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All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

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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





Brady on Pink

My 22-year-old son Brady's take on Daniel Pink's latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko:

Hi Dad,
I thought Johnny Bunko was fantastic, it was a very relevant kind of motivation for young adults today. The art style and the characters are a fantastic way to get a message across that kids normally wouldn't even be receptive to. It almost works as kind of a gateway to this kind of thinking, and makes me want to read more of these kinds of books. I wish I had something like this before I started college to put me in the right mindset for the real world. I'm keeping this book and these lessons on hand for a long time as a reminder of what I really want to get out of life.
 Looking forward to Memorial Day weekend. Do you think we can squeeze in Indiana Jones?

(A scan of his college tuition bill was attached.)

 I sent Brady's review to Mr. Pink, and he responded:

Doug --

Thanks for this.  You (and he) made my day. Brady has kept me in the writing business for at least a few more weeks!  

Thanks again.


Pretty cool, I thought.

Looking for a great graduation gift this spring?

I have to say that Brady is a pretty cool kid. He's the one that draws the skunks for my blog's heading, did the art work of Machines Are the Easy Part, and still is willing to have the occasional lunch or dinner with his old man. Check the latest custom art work:


A sacred cow.


A gardening skunk


Picnicking skunks.

 And of course the rollerblading skunk in the header of the blog (at least today).

It's wonderful to have children of whom one can be proud, and LWW and I are four for four.

The grandsons look promising as well.


Library design - flexibility and the future

A computer lab on the floor of Dakota Meadows Media Center, supported by in floor computer wiring and electrical outlets.

Red indicates under-floor conduit though which wiring can be run through the floor or the library.

About the only safe prediction about the future is that technology will change. Resources will change in format. Learning activities will change. Good school library design dictates that spaces are designed to be as flexible as possible. Running plenty of conduit and putting electrical outlets through spaces are still good practice. Try to place classrooms or other spaces adjacent to the media center so that they can be incorporated into the library if space needs increase. Or try to make sure there is an outside wall where an addition can be built if necessary.

At the same time, it's a mistake to design for technologies that do not yet exist, no matter how tantalizingly close they appear. E-books are not replacing print materials at this time. Wireless network access remains too slow, insecure and unreliable to replace Ethernet. Presentations are still given in physical space as well as virtually.

This "design principle" is probably the most important, but most difficult to practice. How have you seen library spaces made flexible and future-friendly?


Library design - aesthetics

Skylight and science department greenhouse above the circulation desk adds interest and beauty to the St Peter High School Media Center.

Color schemes, interior designer selected, are carried out throughout the building and media center at Eagle Lake elementary school -top left, top right, center and bottom right. Bottom left photo shows informal seating with warm wood trim in the St Peter HS Media Center.

The respect shown to those who inhabit a building is demonstrated by the attention paid to the appearance, comfort and aesthetic attention given to it. Professionally selected color schemes, warm wood accents, and art work create beautiful, welcoming spaces. Natural light has proven to improve learning, productivity and attitudes. (Although care needs to be taken that UV rays do not unnecessarily harm carpets and book spins, that reflected  light does not make computer screens unreadable, and that areas can be darkened when projection devices need to be used.)

Beauty is less about expense than it is about caring during the planning and design process. 



Student art, including the handprints and signatures of graduating 8th graders decorate Dakota Meadows Middle School (Mankato MN). Wooden trim is inexpensive but adds warmth to a brightly laminated circulation desk at Eagle Lake.