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Comment When Technology Fails? (Score 5, Insightful) 387

I am a teacher that has been highly into technology as a hobby from growing up with computers around me. I consider myself to be very literate in technology - much more so than my fellow teachers most of the time. I've watched districts roll out technology as the savior of classrooms multiple times, and have shaken my head as the technology has failed due to poor understanding of the infrastructure needed to pull off the new 'greatest thing ever!' The fallacy here is related to the other article referenced, kids attention spans are shrinking. So are adults! Technology has some wonderful uses, but at times it's getting shoved into the classroom as the savior of education - when it's not necessarily.

Add to that what happens in the real world and you lose power from a major storm like we did Friday. Our IT department must not have everything properly isolated on UPS supplies or something, because it took all weekend and until late yesterday afternoon before they got our phone and internet system back up. Last I checked our Microsoft Exchange server is still down. If we depend totally on technology in situations like that we'll be even more out of luck. Our attendance systems were fun yesterday...

Comment Re:Those four states an epicenter (Score 1) 111

We don't serve Tex-Mex in New Mexico. That is a COMPLETELY different style of food that New Mexicans disdain as garbage. Come try the chile, I promise a good helping of proper Green or Red Chile will make you understand that it's not Tex-Mex!

Now as far as the methane, the air quality in the area has been terrible forever. I grew up in Farmington and the asthma/allergy issues I believe are higher there than on average elsewhere. Growing up there were 3 major power plants in the area, with the coal mine feeding two of them. The methane is going to be found to be completely coming from that mine and the two power plants on the Navajo Reservation between Farmington and Shiprock if I were to guess.

Comment Re:Disclosing Test Questions is a Problem (Score 1) 95

You as a student don't sign a license as such, but as a teacher you do. Trust me, after a decade of dealing with standardized test NDA's I'm very familiar with them. You're given instructions to monitor conversations during lunch breaks and such. The tricky thing this with this issue is that many times there is a 'window' for a test to be given. The testing companies are worried that students in an earlier part of the window would share with the later part of the window. Honestly I remember reviewing test answers with my fellow classmates following tests... this is just taking it online. Teens are truly ignorant most of the time with Twitter and Facebook... I've had more drama with Twitter this year than I think I could have dreamed of. I'm not surprised in the least they're monitoring sites. Biggest thing would be getting rid of these tests altogether. Sorry, I don't feel they have nearly as much value as the testing companies would lead the public to believe. As long as they lobby state legislatures though with big bribes there's nothing we as teachers can do about them though.

Comment Re:Everybody Panic! (Score 2) 421

Actually my understanding is that they are not treating patients with the full suits on. The decision to just do face masks, gloves, etc. was pretty common it seems now... I think people have gotten more lax with Ebola simply because wearing the full suits is hot and tough to deal with for a long epidemic like we're seeing. It sounds like the nurse in question wasn't in full protective gear. I agree with the idea this shouldn't be happening... How many of these places really have full training for BL-4 diseases though? Last I knew there were only a few labs in the US capable of fully handling diseases like this in the laboratory. (CDC and USAMRID) How is an average hospital set up for this? Hopefully the Dallas one was, but if this trend continues these will not be the last patients we see coming to the US. My guess is this little incident will get in hand just fine, but I doubt that the ones that are likely to come will be as easy to contain.

Comment Re:Proper link (Score 4, Interesting) 213

I grew up in Farmington, near where the station is. Plain and simple the generating station and two other power plants are on Reservation land. For the longest time the tribes chose to ignore improvements to air quality standards. I presume much of the chronic asthma I and others suffered in the area is related to the pollution. On the flip side most of these stacks are being shut down right now and it's killing the local economy. The area has one of the largest available coal deposits that it has been relying on for a long time. It would be nice if there was some sort compromise possible between the industry and pollution... Of course if it was managed more properly it might not be so bad. The amount of corruption on the reservation is amazing...

Comment Re:Dangerous... (Score 1) 399

And opinions like these are the reasons we see legislatures with no teaching experience making policies that leave teachers banging their heads against the wall about the stupidity of the decisions. Personally I'm a teacher and I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in my field. I've had a great deal of success with my students, so I feel qualified to respond to this. Teachers are definitely qualified to make decisions in the classroom about what they teach! More so than most of the people that are in charge of making those decisions.

The best teachers I've seen are the ones that take the time to develop their own Hypothesis about problems in their classroom and have gone on to try new ways to teach. Sure they have some failures, especially as young teachers, but they learn from them and adapt new strategies. That is if they stick around long enough to improve. The biggest problem with education right now is keeping teachers long enough to develop into master teachers. With the average length of career for teachers being about five years... well there are plenty of problems out there.

The pay is addressed all of the time, it's not great. Supposedly there's a three month vacation every year, but if I have two weeks personally I'm having a long break! Between professional development and other expectations, that summer doesn't really exist for anyone but the students. But, most teachers know the pay isn't great going into it. They do it because they have a passion for teaching.

Too many of them see the passion ebb away though thanks to the fact that they are expected to work miracles with students that have no support networks at home. Then they are expected to hold students to a high standard - and then have their jobs threatened when they do so! The levels of paperwork make the Office Space reports seem quick and painless, and they have to keep track of that with each student. Other than in elementary school most teachers are expected to keep track of 100+ students/day with probably at least 20% of those students having modifications that require separate lesson plans for them.

It's all a recipe for burn out! The fear of being held accountable for the students that care doesn't scare most teachers. It's the students that have no support network at home and most likely will not succeed no matter what is done that scares these teachers.

Comment Colleges Will LOVE This... (Score 1) 302

The way it's written will negatively impact a lot of the higher ranked colleges from the past with the financial incentives that are mentioned. For the large private schools they're not going to care so much, but I have to imagine this will be dead in the water from the get go. Too much alumni power in the legislature for this to be something that will ever make its way through!

Comment They Didn't Have Any (Score 2) 162

They didn't have any casino's on the Navajo Nation until about two years ago. It was probably the one that held off the longest on building them, partially because they could never come to an agreement with the State of New Mexico, but mostly due to tribal opposition.

The bigger thing is that it will benefit those that have power... What many people don't realize though is that much of the reservation is like a third world country without running water or electricity!

Comment Re:Its about replacing books not paper and pencils (Score 1) 393

Some of it isn't even eBooks. The students at my school rarely use textbooks anymore due to the curriculum that's been implemented. Most of the time their reference material and assignments is being given to the teachers in pdf form by the curriculum office. Being able to have the kids just look at it on an iPad as opposed to making lots of copies has some value.

I just wish my district had at least been smart enough to go with iPads. They ended up with some grant and bought Nooks for all of the kids... Great until you realize that B&N is pretty much shutting down with that now or soon. We'll probably have wasted more money in the end by trying to save money!

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