10/10: No school
10/11: Short Story Prewriting
10/12: Short Story Drafting
10/13: Reading Day
10/14: Short Story Rough Draft due at end of the period
10/10: No School
10/11: Turn in final argumentative essay at end of the period
10/12: Prepositional Phrases
10/13: Reading day
10/14: Appositives and Appositive Phrases
Monday: No School
Tuesday: Memoir Plot Organizer
Wednesday: Work on first draft
Thursday: Work on first draft (due Friday)
Friday: Edit memoir
Assignments Week 9/6-9/9
Monday: No School
Tuesday: Questions on page 27
Wednesday: Predictions/Vocabulary Worksheet
Thursday: Anticipation Guide
Friday: Anticipation Guide/Plot Graphic Organizer
Over the last five years, I have been developing into a different type of system administrator. I used to believe in the "protect at all costs" and "reign from above doling out favors to the surfs". I felt that as the Technology Coordinator I was the keeper of the information and the protector of the network and all peripherals there attached. Now, not so much.
Since becoming the tech guy here at Eagle Grove, I have learned some very valuable lessons. First, I need to let go of my need for control or I will go crazy, and second, that we have hired responsible professionals in our district. I am not in any way saying that we have hired IT geniuses, myself included, but we have hired professionals and they deserve to be treated as such.
I made the figurative jump this summer and allowed, no, respected the teachers enough to make them administrators of their own machines. I have not given them the computer admin account user name and password, rather I have made their network account an admin on their individual machine. This move will make them responsible for adding their own software titles and making sure that they are licensed. It does open the opportunity to install such apps as Limewire or other file sharing titles, but I will respect that teachers are honest enough to not do so. And we will be monitoring the computers with a new piece of software that allows us to quickly see what is installed on which machine.
A second and probably larger benefit of this action is that I anticipate less trouble tickets. Before, the user could not even adjust the time on their machine or set certain preferences. Now they no longer need me to do these things and I free my time up for instruction on more technology integration.
In the end I hope I have not shot myself in the foot, but I have faith in our staff to be professional and respectful. If all else fails, I will simply wipe the machines clean and re-image them.
I love to read the comics in the morning while enjoying a nice bowl of Apple Jacks. One of my favorite comic strips is Dilbert. Because I work in IT, it is almost a daily look into my life. Two days ago, the comic strip struck really close to home about something I truly believe.
Here is the comic
At least once a month, I get a call from a staff member asking me to train them on some piece of software. I understand that I am the Technology Director and that to many, that means I know everything there is to know about every piece of software that we purchase at the school. That is not however, the case. Many times I take 5 minutes to look at the program and find out how to work it. I would like for our staff to do that same. I truly believe that they are all able to figure it out themselves, they just lack the confidence in their ability to use computers. This "new" technology is still foreign to them and they shy away from trying things for fear of making a mistake. I do believe that no one can learn from mistakes they never make.
After struggling to develop a viable electric light-bulb for months and months, Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr. Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied, "Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." And shortly after that, taking over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.
I feel that schools should hire people that are self motivated and will be able to do the job they are hired to do. If there is a need, training needs to be provided, but for many things, it is just taking the time to play around with software and find out how it works.
My 2 cents.
So I have been researching best practices for internet filtering. We as a school district that enjoys partaking in task that is E-rate, are required to filter our Internet access. we have to block "pornographic" sites.
We at EGCSD block more than that and I am not sure why. I understand the blocking of pornography as a safe guard for our students. And I understand the need to block some sites so that they do not overwhelm the bandwidth. I do NOT however want to become the "Internet Police". There are far more pressing issues that I need to spend my time on.
The problem is, every vendor who makes a filtering device tries to sell it to you because the students are the "enemies". I do not believe this to be true at all. There are always those students who will bend or break the rules, but for the most part the students are willing to accept rules if you give them reasonable rules and true explanations. Maybe I have too much faith in kids, but I find that 95% (I just made that number up) of my students will rise to the expectations that I have for them.
How often have we asked students to "look it up" when they ask a question that we do not know the answer to? I know that personally I have told them to do that very thing many a time. At ITEC this year, I had the opportunity to hear David Warlick give his keynote address. I rather enjoyed his speech and especially the part about no longer teaching "technology" and to teach "literacy". He spoke about web literacy and I listened.
In class we have been discussing color and why the original "web safe" colors were limited to 256 colors. I told the students to search for the answer, but then I took it a step further and we talked about web literacy. David Warlick gave the classic example of the website www.martinluther.org. After showing students what to look for, the reveal is that the site is run by white supremacists. As a class we talked about what to look for and how to be literate about the Internet.
We then continued on with our Photoshop lesson of the day and ot done with time for the students to work on their assignments. I have to say it was a good day.
Day 2 of color and it has not become any easier of a concept to grasp. Was asked a great question on why computers use additive synthesis and RGB instead of what nature does with subtractive synthesis and the primary colors. I do not fully know the answer. So is this a teachable moment. Is this what we now understand to be the 21st Century class. Students can know more than teachers, the teacher facilitates and guides the conversation to lead in a particular direction.
I failed at that. I did not let the conversation get too far "of course" and now I am asking myself "What is the course?"
I know I have curriculum to get through, but if meaningful learning can come out of a discussion and or research, that is not in the daily "lesson" than is it all bad?
I am thinking more and more that it is not.
So tonight and tomorrow along with Project EASIER, I am going to be re-evalutating my role and position in the classroom.
Color Color EverywhereThe topic of the day was color. Since we picked up that first crayon, color has been a part of our lives.
"What s your favorite color?"
"What color is your house?"
"What color is your car?"
"What color hair do you have?"
"What color are your eyes?"
We take it for granted, until today.
The class began the same as any other with attendance, review, questions and intro. Then it got interesting. The class started with a discussion about color and how our eyes see it (Additive Synthesis for those interested) and how they learned about primary and secondary colors in art class. The students discussed how all colors come from the primary colors and that how you can mix them and get all the other colors in the crayon box.
Then things got interesting. I asked how is it possible for a computer to replicate those colors on a monitor. How is it possible to take a digital picture, move it to the computer and e-mail it to friends and or family and allow them to see the same thing. Additive synthesis, that is how. The combination of red, green and blue, that is how. After discussing how color is defined in computer language as a hexidecimal number and how there are websafe colors and hue and saturation and brightness, I though their heads would explode. Just for fun I thought I would throw in some binary addition.
Tomorrow I think there will be lots and lots of review.