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Monday
Jan232006

Are Mankato teachers ready for blogs?

While I am not sure it is ready for prime time, I've changed our monthly TechTips newsletter from  e-mail to a blog format. The feed is http://oncourse.isd77.k12.mn.us:16080/weblog/djohns1/?flavor=rss2 (Had some trouble figuring this one out in Bloglines.)

While anyone is welcome to subscribe, the  focus of the blog will be the same as that of the newsletter - items of technology and library related interest to teachers in our district.  If the past couple weeks has been any indication, teachers will be seeing what I think are among the most interesting posts from blogs I read.

Initially, I plan to send an email out each Tuesday with a recap and links to each blog entry. I'm guessing it will be a while before people get into RSS feeds or just checking the site for updates.

We'll be doing an inservice for teachers in early February on creating a blog of one's own. We've got the OSX server running its flavor of blojsom (with damn little support from Apple on this, BTW.) techtips.jpg

I'll letcha know how it goes. Any advice on making this successful would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, interesting that this morning, the headlines (1) (2) of the Mankato Free Press  was all about two blogs being written by Mankatoans. Is blogdom going mainstream even here in Left Overshoe, Minnesota?

Sunday
Jan222006

Romance and the long tail and other random thoughts

Another reason why school administrators need good tech skills

This morning's Star Tribune reports that Minneapolis Public Schools' superintendent, Thandiwe Peebles, is on her way out, due in large part to allegations that she asked her staff to do research for her class assignments. Had Ms Peebles good technology skills, she could have simply downloaded her papers off the Internet.

Don't let Dick Cheeney read books

I'm convinced Mr. Cheeny's request for Google records comes after he (or a staffer) read  John Battelle's The Search and his concept called The Database of Intentions - "Google knowing what our culture wants" based on what search terms are popular and which are not. I'm a couple chapters into The Search. It's excellent.

Don't judge a book by its cover

search.jpg

Excellent.

google.jpg 

Not excellent. (Reads like a combination Landmark Biography and company promotional brochure.) Don't be fooled like I was by similar covers...

 Romance and the long tail

Privacy issues have been making the news quite a bit lately - cell phone call records available for sale, registration required for Amazon's Look Inside the Book, and of course the feds request for Google records after already gotten them from MSN and Yahoo.  We've long taught our teachers and students that nothing is private on the Internet, including e-mail. Yet no one seems to take such admonitions very seriously. Even if one's e-mail isn't made public today, the old stuff is probably sitting on a  yahoo, gmail or your school's back-up server somewhere.

Should some enterprising and extremely bored individual ever decide to do some datamining on e-mail from my past, s/he would likely encounter some rather embarrassing e-mail exchanges between the LWW and me from our courting days. The e-mail flew hot and heavy between Mankato and Minneapolis for a while. And we still exchange a romantic sentiment now and again.

So here is my advice for virtual lovers and the plan that the LWW will be adopting: code phrases. From now on in my email:

  • Dear = Hey, hot baby
  • curriculum meeting = lovemaking
  • differentiated instruction = that thing you do I really like
  • yours = love

 So,

Dear Anne,
At this evening's curriculum meeting let's look into differentiated instruction again.
Yours,
Doug

Don't say I didn't offer a means of escaping the long tail, you romantics out there.

Saturday
Jan212006

The Library Dragon

The LWW as the Library Dragon...read.jpg