Friday, April 08, 2005

NSTA Sci Guides

The National Science Teachers Association has apparently developed a great set of on-line resources called sci-guides. I was excited about this as I know what a quality organization they are. The issue for me is..... science teachers have to pay about $5 in order to have access to one for a year. (It will rise to about $10 after this introductory offer wears off.) Now, don't get me wrong. For the price of a latte (or two) you have a great resource for a year. Fine. I just don't like it when teachers have to shell out money to get access to teaching resources from organizations with great sponsors. See the quote below....

"A number of federal organizations donated funds to help build the SciGuides resource, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Ocean Service, and NOAA's Office of Education and Sustainable Development. According to NSTA's Wheeler, each SciGuide takes about $30,000 to $40,000 to build, and more SciGuide subjects are in development. "

So what is this rant really about? I was deflated to find out that this was not a free initiative. Period. I realize the 30K per sci-guide is nothing to sneeze at, but there must be some corporate sponsor willing to assist the nations science teachers. Wouldn't 'ya think?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Technology Black Out Day • 4/20/05

Have you heard of this initiative? I made it one of my "sites of the month" at but the more I think about it the more I question the idea. Don't get me wrong. I get it. Having kids think about the impact that technolgy has on their lives and school experience is great. It's all in how you do it.

One thing that is definitely affecting my opinion is the fact that most of the schools in the Northeast are on Spring break during that week. This reduces the emotional impact of the day. Also, the lesson plan for grades 6 - 8 that was posted on the site lacked a little "Umph" for the typical middle schoolers I know. A lesson that I liked (and always had on hand for a non-technological substitute teacher) was technology in 1900 - I used this lesson to have the kids think about the predictions for the future that people made in 1900. I then asked them to think out 100 years and envision where we will be. Middle schoolers ate this up! Lastly, for my 7th grade son to truly feel the impact of a technology black-out day you would have to take away his iPod, iMac, Digital cable, wireless network access, and the cell phone his best friend carries. Ouch. Now THAT is a blackout!