Freedom to teach and learn

When I got home from work, I saw my daily quote from Einstein on my desktop and knew what I was going to blog about today. I have been feeling somewhat angst-y lately about all the rapid and broad changes going on education. It seems that teachers are being scared to death, with more and more mandates coming down from the state and district about what to teach, how to teach it, and the severe consequences that can result if you don’t teach according to the prescribed plan. Some districts even go as far as to tell you what you should be teaching on a daily basis with an instructional calendar and scripted lessons. I have heard the word “teacherproof” used as a justification for such specifically written curricula. Continue reading Freedom to teach and learn

Google Desktop

I’m no Einstein, but, thanks to my Google desktop sidebar, I get a taste of his wisdom every single day! Here’s today’s inspiration:

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together, they are powerful beyond imagination.

I can also see the time, have a calculator always available on my desktop, an rss feed of any type of news I want, my latest gmail, google calendar and twitter updates, and much more.  This is an incredible tool for my personal desktop, as it keeps me connected to so much while I work on other things.  it’s kind of like the “crawl” at the bottom of the screen when you watch CNN or the local news.  When it gets to be too much (which it will :S) you even have the option to minimize it to a little search bar at bottom of your screen.

I think the best way I use this tool is on my interactive whiteboard.  My new love is having my sidebar up on the projector with the time and a feed of info from my favorite sites related to the topic I’m teaching.  There are countless “gadgets” (sidebar apps) that you can install to customize your Google desktop.  Right now, I have Michelle Singletary’s “The Color of Money” page feeding to my sidebar “web clips” gadget when I’m working on the Promethean board in my financial math classes. The rss feed can provide fodder for discussion, do now’s, journals, early finishers, etc.

Get your own!