A teacher focused technology initiative

Email intercept: @tk1ng to school admin, 12/9/11

re: tech coaching and tech possies

Dear Administrator,
…I showed an interest in tech coaching, but my real intent lies in empowering the teachers we have in the school who have displayed persistent curiosity and tenacity in developing technology in the classroom.I found that I was able to lob netbooks and other useful tools at tech-keen teachers last year to good effect.  One of the main reasons I considered tech-headship again was to retain that access to tools.
Is there anything board side or within school directions that allow us to create a group around technology use in teaching and try to spread the knowledge to our largely disassociated colleagues?  The tech-coach position seems like it heads in this direction, but it seems  librarian and online research focused exclusively.
With a wee budget and some keen hands we’d be able to show various digital tools at staff meetings, perhaps even during PD days or rotating around PLCs.
We had a tech-council a few years ago, but it never really met or did anything.  I’m thinking of more of a grass-roots, teacher focused support group with this, perhaps with shared PLC time and some access to online tools and hardware in order to develop some intelligent digital pedagogy.
Whatcha think?

Think I can get a tech-posse going?
A teacher based, grass roots group who are into tech and are willing to take some risks to implement it in class and diversify the monoculture of school board computer access?
A group that can get access to non-standard equipment and try out its use in classroom situations?
A group that could expand our almost non-existent digital pedagogy? Perhaps even in a coherent manner?
With no budget we could beg and borrow board equipment that is otherwise relatively unused. With a tiny budget and some freedom to try the incredible variation in technology available beyond the walls of the school, we could experiment hands on with various tools and examine their application in real learning situations.

***Alas, the board doesn’t have any kind of initiative like that, but our VP is keen to get the tech-posse together and see if we can’t begin to organize a little bit of a digital renaissance within our walls.

Why oh why don’t boards and ministries fund micro-initiatives like this, looking to find and develop potential hot groups, and build PD from the ground up instead of top down?

Perhaps this kind of genuine seed change doesn’t earn you enough political points, demonstrate senior management reach or spend enough of the budget in one place.

In the meantime, I’m going to see if I can’t get the grass burning just a little bit where we are.

360° Motorcycle Photography Spring Edition

Taken using a Ricoh Theta V 360° camera attached to a flexible gripper tripod on an extended threaded rod.  The Theta V lets you take a remote 360° photo every 4 seconds, so you’ve got a good chance of catching something good.  When I get back I plug in the camera and look through the shots for something catchy.  Here is a how-to if you want to capture your own 360° on-bike photos.

from Blogger bit.ly/2Mprd0u

Sepang Echoes And A Word To My Newly Found Countryman

My lovely wife convinced me to do the Ancestry.com DNA test.  Being very British, the results that came back were a bit surprising.  Genetically speaking I’m the result of the fact that Europeans love to get to know each other intimately.

My people are from Norfolk on the east coast of the UK, so a strong Scandinavian influence was to be expected (damned vikings!), but the rest is interesting.  I had no idea we were part Irish (evidently everyone is), and the trace bits at the bottom are also cool.  Realizing I’m made up of all these different cultures feels good.

I other news, Marc Marquez just won the MotoGP championship in Motegi, Japan.  I started watching MotoGP during Marc’s first year in the championship and it was thrilling to watch this astonishing talent blossom even as I was getting acclimatized to motorcycle racing.  It was hard not to become a fan.  I remained a fan up until last year when Marc made a young man’s mistake.

If he’s fighting for a championship, Marc parrots words of respect. but only because he’s going to win it.  When he’s out of the running his arrogance comes through and it isn’t pretty.

I find it hard to support a guy who thinks he’s more important than the battle itself.  Motorcycle racing is Hemingway-esque in the demands it places on participants.  If you do it wrong it will kill you.  When doing something that potentially lethal well you need more than quick reflexes and arrogance.  The world is full of fast, dead motorcycle riders.  Motogp, being the very pinnacle of motorcycle riding, should present professionals who respect the dangers of the championship they are chasing.  What Marc did last year in Sepang suggests that he thinks himself superior to others who face the same peril.  A rider who thinks he can dictate the outcome of a championship he can’t win is not only arrogant, but dangerous.

If you’re going to stare death in the face with only your reflexes to save you, you should approach your work with a degree of respect and humility.  I just finished the Australian GP, and watched Marc toss his Honda into the countryside while leading.  He’s far from perfect, though still no doubt a once in a generation talent.  I’d like to be a fan again, but not if he’s going to disrespect the brave thing these riders are attempting.

Now that I’m 2% Spanish and we’re coming up on the anniversary of Sepang, I want to say something to my countryman: 

“Marc, it’s not your place to dictate the outcome of a championship for anyone but yourself, and there’s something to be said for apologizing.  I want to be a fan, but unless you’re going to respect the battle you’ll never be more than an ego with quick reflexes.  

One day, as you get older and slower, you’ll be tempted to apologize for what happened in 2015, but when someone irrelevant tries to apologize in order to remain relevant it’s just another expression of arrogance.  Now that you’ve got another championship, and as MotoGP heads to Sepang again, it’s time to take on another dimension as champion and speak for the championship itself.  Perhaps you can direct other misguided young men away from disrespecting the thing you’re all fighting for.  We’d all thank you for it.”

Commitment to your craft means more than just making time on the track.
I wonder how a championship feels when you’ve just spent a year diminishing it.

Yamaha’s FZ-09: the universal bike?

Since having the dream of a stable of bikes mangled thanks to the cruel calculus of insurance companies, I’ve been thinking about putting my eggs all in one basket.  In looking over this year’s offerings one really stands out for me as a bike I could develop a long term relationship with.

What I’m looking for is a bike that offers a standard riding position so it’ll take to a variety of riding tasks.  I like the look of a naked bike and I’m a fan of efficiency, so light weight is a must.  So, an all-round naked bike that’s light on the scales, fits a big guy well and is dependable so I can make some miles on it.

Fortunately Yamaha has come out with the FZ-09, and it checks a lot of boxes.  At a light-weight 414lbs and with a strong three cylinder engine, it’s a step up in power from the Ninja without heading into litre-bike territory.  It’s standard riding position offers much less lean and deeper pegs for my too-long legs.

While the 650R is a sport-tourer, it sill puts me into
much more of a crouched riding position.  I enjoy
the bike, but creak when I get off after a long ride. If

I’m carving up corners, it’s a beast.  If I’m trying to
make some miles?  Not so much.

An almost 1 inch taller seat, barely any forward lean
(11° less than the Ninja), 4% less bent knees, and
14% less crouch.  An all purpose bike that

fits nicely?  I hope the FZ feels as good as it should.

That 414 lbs means the FZ-09 comes in 26lbs lighter than the Ninja, and it manages to do it while carrying one more cylinder and an additional 200ccs.  The FZ is even 16 lbs lighter than a KLR, which makes me wonder what a scrambler FZ might look like.  With some knobbly tires, wire wheels, longer suspension and guard, there aren’t too many places it couldn’t go.  RTW on an FZ?  Perhaps!

Is there such a thing as a universal bike, maybe the FZ is it…

And it even comes in orange!

There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for an athletic red-head…