EdTech Musings

I saw a very interesting article on Twitter this morning and it brought up so many of the niggling issues I have when I get all evangelistic about technology in education. It doesn’t make me doubt the usefulness of technology itself, but the implementation of it. I highly suggest reading The Laptops Are Coming by Sarah Heller McFarlane to get a teachers reflection of her first year of teaching with a classroom of laptops – it brings up some interesting issues that I’m currently processing.

And I believe this is important even in the advent of 3D technolgy Check ths BCN3D Sigma review to see what I mean.

The main thing Im taking away from Heller-McFarlanes article is this (one that Ive heard over and over again, especially when I was meeting with a group of ed tech people earlier this month):

Technology does not solve all problems and throwing technology at teachers without working it seamlessly into existing curriculum is NOT the answer.

The solution? Im working on it, I know its out there. Right now, Im going with this:

Before a district spends even one more dollar on technology, they need to spend the money on people. People to make the decisions about the technology, people to train teachers, people to help with the integration.

Before all of that, though, they need to spend the money to make sure there are enough people PERIOD.

A 4th grade classroom of 29 students with one teacher and no TA is positively impacted more by the addition of a TA than by a set of laptops. Do I have numbers on this? No. Do I have experience in 4th grade classrooms with too many kids and not enough teachers? Yes. I want my own children in classrooms with human beings to …

Tech Mommy Move

I just completed my ultra geeky mom certification today, I promise. No, it’s not an actual title, but it SHOULD be! I actually cant believe I didn’t think of this earlier, but you can blame it on my late-start to the ultra tech world.

What did I do? I just bought domain names for my 1- and 2-year-old.

Yup, that’s right. I’m paying $9.95 per year to hold domain names for my kids until they’re ready to use them. And with me for a mom, they’ll be ready to use them sooner than later! I was kind of bummed that they didn’t have .coms left for my kiddos names, but I did end up with .orgs which are good enough.

I’m worried about their safety with the phones. I’ve been reading FlexiSpy reviews 2017 to determine whether it’s the right app to use to track my kids. But that’s a story for another day.

I actually plan to help my kids build their first sites when they get a bit older – I’m not going to use the domains to build them blogs right now where I blog about each kid, but want the domains to be used for sites THEY create eventually. I’m seriously not leaving the tech education of my children up to their schools, well do this as a fun mom-kiddo activity.

They may not use these domain names for a few years, but my kids will be thanking me laterthey WILL, stop doubting me!

 

I’m also excited because my .com name was FINALLY available and I just managed to grab it – yay! Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to get my nails done at the closest nail salon to me.

And yes, the total of my domain purchases this year …

Going Hunting? Get a Cheap Rifle Scope

My hubby is an avid outdoors person. And I have to admit he has been influencing me and the kids to spend more time outdoors too. Last weekend, he was researching a rifle scopes online and I got to learn a thing of two about them.

Here’s a summary of what I learned.

Most optics from the WWII era are of lower quality than modern optics found here: https://www.legiontactical.co.za/collections/vortex-optics. However, these optics are still very usable.  Often, you will find clear though not perfect parts for the scopes

How to make Sure it’s a Good Purchase

Make sure the Vintage Rifle Scopes you want to buy still function smoothly and have no significant rust on the ranging ring. Apart from this, ensure the scope is in good condition, there are light or no ring marks, and few normal use marks.  Make sure the optics are clean, clearand bright. The lenses should be scratch free.

If everything works as it should, the scope can be a good purchase.  Make sure the external adjustments work fine and that none of the cross hairs is bent or loose.  You can expect to see some exterior signs of use. But again, as long as the optics and crosshairs are clear, you are good to go.

Some old scopes are so simple that they have no crosshairs nor adjustments. Some have what are called “TV views”. These are basically flattened circles that allow you to get a little bit more left and right viewing.

The Weaver Vintage Rifle Scope

Weaver makes some of the best vintage rifle scopes in US history. Although the scopes are simple (fine and simple crosshairs), they sometimes come with variable objectives and power settings.  If youwant to buy a vintage scope, make sure that most  of the wear …

Goats and Ice Cream

We just got back from a trip to the county fair – a trip we’ve been building up for my 2-year-old daughter all week – animals! ice cream! cows! goats! pigs! chickens!

Guess what the favorite animal was? Bees. Yup, that’s right. The hit of the trip was the beekeeper exhibit where we got to see the queen bee in with all of the rest of the bees and got to listen to the hum and buzz of the pack (sorry, forgot my bee terminology!). Cows, pigs, horses – ho hum. All she cared about around those animals were the cool ribbons and balloons that the 4H kids hung on the fences. Seriously, the kids going to be a designer, I swear. I’m saying this after seeing how she tried to be creative with my Lix 3d pen. Oh yeah, and, Can we have ice cream now? was the constant refrain.

What will my husband and I remember from the trip? The goat trying to eat Jakes sleeve – no lie, a goat bit my sons sleeve – only at the county fair, right? What will Maggie remember? Bees and ice cream. What will Jake remember? Nothing.

The trip reminds me so much the most important thing about parenting and teaching – its not about me and what I want to happen, its about what actually DOES happen.

I wanted an idyllic farmyard experience, we got a coveting of sparkly streamers, sticky hands and honeybees. Oh, and dont forget the hungry goat.

My constant need to control often leads to frustration in parenting and was probably my main weakness in the classroom.

I just need to remember: its not about expectations, its about experiences. Maggie will remember the bees, that’s whats important. The test we …

Mommy Market Saturated?

I usually don’t publish my comments to other blog posts here, but this one was long enough that I thought it deserved space here as well. As you know, I’ve entered the world of mommy blogging and I’m a freelance writer (check my last post on a comprehensive guide to stethoscopes), so have quite a few thoughts on the below issue.

Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester wrote an interesting post after attending a BlogHer party – he poses the following questions after commenting about the swag that the BlogHer party attendees received:

When this organic and natural market gets saturated from the many vendors pitching at them (would make Scoble blush) what impacts does this have to: 1) credibility of the women bloggers, 2) Effectiveness of brands trying to reach this inundated market? 3) If credibility and demand is reduced to this market, will it decrease their influence? How will they be able to maintain these levels? I think something has to give.

Of course, me being me, I responded. The comment I left was this:

Very interesting post. I’m a mom, and I blog – making me a mommy blogger, I suppose. I run a group parenting and sleep blog at https://www.sleepdeeper.net and we are often approached by companies about reviewing their products.

You address the issue of swag and tons of free product, but how is this really any different than what has been happening with magazines for years? We all know that magazine beauty editors don’t go out and purchase all of the items they review in their magazines, but it isn’t specifically spelled out – why are mom bloggers different?

When we do reviews on our site, it’s with the understanding that the company has sent us something to review. We don’t get paid to write

Teachers of Children with Asperger’s

Ok, I’d like to believe that every education-related professional that reads this blog actually took my advice and joined HARO. I’m a realist, though, and realize that you probably didn’t. Here’s why you should have:

There’s a HARO request today for teachers who work with children with Asperger’s – the query states:

“Hello, I am looking for a teacher who has taught a child with
Asperger’s. The article is in a magazine for teachers. You’d need
to be able to say your school district and discuss what worked for
you and any possible challenges that can come up. “

I recently wrote about some excellent parenting blogs that deal with autism and Asperger’s and know there must be some excellent educators out there writing about this topic as well. If you aren’t on HARO yet and want info on answering the query, just leave a comment here or email me at kolson29 at gmail dot com. I wasn’t sure if it was ok to actually post all the query info, but I’d be glad to forward the email to you. In addition, JOIN HARO.

The New Meaning of Homework

The traditional school desk is being replaced by a kitchen table. The educational shift is known as on-line (or distance) learning, where all a student essentially needs is a computer and a high-speed Internet connection. Sometimes, you they may carry some aids such as a 3D drawing pen , rulers, Plasticine and so on.

Such education is similar to a correspondence course, where the student receives a course pack of materials and learns at home. The format can seem very appealing; however, it also has its drawbacks. On-line learning can be effective for those students who live at a distance from the educational institution. Traveling time, fuel and maintenance costs as well as wear and tear on a vehicle may be excessive and will often make daily commuting to and from classes impossible. Who wants to be on the road at 6:00 a.m. and drive for a couple of hours to arrive for an 8:00 a.m. class? Inclement weather would dramatically slow that commute.

On-line learning also offers tremendous flexibility to students; while there are deadlines to complete assigned readings and write tests, one can make one’s time his/her own. Reading textbook chapters can be done at 3:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon. If there is noise in the house, one can wear noise cancelling ear plugs and continue reading.

Such flexibility may strongly appeal to single parents (who can save childcare costs by remaining at-home), full-time employees or even adult caregivers. Mature students may not feel comfortable returning to a school setting and could prefer this method of study. Students are not restricted to studying at-home either; they can pack up their laptops and visit their public library or sit on their patio on a pleasant day. On-line course offerings work well for educational institutions as …

Insight for Us All

This was originally posted on Sleepdeeper.net, but it got buried there quickly. I realized that educators really need to be reading these as much as parents should, so decided to cross-post:

I’m not a parent of children with Autism or Asperger’s but know many who are and really feel the need to share these 4 (of many, I’m sure) great blogs by parents who DO have children with these unique challenges.

As a teacher, I have had a lot of training about the “definition” of these disorders, but none of it gave me insight the way these women do. My children are really young and I truly have no idea what challenges and hurdles are going to be placed in my path – we’ve dealt with speech therapy already, but that’s the most of it and that was hard enough to go through without a community to go to for resources and advice.

I love how these women write with such complete honesty and welcome others into their experiences – as I’ve said many times before, parenting isn’t for the lonely. We all need people to vent to and share experiences with – these parents might need this even more.

These women and their blogs astonish me with their strength and honesty – check them out, stay a while………and pass them on.

Autism Sucks

Send Chocolate

Note: Autism Sucks is a community and anyone willing and with a story about parenting a child with Autism or Asperberger’s is invited to write. In the sidebar of the site is a email link – email the blog owner and you can contribute!

Do you have any blogs to share that could give parents and educators more insight on the children we teach and raise? Let me know!

Get Sourced. Get Quoted. Get Famous

“Get Sourced. Get Quoted. Get Famous: www.helpareporter.com
Putting Journalists and Sources together, one quote at a time.”

Have you seen the acronym HARO floating around online lately?

No? Hmmm, well, now you can crawl out from under your rock and join the magic. HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out and is the brainchild of Peter Shankman, who is otherwise known as @skydiver. His website says he is:

An entrepreneur, author, speaker, and ingenious worldwide connector, Peter is recognized nationally and globally for radically new ways of thinking about social media, PR, marketing, advertising, creativity, and just about everything else, as well.”

But the ladies at Mom Generations just call him the Hottest Male Blogger. What? Playboy did it to the ladies!

HARO itself is this amazing little club/mailing list/magic tool (with over 14,000 users) that connects ordinary people and companies to journalists – journalists who want quotes and experience and all the stuff that they NEED for their stories.

I promise you from receiving the query emails each day that there truly IS something for everyone (no, SERIOUSLY) and have found many queries to answer myself, including ones for educators, moms, entrepreneurs, bloggers, twitter users – and the list goes on. I could share more, but it’s truly just too diverse to truly explain all of it.

The process is simple:

You register for HARO
Reporters submit queries to Peter
Peter compiles them
You get emails up to 3 times/day from Peter
You choose to answer queries or not
You might become famous or get your product or company quoted in a major publication

Easy as pie.

And honestly? Peter’s HARO query email intros are probably the best and funniest things I read all day – …

Online Degrees – From the Comments

UPDATED: Since I transferred my website to a new host, I lost the comments. However, I preserved some of them in this posts

Wow! The response to my post about choosing between a Masters in Education or an MBA has been outstanding – check the comments out if you get a chance, there is a TON of great information from many very knowledgeable people.

Here’s the thing that’s striking me, and striking HARD:

Several people have mentioned the bias regarding online degrees and it’s just killing me. This came up in a discussion I had earlier this year with a college professor and I hoped that he was in the minority. It appears not. I want to share these comments with you and then get your opinion because I really hate to think that in this day and age online learning is still looked down upon. The only way to change it if it is? Learning about the misconceptions and FIXING the things that lead to them!

Here’s what John and Jon have to say:

John Tenny:

First this:

“on-line is not as good as a live program; not that what you learn would be any less, but in the network you will build by getting to know your peers in the program.”

and then this:

Re f2f versus on-line: it all depends on the goals of the degree. If it’s learning the information, then anywhere that has the info will work. Same with wanting credits for pay increases (by the way, in most states is the number of credits that raises the salary, not just the degree).

But if you are looking to both learn and advance your career, the importance of the network can’t be ignored. For instance, a large % of CEOs in the business world