On-line Class for Coaches

March 18, 2008

The National Federation of High Schools has a high quality on-line professional development opportunity for those who lead interscholastic athletics. “Fundamentals of Coaching” has the following five units:

  • Educational Athletics and the Role of the Coach
  • The Coach as Manager
  • The Coach and Interpersonal Skills
  • The Coach and Physical Conditioning
  • The Coach as Teacher

The course design is solid. It has concise and clear content, formative and summative assessment, and rich media. It even prints the certificate of completion.



China Blocks YouTube Over Tibet Videos

March 16, 2008

My Way News

BEIJING (AP) – Internet users in China were blocked from seeing YouTube.com on Sunday after dozens of videos about protests in Tibet appeared on the popular U.S. video Web site.

Out on a Limb with CSI

March 15, 2008

It’s not really too far out on a limb to see computers eventually replacing a few teachers in bricks and mortar schools.

Already we have students in labs, media centers, and home environments taking NCVPS and Learn and Earn On-line classes. Two bits of good news here. We haven’t lost a teacher to this yet and the on-line students still have teachers, though they are in distant places.

NCVPS and Learn and Earn are working hard to revamp the on-line learning environment. The worthy goal is to evolve beyond Blackboard and make the learning experience richer and more compelling.

This plausible crime scene demo is an example of such innovation embedded into an actual writing course. Take some time to work through the instructional sequence that begins like this:


Part One of the instructional sequence takes you to the crime scene. Rollovers give various details about evidence. Then you have to type an answer to a question about the crime scene.

Part Two, complete with rollovers and question, depicts victims and suspects.

Part Three, Victims and Suspects II, delves deeper into the crime. In like manner it features rollovers and three questions.


The sequence then takes you to Crime Scene II, The Wooded Area. This has key evidence and two more questions to answer.

The exercise concludes with all of your written answers displayed next to the answers from the detectives. This allows you to compare, contrast and refine. Then the killers are revealed.

This learning exercise is based on an actual murder case in North Carolina. It is packaged into a course offered by UNC-G iSchool that allows high school students to take college courses for free.

I took the test drive of the crime scene pre-writing activity and agree that it will yield consistent and compelling value over time . . . especially for today’s students.

Can’t Fix Stupid

March 7, 2008

Appalachian State University was locked down on March 3rd, as police searched for a gunman reported to be in the vicinity. The report turned out to be a hoax concocted by an English major who had done some damage to his apartment and didn’t want to pay for it.

So he used his keen wit to invent a burglar, which he describes in this video from the Mountain Times.

From the Watauga Democrat:

On Monday, vice chancellor for student development Cindy A. Wallace told the Appalachian student newspaper the apartment’s close proximity to campus warranted the campus response.

“The confirmation of a gun made us believe that we needed to act the way we did and I hope people view that as a prudent way to respond,” Wallace said.

In light of the highly publicized spate of school shootings, I applaud ASU for its prudent and quick response.

I have to wonder about any student today who would invent a gunman hoax or make a bogus threat in academic institutions that are already hyper-sensitive and on high alert.

My guess is as each perceived threat is met with swift and decisive action by the school and the authorities, these dangerous games of invention will decrease and eventually end.

 App State, Class of 1985

Out on a Limb, Part I

March 2, 2008

As reported in the N&O, much has to be reconciled prior to the state making good on the $660M restitution of fines and forfeitures to public schools as ordered by Judge Manning.

The exact amount each district would get hasn’t been determined, but it would be based on the number of students they have. School districts would have to use the money to buy computers.

Simple math divides the $660M by the state’s 1.4M students to come up with a per student allotment of $471. Multiply that number by the number of students in an LEA—say 8250 in Carteret, for example—to get an idea of what kind of money we’re talking about. For Carteret, it comes to just under $4M.

There are a lot of “ifs” here. But if the deal comes down, and if the funds are distributed equitably, and if it takes five years to do this — Carteret would be looking at about $777K per year. That is right at the number that we have always targeted as necessary to do a good job of maintaining our current inventory. It does not factor in growth.

The other part of the “if” equation is “then.” If the money is allocated for computers, then where in education does the money come from? More from the N&O:

But the districts are worried that the state could comply by taking money out of existing education funding. Michael Crowell, the lawyer representing the N.C. School Boards Association, said Friday that the group is trying to negotiate a settlement.

“We don’t want to be in a position where the state says, ‘You want $650 million, you can have it, but we’ll take it from somewhere else,’ ” Crowell said.

The bigger concern I see with this deal is that the focus remains on stuff, rather than substance. The most challenging part of the technology build-up in schools is not in the acquisition, but in the application.

The heavy lifting, therefore, is what we do with technology to enhance teaching and learning for 100% of our students and staff.

Stay tuned . . . a radical thought on that is coming up in Part II of “Out on a Limb.”