If you are actually considering adopting a dog, you should definitely check out Pedigree's Adoption Website - it has a lot of great articles to help anyone make an informed decision about adopting a dog. They even give months-worth of dog food to those who adopt from a shelter.
Techie /t'eki/Term for a person who possesses greater than average interest in technology, especially the latest and greatest high-tech gadget; not to be confused with their spandex-wearing, oft pointy-eared cousins, the Trekkies.
Techies are insatiably curious. Always seeking to answer “What if,” a techie relishes new experiences and is often the first to test the metaphorical waters. Hand a techie the latest gadget and she will like have it figured out in minutes, no manual necessary (though the nerdy techies will read the manual front-to-back later, to see what they missed). This not because of some freaky techie intuition (okay, maybe a little), but because a techie is not afraid to try, try, try again. Forget learning curve, techies tumble straight up.
Technology changes so fast that it is impossible to stay a techie without continuing one’s education. Whether by taking classes, reading blogs, attending conferences, or just conversing with other geeks (technological or otherwise), techies are always learning. As a result, techies know a lot of stuff.
If only to demonstrate their superiority (arrogance is one of a techie’s less-than-awesome traits), techies love sharing what they’ve learned, Exhibit A: the internet. Techies also like sharing their stuff, see open source software and bitTorrent. Overshare? Yeah, techies are good at that too – no luddite could’ve invented Facebook or Twitter.
Change 2: Strengthen Vocational and Technical ProgramsCall them what you will - votech, industrial arts, applied academics, shop class - we need programs where kids learn hands-on skills, use tools, build things, fix things. When the economy takes a hit, and subsequently school budgets, these valuable technical programs are often the first to go, in deference to traditional core classes. Or in a sad compromise, tech programs are morphed into supposed STEM programs where doing the science/engineering/math on a computer constitutes using technology. However, when the economy goes sour, what a person really needs is a marketable skill, not a comprehensive knowledge of Shakespeare.
In addition to financial and administrative support of tech programs, there needs to be an attitude shift away from high school votech programs being considered as a last resort for struggling students, and from technical & community colleges being considered the lesser post-secondary option for students. Not everyone is suited for a 4-year liberal arts college, and a liberal arts degree is not applicable to all jobs; when last I checked, Harvard does not offer courses in metal-working, but every construction site needs a welder at some point.
In this rapidly changing world it is critical for schools to adapt, to change in ways that will better prepare students for their future. So, the question is not whether schools should change, but rather how they should change. Based on my observations as an insider in the education world, but also as a newbie who brings a fresh perspective, I have a few ideas of changes to be made, which I shall henceforth present in an intermittent and seemingly random series of posts; here is the first.
Change 1: Hire People, Not Services
Hiring a service is like renting an apartment: once your lease is up, you’re left with nothing buy an empty checking account, all the while you had to live by the limitations of sharing a resource. Hiring a person, on the other hand, is like buying a house: take good care of it and you’ll likely get a return on your investment, while also being able to make any needed modifications to make the house your home.
School districts often outsource work, e.g. website design, to businesses who by their very nature as a contractor serve multiple organizations. Services are generally prepackaged, with limited customization, as businesses need to be able to serve all their clients while still being able to make a profit. However, rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars for cookie-cutter products, school districts should pay tens of thousands of dollars to hire an employee who has a vested interest in the district and can create products custom to the needs of it’s teachers and students.
- Create a second calendar for just the public events
- Invite that calendar (using the calendar ID address found under Calendar Details) to every public event.
- Accept invitations.
I share my work calendar - showing only the free/busy details - with everyone in my district’s domain and also the public. This way people can see if I’m busy before requesting a meeting, but the specific details of my schedule are kept private. What’s nice is that I can select individual events to be public and show all event details, which is useful for group events such as trainings. In ordered to keep staff apprised of upcoming events, I wanted to create a feed on my website that showed just these public events, i.e. I didn’t want to display my entire agenda of “Busy” events. However, Google does not provide a way to filter a calendar before embedding it, so I needed to create a separate calendar of just my public events. Faced with having to update events on both my default calendar the public events calendar*, I turned to Yahoo Pipes to make a public events calendar that was automatically updated with any event I marked as a public on my default calendar.
My pipe takes a calendar’s iCal address and filters out all private events; the resulting iCal feed can then be subscribed to from Google Calendar. Once subscribed to this custom feed, the calendar will update with any new public events or changes made to existing events. There is a delay in updates, but it is better than having to add/update events in two places. I then embedded the Public Events calendar in my site, using Google’s built-in embed helper.
I published my pipe so that anyone can input their own calendar’s iCal address to create a feed containing only their public events, without actually having to recreate their own pipe. Geeks looking to see how it works should see fig. 1, which shows the source along with annotations, or click ‘Edit Source’ on the pipes main page, to see a live example of the source and play around with a copy of it. Below is the resulting calendar widget, for complete instructions on creating a one of your own, see my tutorial Google Calendar: Public Events Feed.
- Google Calendar
- Yahoo Pipes
- My Public Events Pipe
- How Embed a Google Calendar on Your Site
- Tutorial: Creating a Google Calendar: Public Events Feed