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Tuesday
Jan062009

ISTE Board nominations are open

This came in my e-mail yesterday and want to encourage you Blue Skunk readers (being above average in both taste and intelligence) to consider nominating yourselves for the ISTE Board. Librarians and Minnesotans are particularly needed to bring balance and grace to the organization.

I served for two two-year terms and found the experience very enjoyable and enlightening. The meetings are designed to be of minimal cost to board members and require little time away from work. If you have specific questions about serving that can't be answered from the ISTE website, let me know. - Doug

Happy New Year,

We’re building the next exceptional Board of Directors, and we need your help!

Board nominations are now open! What an exciting way to start the New Year!

Today, through Monday, February 2, nominations are being accepted for the following open positions, each with a two-year term starting in June 2009:

  • Two At-Large Representatives: General members involved in any area of educational technology.
  • One Computer Science Representative: General member who is a PK–-12 or post-secondary education computer science instructor.
  • One International Representative: General member who is from a country other than the United States, involved in any area of educational technology.
  • One PK–12 Schools Representative: General member who is a PK–12, school-based educator, either classroom teacher or technology coordinator.
  • One State Technology Director Representative: General member who is a director of technology for a state education agency.

Consider nominating yourself or reach out to your colleagues and contacts throughout the world who are ISTE members and have the leadership skills to serve to encourage them to run for a seat on the Board. It is through you, our members who are committed to the goals of ISTE and advancing the field of educational technology, that we can build an exceptional Board.

Details about the nomination process, the three guiding questions, and Board member responsibilities are available at http://www.iste.org/elections.

Friday
Jan022009

What makes a good teacher? and...

Sunrise on the Mayan Coast near Xcalak, Mexico

I am having a tough time getting my mind back to work after it's had a dozen days away. (Why don't they give us Swedes coffee breaks? It takes to long to retrain us.)

This is the first time I can remember feeling that I needed just a couple more days vacation before getting back in the saddle. I am blaming my malaise on upcoming budget cuts, icy roads, sub-zero temps and just having had a really relaxing time in Mexico where I spent less than 20 minutes a day online and sent only 2 e-mails during entire week. And didn't wear a sweater even once. Paradisio...

A few odds and ends...

_______________________________

The best reason for putting a Creative Commons license on one's work is to see the terrific transformative pieces that derive from it - much that is better than the original. I loved how Mr. McGuire tweaked my post, What Makes a Good Boss into What Makes a Good Teacher. Some interesting parallels.

_______________________________

I don't think this violates the Blue Skunk Endorsement Policy...

Hi Doug,

... I am working on a community service project @ MIT university. We want to get kids to make videos about SAT vocabulary and create a free and more fun way to prep for the big test. You can view some sample videos at the website we're using http://www.BrainyFlix.com.

To encourage participation, we are going to run a contest and give out a small cash prize to the video that receives the most number of votes from viewers. We'll start accepting video submissions on January 1, 2009.

I was wondering if you would be willing to write a short post about our charity event. The more videos we receive, the more helpful we think we can be! We'd be especially excited to get more representation from Minnesota.

Please let me know. If you have any hangups about doing so, I'd love the chance to address them. I can be reached at jack.yu.is (at) gmail.com.

Thank you and have a happy new year!

Jack

Looks like a simple and worthwhile project.

_______________________________

Jeffrey Cole of the University of Southern California Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future found in a 2007 survey that young people 12 to 25 will “never read a newspaper.” Never. from BuzzMachine

Of the LWW's and my four children, only one - the 35-year-old - subscribes to a daily newspaper. And one child is even married to a newpaper editor. How can one start the day without a cup of coffee and newsprint? The LCD display is just NOT the same...

_______________________________

My 7-year-old grandson Paul is a reader. He pretty much finished an entire Goosebumps novel (Monster Blood for Breakfast, a sensitive memoir of nutrition and the role it plays in personality development, I believe) on Saturday, between swimming, movies and McDonalds stops.

He was about to start his second novel of the day when he discovered Grandpa's iPod had the Spore and CroMag Rally games on it. Pffftttt - reading moved to the back burner. A number of things really surprised me about Paul, technology, and his gaming:

  • He remembered my four number iPod password from last Thanksgiving.
  • He got my spore Bob through three levels in about 15 minutes, including one that I'd spent the last month working on.
  • He was highly articulate about how he made choices in the games he played. He very thoughtfully and patiently explained to Grandpa the logic behind his conclusions. Metacognition of inductive/deductive learning, I believe the professors would call that... And yes, skillful game playing requires intelligence.
  • He was a good sport when I whooped him at the board game Sorry which primarily relies on dumb luck.

Comparing me with my grandson ought to be as much proof as anyone needs of evolution.

_______________________________

Back to more serious matters in future posts.

Remind me again why anyone lives in a cold, cold part of the world.

Wednesday
Dec242008

99 Blue Skunk things and idle hands

 

It's the first day of our school holiday break for me. A non-work day before we fly to Mexico. So far this morning I have finished writing a 3500 word white paper, done a load of laundry, answered all my e-mail, read all RSS feeds, printed my boarding and parking passes, updated our lake association website with pictures of our monster, Jeffie, and put a roast and acorn squash in the oven. My bags are packed, the driveway and sidewalks are cleared of snow and all my Christmas shopping is done.

Jeffie, the Lake Jefferson (LeSueur County, MN) monster

So now it is idle hands time, which is usually dangerous for me.

I downloaded the $.99 iPod app iFart, sort of an electronic whoopee cushion. I think it is a riot but the LWW seemed less amused. My brother and grandsons will get it.

Saw this mem on both Walt and Stephen's blogs.

THE 99 THINGS MEME

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity. (OK, I feel guilty about this one...)
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain. (Define mountain.)
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped. (This looks terrifying. See also skydiving.)
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37.Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.

55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
(Fish are animals, right?)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Been there done that, got the t-shirt: 62
Wish I had: 18

No desire: 19

Oh come on, Stephen and Walt. This list is for little old librarians... We of the adventerous soul can do better...

THE BLUE SKUNK 99 THINGS MEME

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you won't admit to having done: underline
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog. Received a cease and desist letter from a publisher
2. Slept under the stars. Slept in your car in a road ditch.
3. Played in a band. Paid your own tuition.
4. Visited Hawaii. Visited any country with a average per capita income of less than $2500.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Watched a tornado from your porch.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. Given a donation instead of gifts to family, friends or coworkers.
7. Been to Disneyland/world. Done the behind the scenes tour of the Magic Kingdom.
8. Climbed a mountain. Hiked at over 13,000 feet. Without oxygen. Smoking on breaks.
9. Held a praying mantis. Held a python longer than you are tall.
10. Sang a solo. Hiked where there were bear warnings.
11. Bungee jumped. Skiied a black diamond run.
12. Visited Paris. Visited Mandalay.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Been stranded on an island overnight.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Wrote and illustrated a children's story.
15. Adopted a child. Adopted a pet from an animal shelter.
16. Had food poisoning. Had Montezuma's revenge.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Spent the night in a real monastary.
18. Grown your own vegetables. Run your own still.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. Seen aboriginal art on Uluru.
20. Slept on an overnight train. Sat beside people with live chickens in a cage on a train.
21. Had a pillow fight. Had a fist fight.
22. Hitch hiked. Hopped a train.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. Took a day off without giving an excuse.
24. Built a snow fort. Used a bb gun to shoot your friends - for fun.
25. Held a lamb. Emptied a rat trap.
26. Gone skinny dipping. Spent a day on a nude beach.
27. Run a marathon. Bicycled across a state.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice. Ridden a hot air balloon over the Masi Mara.
29. Seen a total eclipse. Seen a volcano erupt.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Watched a sunrise from the Greek island beach you just slept on.
31. Hit a home run. Got a home run on a first date.
32. Been on a cruise. Been on a white water rafting trip.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. Hked to the Hanakapi'ai Falls on the Nai Paii coast in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Learned that one of your ancestors was a criminal.
35. Seen an Amish community. Visited a Peruvian village in the Andes.
36. Taught yourself a new language. Taught yourself a computer program.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Been stranded away from home with no money at all.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. Seen the world's largest reclining Budda in person.
39. Gone rock climbing. Climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza without getting caught.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person. Seen the mosaics on Mount Nebo in Jordan.
41. Sung Karaoke. Did a folk dance.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. Walked up to a bison - on purpose.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant. Eaten something you couldn't translate in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa. Worked in Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. Gone snowshoeing by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Been carried on a strecher.
47. Had your portrait painted. Bought an original piece of art.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. Gone wreck diving.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person. Seen a Celtic cross in the Irish countryside.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Been to the catacombs in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Seen a big shark while scuba diving.
52. Kissed in the rain. Made love in a public place.
53. Played in the mud. Taken a mind-alteringl substance.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. Visited Simon's Cabaret in Phuket, Thailand.
55. Been in a movie. Directed a play.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China. Ridden a bicycle in Xian and gotten lost.
57. Started a business. Smuggled something through customs.
58. Taken a martial arts class. Built an entire building.
59. Visited Russia. Read all of War and Peace.
60. Served at a soup kitchen. Eaten in a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies. Bought a fake Rolex.
62. Gone whale watching. Gone Fairy Penguin watching on Philip Island.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason. Gotten a smile from a beautiful woman for no reason.
64. Donated blood. Sold blood because you needed the money.
65. Gone sky diving. Flown in an experimental aircraft.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. Visited the Holocaust Museum in Berlin.
67. Bounced a check. Pawned something.
68. Flown in a helicopter. Flown in an ultralight.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. Taught your grandson a game.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. Toured Gettysburg.
71. Eaten Caviar. Eaten a sheep's eye.
72. Pieced a quilt. Installed a new toilet.
73. Stood in Times Square. Stood in Tianamen Square.
74. Toured the Everglades. Visited cannibals in the Borneo jungle.
75. Been fired from a job. Been deliberately fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London. Taken the Jack the Ripper tour of London at night.
77. Broken a bone. Been stung by fire coral.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Driven on an ice-covered lake.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon at Havasupai.
80. Published a book. Been asked to write a forward to a book.
81. Visited the Vatican. Seen the Living Goddess in Katmandu.
82. Bought a brand new car. Drove a car with over 200,000 miles on it.
83. Walked in Jerusalem. Walked through Amsterdam's red light district.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Had your name in the police report of your home town paper.
85. Read the entire Bible. Read Richard Burton's translation of the Arabian Nights.
86. Visited the White House. Attended a party at the president of Singapore's mansion.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Eaten food from a street vendor in Kuala Lumpor.
88. Had chickenpox. Had a concussion.
89. Saved someone’s life. Saved your own life.
90. Sat on a jury. Testified in court.
91. Met someone famous. Had something named after you.
92. Joined a book club. Wandered away from the tour group.
93. Lost a loved one. Looked for one of your children who was lost.
94. Had a baby. Helped deliver a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person. Seen the ruins at Coba and Uxmal.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake. Floated in the Dead Sea.
97. Been involved in a law suit. Been hit with a rod by the Saudi religious police.
98. Owned a cell phone. Gone for a whole day without a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee. Been bitten by a monkey.

Now even I don't really want to do all of these things. But I've done a heck of a lot of them. Remember - it's not the people in the nursing home with the most money but  the best stories who win. Since the nursing home is looming every closer, I suppose I better get busy!

One of the things I'll be thinking about on vacation is how I should be allocating my writing time. It's very tempting and lots of fun to do silly stuff like the list above. The white paper and books and magazine articles are much harder work, but better for the profession, better for me. Sigh... Less Skunk, more footnotes in '09, I'm afraid.