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, 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:
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

Help Me Choose

I’ve been going back and forth about this for a few years now and NEED input – seriously need it. I’m trying to decide whether to pursue an MBA or a Masters in Education, where there could even be a specialization in Educational Technology. I’m halfway to the Masters in Ed (through credits taken during my certification program) at a local university, but I’m not in love with the program and although this may sound rather quaint, I want to feel challenged by the program and be proud of my accomplishment when I’m done.

Whichever program I choose needs to be either in close proximity to where I live or have an online component – I can NOT move for a grad program right now. My undergrad is in business, I have a background in accounting, and recently completed my teacher licensure in business education.

Which degree has more value career-wise (opportunities, not money) in the long run? I know it’s all about where I want to go, but that’s where I’m a little lost – I want this degree to have value wherever I go!

Help! Would you PLEASE help me out by sharing your thoughts on this? Do you have either of these degrees? Worth it? Not worth it?

Updated to add:

After Jon’s gentle chastising to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, I realized that I didn’t clarify well enough – I’d like to be involved in education (and technology) in some form, I’m just not sure if I’ll always be in a classroom teacher position.…

Twitter Network Issues

This is the status of the twitter network issues many of us had on Wednesday night (losing over half or all of our followers and followees) – the reply is from Jason Goldman of Twitter posted to the thread on

Jason Goldman replied to Followers and Following are all gone – when will this be fixed?, a problem about Twitter.

Thank you to all the folks who provided additional information. We went into maintenance mode to recover from the missing user problem which was caused by a data inconsistency problem.We were able to restore to an earlier version of the relationship data. You may still see out of date information for one of the following reasons:

1) The changes are still propagating out to all parts of the site. It will take several hours for the data to be correctly reflected everywhere.

2) There may be some missing data as a result of this restore. In particular, changes you made to your social relationships in the past 12 hours may not be reflected.

3) Notwithstanding the first two points, the counts that appear in your profile for followers or followings may be slightly different than they were before. Those counts are generated from a cache that was not always a perfect reflection of the true data. Therefore, the counts may slightly change.

I completely understand how frustrated everyone is by this outage. Thanks for your patience as we recover and work to make sure it won’t happen again.

I’m heading out of town for 3 days – I’m just going to hide out and hope for the best when I get back! Because, as much as I love Twitter – it’s all about the network. No network, no fun.

UPDATE: It appears as if my network is …

Prepared for College?

Think back to your first month of college, regardless of whether it was this year or 30 years ago. Were you prepared? Did you feel competent among your classmates and friends?

Patrick Higgins made a comment that struck me as a perfect way to assess whether schools are adequately preparing students for the rigors of college – he mentioned the survey he’s giving to all of the students from his school who just completed their first year of college. This seems to me the perfect way to determine if the students from your school are actually READY for that wild world of academia – if I had a school, I’d be jumping all over this!

Back to that question – was I prepared for college? Academically, definitely. Overall? Nope.

Tim Walker egged me on and egged me on to write this post, and I first balked because when I write about something I’m really passionate about I sometimes have a hard time conveying my true feelings – the rationale is all THERE in my head and has been for so long that it’s hard to get it out. Here’s my stab at it, one of a multi-part attempt to get my head around the issue –

My friends and I weren’t prepared for college for one simple reason – we were lacking time management skills. Sure, some of us had “Life Skills” classes in high school, but it didn’t prepare us for the complete and utter openness of the college experience. We went from being scheduled every single minute in high school to having a college class schedule, but WAY too much “open” time.

Who’s fault was it?

The high school I attended was on the quarter block system, which meant that teachers used the 90 minute periods to …