Mac’s In Business

Mac Computers

When I first started my career in the computer field it was all about the PC and the Windows operating system. We would go into a business and set up a Windows Server and Windows Workstations and install Microsoft Office. Mostly everyone in the office was familiar with Windows because that is what they had at home.

Today’s business world is changing. If you are in the IT field now you may walk into an office thinking you will be troubleshooting a PC issue and find an entire office full of Mac’s?  Will you be ready to take on the challenge or will you be running for the door?

I relate this back to our children going to school. I have found more and more school districts using Mac’s in their classroom rooms for one purpose or another. I also see more young people going to college and taking a Mac Book with them. They might also be carrying an iPad and an iPhone. Students become comfortable with using the Apple products and when they leave school they want to stick with the platform.

If you are reading this and you are a technical person I would suggest to start learning the Apple ecosystem.  If you really want to support the Apple clients pick up a Mac Book or to start maybe a second hand newer Mac Mini and begin to learn what makes an Apple computer tick. Chances are you have an iPhone in your pocket right now and maybe even an iPad?

So you may be asking am I a Mac guy? Well, I use Mac’s at home as well as work. But I also use a lot more Windows machines at work then there are Mac’s. But I enjoy both for different reasons. I would like to hear your take on this subject.

 

Young Students and Computers

I had the great opportunity to assist with a group of second graders. The teacher was working with the kids to create Photo Stories.

Photo Stories are short video slide shows using still pictures and music to create their videos. Now if that is not amazing enough to see these very young groups creating videos. They also had to open and save their videos to their server drive.

I was working with one youngster and I would ask to have them log onto the server. I watched with amazement as the youngster entered their user name and their password. Open up My Computer and then open their server drive. Then the child opened their saved Photo Story into the application.

You can never have a great player until you have a great coach. This teacher working with these kids showed great patients and guidance with these young children.

Kids today are learning younger and younger to use computers and iPads in their daily education. I really hope that our colleges don’t crush this as they get to their secondary education years? I have seen many colleges on recent visits living in the stone ages. I think in the coming years the students will show the demand for the colleges to move forward or be left holding empty sacks of cash.

Kids ComputersImage from Google Images

Should Cursive Writing Die

As everyone who reads this blog and knows of my background should know that I am a techie. I love technology and use it everyday. I teach technology and help teachers use tech in their classrooms. Now for the, “BUT”.

I have asked many educators and I have tried to determine the reason concerning the removal of CURSIVE writing in the classroom. I am not talking about the high school level I am referring to elementary school.

I was told that in this day and age kids won’t have to do any hand writing. I realize that the check book is going away. And I know that not many people are writing books any longer with a pen and paper. But what if you buy a house? Or a car? Or want a loan from the bank? If any of these things hold true for you then you will have to use CURSIVE, or just simply mark an X on the paper?

I push everyday, NEW NEW NEW technology. Teach kids about the world they live in. But until we are willing to allow our students to GOOGLE every question on our State tests, we need to keep CURSIVE writing in the classrooms.

So what are your thoughts? Should we replace CURSIVE writing with Laptops or IPads? NO I think we need to have a BALANCE between both the OLD and the NEW.

Writing

 

Creation or Standardization?

In the vast world that we live in with the fast paced everything how can our children learn to handle change? We want them to handle change and we strive to find ways to get it into their brains. But STOP! Really? This is the talk in many circles but when you get right down to the cold hard facts we don’t want people who can think outside of the box. Anyone read The Maze Runner, read it and see what happens when we allow little people to begin to think on their own.

At this writing there are no cold hard facts; these are my observations in the education world. And it’s not our administration or even our teaching staff. No it is the very government that is trying their best to put a hammer and nail to creation. Creation is not only the building of something, it is really allowing our students to think. Yes “BIG THINKERS” that is not a phase that you hear everyday.

Now for the reality of our lives and our times, Standard Testing for All! “Teach to the test damn it or be removed from the act of teaching!” WHAT? Our teachers teach as I one teacher describes it “I teach to see those little minds churning and really thinking about how to solve something.”  Now let’s hear from a teacher who has to teach for a test, “Yes I teach, it pays the bills and I get summers off, I would like to see the kids learning something new but there just is not enough time.”

Do you know where the and when the standard testing started and even why? Read this quote from Wikipedia.

 The use of standardized testing in the United States is a 20th-century phenomenon with its origins in World War I and the Army Alpha and Beta tests developed by Robert Yerkes and colleagues.[4]

In the United States, the need for the federal government to make meaningful comparisons across a highly de-centralized (locally controlled) public education system has also contributed to the debate about standardized testing, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that required standardized testing in public schools. U.S. Public Law 107-110, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, further ties public school funding to standardized testing.

And so it began in 1965 and then to add injury to insult we had another president come along and make it worse in 2001!

This is a TOP DOWN issue. As I sit in conferences enjoying each session and digging into bringing tech into the classrooms. I have to wonder just how many of these GREAT teachers and administrators will be allowed to go back to their schools and roll it out?

And if your not in education then please call and write your congress men and women and tell them we need true education reform! And once again allow our children to create the NEXT BIG THING!

Testing

Technology And Education

Most people that know me and read this blog or follow my podcasts or vidcasts you also know that I work in education as a technology director. With this job I have the pleasure of working with today’s youth as well as some veteran teachers who started in education long before computers.

It is my job to bring the power of technology together with the power of education. Sometimes this is very hard. The kids are fine what ever we toss at them they will use. The teachers at most times seem to want to learn how to use the new technology that we put into their class rooms. Myself and my partner work closely with the teachers to bring the new technology into their lessons.

As much as all of the above is very true, I still feel there is a disconnect or maybe really I should say I feel there needs to be a disconnect from some technology and some education. I also feel that we should not replace a pencil with a pen, or replace a chalk board with a $2,000.00 smart board. This is how it seems technology is being brought into most schools across the states?

We also can not remove certain items just to replace them with technology. “BOOKS!” Working in the school I also have the joy of witnessing students and knowing what they are looking for. We have a lot of students who come to the library and sign out books, and a lot of them. I asked if they would rather have a new ereader and the response I always receive is, “No the books are fine, and we never worry about their batteries.” With that statement I now know that my push for a full tech school has slowed down in certain areas.

Will schools thrive with technology? This really depends on the people teaching the kids changing everything about their lessons. We need to begin to start thinking in the 21st century. But are the kids hurting? I talk to a lot of the students and I really don’t think they are. The truth is colleges are not progressing either. Really old professors = Really old teaching methods!

EdTech