Several years ago, we were upgrading our phone system at school. This work involved a much-needed voicemail upgrade, and I was holding up the process. The voicemail software was expensive. I don’t remember the exact cost, but I think it … Continue reading This Software is Provided As-Is
When I was in school, we weren’t allowed to use calculators. We did our calculations by hand. That included long division, and deriving square roots, and looking up logarithms and trig functions in computation tables. It wasn’t until my senior … Continue reading Don’t Criticize What You Can’t Understand
A few years ago, MSN fired all of their reporters and replaced them with artificial intelligence. “Reporters” might be the wrong word. MSN didn’t report their own news. They used other news sources, and curated their own news site based on the content that they gathered from other places. They found that this could be done just as easily by software as it can by humans. All the software has to do is go out and find news from other sources, paraphrase it to avoid copyright issues, and post it on their own site. That worked about as well as … Continue reading Did I Really Write This?
I received an email from Santa. It was probably my sophomore year in college, though it might have been a year earlier or later. There was the address in the sender field: SANTA@NPOLE.COM. I don’t remember anything else about the … Continue reading Bona Fide
It was 84 years ago this Halloween that Orson Welles’ adaptation of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds was broadcast on CBS radio’s Mercury Theater on the Air. The radio drama was presented as a series of news reports … Continue reading War of the Worlds
Last month, I was asked to talk with our new staff about their use of social media. The school district wants teachers to share the awesome things they’re doing. We have a strong online community of teachers, parents, and school … Continue reading Navigating the Sharing
“On the back of your notecard, please write one thing that I can do to make this class better for you.” “Don’t make it boring,” fourteen year old me wrote on the back of my card. This was the first … Continue reading Attention, Please
America has always been a country of contradiction. The European settlers came here to escape persecution, and immediately set up a society that did not tolerate ideas or values that differed from theirs. They proclaimed a country with liberty and … Continue reading Ain’t That America?
For the first six years of my career, I taught a middle school computer applications class. Nobody really cared what I taught. They didn’t say that, of course. But the administration knew that kids needed to learn about computers, and … Continue reading Information Illiterate
It was eight years ago now that I heard Richard Culatta speak at EduCon. At the time, he was the director of the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education. Now, he’s the CEO of the International … Continue reading Pencil Sharpeners
This is going to be American-centric. I’m sorry about that. The assumptions I make about how the world works are shaped by my environment. I know they’re not always global perspectives. And in this case, that shows more than usual. … Continue reading Free Speech
One of the recent trends in schools has been the creation of a “portrait of a graduate.” This is a process through which a school district, with input from students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members, defines the characteristics we … Continue reading The Problem of the Portrait