Monthly Archives: May 2014

12th Annual SLATE Conference: October 22-24, 2014

Plan to join us for the twelfth annual SLATE Conference, October 23-24, 2014. Over the past eleven years over 3000 people representing over 165 unique institutions from the Midwest, across the country, and around the world have attended this conference. Recognizing that deployment issues, support concerns, teaching strategies, learning styles, best practices, etc. are common among the varied CMS/LMS clients (Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, etc.), this conference invites all faculty, system administrators, CIO’s, Web developers, instructional designers, librarians, students, and user support staff from institutions that are deploying and/or currently using any Web-based tools, applications or programs, in their teaching and learning.

More Information Here

Looking at Drive

So it occurs to me that if we are moving to a learner center paradigm for education and we are asking students to be self directed, we better know how to motivate them effectively. So for my next book I have selected Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. The book arrived yesterday from amazon and I started right away. Although the book has primarily a business focus I can easily see the implication for education. I actually had to stop myself from reading. I wanted to slow down and reflect a little as I go. The first this that struck me was the seven deadly flaws of Carrot and Stick or Reward and Punishment.

  • They can extinguish intrinsic motivating
  • They can diminish performance
  • They can crush creativity
  • They can crowd out good behavior
  • They can encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behavior
  • They can be addictive
  • They can foster short-term thinking


The official call for papers opened on Monday, April 7, 2014.  Topics can include emerging technologies, faculty support/training, Moodle/Blackboard/Sakai or other LMS best practices, and other topics within your area of expertise, so don’t hesitate to submit something.  The submission deadline is June 30, 2014.

Click to Submit


My educational though of the day is?

Grace Hopper quote

Microsoft Commits $1 Billion to Help Schools Buy Devices. A good idea or bad?

As I was running through my morning blogs I happened upon this:

SHOPPING SPREE: Microsoft will spend $1 billion to make devices less expensive for K-12 public schools to purchase. According to the release, the company’s manufacturer partners will offer tablets and laptops starting under $300. (All devices will be “Common Core testing compliant”and run Windows 8.1) Microsoft is making the commitment as part of the ConnectED, the initiative announced by President Obama to “connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age”by 2017. Schools can get started here.

Now from the outside looking in, this looks like a great thing. And yes it can be, but throwing technology at education in and of its self will not help education to get better. Several questions come to my mind. How many of the teachers that will be asked to use these new tech toys in the classroom were given any training on how to use them? Of the that did receive some training, were given any instruction or help on how to integrate them in to their classes in a pedagogically sound way?

Using technology to address classroom needs can be very affective. But, I hope that before school administrators go out and buy these new technology devices. they first identify the needs of the classroom. The focus should be on identifying the needs and then determining which technologies best meet that need. If school board spend tax payer monies to purchase a bunch of new technology devises that end up sitting in some closet, they have done nothing more than waste the take payers money.

Purchasing things you need and that happen to be reduced in cost is a great thing. Purchasing things that you don’t really need or can’t use just because they are inexpensive is still a waste of money.

So, I started this post with the question, a good idea or bad? In my opinion it will depend greatly on how local school administrators go about getting the new technology devices.  Talk to the teachers in the classroom and to your local instructional designers, the local tech support people.  Find out what really is needed. Find out what will be used and what would end up sitting in a closet somewhere.