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EdTech Update





'Tis a joy to be simple - redux

Our district began the process of selecting a new telephone system yesterday by inviting three vendors of popular VOIP (OK, Voice Over Internet Protocol) products into visit about what we should be looking for in a new system.

The conclusion was made that we need a consultant to help us make this choice.

I've long yearned for products that are "simple." Those that do one thing well and take just moments to learn. I am dismayed when my new electric toothbrush comes with a 14 page instruction manual. When my wristwatch's instruction booklet is three times bigger than the watch. That the instruction tomes for appliances and tools now take up a full shelf in the laundry room at home. When I feel guilty looking at the five remote controls that sit in my family because I know what only a fraction of the buttons are for.

After hearing the "feature sets" of tomorrow's today's telephone - interface with one's e-mail, automatic call routing to cell phones, "who's available" notification, caller ID, BlueTooth hand/head sets, etc. - I worry that we will taking a friendly, useful technology - the POT (Plain Old Telephone) - and turning it into something so confusing it will be used only reluctantly by our staff.

I am already imagining reaction to the six hour workshop on how to place a simple telephone call.

Maybe it is just me, but I'd trade a lot of functionality for a lot less manual reading every time.

The Shakers had it right - 'tis a joy to be simple.


I will conquer my procrastination problem. You just wait!


Top 10 reasons to procrastinate: 1.

I had to chuckle when I read about this new application in LifeHacker yesterday: LeechBlock, a Firefox add on, that makes up for a total lack of will power by allowing a user to self-block time sucking websites...

This set blocks five time-wasting sites between the hours of 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. on the weekdays.

I will freely admit that I am a procrastinator. If it weren't for externally imposed deadlines, I am sure my first kindergarten worksheet would still remain unfinished. And I suppose the first step to a cure is admitting one has the disease.

Stephen Covey's Time Management Matrix (from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) would put the compulsive checking one's Facebook page, Twitter feed, e-mail, GoogleReader and blog writing right smack in Quadrant IV: Not Important, Not Urgent.

Covey reminds us that the only way to make long term change is by investing time in Quadrant II activities. And he suggests that the only way to increase time in Quadrant II is to steal it from the other Quadrants, especially III and IV.

Now that few of us can use that cigarette break as means of delaying getting on with a big job, the social web has stepped right up to the plate.

I have a long list of ways that you can keep from being a procrastinator and I'll add them to this post - just as soon as I respond to a couple of Tweets and Pokes...


You read it here first

Scholastic Accused of Misusing Book Clubs New York Times, February 9, 2009

What took them so long to break the story? The Blue Skunk covered it last November.