The 6 Levels of Stupid.

I am unable to confirm that any of the following involved me, friends of mine, people I know, or in some cases my sworn enemies (pending litigation and all).

Stupid comes in various forms.

The form it most often takes with me is called “Happens Way too Often”.

I’m not saying I’m stupid, I’m simply saying I’m a magnet for stupid (Yes! 4 I’ms in one… no that’s 5 in one sentence.  And my English teachers said I wouldn’t amount to anything.).

Since I have a certain expertise in stupid, I thought it might be wise to rank the various types of stupidity.

Here are The 6 Levels of Stupid:

Level 6 – Tech Stupid.

Hating your technology person (I don’t… why did I feel the need to mention this?  Because I want my computer to work tomorrow.) isn’t a good thing.

Blaming them when your computer/printer/email/SMARTBoard doesn’t work is not always correct.

Sending them a “Trouble Ticket” that contains a request, some anger, and an underlying threat to their well-being is a bad thing.

Especially when you’ve indicated they are the worst person in the world and deserve to die a painful and slow death just because your computer doesn’t work.

Only to find out when they show up to fix the computer… it is unplugged.

And you unplugged it the day before.  And forgot.You Have to Admit... Pop-Tarts Are Tasty.

Level 5 – Pop Tart Stupid.

Getting up early to make both a tasty and healthy breakfast.

Two Pop-Tarts = Breakfast of Champions.

Plus, this allows your new bride to sleep in as you are being a big boy and making your own breakfast.

Toss the tarts into the toaster and head off.

Head off where? 

The gas station to buy a newspaper of course.

This was the perfect plan.

Until the toaster jammed.

And started a fire.

But don’t be alarmed.  The entire apartment didn’t burn down.

Just the kitchen (can you say kiss the deposit goodbye).

Level 4 – Excuses Stupid.

This level is for those special people who continue to confuse an excuse with a reason.

I don’t have my homework because the dog ate it is an excuse (not Buddy… he only eats shoes).

I don’t have my homework because my mom and dad were taken to the hospital last night after they were involved in an accident is a reason.

While subtle, there is a difference.

Level 3 – I’m in a Meeting Stupid.

Conducting a School Board Meeting using your laptop as a communication device is a good thing.  Leaving Yahoo Instant Messenger on so your evil spawn daughter can share her thoughts on what happened that day in 3rd grade is a bad thing.

I’m thankful her language was appropriate that particular night (because trust me… it can get pretty salty).

Level 2 – Email Etiquette Stupid.


They are a great way to ask a question.

Sometimes you forward an email that you received from another person.

You should read these first.

If you had read it (and you have no idea who you are… because you are stupid), you would have noticed it said some not so nice things about me… 3 forwards ago.


If I had feelings this would have hurt them.

Level 1 – I Didn’t Know As Much As I Thought I Did Stupid.

I have written close to 300 blogs.  Yes, that’s right, I’ve wasted more time on moronic blog writing than just about any other school administrator in the world (feel free to call “my people” Guinness Book of World Records).

I’m very proud.

And embarrassed I haven’t spent this time making the world a better place.

During the course of working on these blogs it has occurred to me that writing them is easy (lack of quality isn’t terribly hard), but posting them can be difficult.

I write them in Microsoft Word and then copy and paste them into my WordPress blog.

Then I had to add pictures and hyperlink old blogs into the new one.

This takes a great deal of time.

I’ve often thought someone should invent a program to make this process easier.

I literally scheduled hours just to curse at my computer when things didn’t go smoothly (evidently my daughter gets her language issues honestly).

Then it happened (no, not more cursing… that’s impossible).

Someone Twittered I should be using Microsoft Live Writer.  Evidently, it  is a tool to help post your blogs.


This has been available since… well, since 300 blogs ago!!!!

Is there a reason people have been keeping this secret from me?

Or am I just stupid?

Note from bride, however, no longer new.  Luckily we owned 1 kitchen pot.  And I mean only 1.  It was filled with water in the kitchen sink from the previous night’s meal.  I was able to use that pot to extinguish the burning cabinet quickly enough to prevent “much” damage. Therefore, we did receive our deposit back and believe me, we needed it.  Do you know how much a first year teacher made in 1995?

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I’m Old. And Evidently, Fat.

In the last few days it has come to my attention that being old has nothing to do with age.

At least that’s what I want to believe as I shuffle towards another birthday (I can hardly wait for the day when I can drive a Rascal Scooter through the aisles of Wal-mart).

How old am I?I Might Be Old and Fat, but I Could Cover Some Ground on a Rascal Scooter.

I almost hate to say it out loud. I will soon be having my second 21st birthday.

When I was a kid someone celebrating (or in my case barely acknowledging) their 42nd birthday was old. And near death. That’s if they weren’t already dead.

At the very least, they were a sad pathetic drooling shell of their former youthful self.

But how things change.

Now a 50th, 60th, or even an 80th birthday doesn’t seem that bad to me. In fact if I’m lucky enough to make it that far, I will feel like I’ve beat the system.

Life is like playing cards. High card wins. Which means another birthday always trumps death.

When you work at a school, I’ve found that students think everyone is old. To them there are young teachers (under 25 and not married) and the old teachers (the rest of us).

I like children. I really do. Except the ones who ask “How old are you?” and as soon as I answer, they scream…

“You’re OLD!”

My first thought is quiet down, people can hear you. At least the younger teachers can hear you… the older ones are mostly deaf.

Then I curse them (but as a good administrator, always under my breath… let that be a lesson to the brand new administrators… never curse out loud).

Students think they have their whole lives ahead of them.

And they do (again, I curse the ones who are soon to replace me)

In their minds the only thing I have ahead of me is a nursing home, a bedpan, and the sweet relief of death (no more Sunday nights!!!… wait, that might be a bad thing).

I’m not here to badmouth nursing homes, but I’m not a big fan. The only thing worse to me than living (?) my remaining years in a home is sporting an adult diaper while I’m there.

I don’t care how much money you have, or your life’s status… an oversized diaper is not a good look.

Even with the impending pressure of living out my few good remaining years in a home, I have taken the time to come up with a theory (yes, another one… bare with me, I’m old).

I don’t think age has anything to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I think it has more to do with how current you stay.

To back up my theory, I have enlisted Dr. Oz (if he’s good enough for Oprah… he’s good enough for me).

I took the Real Age test. And found out I’m not 42, I’m 30.8.

Bad news is I could have snuck back into my 20’s if I weren’t so fat. They say it’s hard to lose weight once you’re 30.8 years old and I’m starting to believe them.

But that is a small fat little bump in the road.

The nice part is you don’t have to be your chronological age.

I think this is equally true for teachers and administrators.

If you stay current, I think you have a chance to be younger at school than you really are.

This is wonderful for both you and your students. While you may still be old in their eyes, you may not be as old.

So get out there and don’t be afraid of the email machines, the mysterious internet, those crazy blogs, and other technology advances.

You are only as old as you feel and act.

Although, if you are like me you will probably stay just as fat.

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The Sound of My Voice Makes My Ears Bleed.

I’ve come a long way in my technology knowledge in the last two years.

Of course this is an easy accomplishment if you start in a big enough hole.

I began writing (slopping) this blog in July 2007. At that time I didn’t even have a basic understanding of blogs.

And some may say I still don’t.It's a Podcast.  Or a Taped Interview.  Same Thing.

Working on the Blog has been interesting to say the least (and by working, I mean… I’m not sure what I mean but it’s not “work”).

The indescribable wealth, fame, the national recognition… On second thought, I have none of these. I’m not sure, but I may be getting hosed.

I barely get recognized in my own house.

While the blog hasn’t brought me money or notoriety, it has provided me with other gifts (or course I still prefer cash…).

One of the many things that has happened is I’ve picked up all sorts of useless knowledge.

Except it’s not useless.

I’ve learned a great deal about technology and different strategies I can incorporate into my day job.

From blogs, to Jing, Twitter, websites, Microsoft Office, Joomla, email tricks, public speaking… the list goes on and on.

The latest is podcasts.

My lack of knowledge about podcasts was larger than my confusion surrounding blogs (if it’s possible to know less than nothing).

I heard the term “podcast” in administrative meetings, but l didn’t have a clue what they were.

The “go-to” move of a dumbfounded school administrator is to nod politely and then move on (basically principals and superintendents are a slightly higher form of Pavlov’s Dog… or lower form… depending on your opinion).

This reaction worked for 2 solid years.

Then it happened.

Someone (Mr. Dave Solon) asked if he could interview me on a podcast.

A podcast?

For all I knew it was some sort of futuristic ride at Disneyland. So now I had two problems.

One, someone wanted to interview me. How far down the famous scale do you have to go before you get to me on the people to interview list?

I sort of felt badly for the guy. He must have asked literally millions of people before he got to me.

Secondly, I still didn’t completely understand the concept of a podcast.

Like an idiot, I agreed to do it (at this point in my career, I have decided to try anything at least once as long as it’s legal).

The truth is I’m glad I did.

As usually happens, I learned a lot (again, start in a big enough hole and you too can make big strides forward…).

I now know about podcasting. As an added bonus, I’ve learned there are people out there using them as a tool for better teaching.

While I enjoyed the interview portion (after all who likes to talk about me more than me???) it was a little disturbing to listen to the actual podcast.

I was mortified by the thought of hearing the podcast. Enough, that I put it off for several days. I finally gave in and decided to listen while riding my bike.

I figured worst case, I would sound like a complete moron (as opposed to a partial moron) … and I could simply slam my bike into a tree.

So I fired up the iPod and peddled towards the biggest oak tree in town.

Then it happened. I heard my own voice.

It was like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Why didn’t someone tell me I sound like that? Why didn’t someone tell me not to say “Um” every two seconds?

But it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. Certainly not bad enough that I felt the need to harm an innocent tree.

The good news is that once again I’ve learned something. The bad news is I now hate my own voice to the point that I want to beat myself up.

At least I now have a basic understanding of podcasts.

If you would like to learn more about technology and podcasts, please visit Mr. Solon’s website Twenty Minutes for Tech.

If you want a better understanding of why my voice makes me long for the sweet relief of death, please listen to my podcast debut (Episode 30).

And possible finale.

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Is Three-Day Weekend a Mood?

I’m in my 7th year as a school administrator (for those of you counting at home… that’s 49 years if I were principal of a kennel).

When you have been in administration as long as I have it does strange things to you (somewhere there is a principal or superintendent starting his or her 40th year that is mocking me… and I mean mocking me more than usual).

My personality has been forever changed since I left teaching. I’ve lost something and it has taken me the longest time to figure out what.

Yesterday, it came to me.He's Grumpy.  And He has Cool Shoes.

I’ve lost my moods.

When I was younger, I had a wide range of different moods.

Happy, sad, excited, angry, jealous, fear, guilt, and all the rest.

After seven long years (that have flown by) I am left with only two moods.

Grumpy and Three-Day-Weekend.

Even when I’m experiencing the Three-Day Weekend euphoria… it always comes crashing down on Sunday night… which means grumpy returns.

Grumpy sounds bad, but it really isn’t.

It’s just a combination of extremely busy, slightly overwhelmed, mixed in with a hint of worry (on a good day… on a bad day there is a lot of worry).

This became crystal clear to me yesterday because I had a flashback.

Back to when I was teaching.

A time when I had more moods (and less money).

I spent the morning working on a highly sophisticated technology project with other administrators (sometimes referred to as a PowerPoint).

Putting administrators in charge of a project this complicated is at best a roll of the dice.

At worst, it’s an embarrassing nightmare that ends up with lots of slides with way too many words, bullet points, and bad clipart.

But we got lucky.

Because I was there (I sense there may be more mocking).

And who knows more about technology than me?

The correct answer is just about everyone. The even more correct answer is my wife.

And she has trained me well.

Not around the house, because that is still a work in progress. But with technology.

Actually, the truth is she has a long way to go before she has me fixed in knowledge of all things technology (and that’s not the only thing she would like to have fixed on me…).

But she has got me trained better than most.

This brings me back to yesterday. I didn’t have to know exactly what I was doing, I just needed to know a little more than the other administrators.

It was like when the bear chased my friend and me through the woods. I didn’t have to be faster than the bear, I just had to be faster than my friend (I kind of miss him).

So with my little bit of knowledge (learned from my wife… or stolen if you want to spit hairs), I was able to help with the PowerPoint.

For the first time in many years, I felt like I actually got to teach.

I got to experience the feeling that teachers live for. The moment when a student gets it (which if I remember correctly doesn’t happen as often enough as teachers would like).

Students light up when a concept finally makes sense to them. When it happens you can see it all over their faces.

It’s great.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen nearly as often in administration as it does in the classroom.

I wish it did.

What’s odd is I didn’t even know I missed this feeling until yesterday. I wonder if that’s because I’ve been stuck on grumpy since my last three day weekend.

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Be Available. Just Don’t Be Too Available.

Technology is quite possibly the best thing to ever happen to school administrators. It could also be the worst thing to happen to school administrators.

Computers, email, Twitter, etc. are everywhere. And at a cheap price.

The only thing that separates technology from drugs is the absence of a dealer standing on the street corner giving you your first “Tweet” free.

If I am anything, it is street wise, so I know how these things work.

The first one is always free. Then you are hooked.

I don’t want to be hooked.

There is nothing more pathetic than a middle aged school administrator who checks his BlackBerry 412 times a day waiting for the next email.

This includes but is not limited to checking it first thing in the morning, while golfing, when walking the dog, and during breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.

And in the bathroom.

The CrackBerry is Adictive.

The CrackBerry is Adictive.

I may have a problem.

I may end up in a 12 step program saying, “My name is PrincipalsPage and I am hooked on my CrackBerry.”

Life is about moderation.

At least that is what people say. I have noticed the people who say this are usually eating or drinking way too much. But as always I am not here to judge.

I have my own problems.

I can’t get away from work.

Even in the bathroom.

This is one thing that has changed in my 6 years of school administration.

In the old days (2004), you could leave the office and your troubles behind.

Whatever crisis existed (and there is always at least 7 crises at any given time), would lie rotting on your desk until you returned to work the next day.

Or even better. Until you returned from vacation (if and only if you found the time to actually go on vacation).

Since you couldn’t see or smell this carcass of impending disaster, you could put it out of your mind.

Not now.

Now it is 2009.

The stench comes right through your cell phone or computer.

Everyone has access to you.

There is no such thing as time set aside to meet with actual human beings. They just email, text, or Twitter you at all hours of the day and night.

6 years ago there was a little thing I used to call weekends.

Now every day is the same.

If someone has a question, concern, or a comment, they can contact you at anytime.

Day or night.

Here is a little tip for brand new administrators. When someone threatens you in an email at 2:07 a.m., they don’t really mean it.

Actually they do mean it. They will just have second thoughts in the morning. So do your best to go back to sleep.

Although it wouldn’t hurt to double-check that your doors and windows are locked.

Access is wonderful. In moderation.

We can’t blame the people emailing us. Technology gives everyone the same amount of access, which is a good thing.

It is our fault as school administrators that we can’t turn off our phone or not check our email.

I probably shouldn’t be giving this advice because I am the idiot who has looked at my email 4 times while typing this blog.

And my Twitter account 3 times. And my Plurk account twice (all in the last 17 minutes).

Technology is great. If you can control yourself.

I can’t.

I have a problem.

The good news is the first step to conquering this demon is admitting that I am powerless to control it.

And that’s what I am going to do.

Just as soon as I answer a few emails.

Because while I may have a problem, I can quit anytime I “want”.

I just don’t “want”.

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You Can’t Just Teach Your Staff Technology. You Have to Teach Them Not to be Afraid of Technology.

This blog is a continuation of my previous attempts to convince school administrators to use technology.

All of the following could be considered part of my overall master plan to convince the masses about the importance of technology. Or it could be a desperate plea that will likely fall on deaf ears. Only time will tell.

Guest Blog (We are in Charge Now!) – The Secret to Better Technology in Schools.

Tech Geeks vs. The Suits.

So You Want to be a Big-Time Blogger?

2009 is the Year of the Blog.

An Open Letter to Superintendents and Principals: You Should Blog.

Best case, administrators from all over the country are mesmerized by the genius of my blogs and start using technology at a record pace.

Worst case, I continue writing (I just cracked myself up…. this can hardly be considered “writing”… more like incoherent babbling) about technology so often that administrators start using more technology in the hope I will just shut up.

Either way, I figure it is a win-win for students. And it keeps me off the streets.

A couple weeks ago (that is how far I am behind), I was reading an internet article about 10 Technologies About to Go Extinct.

The article was about how technology sensations eventually get overtaken by new faster, better, sleeker technologies.

Their list (… which as always is Fair and Balanced… there I go… cracked myself up again):

1. Landline phones walkman

2. Floppy disks

3. Wristwatches

4. VHS Tape and VCRs

5. Beepers

6. Film Cameras

7. Typewriters

8. The Walkman

9. Dial-up Internet

10. DVDs

After reading this, I once again realized I could be getting old. I can remember all of these items. Worse yet, I still have some of them.

The rundown:

1. I still have a landline phone. Hopefully Google Voice will help me pull the trigger on getting rid of this. It’s time.

2. I have to admit…haven’t seen a floppy disk in years. I’m not even a fan of flash drives. Thank you Google docs.

3. Wristwatches. Love them. I would be a collector if I made more money. They will have to pry one off my cold dead wrist before I give it up. Although, I never look at it. I do have a clock on my laptop and cell phone after all.

4. VHS Tape and VCRs. Still have them and they are drawing dust. The DVR is the world’s greatest invention. Up to now.

5. Beeper. Never owned one. My parents didn’t want to lose me in a gangland style killing.

6. Film Cameras. I have noticed I’m a much better photographer with a digital camera.

7. My first opportunity at a real career, typewriter repairman. Loved typing class in high school. Don’t miss the whiteout.

8. The Walkman was cool. I don’t care what anyone says. And so was my Flock of Seagulls cassette tape.

9. I hated Dial-up Internet. Even when it was brand new and cutting edge, we knew it was slow. What kind of technology is that?

10. DVD’s. Never understood this. Who has time to watch movies? And who buys the movie and watches it more than once?

I think there is a lesson to be learned in almost every situation and this is no different.

From this list it is painfully obvious that technology always advances. If something better hasn’t come along, it is on its way.

How do we take this lesson and apply it to schools?

Educators are going through a phase where we are teaching (in some cases forcing) staff members to learn about email, Google docs, SmartBoards, Moviemaker, YouTube and other assorted technology programs.

This is wonderful, but I think we need to look at a much bigger picture.

We can’t just teach teachers how to use specific programs and then walk away. Those technologies are going to change. It might be in 5 years, or a year, or in 10 minutes, but they are going to become obsolete.

Everything does.

As administrators, IT people, and technology trainers, we have to get our teachers comfortable with technology. Not just learning certain steps to create a project or use a computer program.

We can’t be helping people with their email folders 5 years from now.

They must feel comfortable helping themselves.

Then they can truly help their students.

Note from Editor in Chief… a.k.a. Wife: AMEN!

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Death of Distance.

I’m hesitant to read other blogs because I don’t want to steal other people’s ideas (I think I have said this before, but I can’t remember for sure).

You get to a certain point in life where it becomes hard to recall things. Like whether or not you said something out loud or just thought it. Or if you ate breakfast today (and what you had). Or where your car is parked. Or your wife’s name (I often confuse this with my daughter’s name… when I can remember that). And anyone’s birthday, including my own.

I suffer from some, if not all, of the above. Plus a whole lot more.

My middle-aged memory prevents me from reading a lot of blogs. Also affecting this is a lack of time, but that is a different story.

I really do worry about accidently stealing other people’s thoughts and ideas. I want the incoherent ramblings of my blog, to be mine and only mine.

It may not be full of quality, but its mediocrity is all mine. death-of-distance

So in the interest of self disclosure, I didn’t come up with the title of this blog. It was a phrase used by a speaker I heard this week at a conference.

Google also tells me it is also a title of a book from 2001. Now I don’t feel so bad in stealing it (quick question… if you steal something that’s already been stolen, is it really stealing?).

The basis of the speech (which was very good) was the world is getting smaller and how educators are reacting to it (or more likely not reacting to it).

Communication is easier and quicker than ever before. A lot easier and quicker.

Technology is allowing us to not only interact with our neighbors, but with people from all over the world.

My question is why are schools struggling with this concept? Why are we reacting to this process instead of leading it? Why aren’t we jumping all over this?

Students don’t have to be confined to the brick walls where their desk is located.

Why do I get the feeling that people who used rotary phones and watched Andy Griffith (the best show ever) as kids are the ones dictating how our students are learning?

In too many cases, educators spend more time giving excuses about not using technology than actually offering students these opportunities.

Kids in my daughter’s class will be my age in 2042 (as old as I feel some days… I am not really that old).

I don’t feel like we are preparing these students for what they will face in the coming years. And I am even more confused by the fact that this doesn’t seem to bother a large percentage of people in education.

Even worse, far too many people don’t even understand that they don’t understand the changes taking place.

We all could be doing more.

The world is changing.

And getting smaller. And smaller.

Distance isn’t just dying. It’s already dead.

Now some of our old ideas on how to educate students need to die.

And we can’t be afraid of the new ones being born.

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Guest Blog (We are in Charge Now!) – The Secret to Better Technology in Schools.

If You Need Technology Workshops for Your Teachers... You Need RecessTec.After editing 200 blogs of PrincipalsPage ramblings, I have decided that the Wife/Mother-In-Law Team needs a chance to speak. I mean come on…
Don’t I get a reward for constantly correcting semicolons and the incorrect use of to, too, and two?

Honestly, how can a man rise from coach/teacher to administrator in a few short years with only one opinion on the use of the English language?
I quote, “The semi-colon is by far the coolest of all punctuation!”
I mean seriously, who ranks punctuation by coolness?
Note from PrincipalsPage:
(I do not apologize for my love of the semi-colon… and I might add… I am a huge fan of the asterisk***)

Of course, we shouldn’t judge. One of us married him.

So, with that being said…

We present Recess TEC as the first official “Guest bloggers“.
(Note from PrincipalsPage… quite possibly the last

In the struggle between the TECH GEEKS VS. THE SUITS, another adversary needs to be included.
This adversary could be the one to bring peace to the land…
with an “and they all lived happily ever after” ending.
This adversary is (insert drum roll and “dah-da da da”)…

We would define “The Suits” as (in some cases add “dearly beloved, but ignorant of all things technology”) the administration.
We would define “Tech Geeks” as the teachers and students who want to include technology in the curriculum, use as much technology as possible in their everyday lives,
and see it as a highly motivating factor to enhance teaching and learning.

Enter the IT. “Dr. No” if you will.
(Notice, we did not say “Dr. Evil”.)
IT’s #1 priority is to keep the server alive and well to handle the administration’s email.
Priority #2 is to NOT lose any file stored there.
And finally, #3 – NO VIRUS…EVER!

Nobody and nothing is allowed to slow down the server.
Don’t even get us started on bandwidth.

Anything Google slows it down.
Anything Skype slows it down.
Anything that involves long distance collaboration slows it down.
Anything that includes the word “streaming” slows it down.

We believe that the more things slowing it down, the more the students benefit…which in turn means the server space and bandwidth needs to be “supersized”.
We know…now we are talking money.
We would be willing to give up the chalk and dry eraser marker budget in exchange for a little more server space.
Anyone else?

Things we hear from the IT:

“Google Earth? You don’t need it. You have maps.”
“SmartBoards? Why? You have white-boards and all you will use it for is to show movies on a big screen.”
“ (Add indignant tone.) The teacher’s desk is the first place we see it. You can’t control what is being played…a song with inappropriate content might pop-up.”
“I don’t want my teachers to have wikis/blogs/podcasts/webpages (insert any other web 2.0 tool here) because I can’t control the content.”
“It slows down the bandwidth.”
“It takes up server space.”

Enter “Recess TEC” to the rescue.
Now it is time to bring to reality “Why can’t we just all get along?”
Pull up a chair and sit down. (Coffee, anyone?)
We need all of you in the same room together. (Even if it means providing chocolate or a continental breakfast or a steak dinner with mixed cocktails ;) )
Possibly even a few tech-geeky students. (“Ixnay on the ixedmay ocktailscay…”)

It is time to watch, listen, and talk.

Google everything.

And SMARTBoards in every single classroom.
YES! Even the music and art rooms!

And tons of bandwidth.
And HUGE servers.

And finally.
Teach the teachers.
Let them do what they have been trained to do.
Teach them to teach with technology.
And let them be the filters and decide what is best for their students and their curriculum.
Help them understand that technology is not an addition to the curriculum.
It is not the time to take the students to the lab where their students log on, work individually on a website, while teachers grade papers.
Teach teachers to integrate, collaborate, and to become proactive.
After all,
that is what they were hired to do in the first place.
and finally,
trust them.
Trust them to do no harm.

Which means…

No Internet Filters on computers when TEACHERS are logged in. That’s right. No filters.

Teachers are the BEST filters (if they are engaged with students… which means stand up and walk around the room).
And if they prove NOT TO BE…
then slam that filter right back into place.
Abuse it = lose it.
Show teachers how to use sites like Flickr and You Tube SAFELY.
We are not saying, turn the kids loose on whatever site they want.
We want to protect kids, but we also want to motivate and engage them!

Communication together is the key to solving all of these issues.
We need to be in the same room to see what is out there and how it best can be used.
And it should never be Suits Vs. Geeks.
Let’s work together and put the puzzle together piece by piece.
Let the teachers show the IT department (especially the ones that may have never taught) HOW the technology is being used in the classroom.
Let the IT department show the teachers why things are structured as they are.
Most teachers know very little behind what it takes to do your job.

The dialogue should include,
“We didn’t know you wanted that.”
“I can do that for you.”
“I didn’t know that was out there.”
“Will you help me with that?”



And finally, show by example.

(Recess TEC is also known as Recess Web Design…but doing more and more Technology Educational Consulting and less and less Web Design.)

**Note: This blog was collaborated over a 60 mile distance and written using Google Docs without filters.

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Tech Geeks vs. The Suits.

Computer Nerd.

Computer Nerd.

It’s on.

A battle of historic proportions is taking place.

It is the classic scenario of good vs. evil. And both parties think they are playing the role of good.

The future of education hangs in the balance.

Worse yet, some of the people involved don’t even know a conflict is happening.

Tech Geeks (a term of endearment) are consumed with the idea the Suits (revered and esteemed colleagues of mine) are not learning/using technology at a quick enough pace.

The Tech Geeks are a large group made up of computer teachers, technology directors, and everyone else with a love for all things futuristic. These are not people you want to cross (especially if you want your email to work). They have knowledge and time on their hands.

The Suits of course are people like me. They are the ones running schools all over this great country. They are easily recognizable because they yell at kids for running in the hall, make rules no one understands, and look tired all of the time.

This group also includes central office robots and school board members. Just about everyone over 50 years of age can be lumped in with The Suits.

Tech Geeks crave everything new and cutting edge. Suits like the status quo (at least the techies think so).

And this is where the problem lies.

In some wars it is hard to pick sides, but not in this one.

Tech Geeks have a voracious appetite for all things technology. You are either with them or against them. No fence straddling here.

They love the 5 P’s (I have this copyrighted, so don’t use it… unless you are willing to pay me 4 cents each and every time) which are Phones (cell… the newer, the better), Printers (wireless preferably), PC (laptops with big screens), Programs (which includes Twitter, Plurk, and any cool website), and Presentations (they love their workshops and the people who put them on).

The Suits are confused, nervous, and don’t know what they don’t know.

Simply put, it is the future vs. the past (educationally speaking).

The Tech Geeks are all over the internet screaming that The Suits are falling behind and don’t know what is best for kids.

The Suits don’t hear the screams because they don’t Twitter, Plurk, Google, or do anything internet related (other than check their email).

This whole situation frustrates the Tech Geeks to no end.

What is funny is that in the middle of all this there is a dirty little secret.

The secret is… The Suits know they are behind in technology. Way behind.

They just don’t know how to catch up.

The Suits are the kid in class that doesn’t know enough to even ask a question. They are afraid to raise their hands.

So consequently, they aren’t progressing.

I shouldn’t speak for all suits, but I am going to (it is my blog you know).

They are confused by technology and what the future holds…for them, for students, for teachers, and for schools.

They have been successful in their careers without technology, so it is easy not to see a drastic need for it. Especially when they don’t understand it.

Over the last 10, 20, 30 years they have climbed the career ladders to get where they are.

They have put in time, worked hard, studied, taken classes, and attended conferences. All of this without anything more than a basic knowledge of computers (as in they know how to turn them on).

Now towards the middle or end of their career, Tech Geeks want them to jump aboard the runaway train of technology.

Every day, they fall farther and farther behind and there is no safe jumping on point (in their minds).

Somehow we have to bridge this gap.

Bring the good Tech Geeks together with the good Suits (there are some out there you know).

All of this makes me ask the question “Can’t we all just get along?”

But it brings up another question for which I don’t have an answer.


At least I don’t have an answer in this blog.

Oh wait… someone just stumbled by who has the answers to all of our problems.

** Note from wife…I know, I know…I have had a lot of notes here lately. I think I might have a start on how to bridge this gap. Anytime I give a professional development session at a school, I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE the administration as well as the technology department to attend. I do this because I know three languages…geek, administration, and education. (4 if you include my ability to ask “Where is the bathroom?” in Spanish. How sad those 5 years of Spanish class don’t come in more useful. That is truly one of the only things I remember.) I do have my Type 75 Administrative Certificate in addition to my Teaching Certification as well as a corporation that provides technology assistance and professional development for schools…so I feel pretty qualified to add this note. When we get the Tech Dept. as well as the Administration to sit in on the training, everyone comes out on the same page. All three parties have huge eye openers regarding the position of the other groups. It is amazing when we can get them all in the same room. SO…if you haven’t made it a priority for EVERYONE to sit through professional development sessions regarding technology…YOU SHOULD! It would help us bridge the gap of the differing needs and create an awareness and possibly a mutual respect for each person’s position.

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You Can’t Just Hand a Microphone to Anybody.

I spent my weekend at a convention. Actually, I shouldn’t use the word weekend because that implies restful time away from my job.

But all is not lost as Thanksgiving Break is right around the corner. And I might add that it comes at a perfect time.

It was a stroke of genius when our early settlers decided that schools needed to take time off in late November.Not the Microphone from School... but This One is Pretty Cool.

As a kid, I had no idea that the Pilgrims were so well-versed on the academic calendar. I thought they were simply people who looked good in hats, enjoyed big meals, and loved their football (and by football, I don’t mean the Detroit Lions).

While I am tired, I did learn a few things at the convention.

I learned that I miss my bed, refrigerator, and shower.

In the past I have talked about the horrors of hotels, so I won’t bore you with the details of sleeping in a bed that has previously been “occupied” by thousands of strangers (I am sure some were more strange than others, but I try not to focus on that little tidbit of information).

But missing my refrigerator and shower are different. These are issues that need to be addressed.

I mean I really missed them.

It amazes me that people can eat out all the time. After a couple of days, I find myself just wanting an apple or a sandwich. Or 27 Oreos, but that discussion is for a different day.

Also, the showers in hotel rooms continue to be a riddle to me. Why do they always run out of hot water? Don’t hotels realize a large number of guests will be bathing between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.?

It is like they are surprised. Like we snuck up on them. They must know we are all going to wake up at some point and wander into the bathroom.

But, these are minor inconveniences as I attended the convention to learn. Specifically, I was hopeful to pick up some new information about technology for my school.

It didn’t happen, but I feel like I did my part. I showed up. Which for a lot of convention attendees seems to be a challenge.

Educators always say they want to go to conventions and then once they arrive they work so hard at not attending workshops. Why is that?

Maybe they should hold these events in North Dakota instead of nicer places (let the emails from North Dakota commence…).

Actually, I wish the presenters had showed up.

Actually, that is a little harsh. They were there and they did their best.

It’s just that they presented the same information I have heard over and over for the last few years.

Our students are farther advanced in technology than adults. Educators should allow cell phones in schools because they are mini-computers. We should use Skype because it is free (we do and yes it is). Schools need to be proactive, not reactive to changes in technology.

I get it.

Enough already.

I need tips or strategies to implement technology and not the same old rehashed PowerPoint presentation with 187 slides (by the way… I can read, so you don’t have to pronounce every word on every single slide for me).

If I seem angry that is because I am (see: not sleeping in own bed and haven’t had a decent cookie in days not to mention the dodging of so many PowerPoint bullets).

I know we are falling behind with technology in schools, but now I am convinced we may be falling behind in presenters.

Just because someone is willing to talk into a microphone doesn’t mean we should allow them (see: President George Bush… let the emails from North Dakota Republicans commence…).

Not everyone talking into a microphone is an expert.

Point in case: a new principal handing the mic to a sophomore on the football team during a prep rally. Bad idea.

Really bad idea.

I would like to comment further on this, but once again a court order prevents me.

Same goes for presenters. We need to be more careful as to whom we allow to use the microphone.

Just because someone has a snappy title for the presentation, doesn’t mean their information is timely and high quality.

Could it be possible they are just there to pad their resumes? Which for the record, I am all for… just not on my time (note to self… update resume on someone else’s time).

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for their efforts because I am sure they spent a great deal of time putting their PowerPoint together (after all 187 slides just don’t just write themselves… especially if each one has 97 words in a really small font…did I mention the bullets?).

Plus, they had to spend several minutes downloading the “Did You Know” video off of YouTube.

Great video, but is there anyone involved in education who hasn’t seen it? And by seen it, I mean at least 10 times.

I think we have to be more particular to whom we listen regarding issues in education.

If we aren’t careful, soon everyone will have a platform. People will be just throwing out ideas with no rhyme or reason.

Trust me, this could get bad.

The government will start coming up with half thought ideas about testing, administrators will begin to think that their every thought is ingenious, and maybe… just maybe people will start up their own blogs just to shove their ideas down our throats.

These people will believe they are experts just because they have an audience.

I am not sure I like where this is heading.

But oh well, I have problems of my own.

I have a blog to finish, then I need to wrap up a PowerPoint.

Only 186 slides to go.

I am thinking about using lots of clip art, hundreds of bullets, and a bunch of transition sounds.

Wait a second.

It just occurred to me. I’m an expert.

I may need business cards and a manager.

And of course, I am going to need a microphone.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.