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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





A list o' lists

Two great collections of educational Web 2.0 resources have recently become available:list.jpg

  • My friend Donna Baumbach's WebTools4U2 Use is a fabulous, comprehensive compilation of tools in a variety of categories. The collection is the result of a recent survey of over 600 library media specialists, so you know the tools are field tested.
  • Top 100 Tools Spring 2008 Summary PDF from Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day (thanks to Stephen Abrams for the heads up) is a very interesting compilation of popular online tools that compares their ranking from 2007-2008. Jane slices and dices the tools into categories as well and offers a Top 25 list for those of us with a touch of ADD.

I've added these to other illustrious resources that list and describe electronic learning tools on my Dipping One's Toes in the Stream of Social Networking wiki including:

A list o' lists...  Thanks to all the hard work by the individuals who've created and maintained these guides.

So, if you had but an hour and wanted to introduce just the top three most productive online tools for teachers, which three would they be? My nominations would be:

  • Wikispaces
  • Slideshare

And yours? Just three. Just one hour. Just your normal classroom teacher.



Humility builders


Here is the new garage door I installed this weekend on the "shed." Don't look too hard or too close. It's on. It goes up and it goes down. It looks much better than the one I removed. My skinned knuckles are healing nicely. The project didn't require a trip into town for more parts. Nobody called the police on account of bad language. Still this sort of project is definitely a challenge for me.

I woke up this morning wondering who got the "handy" genes in our family. My dad was very mechanical and my mom was a house painter, furniture restorer and the like.  My brother and sister must have lucked out. I know I didn't inherit one lick of ability in this area. Any project like installing a garage door, repairing a faucet, or putting together a toy raises my humility quotient by at least 100%. 

Which is a good thing.

I find that I get into the most trouble, act the most stupid, and embarrass myself the most when I am thinking too highly of myself. Getting knocked down a notch or two usually makes me a nicer person. At least for a while.  I know this.

Here are a few other humility builders (oxymoron?)

  1. Full length mirrors (see below)
  2. Stupid typographical errors or just plain awkward writing in work you've made public.
  3. Chewing somebody out, then getting all the facts, then apologizing.
  4. Reading others' writing that is more profound, beautiful and thoughtful than you ever hope to create.
  5. Watching yourself on videotape.
  6. Having an article rejected by a publisher. Or two. Or three.
  7. Being taken to task for something you've said by someone you respect.
  8. Getting a pointy-haired boss cartoon taped to your door.

There are plenty of others but these come to mind.

Why is it so difficult to be grateful for the things that do us so much good? 

Photo via Ian Jukes. Poster by Motivator.


"There is no plan" and other Bunko career advice

bunko.jpgAs readers of the Blue Skunk know, I am a Daniel Pink fan. So I was excited to get my very own copy of his latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need.

It's great. Period.

Published in manga format (and supported by a blog/website), the short book takes about 30 minutes to read and offers six simple lessons about achieving satisfaction at work and life. The first lesson is "There is no plan." You'll need to buy the book or find another source to learn the other five (like here). Don't expect a lot of depth, but a parable along the lines of Who Moved My Cheese.

Bunko would make an interesting discussion book for any high school career planning effort. I wonder what guidance counselors will make of it? More than a few mid-career adults will stop and ponder their choices if they think about Pink's advice as well.

I am anxious to get a "review" from my son who will be graduating from college this August and who is more in the target market for the book. As a manga fan, he might even read it.

Get a copy for your school's library - or the Johnny Bunkos in your life. 

Link here for a review by my 22-year-old son on this book.

Bunkopage5.gifimages from