Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back to Work! Where Did the Summer Go?

I can't really complain. I've had a great summer. 10 days in D.C. at NECC09 helped fill it up, for sure, and three on Lake Conroe north of Houston, Texas fishing with my dear brother Ed. My son's in South Africa on a month long trek with his grandparents and his cousin, and I'm here at USN working to set up my students and faculty for the best year ever.

There's a lot happening here with technology. First and foremost we're implementing the Lower School's entry into the world of Whipplehill, the platform the other two divisions implemented last year for Student Information System and parent and student communication. It's very powerful (and was very expensive, though the cumulative savings over the next few years in "snailmailings" will recoup much of that initial investment. But the main deal, of course, is that many teachers are no different than most other adults--they resist change, either intentionally or subconsciously, and they also underestimate their own facility with change. This can't be a blanket generalization (I strive to avoid those in any event), but it's likely the norm. We do have some amazingly agile technology adopters in our ranks, and it's those I'll be counting on to drive the adoption of our new platform.

Meanwhile I just spent six hours doing some of the drudgery work of enrolling 370+ students into their proper classrooms, K-4, and then enrolling those groups into enrichment classes. I put on some Raconteurs, some Bob Dylan, some Darla Farmer, and finally some Last Frontier Band while I worked, and that helps, but my bottom is sore from sitting and I'm just about outta here for the day. Tomorrow, I dive feet first into schedule sets, entering little blocks of time for every classroom's multiple slices of each day, which vary day by day, so that the system will display each student's actual schedule during the day. It's gruntwork, but it is valuable, I know. Sigh.

We're also dropping First Class email and migrating over to Google Apps for Education. That'll happen any day now and you can bet my help will be called upon as 25 Ts learn how to navigate that platform. It's great though, and about time, I say. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I do want to note a successful talk show appearance this past Tuesday night on the wonderful ISTE Eduverse Talks series in Second Life. It's all described at the website at ISTE and its archive should be live in a week or so. The producers told me yesterday that at the high point of the hour we had 66 avatars in the building, almost hitting that magic 71 that closes down the sim. Great for a Tue. night still summer for most teachers! [NEW: Now available for viewing in its entirety at!]

I'm off to home to walk my dog and stretch my own old legs. Cheers!!!!!!!!

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