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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





Are "they' your scapegoat?


A few scattered thoughts..

I often hear comments like this:

"They" are blocking access to YouTube.
"They" cut my budget.
"They" don't think we need a library.

Who the hell is "they"?

Can you name "them"? Or are "they" just a convenient scapegoat for poor policy decisions? Are you attempting to influence the "they" and working to change such decisions from being made by "they" to being made by "we"?

If not, you should be. It's your professional obligation.


Great conversation and fun in SecondLife rather early this morning with Chris (Shambles) Smith, Diane McKenzie from Hong Kong, Rob Rubis from the International School of Bangkok (his comments here) and others.

Chris's talk show format seems well-suited for Second Life - casual, conversational and informative. I like it!

Snapshots from Shamble's International School Island "Live" in SecondLife, November 18, 2008

I suspect that this could as well have been a conference call. The visuals didn't add all that much to the message.

But in some weird way, the avatars and setting made the experience feel much more like being there. Chris, beautiful design of your space.

Oh Rob, my avatar is a total klutz too.


SLJ Leadership Summit keynoter Scott Traylor, the CEO and Founder and Chief of KID 360KID, stated that World of Warcraft experience is now being included on professional resumes to demonstrate leadership and collaboration skills. Anybody else heard this?

He also mentioned that online games are available for cross-generational play. If he mentioned titles, I missed them. Any ideas? (Grandpa needs to know!)


Two new way-cool Google resources:

Google Ancient Rome

After seeing the Rome HBO mini-series (that makes I, Claudius look lame), I'm anxious to explore this site.

LIFE Photo Archives via Google Images. An amazing resource, but I looked and looked for the copyright/use permissions and could not find them for these photos nor a way to contact Google to ask. Anybody know?


If you will excuse me, I need to get back to the letter to Congress explaining why I need a bailout package... Just think of all the people who depend on my doing well: the banker, the grocer, the barber, the dry cleaners, and especially the liquor store owner.

We can't just let them all go down the tube, now can we???


Fair Use Scenarios - Lucy's History Day Project

In a continuing series of scenarios that explore educational fair use issues. You comments are most welcome.

Lucy's History Day project explores how wars influence popular culture with a focus on music in the 20th century. She is creating a Ken Burns-like video that combines photographic images of wars and commercial recordings of popular music from each war's years, along with narration of her own observations and conclusions. This tape will be shown to the public during the History Day event and be placed on YouTube for others to view and use. HIstory Day participation is extra credit in Lucy's school.

  1. What are the copyrighted materials? Who owns them?
  2. Does the use of the works fall under fair use guidelines? Is the use transformational in nature? Can this be considered "educational" use?
  3. What is your level of comfort in helping create such a product? Are there any changes or limits you might like to see that would make you more comfortable with this project?

Your level of comfort with this use of copyrighted materials: High 5 4 3 2 1 Low

You comments are most welcome.

Image from the Life Photo Archives via Google Images.


Book Fair or Toy Fair?

Benefits of Hosting
Hosting a Fair is the best way to support your school’s reading efforts. Students, parents, and teachers love Book Fairs for a number of reasons, including:

  • A Book Fair connects kids to the books they want to read.
  • They feature a terrific assortment of books, hand-selected by book experts.
  • Book Fairs help build school, classroom, and home libraries.
  • They generate community involvement.
  • A Fair is one of the easiest ways to raise funds for the school. (Scholastic website.)

The parent-teacher organization at the LWW's school hosts a book fair during its P/T conferences each fall and spring. The attractive displays are bright and inviting.  The goals of the event are fantastic -  to encourage personal ownership of books and raise a little money for classrooms and the library. As an indulgent grandfather, it is all I can do to keep my checkbook in my pocket...

Here are a few shots of the offerings...



Notice anything unusual about this "book" fair? Where are the books in these shots?

OK, I'll admit I was somewhat selective in my photo shoot. Not shown are cases and displays of actual books that were there as well. But I think the toys are taking over. Even a high percentage of "books" are combo books-games-activities.

This shift from print to multi-media is not just visible at school book fairs, but in the children's section at the Barnes & Noble as well. I wonder how many kids will get real books as gifts this holiday season?

We have nobody ourselves to hold responsible for creating a postliterate society...

Are book fairs really about reading anymore?