Diigo Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Diigo Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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A Quick Note About Comments

I closed comments on this blog for posts older than 365 days. My reasons for doing so are that usually, regular readers and commenters (yes, I spelled that correctly, just in case you were wondering) have often moved on by the time a latecomer discovers the post, and I wind up being the only one who responds to the comment. Of course, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that I alone respond, but it’s not the kind of conversation I’ve become accustomed to. I decided that closing comments could be a kind of signal that we’ve all moved on and we’re not talking about that post anymore.

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Rudeness

I think many people don’t understand the nature of blogs. I sometimes see typos on blogs, and I don’t make judgments about intellect. I make the occasional typo. It happens. However, I have received one comment and one e-mail lately that alerted me to a larger issue than whether or not Dana can spell (I can, by the way): it’s rudeness. Here is the text of an e-mail I received today:

This article was passed along to the faculty from the powers that be in our middle school. While I disagree with your homework policy and I hope that you have followed up on your thoughts to revamp your policy, this is not the purpose of my writing. My concern is that in this day and age of technology and spell-checking, that you would post an article that had words that weren’t spelled correctly. These words include “respondant” and ‘commenters”. If we have such high standards for our students, then shouldn’t we set the example?

Here is my response:

Thank you for your concern. Typos sometimes happen, and people make mistakes. When people point out my errors, I correct them, and I am grateful for the assistance. I certainly don’t lay down the hammer for a couple of spelling errors or typos in my students’ writing, even if I do point them out.

I have checked the blog post, and I did indeed make a spelling mistake with “respondents.” “Commenters,” on the other hand, is spelled correctly, though spell check marks it as incorrect, likely because it is a word that has arisen in this new age of blogs and spell check doesn’t know what to do with it. “Commenter,” the singular, yields no red flags from spell check.

I truthfully think the manner in which you pointed out my error (while I appreciate it) was rude, which I find much more problematic in this day and age than the fact that I spelled something incorrectly. Of course, tone can also be difficult to convey online, and I could be mistaken.

I am grateful if people point out an error I made. My husband catches most of mine. Here is an example of a way to handle identifying an error in someone’s spelling without resorting to the rudeness of “in this day and age” (read: you’re a moron for making this mistake):

I noticed a spelling error in your article entitled “Accepting Late Work” and I thought you might like to know about it. The word “respondents” is spelled “respondants” in your article.

I wonder why that’s so hard “in this day and age”?

Oh, wait.

Internet Argument

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Diigo Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Regular Posting: Your Ideas

I have finished the bulk of grad school: I have two semesters left and will be taking just three hours each semester. I also no longer have the additional duties of department chair. I want to resume something more like regular posting.

In the past, this blog has mainly concerned the following:

  • Reflections on professional reading and professional development.
  • Lesson sharing or reflection.
  • Discussion of issues in education.
  • Sharing tools and resources.
  • How-to’s (blogging, wikis, digital audio, notebooks, graphic organizers, etc.)

I think I might do well if I can try to make a regular posting schedule with features. I can’t promise regular posting with regards to professional reading because my reading schedule can be erratic—I tend to be a slow reader. That particular type of posting will probably have to be on an as-I-can-get-it-done basis rather than a regular schedule.

Assuming I commit to posting three days a week (leaving out Sundays when I post Diigo links), what would you most like to see? You are in no way limited to the examples of types of posts I mentioned above. Those were all I could think of.

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Autism and Asperger’s

Twelve-year-old Joshua Littman, who has Asperger’s (a form of autism), interviews his mother Sarah.

Watch first, then read what I have to say below.

My son is autistic, and his older sister has Asperger’s. I’m fairly certain my oldest daughter has Asperger’s, too. Autism and Asperger’s are a fact of life around my house. I have noticed that because of my experiences with my children, I am a much better teacher to my students with Asperger’s.

When Joshua expresses here his concern that people like his sister Amy better, I love his mother’s answer. She does not sugar-coat it. She’s honest, but she explains why people have the reaction that they do to Joshua. That heartrending question of whether he was the son that his mother expected, whether he met her expectations, is something that I have thought about a lot over the last year or so.

With my son, I live in the moment, and I don’t think a lot about his future. I don’t think about whether he will have a wife, children, a career. In fact, I don’t think about these things with my daughters, either. I think about where they are now and where they have been. I can’t explain why because normally I think ahead a lot. I imagine future trips to places I want to go. I think about things I want to teach and how I will teach them. I worry over retirement, which is some time away for me. But the point is that I think about my future all the time.

I cannot honestly say that I expected to have children on the autism-spectrum. I had no reason to suspect that I would. But in many ways, just like Joshua has with Sarah, they have exceeded my expectations. I could not imagine them other than how they are, and I’m so proud of who they are and how far they have come. I love them as they are, and I wouldn’t want them to be different. It isn’t that it’s easy. In fact, parenting my children is pretty hard sometimes.

But I got to see my son, who didn’t talk until he was four, teach himself to read and write, and eventually learn to talk. He tells knock-knock jokes. He tells complete strangers “hi.” Sure, he gets in their personal space and misreads their social cues when he does it. He’s a funny, sweet little person, though.

My middle daughter has an advanced vocabulary and a gift for art. My oldest is an extremely accomplished artist and writer.

They are all eccentric, quirky people, and they make me laugh. Life can be hard for them because of their social problems. They can be blunt to the point of hurting your feelings.

If there is one thing I could wish for them, when I do think about their futures, it’s that they will have teachers and friends that understand and accept them. They have so much to give, and I think their teachers and friends can learn from them in the ways that I have.

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Teaching Presentation Skills

Please take a minute to respond if you have insight, feedback, or strong feelings about teaching presentations. I could use some help.

My ninth graders gave presentations this week. Here are some things I noticed:

  • They talked to the screen (SMARTBoard) instead of to their audience.
  • They appeared to be reading their presentations for the first time; they didn’t have a facility or familiarity with their topic.
  • They crowded their slides with clashing colors, animated gifs, and too much text.

I realize that students should be taught how to present, but everything I learned about presenting I dug around and found online. Here’s a good example.

I admit I feel frustrated because so much already falls on the English department, and I cannot be the only teacher who is asking students to present. I just don’t believe that. I also admit it didn’t occur to me to do direct instruction in teaching presentations—a mistake I will not make again, I assure you. So how would you recommend teaching students good presentation skills?

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Diigo Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Instructional Technology

Day 35_ students for Humanity!!What do you think an instructional technologist’s role is?

I am asking the question in all seriousness because I expect to have a master’s degree in instructional technology in December.

To my thinking, the role of an instructional technologist usually includes the following:

  • Working with teachers to integrate technology.
  • Helping teachers and students learn how to use technology such as computers, cameras, digital audio equipment, software, interactive white boards, projectors, and the like.
  • Maintaining the school’s network (not sure I agree this is the role of an instructional technologist, but often falls to them by default).
  • Keeping the administration and faculty abreast of trends in technology.
  • Offering technology professional development to faculty.
  • Teaching technology-related courses.
  • Researching and purchasing technological equipment and software for the school.
  • Monitoring use of technology by students, and in some cases, faculty (policing acceptable use).

What would you add to this list? Take off?

Creative Commons License photo credit: frerieke

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