Cool Links #109: Not Taken By The Rapture

Contrary to popular opinion, I have not been abducted by space aliens, raptured away or joined a cult.  OK, maybe I did join a cult – or at least my son did – I was drafted by the cult known as Boy Scouts.  As a yearbook advisor, I already have very limited time. Now as a Boy Scouting leader AND still a yearbook advisor, free time has become a mystical concept that is heard about, but never seen.  I am not blog-fading, just trying to figure it all out.  With summer upcoming, I should be able to get back into a rhythm of blogging again.  (I hope.)  Now for the links…

1 – After months of indecision, the Texas Legislature has finally settled on the amount of pain to inflict on public school districts.  If you live here and want to know how bad it will be for the next two years, take a look.  Thanks to the Texas Tribune for providing our state with the best info on every twist and turn of the crazy pink building in Austin.

2 – I love photography.  Didn’t start out that way, but I love it.  I am intrigued by famous photos, especially of “regular” people who just happened to be in a famous photo.  Listverse has a Top 10 of the lives of people made famous by famous photos – especially what happened after the photo was published.

3 – Here is a great tool for creating visualizations for news stories called Many Eyes.  It appears to be free.

4 – Are our First Amendment rights in danger? They are when Police see cameras like this

How Police see SLR Cameras

How Police see SLR Cameras

5 – I recently wrote about how teachers in the US are taking the blame for a problem created outside of schools.  And Finland has been held up lately as the solution to all our problems.  But Finland and the US are nothing like each other.

6 – I deeply respect Mindy McAdams, I think she is one of the best professors in online journalism today.  I mainly agree with her post – that it is not stupid to major in journalism today, as long as the student understands the landscape.  They must be prepared to never work for a traditional news organization, or only work for one for a short time.  They must be ready to work for a small online startup, maybe even a series of them.  Their career will be very different from journalists of the past.

7 – Now this is a Facebook style photo that is worthy of being called a photograph.

Houston, that is going on my Facebook page.

Houston, that is going on my Facebook page.

8 – I love my Mac, but I hate waiting for Photoshop or Final Cut to render.  The Macintosh Performance Guide has all kinds of ways to help you get the most out of your Mac and the software on it, like the Adobe line of products.  Worth studying.

9 – This is turning into a “stuff I love” post, but I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the wonderful people at B&H Photo.  Apparently a camera they were testing (a used one) mistakenly ended up leaving their store with the photos still on it.  This gave the outside world a glimpse into the world of B&H.  I love the photos.  I love the fact that B&H is closed on Jewish holidays, just like I love the fact that Chick-fil-a is closed on Sundays.  I respect businesses that have a positive ethos and B&H does this well.  They provide a great service at a good price, by friendly people.

10 – Need a free, easy to use HTML editor look no further, just click on the link.

11 – At my school, we ditched our photo company a long time ago – too costly.  We now take our photos ourselves, and this means training the students on how to take a good portrait.  But what is good for a thin person, doesn’t work with someone like myself – someone who has a higher BMI.  dPs has a top flight post on how to photograph larger people.

12 – If you are like me, many of the photos in your yearbook are taken by staffers who never took a photo class.  They got a quick and fast version of it in yearbook class and they shoot most of their photos with a point and shoot – often badly.  Clifford Otto has a terrific post about how to hold your point and shoot to get the best photos.

13 – I know this is how many teachers and students feel about school right now.

Not sure you get 100% in May

Not sure you get 100% in May

14 – Do ethics matter in online journalism, maybe more so than ever.  Check out this post from Mindy McAdams with 10 Rules for Online Ethics.  Best takeaway – #2 Assume everything you write online will become public.

15 – Petapixel has the best explanation of depth of field I’ve ever seen.

16 – This is a fun site to teach kids about ISO, shutter and aperture – Camera Sim.

17 – I’ve heard that the kerfluffle over staging shots of presidential speeches has changed the official policy at the White House, but it is sad that they ever did it this way to begin with.

18 – This is pretty geeky and contains math content, but it is interesting – the f/stop scale is logarithmic because humans are bad at telling the difference in brightness, unless it is really big.

19 –  The owners of Leica Camera were the Oskar Schindlers of the photo world.  The untold story of how they snuck Jews out of Germany before and during WWII.

 

I have more, but I’m saving some for later in the week.

 

Silence is Acceptance: Teachers Are NOT the Problem

Idiots in Austin and Washington

Idiots in Austin and Washington

I’ve been a classroom teacher for sixteen years.  I didn’t even know if I would like this gig when I started out.  I came from a background in newspaper and TV.  But I wanted something with more stability and weirdly enough a better paycheck – that was back when beginning teachers made $26,000 a year in Texas.  They make a bit more now.

But lately teachers have become the enemy.  Our “fat paychecks” and “grand retirement” packages are just too much for taxpayers to handle.  God forbid teachers make a living wage and be able to raise a family.  It is not enough that we already sacrifice time, money and effort above what we are contracted to do.  We are one of the lowest paid professions that requires both a 4-year college degree and continuing education after being hired.  So many teachers pay for supplies out of their own pockets that the US Federal government recognizes this fact with a $200 tax deduction.

Most teachers get to school an hour before the first bell and stay 2-3 hours after the last bell, making for 9-10 hour working days at school.  This doesn’t take into account additional time at night and on weekends grading papers and planning lessons or calling parents.

Of course we don’t “work summers” and lay around the pool all day for three months.  Not likely.  School ends here after the first week of June, and teachers return to school the second week of August.  This gives you eight weeks off.  But teachers often are called in for curriculum meetings, staff development, teaming meetings and a hundred other things.  Many teachers also go in several days before they are “on the clock” to start getting their rooms ready for the first day of school, since many schools no longer give teachers time to do this anymore.  Nearly all of these “extra duties” are non-contracted and unpaid.

Next year in many classrooms, there will be 30-35-40 students packed into a room designed for 25.  The desks will be wall to wall and right on top of each other.  The computers will not be upgraded any time soon, and should one stop working, you will have to do without.  This is how we prepare our students for the 21st century?

If you have too many English language learners, or special needs kids – forget about asking for a co-teacher or even an aide.  They too will be gone.

Some districts are considering replacing their librarians with secretaries or getting rid of the library totally.  Same with nurses:  replacing RN’s with cheaper LVN’s or having several campuses share a nurse.

High schools in the Houston area will lose their Deputies soon.  Too expensive says the county.  Schools will have to hire their own officers or lower cost “security guards.”

Don’t even start on textbooks, some haven’t been replaced by the state in a decade.  I’ve heard that some districts have started double checking the mileage line to make sure that every student who is outside the legal limit walks to school or is brought by a parent, not a bus.  I wonder how much longer until they tell us we can’t have air conditioning until it is above a certain temperature.  The double paned windows in my classroom don’t even open.  There are other classrooms that have no windows.

If you are lucky after 30-40 years of this, you can get a pension, and live off of 60 percent of your former salary.

Many complain that teachers don’t do a good job compared to the “golden age” of the ’50s-60s.  Back when ruler toting teachers apparently were 10 feet tall and shot fire from their eyes.  Those teachers didn’t have the level of expectations we do today.  If a student didn’t cut it, they failed them and sent them off to work in a factory or in the fields.  Today, we are expected to make sure every student gets a 21st century education.  But we still use some methods that haven’t changed in 100 years.  Why – because we are told to do so.

The same politicians who are using teachers as a tackling dummy, are the ones who like to mandate everything from the number of school days to the allowable calories in the cafeterias.  There is more paperwork and regulation in schools than in nearly any other business.  Yet, along with the regulations, there never comes an increase in funding for compliance.  We must do more with less.

Less is not always more – many times less is simply less.  And as educators, we need to stop pretending we can keep doing more with less.  We can’t!  We are part of the problem.  We keep taking it.  We need to stop agreeing that we can do more.  We can’t.

If you live in Texas, or even other states – this is probably true there too.  Join the Protect the Classroom movement, call – write – or email your state legislator and senator.   This is going to hit EVERY school – yes the ones in your neighborhood too!

YLYB #71: Football Finale or Playoff Pitstop

Tomorrow we play our first, and hopefully not last playoff football game.  We have made the playoffs three other times since I’ve been the yearbook teacher here.  We have not advanced before and we’d really like to see what the second round is like.

Football fridays are a lot of work, but it’s all worth it when the team wins and everyone gets to celebrate all the hard work of taking photos and shooting video.  Wish us luck.

Cool Links #100: The One That Took A Century

I know it seems like I haven’t had a links post in a long time.  And that is because I haven’t.  I haven’t had a free Saturday since school started.  Every week has been a blur, football games, pep rallies, family events and more.  So, here are the much awaited links.

1 – I like the fact that the new Twitter web site design uses the Golden Ratio.

Golden Ratio

2 – This is just an absolutely incredible photo.  I am always telling my students that they have to find a new way to look at the same old thing.  And who hasn’t seen the space shuttle being pulled out to a launch?  But, have you seen it this way?

Space Shuttle New Way

Space Shuttle New Way

3 – This took a lot of guts.  The valedictorian of this school chose to criticize the quality of the education she received, even though nearly everyone would agree she got the very best.

4 – Here is a list of web sites all web designers should be looking into.

5 – My students were actually included on overheard in the newsroom.  “B-Roll is like a screen saver for your life.”

6 – This is just funny.

I Can Takez Photoz

I Can Takez Photoz

7 – Six reasons your travel (or anytime) photos suck.  Same reasons any of your photos suck.  From SFGate.

8 – Before and After Magazine – don’t enlarge things just to fill the space.

9 – How to speak during a broadcast without making breathing sounds.  Via Advancing The Story.

10 – Red and Blue are the most powerful colors on the web.  Great graphic from the Cool Infographics Blog.

11 – This is a funny front page.  Not sure if it is photoshop or real.

No News

No News

12 – How do people really watch the local news at home?  They don’t give it their full attention unless you give them a reason.  Thanks Bob Kaplitz.

13 – The city of Chicago gives citizen journalists the same right to credentials as professional journalists.  I say this is a win for Journalism.

14 – How To Open A Book from the Principal’s Page.  I think I’m going to put a copy of this with every new yearbook this year.

15 – This is really for much earlier in the year, but you can add it to your next year file – 15 Terms Every Yearbook Staffer Should Know.  Thanks Yearbook Blog.

16 – The Texas Tribune has a great audio piece about Why Everyone Can’t Go To College.

YLYB: #25: Feel The Heat

It was hot at the football game yesterday.  The temp was about 94, plus humidity.  And the scoring was both early and often.  We won 48-0.  I saw three of my former yearbook editors in the stands during the second half.  Despite the heat, we had a pretty good time.

The game was actually really quick – 2 hours and 15 min. including halftime.  I think they may have evoked the slaughter rule in the second half and run the clock continuously.

The best part is that the first half was played in the daytime.  Because it was a Saturday game, we started at 6 p.m.  The sun was still up at halftime.  We got a lot of great photos in the daytime sunlight.  Because our school colors are black and gold, our home – black uniforms don’t show up well against a night sky.  So, it is always exciting when we have a daytime or even early game where we can shoot in the sunlight.

I am excited about our next game, because the band should be wearing their uniforms by then.  Due to the hot Gulf Coast temperatures, our band wears jeans and white polo shirts the first three weeks.  I think they are smart to do so.  Those black band uniforms must be sweltering.  But they do look better than the polos.

YLYB #22: Staff Shirts

Today I got the final artwork for the yearbook staff’s shirt for 2011.  It is basically a low-res version of the cover, both front and back.  It has fewer colors, due to costs and it says yearbook staff on the front.  But I think it looks really good.  The price is right too, so we are going to use this same company to get shirts for our fundraiser too.  We’re going to make shirts that look like the Buc-ee’s shirts.

Buc-ees

Buc-ees

If you’re not from Texas, you may not know about the awesome place called Buc-ee’s.  It is the best road stop ever.  They have it all – food, gas, drinks, snacks, junk you don’t need and t-shirts.  Plus they have the cleanest bathrooms ever.  You don’t pass up a Buc-ee’s.  Oh, and grab some beaver nuggets.  Yummy.

Cool Links #99: The One About Relaxing

As the song says, “Relax, don’t do it.”  Today is the beginning of the long march to Thanksgiving.  Holidays are few and far between for the next three months.  So, we must take today and relax as much as possible.  I smell a nap later, so here’s the links -

1 – Templates for TV graphics save time and effort, plus make your show’s look have some consistency, but inevitably someone forgets to complete the graphic before air time.

Add Caption Here

Add Caption Here

2 – Why is your fancy new iPad the size of a paperback book?  Or a better question is: where did all the “standard” sizes for books come from in the first place – sheep!

3 – The KRG blog has a list of 12 essential skills for aspiring journalists.  It is a good list, but it is missing one important skill – the ability to monetize your content.  Take some business classes.

4 – I  can’t remember if I have mentioned this resource before.  He does not have any journalism courses, but his story is inspiring. Khan Academy is a super resource for students struggling with math or science.  His free youtube channel has taught thousands.

5 – FORA.tv has a conversation with Bill Gates that focuses mainly on education.  Like so many others who have never taught, they think they can solve all the ills of education.  Gates’ magic wand is charter schools.  He forgets that unlike charters, many students in public schools do NOT want to be there, there is a deficit of parental support and we can not negotiate our way out of special education mandates.  He also doesn’t acknowledge the high burnout rate and lower pay for teachers in charter schools.  He also thinks that a third year teacher is better than a veteran teacher, because they work harder.  Working harder is not always working smarter.  I work plenty hard now, I know I’m a better teacher after 15 years, than after only two.  And finally, he wants to record every minute of the classroom day with a web cam.  How many parents would agree to having their children recorded?  He should stick to software that crashes and leave the classrooms of America alone.

6 – Just for TV Teachers has struck a nerve, or had his struck.  He wonders if all the time, money and attention devoted to high school football is worth it?  There are times where I wonder the same thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I played high school football and in the band.  I enjoy going to games and I love the game itself.  But in many states the insane amounts of money that are diverted to sports at the secondary level could be used to improve the quality and number of teachers, or purchase equipment and instructional materials that are sorely needed.  In a time where many states are slashing education budgets, how many have seriously thought about cutting sports or even cutting their budgets?  When times are good and there is more than enough money for all, sports are a luxury we can afford – but when belt tightening is required, why does the athletic department so often get a pass?

7 – This next post is just for fun – cardboard cameras.   Too bad they don’t work.

Cardboard Camera

Cardboard Camera

8 – News hits home, film at eleven.

News hits home

News hits home

9 – The clone stamp tool can be very useful when doing artistic or touch up work on a portrait – never for journalism.  All Web Design Info offers this tutorial.

10 – Is this the “next big thing?” The merging of TV station newscasts and newspapers.  Who knows, but the blog Reflections of a Newsosaur thinks so.

11 – My local newspaper here in Houston is closing it’s doors for good.  The last issue was tossed on my driveway last week.  It was published for 70 years.  I knew the editor pretty well and I know that the ever shrinking metro the Houston Chronicle never covered our area well before, they won’t be doing a better job with a smaller staff.

12 – Etaoin Shrdlu thinks that newspapers started dying when they stopped offering something of value.  He compares it to Starbucks.  You can get a cup of coffee for way less than $1 almost anywhere, but coffee at Starbucks is usually more than $3 and people line up to pay.  They do so, because Starbucks also offers both customization and a place to drink the coffee in a nice atmosphere.  Newspapers missed out in the past by keeping their price artificially low – this encouraged customers to see news as virtually free, even before the internet.  Since the internet, newspapers have missed the boat on customization.  They should have been creating systems for people to make their own custom news feed/page.  And finally, they also could have been a part of creating atmosphere – they should have found a way to get their newspaper in every coffee house in their readership area.

13 – Random Mumblings blog says that newspapers need to stop thinking about the paper edition.  They should focus on the web, because that is where people get their news today.

14 – If you ever wanted to know how to light a subject for a photoshoot – DIY photography has 13 video tutorials on how to set up lighting.

That’s a wrap – en

Cool Links #96: The One About Busy-ness

I’ve been busy.  It seems that summer too can be a busy season.  I’ve had meetings and phone calls and my son’s football camp.  Lots to do, lots to do.  So, cool links haven’t bubbled to the top of the to do list until now – nearly a week late.  And to add insult to injury, my read it later password expired and I didn’t notice for several days that items were not being added to my read it list.  So, some cool links have been lost forever.  Sad face.  Here’s the links I’ve been able to add, re-add or just plain found by brute force search.

1 – Teachers At Risk has a top notch post – Nine Things My Students Have Taught Me. If only it were just nine, but a great list.  Best take away - 1. I’ve learned that students need me to be a teacher and not their friend.

2 – And to piggyback on that post, from the same source comes Nine Questions I Ask My Students On The First Day.  Best take away – 1. When have you felt particularly successful in school?

3 – Common Craft has several helpful videos on YouTube for those that teach anything to do with the Web.

4 – The Digital Photography School should be in every media teacher’s RSS reader – because of nuggets like How To Work With Locked Pixels.

5 – Seems like this is a favorite topic right now – extending the school year or eliminating summer vacation.  Time magazine has a long article that goes around the topic, but never really decides what to think.  I see both sides to the argument.  Summer would be very expensive in the south – A/C would run non-stop.  The travel industry would be hurt badly and the traditional vacation plan would have to be rethought.  But there are upsides to changing the summer schedule.  More days in the calendar might take some pressure off and allow more in-depth teaching.  Fewer days off would lessen the effects of lost retention.  But most teachers would want more compensation for more days and it would only be fair.  Plus, as it happened in Texas, you really can’t have just some of the schools go to a year-round schedule and others stay on a traditional one.  It won’t work.  It has to be all or nothing.

6 – Copyright Office says that jailbreaking and re-mixing are OK!  And they said that teachers and students can remix and reuse with few if any restrictions.  Read about it at Free Tech 4 Teachers.  Fair Use Win!

7 – I’ve been looking for a good online “text” for Web Design for a while, and the Web Styleguide is it.  It’s 12 chapters seem to cover all the basic areas that a designer needs to know.  I only wish it were available in a PDF format.

8 – Tamron lenses posted their second video about Photo Composition – give it a look.

9 – I just had to share this – the long weekend theory of summer vacation from An Untenured Teacher.  I’m still hanging on to Saturday, but Sunday morning is just days away.

10 – Teachers At Risk seems to be my favorite blog today – lots of great content, for example How The Web May Be Spoiling Our Students.

11 – This has to be one of the best ideas that has ever been on MTV, since they stopped playing actual music. If You Really Knew Me is a show about a program that focuses on character education in high schools around the country.  I’ve only watch the first episode, but I can see the power that this program could have in almost any school.  Make sure to start with episode 101.

12 – If you are a journalism or media teacher and your students are not publishing online, then you definitely need to read the Innovative Educator’s post about Sticking It To the Man and Publish Online.

13 – OK, be honest – how many of you have had a broadcast, newspaper issue or  yearbook that ended up like this?

Insert Image Title Here

Insert Image Title Here

14 – Peta Pixel blog has a great post about a music video made for $500 done in one take.  Not only is the video cool, but they also have a behind the scenes video too.

15 – Why do they do it?  Why do photojournalists doctor photos and then claim they just mistakenly sent in the wrong image?  Seems like there is a lot of it going around right now and BP just can’t seem to do anything right.

16 – Worried that photos you post to the internet will end up on a billboard, or in an ad somewhere and you didn’t get paid or even a photo credit?  Google is releasing a new service called TinEye – a reverse image search, so you can find out if your photos are being used somewhere else.

17 – Want some advanced InDesign and Photoshop Tips for Yearbook – The Yearbook Connection has a great resource page.  Check it out.

18 – If you are from Texas and you don’t know Hal Schmidt, then you need to meet him.  He works in Houston for the office of Taylor Publishing, and he knows his tech.  His page has all kinds of great resources and teaching tips.  Hal is your Pal.

19 – I love these A to Z yearbook terminology cards.  I am going to download them all – thanks Yearbook Ladies.

20 – Is solo reporting too much for reporters, with the always on deadline 24/7/365 news cycle?  The Journalism Classroom Notebook thinks that today’s journalists are likely to face lots of burnout and possibly change to other careers more quickly.

21 – Black Star Rising blog has a superb review of the history of the First Amendment and why it is so important to keep defending it today.

Wow, I guess I had more links than I thought – of course now I won’t have anything for Sunday!  lol.  I hope you are still enjoying your time off – I start back at school on Aug. 16 (no students until Aug. 23).  Hoping to enjoy my last few weeks off.

Cool Links #73: The One About The Crazy Week

This week has been crazy.  I was out for a couple of days last week and we had a half-day on Wednesday.  So the week was busy and crazy.   So, everything was actually normal, total madness as usual.  I’m looking to get back to sanity with some cool links.

1 – Teachers At Risk blog has a poignant post with this missive on student failure.  Here in Texas, the Houston ISD is looking to punish teachers when students don’t make the grade on the state mandated test.

2 – Next up is a neat video collage of the year in magazine covers.

3 – The recent wave of additional advertising failures in print has set off a new round of blogs ready to write the obit on newspapers in printed form.  Some are already crafting the lead graph.  I still think the jury is out.  I’m bullish about lean, mean online news organizations, even when others are not – but I still think print products are a part of it.  The SimsBlog has a great addition about the two big lies killing newspapers.  And OJR has a powerful, fact-filled post on the future of a business model for newspapers.

4 – A couple of weeks ago, I was in a bad mood and grousing about not being an Edublog nominee, but I AM listed on Free.edu’s 100 Best Education Blogs of 2009.  What a great list, I feel like the lucky one to be invited to this ball considering the company I’m in.  I also got a mention and a quote in a slide show by Free Tech 4 Teachers, because I responded to a question he asked about what we learned in 2009.  (That’s me on slide 7)

5 – If you ever have to be your own IT dept. either at work or at home, then you may know the hell of dealing with printers.  Keeping them running properly is a black art.

6 – Next Up:  The 11 Most Painfully Obvious Newspaper Headlines.  News at 11.

No Really?

No Really?

7 – This quiz is supposed to be just for fun, but I honestly have a quiz like this for my video tech class.  I scored a 90%.  Full transparency.

8 – As a photography teacher, I’ve been somewhat afraid of metering modes for years.  DPS has an informative, short post on the most common metering modes and how to use them.

9 – Here are 8 Things that College (High School) Newsrooms Need to Change If You Haven’t Already.

10 – The 2 ¢ Blog is back with Banished Words from 2009 – so, Chillax and Tweet me after I friend you.

11 – This one speaks for itself

Especially English Teachers

Especially English Teachers

12 – We’re about to start up a new WordPress install at my school for the student newspaper.  So, we need to check out the best/most popular blog designs.

13 – EZ Tech Integration wrote a great response to an Op-Ed Piece in the NY Times about teachers, time out of class and substitutes.  I’ve written about the joys trials of taking a mental health day or even a real sick day myself.  People in “real” jobs where you get an hour for lunch and don’t spend weeks around germ filled children have no idea what being a teacher is really like.

14 – This is how the world really sees journalists as portrayed by TV reporters.

What TV Reporters report on

What TV Reporters report on

15 – BBC News has a retrospective of 2009 in Pictures.  My favorite is still the US Airways plane in the Hudson – zero casualties.  Who says the media never reports good news?

16 – This is fun and educational – A Visit to Copyright Bay.  I guess the Pirate theme is just too easy to pass up on.

That’s a well rounded bunch of links.  Speaking of well rounded – I’ve made more negative progress on my quest to lose pounds.  I’m now +4 since I started.  Not good.

Cool Links #72: The One About The End of A Decade

Seems like a lot of end of 2000s stuff in the old link basket this week.  Loads of stuff though, hope you all like it.

1 – The Oatmeal has lots of great graphics and ideas, but some of them are not safe for schools.  I like this 10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling.  NSFS, but could easily be adapted.

2 – Save the Media has some suggestions for the AP Stylebook – such as Twitterati, Twitterverse and Tweet.  Best takeaway – it is Tweet, not Twitter – when used as a verb.

3 – David Warlick of 2 Cents Worth has some great Questions for the Next Decade.   I agree that they are questions.  I wonder when we will stop wasting money on textbooks, when PDFs would serve us so much better.  When will we really devote more money to technology.

4 – The New York Times made a terrific icon chart with graphics representing various categories for every year of the past 10.  My fav icon – Starbucks.  The most interesting – Movies in the Mail, an industry that came, grew and will soon be gone in less than 10 years.

5 – Poynter Online has a super list of suggestions for Writing Teachers to include in their lessons and in their classrooms.

6 – Good Magazine has another interesting graphic that sums up 2009 in news stories, by showing each major story as a block in relative size to their importance.

7 – I already teach stance and how to hold the camera to my students, but I’ve never thought about teaching it like marksmanship.  Great idea.

8 – A lot of studies recently have shown that in the last 10 years internet use is up.  Really?  Wow.  Of course it is, there is so much more rich content available now then even just 2-3 years ago.

9 – This post is about brainstorming for bloggers, but I’d say these are great rules for brainstorming in nearly any area, especially yearbook and media classes.

10 – If you don’t have a staff application, you should get one for your yearbook, newspaper, broadcast or other class.  And it’s time to move into the online realm – how about an application made with Google Docs?

11 – I love TED Talks and this one is a really great one:  It’s not about the perfect Pepsi, it’s about the perfect Pepsi’s. This is what I’ve been saying about yearbooks for a while.  We need to stop making the Pepsi yearbook.  We need the flexibility to make a Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Slice and even more yearbooks.  With print on demand technology, the yearbook companies need to roll out flexible yearbooks before even more kids stop buying books.

12 – Where did everybody go?  They are no longer going to web pages, but to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube/Hulu.

13 – DSLRs are tough.  This Canon Rebel fell 3000 feet and lived to keep working.

Canon Rebel Falls and Survives

Canon Rebel Falls and Survives

14 – I’ve been looking for this for a long time – a film maker’s dictionary of terms.  Useful if you’ve worked in TV, but only dreamed about movies.

15 – If you’ve ever thought about creating a blog, you should read these 7 Secrets of Edubloging from Free Tech for Teachers – a great award winning site.

16 – I really like reading the new Texas Tribune online news site started just this year.  The Trib is a must read for Texas teachers, because education spending is the largest item in the state budget, so you can bet we take up our part of Texas politics and the Trib covers it.  This article on the divisions between the teaching organizations in Texas was interesting to a 15 year vet who never knew why we had so many.

17 – Again from the 2 Cents Worth blog, what was computing like in 2000 vs. 2010.  We’ve come a long way.

18 – Always funny – 50 Biggest flubs of the Year in Headline writing.  My favorite:

Chance of Rain

Chance of Rain

19 – As we move into a new decade, the Newsosaur says we need to emulate the journalists of the 19th Century, not the 20th.  Muckrakers of the world unite!

20 – Teach Paperless has a list of 21 Things that will become obsolete in the next decade in education.  Lets hope teachers are not one of those things.

21 – Finally, Scott McLeod recently spoke to the NEA and had some interesting things to say.  He recorded both his speech and the Q&A that followed, both are worth a listen.  I only have two criticisms of what he said.  1) He never answered the question of HOW do we get legislatures, Congress and school boards to start spending money in the right places and move the curriculum forward.  2) He also never gave a good answer to what do people do who are not able to master higher level thinking skills after we move to an information/creativity economy.

Unfortunately with all the holiday eating, I’m up to +3.  Ouch.

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