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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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Saturday
Sep272008

Handouts for sessions that don't need'm

Printed on card stock, four per page. Whadda ya think? Satisfy those who both like and hate handouts?

Conference season is on us me. Inquiring minds need to know.

Saturday
Sep272008

Follow-up on IWB entry

Wes Fryer, being the great guy he is, wrote a long, thoughtful reply to my snip at him for one of his recent posts on IWBs. I hate it when I get "out-niced" and Wes gave me a better reply than I deserved. Humbled.

Jim, the teacherninja, asked a good question:

What about your district, Doug? Are there IWBs in every class or just a number in each school or what?

We now have installed about 200 or so IWBs (Smartboards) along with mounted LCD projectors in our 7200 student district. This is the third year of a seven year plan to so equip all classrooms and teaching areas in our schools.

I've written about (and defended) this project a few times in the Blue Skunk. IWBs seem to draw a good deal of criticism from constructivism fundamentalists like Gary Stager (who I also recognize as a true child advocate).

These are among the observations I've made about SmartBoards. Oh, be sure to read the comments - they are often more informative than the posts themselves. And notice how most of the writers who like IWBs are actual teachers; those who don't like them are pundits.

While it can seem frustrating, not having the funds to do all-at-once, top-down technology projects is a good thing. Most technologies we roll out over a number of years. Because of this the early adapters and enthusiasts get them first, suffer the problems of being on the bleeding-edge, and truly create a teacher-led, teacher-changed school culture. (You are now odder if you don't use an IWB in most schools in our district than if you do.)

And as with all technology implementations, we do our best with staff training given the resources at our disposal. Each teacher who gets a SmartBoard is required to participate in eight hours of direct instruction on its use, has the benefit of a shared pool of resources for SmartBoard, and the services of an excellent in-house trainer (a media specialist who has 20% of her time dedicated to the IWB project.)

OK, let the arrows fly - again.

Saturday
Sep272008

A Cautionary Tale of Testing

A few days ago I asked readers what their "sources of humor" might be and I listed a few of my own.

I was extremely negligent in not recommending school librarian Dean Wham's "Books, Bytes, & Grocery Store Feet" new blog.

His latest entry, Seemed Perfectly Logical to Me, is a cautionary tale about having adults take the NWEA MAPS test - and will crack up anyone who deals with it (or assessment coordinators). Funny as a crutch, as my old relatives used to say.

Thanks, Mr. Wham. It's always a treat to read a talented writer.