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EdTech Update





Green and cheap

I sent the message below out to my district listserv the other day. I often get chewed out when I get back from the holiday break because someone (usually a taxpayer) has noticed computers left on during while school was not in session. The article mentioned below (thanks Stephen's Lighthouse) is a good one to share with your staff.

Let's all be green and cheap! Especially as school budgets get tighter...

Hi folks,

There seems to be an on-going misunderstanding in our district (and elsewhere) about whether one should ever shut off one’s computer. This article should answer any questions on the issue.

Shut your computer off whenever possible and put it to sleep whenever it is not being used. (Putting it to sleep is different than putting on a screen saver – see Myth 2 below.)
from: Five PC Power Myths Debunked

"Turning off PCs during periods of inactivity can save companies a substantial sum. In fact, Energy Star estimates organizations can save from $25 to $75 per PC per year with PC power management. Those savings can add up quickly. According to a recent report by Forrester titled "How Much Money Are Your Idle PCs Wasting?" PC power management is helping General Electric and Dell boast savings of $2.5 million and $1.8 million per year, respectively. That also results in a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions."

Myth No. 1: The power used turning my PC on negates any benefits of turning it off.
Myth No. 2: My screen saver is saving me energy.
Myth No. 3: Turning my PC on and off will reduce its performance and useful life
Myth No. 4: I can't run updates and patches for PCs in lower-power states.
Myth No. 5: My PC users will not tolerate any downtime for power management.
It's a start. Small stuff adds up."
In other words, put your computer to sleep (not on screen saver) or turn it off whenever possible. Set your computer to go to sleep after a few minutes inactivity. (On a Mac, go to System Preferences and use the Energy Saver controls.)

And of course over the upcoming holidays, turn everything OFF! If you have your computer set up to start at a certain time, make sure that control is disabled as well.

With nearly 3000 computers district-wide, we could save $150,000 a year if we averaged the savings listed above.

It’s green and it’s smart.

All the best,


Any tips for getting your staff to turn off their computers when not in use?


Equal time

After passing along the negatives about Arne Duncan in the last post, I thought it only fair that good news gets passed along as well....

Obama's Pick for Secretary of Education Supports School Libraries
School Library Journal, 12/16/2008

"Although Illinois doesn't mandate certified media specialists, Chicago's 650 K-12 schools are staffed with some 500 teacher-librarians, all of whom are certified teachers with the majority holding an endorsement or certification in library science, says Paul Whitsitt, director of libraries and information services for the third largest district in the nation.

Despite widespread layoffs of school librarians nationwide, there've been no district-level cuts in library staff over the last few years and staffing at the school level has held steady, adds Whitsitt."

This is what makes politics so interesting. There are always lots of ways to spin interpret any action. It's also a reminder why I should stay away from writing about it completely!

Have at me, Gary!

Any Chicago librarians (Lisa?), teachers or admins reading the Blue Skunk? What do you think of Obama's choice?


The information below was originally a comment to this post, but I felt it ought to be shown here as well:

I live near Chicago and my wife taught in CPS while the transition to Duncan was occurring. Can I tell you that there has been visionary change? No. Has CPS become a better school district - Yes. Can it be better - Yes.

For a view of Duncan through the eyes of the independent publication that looks at Chicago Education view this link:

All respect to Gary, but it is probably a more reputable source on Chicago Education and the guy in charge of it.


Four more years of subversion?

If you can believe Gary Stager and others ruing Obama's nomination of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education (and I don't see why you shouldn't), it looks like we need to keep our copies of Postman and Weingarter's Teaching as a Subversive Activity dusted off.

While we librarians have always been subversives at heart, we need more techs and teachers doing what is right by kids, not simply doing what they are told to do by those who are politicians rather than educators.

What subversive act have you committed today?