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Tuesday
Dec112007

My OLPC XO came today

Did yours?

olpccat.jpg
 

Sunday
Dec092007

Scrapbook Sunday

Once again it's time to clear out all those "starred" items in the GoogleReader and put them here - just in case.

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bookgem1sm.jpgYes, I am one of those pathetic individuals who reads at meals when dining alone. So the Book Gem caught my eye. No more dropping the paperback in the soup, perhaps.

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35% of kids 8-12 (tweens) own a mobile phone, according to a forthcoming study by Nielson.  5% access the Internet over their phones. And filters are going to keep kids from accessing inappropriate materials???

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I enjoyed Ian (The Committed Sardine) Jukes comments on the NEA "To Read or Not to Read" study, arguing that technology has actually "forestalled the death of the typographic universe – and its replacement by the society of the image – as predicted by McLuhan and Postman." And yes, I liked the post partly because great minds think alike ;-).

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OK, I really, really, really want one of these. I've long envied European's their access to such transportation. Of course, if a guy were to drive such a vehicle, he couldn't count on it to compensate for his insecurities in other areas.

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Ryan Bretag posted this darned left-brain/right-brain test awhile back. I have no clue if it has any validity or not, but it sure is interesting. To me, the dancer spins clock-wise (right brain), then reverses course after a few seconds, and reverses it again after a while.
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 Dave Warlick asked "How Much Does This Really Matter"?

According to the National Science Foundation (NSF, www.nsf.gov/statistics), the average U.S.
citizen understands very little science. For example:

  • 66% do not understand DNA, “margin of error,” the scientific process, and do not believe in evolution. 
  • 50% do not know how long it takes the earth to go around the sun, and a quarter does not even know that the earth goes around the sun.
  • 50% think humans coexisted with dinosaurs and believe antibiotics kill viruses.

On the other hand, according to the NSF, the general public believes in a lot of pseudoscience.

  • 88% believe in alternative medicine.
  • 50% believe in extrasensory perception and faith healing.
  • 40% believe in haunted houses and demonic possession.
  • 33% believes in lucky numbers, ghosts, telepathy, clairvoyance, astrology, and that UFOs are aliens from space.
P.T. Barnam said years ago that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. This is why when I hear the plans to privatize Social Security, I shudder.

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mordac.jpgThanks to Tim at Assorted Stuff for providing this link to the Dilbert strip about Mordac, The Preventer of Information Services, in his blog. Next time I get a 'pointy-haired boss" cartoon taped to my door at work, I may need to find this one again...  I've heard of a school IT department being called its "Prevention of Education Department."

Along those lines, Tim Wilson at the Savvy Technologist quotes from an eWeek article:

IT professionals will make more meaningful relationships within their organizations by ceasing to say “no” by default, and instead asking, “How do we allow good things to happen safely?” ... 

What a concept! 

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Scott McLeod shares on Dangerously Irrelevant, the results of a poll showing 80% of Amercian voters believe students today need different or somewhat different skills than they did 20 years ago. What happened to,  "If _______ in school was good enough for me, it's good enough for today's kids?" Would it be wildly optimistic to think the same American public that believes cavemen had dinosaurs as pets might also believe kids need to learn to use technology well to be gainfully employed?

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On that happy note, I am off to our state TIES Conference. Hope to see some of you there. This finished, I am DONE with my speaking engagements until January. Home for the holidays.

Saturday
Dec082007

How many 'puters should your library have?

These sorts of e-mails are always interesting and challenging:

Our [high] school is in the process of redesigning the library and I was hoping you could help us out. As we look at our plans for the new space, we want to make sure we have enough computers.  However, through researching this topic, I haven't found an exact answer.  Is there an exact answer?

Our population is 1740 and as of now, we will have 125 computers (a mix of laptops and desktops) in the new space.  Is this enough?  What does best practice say? 

westlab5.jpgI responded: 

I don't know that there is a hard and fast rule about how many computers ought to go in a library. It depends a great deal on your school program/philosophy (project-based teaching needs more), other computer resources available (do you have computer laptop carts, other labs, classroom computers), the media center staffing (don't put in more computers than you can supervise), size of your student population, class size, etc. Do you plan to begin a 1:1 laptop program in the near future? Do allow/encourage students to use their personal computing devices?

I believe for schools not in a 1:1 program, a 1:4 ratio of computers to students is now about standard. I am not aware of any national standards that are sufficiently quantitative to refer you to. Have you checked to see if your state has standards for this?

I would strongly recommend having two separate computer "areas" - one dedicated to library research resources/catalog access for general library users, and a second or additional areas for whole class use/instruction. We tend to set these off with windows so the area is a part of the library, but there is noise containment.
Might you also need a separate production lab for high-end computing needs like video rendering?

Whatever you decide, make sure it is JOINT decision reached by teachers, administrators and parents (even students), not a recommendation made only by the library staff.


I am not very pleased with my suggestions. Blue Skunk readers, your advice on how many computers should a library contain?