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May 2012

Why NOT online education?

I was talking to someone about higher education the other day, and the fact that I got my master’s mostly online.

He said that online was the wave of the future.  Well, notice I said mostly online.  We were teacher’s and we met about three times a semester, at the beginning of the course, right before mid-terms, and right before finals.

The first meeting was to steer us in the right direction and make sure we had everything we needed.  Some of that was textbook money, etc., since the district was paying for it, so we might have skipped that. 

The second meeting was to get everyone together and let us present our research to that point, and prepare for the mid-term.  Same thing on the third.

Now we were teachers working on an advanced education degree so the opportunity to share our work and getting it critiqued was huge – the district was training us to train other teachers.  But still, getting together and discussing things face to face was good.  We could have done it virtually, but it wasn’t the same.

I’ve also taught high school students on line.  I’ve only met one high school kid who could do it, and he still needed to hunt me down and talk to me in person a couple of times.  The rest of the kids weren’t driven enough to do that.

So if we want to see “online” education for high school students we need someone in the room to keep them on task and someone in the room to make sure they are going in the right direction.  And we need enough of those people per student so we don’t lose some.

That’s the job of a high school teacher.

Preparing for Summer Staff Development

Almost forgot about this people:

Super rock solid web hosting.  I went with another company because they don’t do “Windows” stuff.  But I have Microsoft Office 365 doing my Windows stuff now, so I’m back.

The biggest reason is that I LOVE LOVE Moodle, and have been using it for years to manage my classroom.  Before Moodle, I’d written my own classroom management system that didn’t do near as much.

I’ve got two summer staff development opportunities.  I’ve got a workshop here in Dallas I’m doing on Gridworld, and one I’m doing for the CSTA CS&IT Conference and I think that the best way to do both, is to have all the materials in a Moodle for people to login and participate with while I’m doing it, AND I’ll have it ready for the future.

So my Moodle site is up and running at

Summer Workshop Project–Moodle

I’m teaching two summer workshops so far – an hour session at CS&IT 2012 and a session at Region 10 on GridWorld.

I’ve decided to set up a Moodle site – it’s pretty cheap if I can get it up and working – so participants can download handouts, etc. when they get home and communicate afterwards.

I’m going back to a host I was with for a really long time – sadly my current host support has been deteriorating.  They can’t seem to support their old products and don’t seem to be moving them to their new products.


Why It Makes Sense To Ask (Some) Teachers To Teach (Somewhat) Larger Classes–> NO, IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!


But most parents would also rather have their kids taught by a great teacher than an average one.

Why It Makes Sense To Ask (Some) Teachers To Teach (Somewhat) Larger Classes


I am a really great teacher until my class size hits a certain size – and what that size is, depends entirely on the students.

Example:  my worse class this year had 25 students in it, and about 20 of them needed individual attention most of the time.  In fact, most of my energy was spent keeping the students on task – and I was never completely successful.  The minute one of the students got my undivided attention the students who needed me to keep them on task were completely off task. 

I’m a really bad teacher when my class size hits over 25 no matter the dedication of the students.  I just don’t have time to do what I do best – dig kids out of their whole when they get stuck.

So no, it doesn’t make sense for me to teach more students.

Dallas ISD Computer Science Openings

There appears to be 1 ½ job postings in Dallas ISD for Computer Science teachers.

Probably NOT buying another HP

I bought an HP Pavilion to replace one that got hit by a thunderstorm.  Like the footprint, but here’s the most aggravating thing – first thing I do, is upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate but with the house disaster and all I hadn’t remembered to do that and then couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t remote in, like I could the old computer….

Well, I done the upgrade with the old computer’s product key,which it took but then a month later starts puking on.  Well, that one couldn’t be used (I don’t get why, but oh well, I’ll buy another one).  But all the HP support stuff starts getting in the way.

Almost bought the key from support, but it took over a freaking hour, on online chat to get that far, then they decided they had to “guide me” on the phone.  Well, at least they didn’t pretend by calling themselves, Allen or Don, or something dumb like that. 

Now, we have to grade our non-English speakers every year, and I think I would have been generous if I had given him an average on listening, as he wouldn’t even listen when I told him I has having trouble understand him on the phone. 

Ended up going to the Microsoft store the long way, and buying the upgrade that way.