Thursday, March 31, 2005

Blogging the OAH Day 1

"Welcome to the Silicon Valley," said the bartender when I told him I had never used a wireless network in a bar before. (The Cosmopolitan is great BTW). Gary Nash ("the man" behind the "national history standards") just left.

Started this morning meeting Cary for breakfast and discussing our afternoon session. Met with Bob to do the same a bit later. The three teachers (who accompanied me courtesy of a TAH grant) and I met with Paula for lunch to discuss her coming to Kansas to work with them in July 2006. The meeting with great and there were some great conversations - especially since Paula, too, has at least dipped her foot in the well of K-12 education. We might make a trip to Hallmark courtesy of her friend that works there and tie it back into cultural history. We'll then do some work on the 1950s, 1960s and music, and September 11 and also go to the Alf Landon House. We'll also get more input from the other grant teachers but this was a great way to get some one-on-one input between a guest historian and the teachers and have them devise a plan together (versus the traditional "ivory tower knows all" approach).

In passing, teachers were also to meet a speaker for the other TAH grant (these 3 happen to be in both) so that they will know more of what to expect in June. Their other speaker is here, too, and maybe they will get a chance to meet him later. I told them to keep a sharp eye out for name tags to find some interesting folks. They're reading Sam Wineburg's book on historical cognition and he's doing a session Saturday morning.

Our session, "Historians at the Public Gate: Successes and Challenges in Addressing State History Standards for Teachers and Students" went extremely well. We had at least 25 in the audience, which is especially good given it is the first time slot for the conference. The only mild disappointment was that only 4 of those were post-secondary historians. We had some great discussions and we encouraged audience members to continue the discussion and propose similar sessions at future professional meetings. Several diverse groups involved in TAH grants were there. Plus some great follow-up discussions.

It appears that History News Network will also be blogging about the conference.

Then there was a good session on the state of Middle Eastern affairs since WWII and the perception of the US by Middle Eastern nations. Does it surprise you that the nation with the most favorable view is Iran????

Off to the regional receptions and then dinner . . .

2005 OAH Annual Meeting | San?Jose

2005 OAH Annual Meeting | San?Jose: "2005 OAH Annual Meeting
San Jose McEnery Convention Center
San Jose, California
March 31 - April 3, 2005
Telling America's Stories:
Historians and their Publics

We made it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Morning Sun: Train grazes pedestrian 03/30/05

The Morning Sun: Train grazes pedestrian 03/30/05: "Train grazes pedestrian

CAPTION:The Pittsburg Police Department, Pittsburg Fire Department and Crawford County EMS responded to the area of 1400 S. Rouse in reference to a train striking Lisa Colebank, 23, Pittsburg, at about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday. Investigation revealed that Colebank was walking on the railroad tracks northbound from Rouse Street. A Kansas City Southern Train was also northbound entering the city limits prior to the incident. Colebank stepped off the tracks, but as the train went by it grazed her left arm. Colebank was treated for injuries and transported to Mt. Carmel Medical Center. The incident remains under investigation."

Maybe she didn't step far enough away from the tracks????

Chronicle Careers: 03/30/2005

Chronicle Careers: 03/30/2005: "I'm afraid that sometimes we academicians are so used to trafficking in pristine ideas that we forget about the harshness of the real world. And in the real world of academe, you need to be mobile."
I'm surprised it takes an entire article to come to this conclusion. The ivory tower world just works different than the business worlds and other worlds. I've moved three different times in my life for the sake of my academic career. It's just part of the deal. I also work in a university where in other fields, there is a conscious "grown your own" because of the vast difference in their balance of supply and demand compared to the humanities. If we could grown our own minority, it would be allowed, but that would be the extent of it. Would be interested to hear about the experiences of others.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Yahoo! News - N.Y. Teacher Charged With Exam Hoax

via Tightly Wound:

Yahoo! News - N.Y. Teacher Charged With Exam Hoax: "N.Y. Teacher Charged With Exam Hoax

Wed Mar 23, 3:40 PM ET

Add to My Yahoo! Strange News - AP

NEW YORK - A Bronx schoolteacher was charged with coercing a former homeless man into taking his state certification exam for him, authorities said.

Wayne Brightly, 38, allegedly bullied a former college classmate into taking the exam in July, using a fake identification and Brightly's Social Security (news - web sites) card, the city Department of Education (news - web sites) said Tuesday.

Authorities said Brightly's stand-in was Rubin Leitner, 58. Leitner had met Brightly when the two were students at Brooklyn College in the late 1980s and had tutored him for the exam beginning in 2001 after Brightly failed at least twice, authorities said.

Leitner, who suffers from mental problems, scored so much higher than Brightly had on his previous attempts that authorities began to investigate."


So what does this say about the exam itself????

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Wired 13.03: Adam Curry Wants to Make You an iPod Radio Star

Wired 13.03: Adam Curry Wants to Make You an iPod Radio Star: "Adam Curry Wants to Make You an iPod Radio Star
He's gone from MTV to MP3, and now he's leading a grassroots rebellion called podcasting. Why amateurs may soon rule the airwaves (begin download now)."
here it is

Wired News: Podcasts: New Twist on Net Audio

Wired News: Podcasts: New Twist on Net Audio: "For anyone who loves listening to the wide variety of internet audio programming, but can't always listen to their favorite shows when they're scheduled or take the time to download them manually, help has arrived.

Known as podcasting, the technology is a new take on syndicated content feeds like RSS and Atom. But instead of pushing text from blogs and news sites to various content aggregators like FeedDemon and Bloglines, podcasting sends audio content directly to an iPod or other MP3 player."

Read a similar article in the print cop of Wired and am doing some more investigating.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Learning more about Blackboard and Flash

I spent some time creating a PowerPoint presentation about Herbert Hoover for class on Monday night. (Spring break is almost over!) I had created one during the last unit but the file was too big to load in Blackboard (because of the images, I'm sure) and I just plain ran out of time to play with it.

This time, I opened it in Open Office - which has the great feature of saving PPT files as either Acrobat or Flash files. The Flash file really worked wonders. Now, I also uploaded a regular PPT file that I could use for the actual presentation in class so that it was full screen without the Blackboard software border around it. I need to play more with Open Office. I also need to look up the tutorial information from Blackboard about uploading Flash files. I also want to play with Keynote quite a bit more, too. The Mac platform and Mac-specific software is definitely more creative - and brings out your own creativity.

It's absolutely amazing how when you decide to let some burdens that never should have been all yours in the first place lift from your shoulders, how much productive energy you can free up for tasks you enjoy doing!

Am going to meet a friend for some great Italian food tonight - and some martinis!

hipteacher: detention - the Altoids dilemma

hipteacher: detention: "detention

Hipteacher suddenly stops her mini-lecture about the beauties of the sestina when she looks back and sees Jimmy's desk. A white, powdery substance formed into mini-pyramids covers the top of the desk. Seeing that she is in an honors class and this substance is not, in fact, blow, she calms down and tells Jimmy that she'd be seeing him for detention that afternoon.

'Jimmy. What was that all over your desk?'
'Uh. It was, um, Altoids.'
'Altoids? I'm sorry, you crushed up Altoids to look like cocaine?
(snickers) 'Yeah.'"

Friday, March 25, 2005

Professional Page

Since its inception, I have edited the web page for the department. I remember the "old days" and not only having problems with html - which were eventually solved with Net Objects Fusion in one of its first incarnations - but with changing all the permission (read, write, execute) for each of the files via telnet. Those were the days. Luckily, another departmental webmaster was a big help (and is continuing to do great things via the computer and online access to campus information as assistant registrar.

The reason I used Net Objects was that it was the first program I cam across that attempted to design the whole site and not just one page at a time.

A few years ago, I switched over to Dreamweaver - primarily because of its "double view" of design and code so that I could learn more. I also keep planning to learn Flash and other programs that are now virtually web standards. CSS is also on the list but I need to play with it a bit to really understand it in practice and not just theory.

Now, there is yet another transition in my professional life - concentrating on my professional web page - which hasn't really existed until today. It's just the basic stuff. That's the only way to get it done. Later, I will go back and constantly tweak. My idol can be found here. I also wanted to get something up before my OAH presentation next week. I should have had this done before my 2 presentations at AHA but I'm getting there . . .

This is all symptomic of the another challenge in my professional life. I'm too busy doing and not doing enough writing about it. This blog is helping to change that - the only challenge with that being tipping your hand and/or having ideas stolen without even knowing it. And I think there are beginning to be some that might even be worth stealing. :-)

Another explanation for both the departmental page and the professional page being very plain: a few years ago there was a bureaucratic effort on campus for accessibility which was confused with standardization - so much so that the edicts being issued were non-compliant with the Microsoft read-aloud program for blind users. But that is water under the bridge.

But I've made one small step for my professional web page and one giant step for my professional goals this year.

And, yes, I am reading the JAH but will blog about that later. It is spring break, after all . . .

The New York Times > Books > Critic's Notebook: We All Have a Life. Must We All Write About It?

The New York Times > Books > Critic's Notebook: We All Have a Life. Must We All Write About It?: "In 1884, Ulysses S. Grant, desperate for money and terminally ill with cancer, did what countless statesmen and military leaders had done before him: he sat down to write his memoirs. Racing against the clock, he turned out two substantial volumes on his early life and his military experiences in the Mexican and Civil Wars.

By any measure, he had a lot to write about and a lot to tell. He produced a classic memoir, as the genre was then understood: important events related by a great man who shaped them.

But that was then.

Today, Grant's memoirs fall into the same sprawling category as 'Callgirl: Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure,' 'Bat Boy: My True Life Adventures Coming of Age With the New York Yankees' and 'Rolling Away: My Agony With Ecstasy,' to pluck just three titles from the memoir mountain looming in the next month or two.

Actually, it's more a plain than a mountain, a level playing field crowded with absolutely equal voices, each asserting its democratic claim on the reader's attention. Everyone has a life, and therefore a story that should be told and, if possible, published.
This New York Times article (free subscription required) also has an interesting slideshow with voiceover from the author. It's an interesting take on today's society - that everyone's life is worth the subject of a book.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Which of the Deadly Sins Are You (Quizilla)

You are Gluttony!
Nibbling a cookie at the moment by any chance? You
don't just like your food, you love it. And
there's nothing wrong with that. However
gluttony isn't just about food. It relates to
anything that you gobble up more then you
should of. You tend to 'take your cake, and eat
it too' - excuse the horrific pun. Perhaps if
you don't be so consumed with having every
little thing you'd be better off. On a plus
side, you know what you like, what you want -
and you go after it. You tend to have good
instincts about things, and excellent taste in
your life.
Congratulations, You have the best taste out of all
the 7 deadly sins!

?? Which Of The Seven Deadly Sins Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Residents Upset Over Plans For Subdivision

Yahoo! News - Residents Upset Over Plans For Subdivision

Local - KMBC
Yahoo! News
Residents Upset Over Plans For Subdivision

2 hours, 5 minutes ago

Add to My Yahoo! Local - KMBC

If one Clay County landowner has his way, the grazing days are numbered for a pasture halfway between Liberty and Smithville, KMBC's Dan Weinbaum reported.

? Unclaimed Property? Show Me The Money
? Get A Great Deal On Your Next Car

A 200-acre portion of Johnson Farms could become Johnson Ridge -- a subdivision of 100 or more homes on 1-acre lots.

The plan has already made it past the Clay County Zoning Board. Residents living nearby are not happy about it.

"On this site, we have one house per 100 acres," resident Charles King said.

Residents who found out about the plan said that the size of the development could ruin what they have.

"We anticipated looking out and seeing cows grazing in the pasture behind us, and now, we're going to have traffic," resident Melanie Curnow said.


This is the classic - "we want to be the last people to move into this rural area". The landscape of the Midwest is changing in many places. Even if you move far away from already densely-populated areas, you still face risks: hog farms, poultry farms, new highways, expanded highways, and sometimes even meth labs.

News Agency Sues Google, Testing Fair Use

Yahoo! News - News Agency Sues Google, Testing Fair Use: "News Agency Sues Google, Testing Fair Use

By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer

NEW YORK - In a case that could set limits on Internet search engines, the French news agency AFP is suing Google Inc. for pulling together photos and story excerpts from thousands of news Web sites.

Agence France-Presse said the 'Google News' service infringes on AFP's copyrights by reproducing information from the Web sites of subscribers of the Paris-based news wholesaler."
testing the boundaries again . . .

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Journal of American History March 2005

Today's timely arrival of the March 2005 issue of the Journal of American History reminded why I entered this profession in the first place. I found numerous well-written book reviews I want to share with students and teachers as well as a series of articles on the role of textbooks in teaching - right up my alley. The web site reviews are another plus. The online version will be great for the teachers in our master's degree TAH grant since they get the Magazine of History (another very useful publication) instead of the print copy of the Journal. Hopefuly at least a few of them will continue their interst in the benfits of OAH membership even after the grant is over.

More soon . . .

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Is the Ivory Tower out of touch with the society it serves?

Cold Spring Shops

This post is worth reading. Much of what it says is true at many college campuses . . . even those that don't look anything like the University of Colorado or Harvard.

The New York Times > International > Diplomatic Memo: Rice Bringing a New Style to State

The New York Times > International > Diplomatic Memo: Rice Bringing a New Style to State: "Rice Bringing a New Style to State

Published: March 19, 2005

TOKYO, Saturday, March 19 - These are heady days for Condoleezza Rice.

Not even two months into her new job as secretary of state, she is routinely asked by interviewers around the world whether she wants to be president. Crowds gather to see her limousine. This week, a television reporter in India told her that she was 'arguably the most powerful woman in the world.' She laughed but did not exactly agree - or disagree."

Monday, March 14, 2005

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?

The New York Times > Business > Media & Advertising > Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?: "
Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?

Published: March 14, 2005

Consumers are willing to spend millions of dollars on the Web when it comes to music services like iTunes and gaming sites like Xbox Live. But when it comes to online news, they are happy to read it but loath to pay for it.

Newspaper Web sites have been so popular that at some newspapers, including The New York Times, the number of people who read the paper online now surpasses the number who buy the print edition.

This migration of readers is beginning to transform the newspaper industry. Advertising revenue from online sites is booming and, while it accounts for only 2 percent or 3 percent of most newspapers' overall revenues, it is the fastest-growing source of revenue. And newspaper executives are watching anxiously as the number of online readers grows while the number of print readers declines."


There appears to be plenty of advertising so I"m surprised that the stats in this article say only 2 to 3% of revenue comes from ads.

I'm in a small enough town that we can get SOME major newspapers at the END of the day. I also don't mind paying for archived articles. Interesting dilemma.

The newspapers are also forgetting all the other ways to get your news . . . . for free . . .

The New York Times > Technology > Liberal Bloggers Reaching Out to Major Media

The New York Times > Technology > Liberal Bloggers Reaching Out to Major Media: "
Liberal Bloggers Reaching Out to Major Media

Published: March 14, 2005

Even as online pundits criticize traditional news organizations as slow, biased and technologically challenged, a group of bloggers is trying to use old-fashioned telephone conference calls to share their ideas with newspaper and television journalists."


this is an interesting development . . . .

Saturday, March 12, 2005

A gorgeous morning

It's an absolutely gorgeous morning in Kansas! The sun is shining brighter at this early time of day than it has since fall. Maybe I can wait until next winter for a big snow. And I bet Mother Nature will make up for this winter's lack of snow some how. (I'm saying this so that we may still get a big snow before March is out - which has been known to happen.)

I also checked out our new Home Depot yesterday. Quite the place. Am anxious to try out their home improvement workshops.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

What Gender Are You?

Your Brain is 80.00% Female, 20.00% Male

Your brain leans female

You think with your heart, not your head

Sweet and considerate, you are a giver

But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

What Gender Is Your Brain?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

We're Getting a Starbucks!!!!

The Joplin Globe - Online Edition: "PITTSBURG, Kan. - Something's happening on the north end of Pittsburg that could change the retail landscape of Southeast Kansas and indirectly affect the retail market in Joplin, Mo.

In the past year or so, Pittsburg has popped up on the radar of some major retailers that until recently had shown little interest in the university town of 19,200 people.

On Thursday, Home Depot will open a 102,000-square-foot store in Pittsburg Town Center, a new retail development at the north entrance to the city. In October, Walgreens opened a new store a few blocks south of the Home Depot.

Soon, a Goody's clothing store will be built, along with a Starbucks and a Dollar Tree. "

See Jane Compute: Reflections on blogging and anonymity

See Jane Compute: Reflections on blogging and anonymity: "Up until today, only Mr. Jane was aware that I have a blog. I had not told anyone else about it, not even alluding to it. Today, I finally told someone else, a friend of mine. I did not mention which blog was mine, only that I do blog and that I do so anonymously. "


This is a very thoughtful post and it's worth reading the rest. Although I have sometimes dealt in abstractions, my blog title does tend to give me away . . .

Business School Applicants - Hacking and Admission

The Chronicle: Daily news: 03/09/2005 -- 01: "Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said on Tuesday that they would not admit any of the 151 applicants who hacked into their business schools' computer systems to sneak peeks at their acceptance status. Carnegie Mellon University had announced a similar decision earlier.

But not everyone agrees that the students should be automatically denied admission."

Is it ethical to hack computers for any reason? Hmmmmm...........

The cold weather is back but the snow appears to be staying north of us. We were this close to one more snow!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Wickedly Perfect

Mitch spent some time in Carthage and had a great shop, Kringle and Company. Too bad he didn't win but something tells me he will still come out on top.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

More on Accident

It kept bugging me that I didn't remember the details of the accident. I remember reading about it but didn't connect "John M." with Mike. He was hunting alone and dropped his muzzleloader and the shot went into his stomach through the tree stand. He called 911 on the cell phone but it took awhile to find him. I wonder if he hadn't been hunting alone and/or they had found him sooner he would have survived. I have no idea what muzzle shot is like and the injury may have been too extensive from the get go.

Another Death

I had heard about a hunting accident near Webb City last fall but didn't pay much attention since I didn't recognize the names they mentioned. The other day on TV I heard them mention a benefit for Mike Boyer's family and that he had been killed in a hunting accident. He was a student at Webb City High School when I student taught and was a great swimmer. He had some tough times becoming an adult but was really a nice guy. I've forgotten the specifics of the accident - I think a gun went off accidentally (which means someone didn't have the trigger guard on.) He apparently died later that evening so I must have just heard the reports of the accident and not the follow-up of what happened. About 3 years ago a good friend from college died and then a serious ex-boyfriend late last summer and now this. Mike was only 35. If nothing else, it's a reminder to treasure each day and make the best of it and something I need to constantly remind myself of - don't sweat the small stuff.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Dear Adjunct Faculty Member:

Chronicle Careers: 03/04/2005: "Dear Adjunct Faculty Member:

It's come to our attention that we may have openings to teach two upper-level classes next fall, and although we can't offer you appointments at this point, we would like the names of those interested in teaching these required courses. We need to make clear that indicating your willingness to teach these classes in no way guarantees your employment next year.

In order to be eligible to teach the classes, you must have: a Ph.D., experience teaching the subject matter, a good teaching record, and an intangible quality that we don't want to define because we feel that definition would make it tangible. We will pay you roughly $4,000 a class regardless of your experience.

We will, however, need a complete job file, a letter of intent, and a criminal background check if you wish to become part of the department in this manner. We can't be expected to know who you are -- even those of you who have been here for too long."

It's very sad that this is so true. However, on the other side of the coin, administrators tell full-time faculty it's either hire some adjuncts OR NO ONE AT ALL . . . .

Thursday, March 03, 2005

NYPL publishes more primary sources online

The New York Times published an article this morning about the recent online publication of over 275,000 images by the New York Public Library in the NYPL Digital Gallery. There are some great resources here and it is worth checking out.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

BTK Clues

Apparently a computer desk was one of the final cluse to lead the Wichita Police and the KBI to the BTK killer. More from the Wichita Eagle.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

NCLB, High School, and the Governor's Conference

The official site of this weekend's governor's conference has a lot of material about the plans to expand NCLB more fully to the high school level.

In one of the reports, "getting it done: ten steps to a state action agenda," the NGA identifies steps that govenors can take "to quickly put states on the path to redesign their high schools." There is a call for system-wide reform with the hope that "Redesigning the American High School" becomes a national reality. Let's take a closer look at these ten steps:

1. Create a permanent Educaiton Roundatble or Commission to foster coordination between early childhood, K-12 and higher education.
2. Define a rigorous college and work preparatory curriculum for high school graduation.
3. Challenge business, education, parent, community, and faith-based organizations to support initiatives that improve college awareness.
4. Give college and work-readiness assessments in high school.
5. Create statewide common course agreements so that college-level work in high school counts toward a postsecondary credential.
6. Provide financial incentives for disadvantaged students to take rigorous AP exams and college-prepatory and college-level courses.
7. Expand college-level learning opportunities in high school to minorites, English language learners, low-income studnest and youth with disabilities.
8. Help get low-performing students back on track by designing literacy and math recovery programs.
9. Develop and fund supports to help students pass the high school exit exam.
10. Develop statewide pathways to industry certification.

The actual report has more details about each item.

It's hard to know where to start. First, many of the ideas are already in place and some are working and some aren't.

It is obviously taking local control away from the schools - which only costs more money and means the local community becomes even more disconnected from their schools if they do not feel like they have any control.

Getting businesses involved is a good idea - especially if there are financial rewards to go with it that support student access to higher education - meaning beyond high school - in any form. Improving college awareness is good but I'm not sure of the best way to do that. I teach at a school where more than a handful of students are the first in their family to graduate college or even attend college. We're the heart of a community of 17,000 and I don't know how students aren't "aware" - especially when you start surveying how many area high school students come to parties associated with our campus.

More testing seems very unrealistic - some schools are already spending two months EACH YEAR specifically dedicated to testing - and that's two months not learning.

Too much of the burden still all falls back on teachers - and I don't see that their input was solicited for this report.

What's the most important thing missing from this report? PARENTS

Even well-intentioned parents value high grades over learning if it impacts which college their children might attend. Many parents do not want any homework to show up on their doorstep. And you're never going to convince colleges to bar those who don't want to work. Our university allows students to drop courses into the 11th week of courses with no actual letter grade (only a W and then later a WP or WF) so there's no real responsibility here since a student can simply decide I don't want that bad grade and I'll drop. That can't be an efficient system.

It will be interesting to see how all of this works. Is it just a series of recommendations or will some of it actually happen. Is it just politics where the governors are trying to wrest some control of their school districts back from Washington, DC?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]