Book-it a bad program?

March 6, 2007

I realize that the focus of my education blog is on technology, but I feel I must comment on what I feel is the most ridiculous comment of the year. While taking a break during grading this evening I read an article on CNN that states the Book-it reading program sponsored by Pizza Hut is a bad idea. Initially I was beside myself about the fact the program was still in operation. I have great memories of the Book-it program. I recall the poster in my fourth grade class keeping tally of each student. I recall our monthly book orders and being eager to order new books. I recall a monthly dinner were my entire family was able to set aside an hour in a usually busy day to go out to eat. I fail to see how this program is bad. I do not buy blaming child obesity on Pizza Hut. I could list dozens of thing I witness weekly that contribute more to obesity than pizza once a month. The position of corporate sponsorship of education is just plain stupid. It makes me cringe to use such an inadequate word such as stupid, but then again the comment is equally inadequate. Never-mind the need for private donation to assist schools in reaching goals. What about the Coke cups used by concession stands at high school sporting events? What about the drink machines? What about the Nike and Adidas logos on uniforms? Advertising is a part of our economic system. It would be nice if people with too much time on thier hands would find a productive means for contributing to society.

Technology connection: Read Mark Ahlness‘s posting on SSR in school 2.0.


Geo Caching

March 6, 2007

After attending a great session on Geo Caching by Shauna Maggs of Groundspeak my wife and I went on to find our first cache together. I see a lot of potential for this in education: geography, science, history, english. In fact, I cannot see a subject which could not incorporate Geo Caching into a lesson. Shauna also introduced a new idea called WheriGo. WheriGo is an provides an opportunity for interactive field trips. It uses GPS and reminds me of the Web 1.0 game that most of use grew-up playing, Oregon Trail. Shauna provided us with some travel bugs and I plan on taking a couple with me to Italy and seeing if they can find their goals.

Enjoy your day,


GeoTech Keynote–David Rumsey

March 5, 2007

This weekend our school held the 18th annual GeoTech Conference. This year’s session proved to be the most interesting of the three I have attended. David Rumsey, President of Cartography Associates, presented the keynote. As I found out during the dinner the night prior to his keynote, Mr. Rumsey is more than just a collector of maps. He is someone who is on the forefront of technology. Through Luna Imaging, Mr. Rumsey is able to share his extensive collection of maps with everyone. Even better, it is free. Mr. Rumsey received offers from prestigious institutions such as Stanford and Yale to house his collection, but after understanding that few people would have access to his collection he declined. While currently only ten percent (a number just under 15,000) of Mr. Rumsey’s collection is available on-line, it is the software that is most impressive. Those familiar with Arc View or the klm files for Google Earth will appreciate Mr. Rumsey’s hand in pushing those applications to new limits. Those who are new to these features, enjoy the tour of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. For me the biggest treat came during the Friday night dinner. During his brief talk Mr. Rumsey outlined the process of scanning such historic maps. He mentioned his goals for the future, including a collaborative project with Flickr. Seriously? This guy is one of the top men in creating digital images of historic maps and he wants to work with Flickr to see that more people can find a use for his collect. I think that is pretty cool. Enjoy the audio of the keynote. I am working on mashing the audio with his presentation and hoping to make that available soon. Thanks to Mr. Rumsey for the book and a great presentation. To listen to the presentation go to iTunes and search for Final Curve.

Enjoy your day,