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Humor

14 Websites That Will Excite Students About Tech

Most teachers I know accept that their classes must be technology-infused. Many think that means replacing traditional tools with the tech version (for example, instead of creating a big bulky poster, use a virtual poster like Glogster). Others think using iPads to read the book is homage enough to the 21st Century teaching police. A surprising number of students — and teachers — still consider technology to be the realm of a chosen few endowed with brilliance and math/science skills. When you try to explain that technology, computers, and websites are easily accessible to anyone willing to think critically and solve problems, they laugh. Or hide.

Here are fourteen websites I use to persuade teachers that technology isn’t always about math and science, that lots of tools work flawlessly as they inspire students to new ways of learning.

Backwards Google

This site shows the Google search engine backwards as is everything you type into the search field. This is from the creative minds at elgooG (not affiliated with Google) and only for entertainment. When you’re done giggling over the oddity of a backwards world, try some of their other geeky options included at the top of the screen like:

  • Snake Game (at the top of the Backwards Google screen)
  • Do a Barrel Roll –click the link and Google will do a barrel roll before beginning your search
  • Tilt —  click the link and Google will tilt before performing your search

google gravity

Chrome Experiments

Chrome Experiments is a showcase of over 1200 web experiments written by the creative coding community. They are clever and often addicting and include a mesmerizing kaleidoscope, Fluid Particles (waves of particles generated by a SketchUp type drawing you create), Searching Planet (a 3D visual of what people around the globe search for on Google), and A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2 (shows how carbon dioxide travels around the globe over the course of one year).

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Categories: Games/Simulations, Humor, Parents, Teacher resources | 3 Comments

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2nd-May 6th

teacher in classroom with his little happy studentsTeacher Appreciation Week is May 2nd-May 8th. In honor of these tenacious, creative individuals, here are some of our favorite teacher appreciation articles:

10 Bits of Wisdom I Learned From a Computer

How to Talk to a Tech Teacher

18 Things Teachers Do Before 8am

A Website That Cleans Your Computer for You

Definition of ‘Teacher’

How to be a Tech Teacher

You’re a Geek Now

You Know You’re a Geek When…

10 Steps to Become a Better Geek

15 Ways to Get Your Geek On

21 Reasons Why You Know You’re a Teacher

You Know You’re a Techy Teacher When…

Just Another Day In Computer Lab

Dr. Seuss–Techie Style

(more…)

Categories: Humor, Teaching | Leave a comment

Celebrate Pi With Your Students

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form. Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.

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Categories: Holidays, Humor, Math | Leave a comment

10 Bits of Wisdom I Learned From a Computer

7858475 Young couple with tabletsLife is hard, but help is all around us. The trick is to take your learning where you find it. In my case, as a technology teacher, it‘s from computers. A while ago I posted four lessons I learned from computers:

  1. Know when your RAM is full
  2. You Can‘t Go Faster Than Your Processor Speed
  3. Take Shortcuts When You Can
  4. Be Patient When You‘re Hourglassing

I got a flood of advice from readers about the geeky lessons they got from computers. See which you relate to:

8033305 Girl with tablet#5: Go offline for a while

We are all getting used to–even addicted to–that online hive mind where other voices with thoughts and opinions are only a click away. Who among us hasn’t wasted hours on Facebook, Twitter, blogs–chatting with strangers or virtual friends ready to commiserate and offer advice. It’s like having a best friend who’s always available.

But while your back is turned, the real world is changing. Once in a while, disconnect from your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–even your blogmates. Re-acquaint yourself with the joys of facial expressions, body language, and that tone of voice that makes  the comment, “Yes, I’d be happy to help” sincere or snarky. Engage your brain in a more intimate and viscerally satisfying world.

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Categories: Computer Wisdom, Critical thinking, Humor | Tags: | 3 Comments

Celebrate Pi Day

Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 since 3, 1, and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in the decimal form. Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning autistic savant, holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes.

(more…)

Categories: Holidays, Humor, Math | Leave a comment

Everything I Need to Know Came From a Computer

Life is hard, but help is all around us. The trick is to take your learning where you can find it. In my case, as a technology teacher, it‘s from computers. Here are four lessons I learned from my computer. I might not survive without them.

#1: Know when your RAM is full

illustration of a female worker sleepingRAM is Random Access Memory. In the computer world, it controls how much you can work on at any given moment. If you exceed your computer‘s RAM, it won’t be able to remember anything else (computer programs start stalling or stop working). Humans have a mental workspace–like a desktop–that controls how much we can keep in our thoughts before it is shuffled off to long- and short-term memory. For people with eidetic memories, it‘s very large. For most of us, size is controlled by:

  • how complicated the subject is
  • how many numbers there are
  • how many specific facts there are

I know my limits and I don‘t feel bad about grabbing a pencil to take notes or asking someone to slow the heck down. You shouldn‘t either. Figure out the limits of your RAM and accept it. Don‘t be afraid to say, My RAM is full! That‘s what computers do.

#2: You Can‘t Go Faster Than Your Processor SpeedCircuit Board

Everyone wants a computer with the fastest possible processor speed. That means it will perform tasks at lightening speed and we as the owner get more done in less time. The computer seems to understand what pace is best for its mother board and maintains that pace, no matter if we yell, scream, or kick its tires. Why? Because it can only work as fast as its parts allow it to.

This is also true of your personal processing speed. It is what it is. Your ability to think through problems and consider issues is determined by your mental and physical framework. No amount of lusting after those with a photographic memory will change your circumstances. Accept yourself for what you are. Revel in it. Own it. Enjoy your strong points and work around the weak ones.

Here‘s something you may not know. No one is perfect and everyone has weaknesses. Successful people re-form arguments and situations to accommodate their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. You can too. Who cares what your processing speed is if your hard drive is to die for?

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Categories: Computer Wisdom, Critical thinking, Humor | Tags: | 4 Comments

Need a Halloween Costume? I have that

Every year, I struggle with a Halloween costume. The teams of grade-level teachers always have themed looks—the Three Bears or Eeenie Meenie Minie and Moe–but I don’t have a team. I also don’t have kids at home to inspire me into painting my hair pink or my nails black.

A few years ago, I found the solution, and now–no worries. Even if it slips by my consciousness until I arrive at school on our Halloween Parade Day to the sight of goblins, Dr Who’s and other fantasies, I’m ready. Here’s my costume:

halloween

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Categories: Holidays, Humor, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

Humor that Inspires–for Teachers! Part V

funny quotesIf you liked the last Humor that Inspires (Part 1, and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4), here are more to kick-start your day:

  1. “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.”
    – A Yale University management professor in response to student Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
  2. “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
    – H. M. Warner (1881-1958), founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927
  3. “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”
    – Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962
  4. “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
    – Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
  5. “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
    – Mark Twain (1835-1910)
  6. “A pint of sweat, saves a gallon of blood.”
    – General George S. Patton (1885-1945)
  7. “After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”
    – Cato the Elder (234-149 BC, AKA Marcus Porcius Cato)
  8. “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”
    – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
  9. “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
    – last words of Pancho Villa (1877-1923)
  10. “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
    – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) (more…)
Categories: Humor | Tags: | 2 Comments

Humor that Inspires–for Teachers! Part IV

funny quotesIf you liked the last Humor that Inspires (Part 1, and Part 2 and Part 3), here are more to kick-start your day:

  1. “It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able man.”
    – Professor Scott Elledge on his retirement from Cornell
  2. “Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.”
    – Robert Orben
  3. “The cynics are right nine times out of ten.”
    – Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
  4. “There are some experiences in life which should not be demanded twice from any man, and one of them is listening to the Brahms Requiem.”
    – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
  5. “Attention to health is life’s greatest hindrance.”
    – Plato (427-347 B.C.)
  6. “Plato was a bore.”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
  7. “Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.”
    – Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
  8. “I’m not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy.”
    – Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
  9. “Hemingway was a jerk.”
    – Harold Robbins
  10. “Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things.”
    – Epictetus (55-135 A.D.)
  11. “What about things like bullets?”
    – Herb Kimmel, Behavioralist, Professor of Psychology, upon hearing the above quote (1981)
  12. “How can I lose to such an idiot?”
    – A shout from chessmaster Aaron Nimzovich (1886-1935)
  13. “Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.”
    – Woody Allen (1935-) (more…)
Categories: Humor | Tags: | Leave a comment

How to Talk to a Tech Teacher

There’s always been something mystical about people in technical professions–engineering, science, mathematics. They talk animatedly about plate tectonics, debate the structure of mathematical functions, even smile at the mention of calculus. The teaching profession has their own version of these individuals, called ‘technology teachers’. They used to be stuffed in a corner of the school where most teachers could pretend they didn’t exist, that what they did was for ‘some other educator in an alternate dimension’.

Thawritert all changed when technology swept across the academic landscape like a firestorm:

  • iPads became the device of choice in the classroom
  • Class SmartScreens became more norm than abnorm(al)
  • Technology in the classroom changed from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’
  • 1:1 became a realistic goal
  • Students researched online as often as in the library
  • Students began spending as much time in a digital neighborhood as their home town
  • Textbooks morphed into resources rather than bibles

Today, teachers who don’t use technology are an endangered species. Often, they’re too young to retire, so they get a map from a colleague to that place where they’ve been told they’ll find help–from a person variously called the ‘tech teacher’, ‘integration specialist’, or ‘tech coordinator’.

As they enter the room, Google Maps in hand (an effort to impress), they figure the person they’re looking for must be the one who looks up as they enter, fingers flying across the keyboard, never pausing and never slowing even as she smiles and says, ‘Hi!’.

Before you ask your question, I have a short list of signs that will help you have a more positive experience when you confront this big-brained Sheldon-look-like:

  • You can’t scare them (in fact, even Admin and a lousy economy doesn’t frighten them). They’re techies. Try kindness instead.
  • Patience and tech are oxymorons. Know that going in.
  • Bring food. Techies often forget to eat, or ate everything in their snack stash and need more.
  • Some days, tech looks a lot like work. Distract them with an interesting problem.
  • Start the encounter with a discussion on Dr. Who, Minecraft, or Big Bang Theory. Find a clever tie-in to your topic.
  • Understand that tech teachers often think trying to teach teachers to tech is like solving the Riemann Hypothesis (many consider it impossible). Bone up on basics before the Meeting.
  • Life after the 100th crashed computer is what Oprah might call a life-defining moment. If that just happened as you walked through the door, turn around and come back another time.
  • Understanding a techie who’s in the zone is like understanding the meaning of life. Again–leave the room; come back later.

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Categories: Critical thinking, Geeks, Humor, Teaching | 2 Comments