project like installing a garage door, repairing a faucet, or putting together a toy raises my humility quotient by at least 100%. 

Which is a good thing.

I find that I get into the most trouble, act the most stupid, and embarrass myself the most when I am thinking too highly of myself. Getting knocked down a notch or two usually makes me a nicer person. At least for a while.  I know this.

Here are a few other humility builders (oxymoron?)

  1. Full length mirrors (see below)
  2. Stupid typographical errors or just plain awkward writing in work you've made public.
  3. Chewing somebody out, then getting all the facts, then apologizing.
  4. Reading others' writing that is more profound, beautiful and thoughtful than you ever hope to create.
  5. Watching yourself on videotape.
  6. Having an article rejected by a publisher. Or two. Or three.
  7. Being taken to task for something you've said by someone you respect.
  8. Getting a pointy-haired boss cartoon taped to your door.

There are plenty of others but these come to mind.

Why is it so difficult to be grateful for the things that do us so much good? 

Photo via Ian Jukes. Poster by Motivator.