Showing posts from 2006

Sun Times Finally Catches Up with the Whole Story

I blasted them when they missed it - they finally got it right. Linky

The papers finally catch up

Here is a great break through in information. Guess what? Test scores are late and school report cards are not ready. What brings this great news to light? The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that they won't be able to print their edition of school report cards because schools have no test data to base them on. Why the news flash all of a sudden? How did we go through a whole gubernatorial election and this point wasn't made? Did someone at the Sun-times just look at last year's calendar and say "Oh crap! We are supposed to run the school report card issue and we have no school report cards!" They write the article like this is terrible because they won't have that issue ready, and by the way, the entire educational process in the state of Illinois is thrown off by this. Once again - the press and the public only pays attention to education when there is a hitch that impacts them. Yet there are gobs of pages flowing out there about the "Tom

The Blocker vs. The Bringer

I now know what it must have been like to be Jekyll and Hyde. I - Hank Thiele - a true believer in games for learning, the power of computers and play, the impact of open information - has become the hammer of control. I do this for a sound educational reason though. We have instituted a process through our network that allows us to block users from running any application we choose. This has allowed us to prevent students from installing and playing games on our computers. Couple this with Websense and we have came pretty close to locking games out of our educational setting. This has now allowed me to move to the next step, getting users to delete all of those applications off of their network drives. They can't use them anyway. This is where my uneasiness begins. It is my responsibility to make sure that the network operates efficiently, has no unlicensed software on it, and is used for educational purposes. So I have laid down the gauntlet and have required that all stu

Google Customized Search

I just played around with Google's customized search. There is one on my homepage for educational technology . Feel free to contribute to building it. Nice new application of Web 2.0.

Open Source

Well for the last couple of days I have been getting my open source freak on. I have tried out Ubuntu - of course the day before the new release came out (so -I'll do it again). Is was really impressed by the ease of install, speed of start-up, clean interface, and usability. Included was open office, Firefox, gimp, open office, and lots of other good stuff. I am starting to think that for most users out there that just surf and type this is an awesome cheap alternative - I know this isn't news to many people, but as a long-time M$ lover I wasn't sure I could leave the dark side. I am going to play around with SUSE now and see what kind of interactivity I can get within our environment. I am wondering if in the long run we can save some resources using this in the educational setting. More to come as I experiment more.

Fantasy Congress

I just saw this on fantasy congress . You can join in and draft a congressman and earn points based on the passage of laws. Once again another way games are finding their way into people's interest.

Internet Safety

A report on Internet safety was released from Virginia - I expect that other states may follow suit. Maybe not Illinois - Offtrack Moment - we can't even get our test scores compiled. Well, that is not exactly true. We finally got our scores. This might teach the politicians not to fire a company until you get you results. Illinois has now hired ACT to administer it's tests. This should make scoring real quick for the high schools because our tests are written by ACT. Anyway - my original idea in writing this is that people are starting to wise up to the dangers of the net. Now I will wait for the obligatory backlash that the Internet is "bad". Things will get better when parents understand that they can unplug the computer at home and schools work with parents to educate the kids about what is out there. That is what I really like about this document. they talk about what students, guardians, teachers, techies, and administrators need to know about Int

Video Games and Education

This is an idea that the educational world better catch up on. This article from CNN talks about the ideas that have been floating around in back circles for a while. The fact that kids don't want to spend 15 minutes learning about complex geography, but they will memorize every map, item, and terminology in Halo. Kids want to be challenged, and video games do a great job of doing that.