We need to be willing to commit ritualized suicide…


Now that I have your attention, I wanted to share something that I found more disturbing than the Promethean guys in orange spandex bodysuits. It was a quote that I heard not once, but on twiceat the ISTE conference:

“We need to be willing to drink the koolaid” –presenter appearing on a video feed at ISTE

You might have used this quote yourself in trying to extol others to join the bandwagon of ed tech (or some other innovation). There is a school in my area that that has used this phrase to exhort teachers to “get with the program” on the school reform being implemented. People seemed to have completely forgotten the original context of the phrase and have decided that drinking koolaid is a good thing.

I find this puzzling, but unsurprising in a culture that practices unintentional irony on a periodic basis, but it’s disturbing nonetheless as my husband grew up with folks  who were members of the Peoples Temple, and participated (willingly or not) in the ritualized suicide that coined this phrase. I like koolaid and have used it to color home-made playdough (it gives it a great scent), and if no other choices are available at a party, I will drink it. But please do not ask me, or others in my presence, to take a metaphorical drink of koolaid, as I’m likely to give a negative response.

Some other phrases suitable for this use:
You need to be willing to dive in
You need to get outside your comfort zone
You need to commit yourself…
…heart and soul
…with blood, sweat, and tears
You need to take the risk

Live from ISTE 2012


I will be covering ISTE 2012 via Twitter, my feed should show up below. Reflection posts should go up daily.

My photos from ISTE 2012


The Talk…


I have a two-fer family. In addition to my son being bi-racial (African-American and white), he is on spectrum for Autism. After the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, I’ve been thinking about how to discuss this with my son. Many African-American parents have blogged about having “the talk” with their children about how to deal with the police and racism in general. There have been plenty of great posts about this that others have written, so I will not cover that ground. This post will discuss this from an Autism perspective, since this is a “risk” factors for encounters with law enforcement or vigilantes with more fire-power than sense. Although folks with Autism are at greater risk for encounters with police, it’s often because they are likely victims but communication difficulties often prevent them from getting help or get them in trouble when they ask for it. This is something that I first heard about in this story from NPR, and it makes sense. Folks with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have behaviors that can appear as defiant, but are not intended that way.

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Why I will march, pt. 1 — Pull me!


Saturday July 30th, I will be heading out to the California Capitol building in a statement of solidarity with others about current education policy. It sounds like a small thing, since I only live about 2 miles away, but given the odds of it being a triple-digit temperature day (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), it will not be without sacrifice on my part. Why go? Why participate? There are a number of factors that have pulled me into this march, but the thing that I think is critical is that it is a coalition.

We SOS Marchers are a mixed lot. We have parents, teachers, and students. We have public school educators, charter school educators — yes, there are good charters out there concerned about what is happening because it is affecting them too, teacher education faculty, parents, union members, folks in right-to-work states — I think you get the idea. This is a coalition. Whatever our differences, in our hearts we are all concerned about how current education policy is affecting not just the adults, but how it is affecting our most vulnerable citizens, our children.

It means we have to leave behind our knee-jerk reactions to those who are the “other”. I’ve had to temper my language, and reach across the aisle. I look at this as an opportunity to develop my own interpersonal skills.  Frankly, if we’re to craft a feasible and inclusive solution to all the false “solutions” that have been forced on us over the last decade (and more if you go back to Nation at Risk) it will involve getting together a diversity of folks.

iOS vs. Android


I have recently been borrowing an iPad to assist with blogging at the ASCD conference.  In setting things up on the iPad, there are a couple surprise annoyances with the iOS system.

First, everything that folks told me was great about the iPad and Apple devices is true. The graphics, brilliant; the layout of apps great; and the UI is pretty intuitive, but this is clearly a “consumption” device. It’s a dead brilliant way to stream Netflix (I enjoyed “Up” this stormy weekend), but it’s seems kinda expensive for that. Microblogging (Twitter and Facebook) seems fine, but I was looking for something light, portable, and with a good battery to run Cover It Live; and monitor/post to Twitter, and do other conference blogging chores. How does it look so far?

Light/Portable: Yes, Yes, Yes; fits in my purse! I even have a small physical keyboard that works with it, but the size on the onscreen keyboard is not bad at all either. I wanted something portable, but where I would not have to thumb-type. This fits the bill;

Good battery life: Well, it’s better than a laptop, but it seems to only last 10-12 hours, and I’m not using it constantly. The charging is a major issue now, as although it has a USB charger, most PCs do not provide enough power to charge it when running, and it takes awhile to charge up that way with the iPad in “sleep”. I was given the pad with out a wall socket adapter, which I’m guessing would be a faster more reliable charge option. I will happily note that I’ve been told it’s interchangeable with iPhone chargers which means that they’ve progressed from having a new dongle/thingy for each model/iteration, a practice at Apple that I’ve long complained about.

Running apps/sites needed for conference: Not only are most of the apps I want and need on iOS, the browser is good enough in most instances to simply use the Web page for a application. Google calendar is great and docs is better on iPad than in Android (at least for Froyo on a phone). Cover It Live (web-based live blogging) has a full iOS (phone) app that works fine on the iPad. The mobile version which is very stripped down, is the best option on Android. TweetDeck , and Facebook apps (I’m using Friendly) are fine, and easier to read/use on a larger screen.

Sharing and some apps are better on Android; seriously. Let’s take the Diigo app. This is very important when I’m liveblogging. It lets me save links as they are being included in a presentation, and access links I have that are similar. If I’m given online handouts before the preso, I can load the links on Diigo to retrieve during the event. The Android app, is very minimalistic, mobi/text-based Web-page listing links. It’s the “Share” button built throughout Android where this app really shines. When I’m on a Webpage, I can hit Menu, and Share in the browser, and voila, it gives me a bookmarking page to add the link. The iPad app is much more polished “looking” but not acting. It shows my library of links in a beautifully formatted page, but I had to find a hack to even get the Diigolet applet on my Safari browser.

Another app that came up wanting was the WordPress app, which mysteriously crashes when I try to add this blog. Apparently it’s fussy about the XHTML code and may not like my theme or widget (which I’m advised to change). I’ve NEVER had that problem with the Android version of this app, and I don’t want to change my theme so the app will work. The only thing that makes this workable now is that the WordPress dashboard is well rendered in the Safari browser, so I can just update there.

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