Technology in Schools Is a Fad. Trust Me.


Why are we still talking about this?  The constant conversation about the need for technology in schools. Schools Need Less Technology (Work With Me... I'm Making a Point).

Why are we still trying to convince teachers and administrators this is needed?

Some might even say it’s the wave of the future?  Crazy talk if you ask me.

Technology is the "next big thing".

Like automobiles.  Fire.  Batteries.  Movable type.  Bottled water.  Daily showers.

Trust me, these never caught on and neither will technology.

I think the naysayers are right.

Technology is a fad that will never last (like ballpoint pens, air conditioning, laser beams, and Subway… because who in their right mind would pay some  17-year old kid to make them a sandwich?).

There are educators out there who understand this.

They’ve seen this same type of thing happen time and again in education.   This too shall pass.

They are the ones leading the real charge.  They are the ones mumbling and looking at their watches during professional development.

They gather in the hallways (often during class time) and point out what’s wrong with this technology scenario.

Technology isn’t here for the long haul.

Sure, it’s caught our fancy for the moment, but it will disappear.  Trust them.

It’s time we stopped preaching to these people in our schools.  It’s time we followed them.

They are the visionaries.  They are the leaders.

They are the ones we should be following.

These forerunners will no longer hear me trying to bring them over to the side of technology.

From now on, I am all about paper and pencil.

It may not be what the kids want, but it’s what they need (and who knows better what the future needs than the past).

I owe so many people apologies.  I’m sending them all an email apology.

Now, if someone in their buildings would just help them check… because they are also the ones constantly telling me their email machine is broken.

And I for one, would hate for them to be left out.

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Everyone I Know is Getting Older.


It is a well known fact that time flies.aging

Unless you’re at work.

Time speeds up anytime you want it to go slower.

Weekends.  Vacations.  Lunch hour.

Time slows down anytime you want it to go faster.

Dental appointments.  Class periods with a really annoying kid.  Prostate exams.  Staff meetings.

Time is our enemy (as are doctors with big hands).

I think most people are like me and don’t really focus on time.

Because if we did, we wouldn’t waste it.

Time is precious because it’s limited.

Yet, we treat it like it will be here forever.

We watch too much TV.  We sleep too much.  We do things we don’t like because we’re too lazy to change.

I don’t really notice the effects of time when I look in the mirror.

I only notice it when I see the effects on other people.

Just recently, I saw several people whom I’ve haven’t seen in over 15 years.

The good news is they are still around to be seen.

The bad news is they’ve gotten old.

Way old.

I did my best not to gasp and point when I saw their aging and decrepit bodies (I’m not say I didn’t… I’m saying I tried my best).

It’s like they’ve aged 15 years since I last saw them.

Me?  Not so much.

I am exactly the same as I was back in the early to mid 90’s.

It’s amazing really.  I look great.

At least I think I look great.

Then it occurred to me.

How do I look to them?

I guess I shouldn’t worry about it.

With their fading eyesight they probably didn’t even notice.

Time marches on and if I’m lucky I get to tag along.

At least for a while.

RIP Coach.

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Why Has This Blog Been on Vacation? Ask My Computer.


This is one of those blogs only I care about (but this works out well because it is my blog).

Let’s just get this out in the open.

No need to sugarcoat things.

We‘re big boys and girls after all. (if you are under 18 and reading this… get a life).

I can no longer coexist under the present circumstances in which I am forced to live.

Sure, I can put on a happy face.broken-laptop1

I can act like everything is okay.

In fact, I don’t mind saying I feel some pressure to do just that.

Pretend like things are great.  Pretend like things are wonderful.

Act like we are the happiest couple in town.

Well, we’re not.

And I’m tired of living a lie.

Sorry, you had to read it here but you’ll eventually get over it.

After the tears.

And the sleepless nights.

And of course, the self-loathing.

All stages I’ve had to work through.

Well, here it is.

I hate my computer.

Hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it.

I know you aren’t supposed to hate things (except for Hitler, door-to-door salesmen,  stubbing your toes, people who tailgate you on the interstate, and diarrhea).

Well, I hate my computer.

And all of those things listed above (especially the last one… which is incredibly funny if someone else has it).

My whole life is on my computer and yet it fails me at every turn.

Have a big report due?  Computer isn’t working.

Leave the computer on the bed for 2 short days and what happens?  Buddy the Dog eats the N and the M keys.

Have a PowerPoint presentation to give to 200 people?  Computer ate it.

Need to write another low-level mindless blog?  Computer won’t hook up to the internet.

I’m in the habit of writing(?) a bad blog every 3 days.  If I don’t, I get jumpy.

And you don’t want to see me jumpy.

Now, you might be asking yourself, why do I need the internet to write a mildly amusing (only to me) blog?

I don’t.

I just like to check out www.espn.com a couple thousand times instead of doing something productive (by the way, you’re welcome for the free plug ESPN).

The point is, my computer is only broken when I need it the most.

I don’t like this.

I don’t like it one bit.

My iPad never lets me down.  It always works.

So consider this a warning laptop computer.

You are officially on notice.  Get your crap together, or else I just might start using a Mac.

My love for technology is turning to hate.  Luckily for me, I realize the first step to recovery is admitting I have a problem.

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Educators (and Everyone) Should Give Thanks.


Thanksgiving means several things.

Lots of birds die.

Give a Bird a Break.

Gas prices rise because everyone is driving.

Summer is gone and it’s not coming back.

The local news predicts terrible weather so you will tune in to their station (I think they cross their fingers for the year’s first horrific storm).

Football is on and the Detroit Lions are still bad.

Football is on and stuffing is still bad.  Don’t email me and say it’s great, because if it was, people would make it more than once a year.

Families get together and talk (although they should stay away from the following topics:  politics, race, religion, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Dancing With the Stars, American Idol’s new judges, TSA, and especially gas prices).

If your family has at least one educator (most have more… and some have a lot more) you shouldn’t speak of the things they aren’t thankful for:  NCLB, testing, lack of funds, more paperwork, high-maintenance parents, not enough technology, underperforming schools, meetings, government’s unrealistic expectations, and school food.

What all of you should talk about is kids.

We should all be thankful for them.

The next generation (and every one after that) has the opportunity to be our best generation (if adults don’t mess them up).

If you haven’t noticed the kids today aren’t terrible malcontents; they are smart.

Really smart.

Way smarter than we were at the same age (and very likely smarter than we are now).

They have the ability to do more (probably with less) than we ever did.

They will change things, which will make us old people nervous, but it will be for the better.

The world is in good hands and whether you are in education or not, you should be thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

If you are a turkey, thank a vegetarian.

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Technology and Sunglasses.


Students need technology.

For them, it’s a need, not a want.

It’s the same reason I have sunglasses.I'm Watching You.

I didn’t wear sunglasses when I was younger because I didn’t need them.

I could see just fine, even when I looked directly into the sun.

Well, I could see until I passed out from all the little spots clouding my vision.

Then I got smart (not a lot, just a little).  I started wearing sunglasses and discovered how much I needed them.

It’s the same with kids and technology.

Maybe they didn’t “need” computers, video games, and smart phones when they were younger.

But that was then.

This is now.

And now they need it.

Their use of technology has created a hunger for more technology (and more… and more… and more).

Just like sunglasses.

The more you wear them, the more you need them.

It’s the same with technology.

When will schools figure this out?

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It’s a Small World. With a Rather Long Line.


It’s time.

Who am I kidding.  It’s past time.They Are Happy Because They Aren't Waiting in Line.

This has been weighing on me for nearly 3 weeks.

I need to get this off my chest.  I’m tired of feeling like Mark McGwire (no, not juiced up with the strength of 7 men… sick to my stomach from the constant avoidance of the subject).

It’s time to discuss our “vacation” to Disney World.

I put the word “vacation” in quotes because it was no vacation.   There was nothing “vacationey” about it.  It was work. 

Hard work.

With just a dash of stress and a pinch of exhaustion thrown in for good measure.

In this age of full-disclosure, I think it’s important to say that nobody does theme parks like Disney.  Nobody.

The food, cleanliness, employees, fireworks, parades, and did I mention the food… all were great.

It is a wonderful place to take your kids.

I have to say this because I don’t want the Mickey Mouse Mob after me.

These people are crazy.

They are the ones who return to the park year after year.  They never ever vacation anywhere else.

Disney is their shrine.

The whole situation is very cult-like.

You can always recognize them because they wear those goofy mouse ear hats (who pays good money for those things and do they wear them at home?).

Actually all of their clothes have Mickey Mouse on them.

T-shirts, jackets, sunglasses, panties… you name it (don’t ask how I know about the panties because I’m still working through those issues).

Some even have Mickey tattoos.  Disturbing, I know.

The Mickey Mob Members are constantly talking about how things have changed over the years at the “Happiest Place on Earth”.  As in “On our first trip to Disney back in 1979…”.

They are so misinformed.

The “Happiest Place on Earth” isn’t a theme park built around two mice living together in sin.  It’s the empty hallways of a school on a summer day.

Actually that’s not true.

It’s the empty hallway and an empty lounge.

Now that’s happy (at least for a school administrator in June).

Disney wasn’t the problem (again, I don’t want to anger the Mob).

But there were some other issues.  Mostly brought on by our poor planning or total lack of planning in general.

 

1.  We went to Disney the day after school got out.  Get home, pack, catch a plane.  Bad idea.  I had forgotten how tired one gets at the end of the first semester.

2.  We flew over the Christmas break.  Why didn’t someone tell us the airports were busy during this time of year.

3.  We flew during the time some genius tried to make a bomb in his underpants.  Bad idea for him.  Added stress to us (although sadly security was NO different).

4.  We went to Florida to enjoy the warm weather.  I spent most of the time in a heavy coat (but not heavy enough) and a stocking cap.

5.  We had tickets for 6 straight days of non-stop fun at the various Disney theme parks.  The fun stopped about day 3.5.

 

Now I know people from the Mickey Mob will email me and say I just don’t get it.  And they will be right.

I don’t get it.

I just don’t get why it’s so much fun to stand in line for 90 minutes to ride a ride for 90 seconds.

I don’t get why adults run across the park to get the autograph from a 20 year old intern dressed up as a mouse.

I don’t get why parents take their 8 month old to a theme park when all they want to do is cry and sleep.

I don’t get why a bottled water costs $48.

And I’m tired of arguing with the Evil Spawn about whether Goofy is a dog or not.

It’s all very confusing to me.

I need a vacation.

If you have kids (over the age of 5) you should go once.  ONCE.

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Sunday Night.


Nothing Cooler Than a Dog in Sunglasses.It’s here.

No more talking or thinking about it.

It’s officially the last Sunday of summer. School starts bright and early tomorrow (6:00 am… unless I’m overcome by Edusomnia and can’t sleep… then it will be
4:00 am)

My wife doesn’t understand the significance of Sundays. How they should be dreaded and feared.

She considers Sunday to be the last day of a restful weekend. To her it’s a gift. It’s a calm and peaceful day.

I consider Sunday to be an annoying precursor to what is sure to be a long and hectic week.

Basically, it’s Pre-Monday.

To me it’s nothing more than a reminder of how far away we are from Friday afternoon.

As I have said before, I don’t dread school. I look forward to it. I just hate to let summer go.

But as I sit here (as I seldom type standing up), I have come to the realization that time is once again slipping away.

This little tidbit of information once again slapped me in the face when I got my eyes checked last week.

The optometrist pointed out that while my eyes haven’t drastically changed in the last 12 months, he isn’t far from recommending I get bifocals.

I said bifocals are for old people.

He said exactly.

He did point out that wearing a pair of reading glasses in addition to my contacts might help.

Great.

How blind am I that I first need to insert contacts into my eyes, and then put on a pair of glasses?

It won’t be long until I need a Seeing Eye dog (a real dog… not that thing that lives in my garage and thinks he’s a human).

Getting old stinks.

Summer being over stinks.

Sunday nights stink.

But there is good news. School starts tomorrow.

And it doesn’t stink.

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The High School Seniors Have Graduated. Now It’s Time For Them to Get Out.


Graduation is over. Thank Goodness.

That wild cheering sound that you hear in your head. It’s me.

It’s not that I mind graduation, it’s just that I am out of dress clothes to sweat through.

This is just my opinion, but there is nothing sadder than a broken down school administrator sweating through his tie.

But that’s just me.

There is something about graduation day that brings out the heat and humidity. sunshine

Each year you can count on a number of things. Proud parents and grandparents, students wearing sunglasses, parties, screaming, crying, and me looking like I just ran a marathon.

In the rain.

Wearing a winter coat.

And a stocking cap.

Did I mention it was hot and I was sweaty?

Graduation also draws attention to the fact that there are two distinct types of seniors. Those who loved high school and those that didn’t really care for it.

The students that really enjoyed their high school experiences have the toughest time at graduation.

During the course of their 4 years they liked everything. Their friends, activities, sports, teachers, and sometimes even their principal (alright, this one may be a stretch).

Graduation is a complicated event for them. They are happy, yet a little sad.

It’s time to leave high school, but they aren’t sure they are ready. They tell you how excited they are to be moving on, but part of them wants to stay.

On the other hand, there are students who didn’t enjoy their school experiences.

For whatever reason their time didn’t go as smoothly. In fact, some of them feel like they have been serving a 4 year sentence.

Graduation means they are getting released. And they are happy. Really happy.

At least for now.

High school will look much better to them in about 6 months.

There is one thing that all of these students have in common. The need to get out.

And now.

The ones that loved high school need a little push to get out in the real world. The ones who didn’t enjoy school just need to go.

In both cases, it’s time for a little break.

Time to see what life has in store for them.

Time for me to dry out my clothes.

Time to get ready for another senior class.

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Santa’s Cover Seems to be Safe on the 2nd Grade Playground.


As I head into the holiday season, I ask myself one question.

No, it isn’t “Will I survive?” And no it isn’t “When can I pull the trigger on the first of what is sure to be many snow days” (by the way the correct answers are Probably and Soon).

It is the age old question, “Will Santa Claus be stopping by our house on Christmas Eve?”Undercover Santa.

Sure, we will have a tree, decorations, presents, and even possibly holiday cheer (depending on how the rest of 1st semester goes at school).

But will Santa show up?

I really want to know, because if there is one thing I hate it is the unexpected drop-in.

If we are going to have a guest, there are several items that need to be addressed.

Do we need to make cookies?

Buy some milk?

Should we straighten up the house?

Will Dad freeze to death making… I mean looking for reindeer tracks in the yard at roughly 1:00 am?

The little kid who lives with us hasn’t said anything to the contrary. She hasn’t even hinted that he might not be coming this year.

Last year I was sure she would say something. I expected some sort of indication on the subject in the last 12 months.

I really expected it to come out of the blue when I was least expecting it. I tried to prepare myself, but I knew I would still be woefully underprepared when it happened.

Yet, nothing. No questions. No comments. No asking to Google Santa’s whereabouts.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

I’m shocked. If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now (my first and surely not the last holiday reference to the great Clark Griswold).

Don’t 2nd graders talk? Gossip? Surely they swap stories on the playground.

Isn’t there at least one 7 year old with an angry junior high brother who wants to ruin the season for them?

Is there a chance our family could go another year? Maybe even forever?

Maybe it is more complicated than I realize.

Does she know, but doesn’t want to disappoint her parents?

Has she gotten the news on the street, but doesn’t want to believe it?

Is she waiting for me to say something?

So many questions and so few answers.

As you can tell, like always, I am confused.

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NECC, Here I Come. Sort of.


The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.This Sunday I will be leaving for a very important computer conference. As a school administrator it is essential that I keep abreast of the latest developments in educational technology.

On a side note. I found the word essential on my new favorite website Synonym.com. Eventually, a monkey will be able to write this blog (or as some have insinuated, maybe a monkey already is writing this blog).

Personally, I find this last comment offensive. It is insulting to writing monkeys everywhere. They obviously are not writing this blog because the content would be of a much higher quality.

But, back to my trip/educational journey (sure I could be watching TV, mowing my yard, playing Wii, or going to play golf, but am willing to put in the extra time for the kids).

Since I am attempting to stay current with technology, I will be in San Antonio, Texas next week during the National Educational Computing Conference.

For almost three decades, NECC has been the premier forum in which to learn, exchange, and survey the field of educational technology. This annual conference “presented by ISTE and keyed to the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)” features hands-on workshops, lecture-format and interactive concurrent sessions, discussions with key industry leaders, and the largest educational technology exhibit in the nation.

I didn’t write that last paragraph. As if you hadn’t already figured that out (Synonym.com can do only so much). It was quoted (stolen… whatever) from the NECC website.

It sounds like a wonderful event.

While I will be in San Antonio, I won’t exactly be attending the conference.

But the good news is my wife and mother-in-law will be.

Actually, it is good for them and great for me. You see they will go to the conference and attend about 297 sessions and then come back and tell me everything I need to know. In addition, they will come to my school and present their newly acquired information to my teaching staff.

Then I can facilitate in the application of the technology within my school district (remember, it is always about the kids).

This may sound like I am lazy, but that’s just not the case. I am actually being quite helpful.

During the conference I will be acting as babysitter, entertainer, tour guide, and tax write off.

My job will be to keep my daughter and I entertained and more importantly, out of trouble and out of the way. Our official title “Mooches”.

It really is a win/win. We get several days in San Antonio and my wife gets a tax break for her ever growing technology workshop business.

Plus, I get more knowledge about computer related stuff (granted, through osmosis… again, whatever it takes for the kids).

So, if you are going to NECC please keep in mind that I will be there (sort of). I will be at Sea World, or the Alamo, or on the River Walk, or at the Children’s Museum, or maybe on top of the Tower of the Americas.

If you have a moment and want to visit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

So you can pick me out of the crowd, I will be wearing a t-shirt, khaki shorts, tennis shoes, and sunglasses.

I should jump right out at you.

See you at NECC. Or around NECC.

If you are running a small business and need a tax break (or two), please don’t hesitate to contact me at micsmith@principalspage.com. I am more than willing to help. Especially, if it is for the kids.

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Disclaimer

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.