Stress Reliever: Dirty Dancing with the Muppet Theme

Feeling overwhelmed as the end of the school year approaches?

I prescribe this video to bring you some smiles.

Thanks to @Pandamoanimum for creating this awesomeness. If you feel so inclined, buy her a cup of coffee.

You can also view the video on YouTube:

Colorado Teacher Reaches New Heights

Colorado chemistry teacher Eddie Taylor has something new to add to his resume: He’s reached the peak of Mt. Everest.

And he did it with the first team of Black climbers

While other Black climbers have previously climbed Mount Everest, this was the first summit by a team of Black climbers. The other Full Circle team members who summited were Thomas Moore, also of Colorado; and Manoah Ainuu, Rosemary Saal, Demond Mullins, James “KG” Kagami, and Evan Green. Phil Henderson, who lives in Cortez, Colorado, led the Full Circle team but did not climb. 

“If you’re a black person or a Latino person and you Google ‘climbing,’ you’re going to still see lots of people who don’t look like you,” Taylor said. “That, I think, makes those sports … seem a little bit more unapproachable.”

https://co.chalkbeat.org/2022/5/16/23076383/colorado-teacher-eddie-taylor-summits-mt-everest

Pike Mall Tech: 17 May 2022

Today’s Links

The Trials of Academic Publishing (Permalink)

academic publishing
Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

First things first: I appreciate the need for peer review and understand why we have academic journals. I’m not the person you need to convince that any work any scientist or academic publishes needs to be scrutinized with as many eyeballs as possible.

My issues lie in how that work is disseminated to large audiences to be put into action and influence the world.

Thanks to the way most academic publishing works, it’s almost impossible for anyone other than another academic to read your work if it’s published.

It’s hard to overstate what a scam academic and scientific publishing is. It’s run by an oligopoly of wildly profitable companies that coerce academics into working for free for them, and then sell the product of their labors back to the academics’ employers (often public institutions) for eye-popping sums.

Cory Doctorow

As I begin my doctoral studies in the fall of 2022, I hope to have more experience with academic publishing myself. I mean, that’s part of the academic process.

Over the years, my articles, tweets, presentations, podcasts, etc., have been viewed or heard by multiple tens of thousands of people from all over the world. I’ve made that work freely available to others for a long time (thanks, Creative Commons) and seen many take advantage of what I’ve “published” in one form or another.

Sadly, any work I may produce and publish in the academic tradition may never see the light of day.

In K-12 education, we talk a lot about having students create work for an authentic audience; work that will be seen and critiqued by people outside of their school environment.

Shouldn’t we try and do the same with academic publications?

Teachers are Leaving, Here’s Why (Permalink)

teachers are leaving
Photo by Mitchell Ng Liang an on Unsplash

Universal truth: COVID-19 changed education forever. The pandemic affected every area of education. Weaknesses were exposed, kids were left unconnected for months, systems failed, administrators panicked, students felt abandoned, and teachers just had to do more and more every day.

As a result, teachers are leaving. And I mean leaving in a hurry.

A staggering 55 percent of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned

The Great Resignation has come to education just as it has many other fields in the past two years.

https://hbr.org/2022/03/the-great-resignation-didnt-start-with-the-pandemic

For months on end, teachers have been in survival mode, doing their best to meet the same expectations that were in place pre-pandemic and dance the world’s most epic dance from virtual to in-person learning (multiple times for some).

Students still had to take tests and meet all graduation requirements while learning how to talk with each other behind masks and appreciate short outdoor mask breaks a few times per day.

And the teachers had to keep going. They’ve had to deal with administrators who pressured them to try new things (some necessary and some not so much) and adopt more technology in less time than at any other point in educational history.

Three minutes. That’s all the time Lanee Higgins, a Baltimore County Public Schools teacher, had to herself during a typical day of coronavirus-era remote learning. On her computer screen were middle-schoolers, scattered across the county, running through their lessons — while at home, Higgins, age 29, was trying to maintain her authority over her classroom and her life. Sometimes her potty-training toddler, refusing to nap, would wander into the frame when her entrepreneur husband wasn’t there to corral him. When she just couldn’t hold on anymore, Higgins would announce a three-minute break. She’d leave her students staring at the screen while she scurried off to use the bathroom or steal some time to just think.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2021/10/18/teachers-resign-pandemic/

Teacher shortages were already a reality pre-pandemic but now the shortages are reaching critical numbers. Stress was listed as the primary reason why teachers left the field before the pandemic and the pandemic only made it worse.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1121-2.html

The pre-pandemic teacher turnover rate was 16% but by January 2021 nearly one-quarter of teachers were thinking about leaving their jobs by the end of the school year.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/09/08/how-the-pandemic-has-changed-teachers-commitment-to-remaining-in-the-classroom/

And now, as we near the end of the 2021-2022 school year, over half of all teachers are thinking of leaving.

Teachers are tired. They’re tired of changing mandates from state and local officials. They’re tired of dealing with politicians who have little to no respect for the work teachers do every day. They’re tired of misinformed parents who accuse teachers of indoctrinating their students.

Trust me, we’re not indoctrinating any students. If we were, they’d be much better at following directions for turning in their work by now.

https://www.bridgemi.com/guest-commentary/opinion-schools-arent-indoctrinating-kids-and-teachers-arent-threat

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/america-s-school-teachers-aren-t-marxist-cabal-fox-news-ncna1271655

They’re tired of losing their jobs over reading children’s books that are widely available everywhere because their meaning was misconstrued and the teachers are labeled as perverts.

So, what do we do?

We figure out how to support teachers. While a pay increase would be welcome, it’s certainly not all about the money. Even when you understand that from 1999 to 2021, teacher salaries decreased in 27 states, thanks to inflation.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/03/we-all-know-teachers-are-underpaid-but-who-imagined-it-was-this-bad/

Some things administrators, parents, and communities can do to keep teachers include:

  • Having a supportive attitude
  • Be flexible with policies and curriculum
  • Help teachers prioritize their physical and mental health
  • Lighten the load (stop making teachers do dumb stuff, like enforcing dress codes)
  • Maybe most importantly, trust teachers

https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/teachers-leaving/

Personally, I don’t have any plans to leave education but I understand those teachers who are either seriously considering it or already have.

Somehow, we have to find ways to keep great teachers and encourage more people to join their ranks. Otherwise, education is in serious trouble.

Colophon

colophon example
Latine non loquor

Currently writing:

  • Volume 1: The Heretic Chronicles – a fantasy story about a girl, her sword, and extreme fundamentalist religion (WC: 15,457)
  • Untitled Sci-Fi novel – a group of students race across the stars, avoiding an evil empire (WC: 275)
  • Sci-fi short story – earth as a farm for aliens (WC: 492)

Currently reading:

Upcoming Events:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Mike Paul, and include a link to pikemall.tech.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

Cory Doctorow’s work at Pluralistic inspired the layout, focus, and work displayed here. Hat tip to Cory for all his fine work.


How to get Pike Mall Tech:

Blog (no tracking, or data collection):

PikeMall.tech

Newsletter:

https://mikepaul.substack.com/

Medium (no ads, paywalled):

https://mikepaul.medium.com/

Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

https://twitter.com/mikepaul

Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

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Changing Plans and The Future of This Site

low angle photography of metal building on grayscale
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels.com

As I’ve mentioned previously, this site in one form or another has existed since 2006. Through multiple platform changes and changes in focus, I’ve shared thoughts and insights here for the past decade and a half.

As we all know, change is the only constant. With my job responsibilities and beginning my doctoral work, I knew I needed to find a better way to share my thoughts and things I find of interest that you might enjoy.

So, here’s my plan:

On Mondays and Fridays, I will share posts with links to things I’ve found that you may also find useful.

Tuesday – Thursday, I’ll be sharing links with my own commentary and hopefully making some connections with other sources. I may even have multiple posts these days.

I’m doing my best to build an online database of connected topics and thoughts that, I hope, will help me better formulate my own thinking around different subjects I’m passionate about.

Sometimes it will be education, sometimes technology, sometimes life. Whatever I find interesting is game for this blog.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll build something you’ll enjoy.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Assorted Links for Monday, May 16, 2022

  1. Free sound effects for you to use in school projects from the fine folks at the BBC
  2. Explordle – watch a video clip and guess where the video was taken. Great for identifying context clues and environments
  3. Relationship Building with Dialogue Journals
  4. Three videos about the black hole at the center of the Milky Way

Assorted Links for Friday, May 13, 2022

  1. This Is Spinal Tap Will Get a Sequel 40 Years Later, Reuniting Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest & Harry Shearer
  2. The Rolling Stones released Paint it Black on May 13, 1966
  3. How to Enter a ‘Flow State’ on Command: Peak Performance Mind Hack Explained in 7 Minutes
  4. Smithsonian, with first exhibition, previews planned National Latino museum
  5. A timeline of the past two years of COVID-19 deaths
  6. Seven health insurance CEOs raked in a record $283 million for 2021
  7. 90s jazz design: cups, controversy, and nostalgia
  8. Cultivating Digital Literacy through Real-World Learning

New Google Glasses Provide Subtitles for the Real World

Source

In one demo, a Google product manager tells someone wearing the glasses, “You should be seeing what I’m saying, just transcribed for you in real time — kind of like subtitles for the world.” Later, the video shows what you might see if you’re wearing the glasses: with the speaker in front of you, the translated language appears in real time in your line of sight.

I’m sure we all remember Google’s first foray into connected eyewear with a little fondness. They were ugly and didn’t work very well.

But we thought they were cool.

However, if this new model ever becomes a real product, how helpful could it be if you got real-time translation while someone was speaking with you in another language?

Or if you had hearing issues, you’d have subtitles to help.

The real question will be what Google does with the data they gather from all the eyeballs.

Oh, and then there’s the whole “why is that creeper continuing to stare at me with those weird glasses” issue that I’m sure will come up in a courtroom somewhere.

More from The Verge

Pike Mall Tech: 12 May 2022

Today’s Links

No Butts About It

Source

In case you haven’t heard, an assistant principal was recently fired because he chose to read the children’s book “I Need a New Butt” to a group of students.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/03/11/toby-price-principal-fired-childrens-book/

Toby Price found out that, even though this is the dumbest reason for firing anyone in the history of ever, he still isn’t getting his job back.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/comics/2022/05/11/toby-price-butt-book-school/

Toby has shared his thoughts on this announcement in a thread of Tweets, posted here for your enjoyment.

I’ll just say this right now: with the content of most children’s books out there, to fire someone over a book about butts requires a special kind of an asshole.

There is a spot reserved in hell for administrators, parents, and members of the general public who think it’s ok to fire a teacher over reading a wildly popular children’s book that is available everywhere books are sold.

I would rant more on this but I can’t. It’s just dumb.

We’ll Ban All the Books, Even the Digital Ones

source: Wikimedia Commons

Public education is facing an unprecedented level of hatred from conservative Americans right now. New laws are being crafted to punish teachers for teaching content that is not “approved” by parent groups or might be offensive and entire curricula and books are being banned.

https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/heres-the-long-list-of-topics-republicans-want-banned-from-the-classroom/2022/02

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-anti-critical-race-theory-bills-are-taking-aim-at-teachers/

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/18/1093277449/florida-mathematics-textbooks

Now, some schools are banning access to digital books from repositories like Overdrive and Epic, removing thousands of resources from the hands of students and families.

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/library-apps-book-ban-schools-conservative-parents-rcna26103

Thousands of schools and public libraries use these services to provide a much wider array of books than they could within the limits of the physical space in their buildings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, families easily accessed books from home comfort to keep their kids engaged and learning while sheltering.

Enter the fear mongers.

With new laws in place requiring that any book used in a school be reviewed and chosen by a faculty member, the number of books available will drastically decrease.

With over two million titles, trying to get someone to review every book in Overdrive is not only an impossible request, it’s downright foolish.

No one could review all that content and approve it for student usage.

How much longer will we abide by such unsubstantiated fear and hatred?

“That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also”

Heinrich Heine

Colophon

colophon example
Latine non loquor

Currently writing:

  • Volume 1: The Heretic Chronicles – a fantasy story about a girl, her sword, and extreme fundamentalist religion (WC: 15,457)
  • Untitled Sci-Fi novel – a group of students race across the stars, avoiding an evil empire (WC: 275)
  • Sci-fi short story – earth as a farm for aliens (WC: 492)

Currently reading:

Upcoming Events:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Mike Paul, and include a link to pikemall.tech.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

Cory Doctorow’s work at Pluralistic inspired the layout, focus, and work displayed here. Hat tip to Cory for all his fine work.


How to get Pike Mall Tech:

Blog (no tracking, or data collection):

PikeMall.tech

Newsletter:

https://mikepaul.substack.com/

Medium (no ads, paywalled):

https://mikepaul.medium.com/

Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

https://twitter.com/mikepaul

Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

https://pikemalltech.tumblr.com/tagged/pikemalltech

I Have a Book Problem and I’m Not Afraid to Admit It

Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

OK, this is a total brain dump post as I just need to get some thoughts down. My mind is racing with ideas and I just need to write. But I’m going to share this with you because… reasons…

I love reading. However, I’ve not always been the most dedicated reader. Far too often I have relied on moving pictures in one form or another to keep me entertained and/or intellectually engaged. I love movies and tv shows. I love documentaries.

But I really love the worlds I can transport to within the pages of a book. Fiction, non-fiction, I don’t care.

As I said, I haven’t always been the best reader. It was far easier to just sit on my computer, watch the TV, or stare at my smartphone.

Then, about two years ago, I committed to reading more. I felt that I had missed so many opportunities to read great books that I couldn’t waste any more time. After all, I’m 45 as I’m writing this and, statistically, I’m about halfway done with my time on this pale blue dot.

So I started reading more. Consequently, I started buying more books.

Like, a ton of books. Seriously. I just had six show up at my house today.

And not just little books. Big books. BIG f’n books.

Here’s the list that showed up today (all Amazon links):

Last month, I ordered ten physical books (most in the fantasy genre) and 10-12 ebooks (I have a Kindle Unlimited account, too).

Yes, I have a problem. I’m trying to play catch up for years of not really reading books. And I’ll never reach my goal.

My Goodreads “to be read” list is almost 1,500 books long. And growing.

Why do I have a problem? Because I have become insatiably curious and full of fanciful dreams. I didn’t explore my passions for too long because I was concerned about what other people thought about me.

I’ll write that off as having spent my time in a fundamentalist, controlling, right-wing, bible-thumping church from the ages of 11 to 25. Oh, well.

Now, I’m running after learning about the things that excite me. And enjoying the things I love.

So I have a book problem. Do you?

Pike Mall Tech: 11 May 2022

recess
Photo by Aedrian on Unsplash

Today’s Links

Rethinking the Honor Roll

It’s time for educators to make honor a core value in schools. It’s time to build honor into our curriculums and establish it as one of the primary social and emotional learning goals we work to help students achieve.

Thomas Guskey

Full disclosure: I am a reformed honor roll student. I made that list all the freaking time, save for my middle school years.

Why not in middle school? Because I refused to do homework. It was pointless for me. I didn’t need the work and did just fine on any and all exams. But my middle school teachers insisted on grading homework, of which there was more than a metric ton each night.

I had better things to do, like read comics. Or watch Jeopardy. Or Star Trek reruns.

So, like many other students, I missed out on the perks of being on the “honor roll” that many of my friends were enjoying. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I lost some friends because I wasn’t on the honor roll.

Personally, the idea of the honor roll disgusts me. And it’s probably time we get rid of it.

https://nchscourant.com/its-time-we-say-goodbye-to-the-honor-roll/

Students don’t make the honor roll for any number of reasons. Whether it’s because they simply don’t care about getting the grades because they realize for most people the grade they got in 10th-grade geometry is no indicator of success in life or because their life away from school isn’t set up to support a great learning environment, many students just don’t care about the honor roll.

https://www.amle.org/honor-roll-really/

Let’s also think about the lengths that some students are willing to go to earn a spot on the honor roll. Yes, some will cheat. I’d venture to say that a student’s desire to cheat is directly proportional to their pressure to get good grades.

And how many students will lose precious sleep to stay up and cram information so they can “brain dump” on a test to get the grade?

Trust me, folks, sleep is way more important than a high GPA.

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/how-honor-roll-cheats-students-and-divides-schools/

https://manvillehoofprints.org/1702/opinion/the-downfalls-of-honor-roll/

Perhaps it’s time we either get rid of the honor roll altogether or rethink the purpose it serves. Maybe we should focus on teaching students what honor really is and how to do work that is worthy of honor, not just a grade.

https://tguskey.com/isnt-it-time-we-redefine-honor-roll-2/

Stop Cancelling Recess

I admit I have taken recess time away from students. OK, maybe not recess time since we didn’t have recess in my middle school but we certainly incentivized certain achievements with a “recess reward”.

Yes, we even used recess as a reward for students who achieve our version of the honor roll.

What a horrible policy. Kids need time to play, at every age level. And using the excuse of placing them in an “activity” class doesn’t cut it.

They need time to decompress and just goof off. I’m 45 and I need time to do that every day.

Recess is an essential part of childhood (and adulthood) and we have to stop taking it away. Some states are moving to create laws to protect that time.

Which is pretty awesome.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/teachers-cancel-recess-punishment-state-laws-rcna27531

Linkus Randomus

Colophon

colophon example
Latine non loquor

Currently writing:

  • Volume 1: The Heretic Chronicles – a fantasy story about a girl, her sword, and extreme fundamentalist religion (WC: 15,457)
  • Untitled Sci-Fi novel – a group of students race across the stars, avoiding an evil empire (WC: 275)
  • Sci-fi short story – earth as a farm for aliens (WC: 492)

Currently reading:

Upcoming Events:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Mike Paul, and include a link to pikemall.tech.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.

Cory Doctorow’s work at Pluralistic inspired the layout, focus, and work displayed here. Hat tip to Cory for all his fine work.


How to get Pike Mall Tech:

Blog (no tracking, or data collection):

PikeMall.tech

Newsletter:

https://mikepaul.substack.com/

Medium (no ads, paywalled):

https://mikepaul.medium.com/

Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

https://twitter.com/mikepaul

Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):

https://pikemalltech.tumblr.com/tagged/pikemalltech