how green is my drive

Car 1

I have a new car. Same make as my previous car except this is a hybrid; so the same but different.

It has a graphic display that shows when the petrol is being used and when the battery is being used, or when the power is going into the battery. Then it has another area that glows blue if I drive uneconomically but green if I am using the hybrid compnents well. It can be quite a distraction and I am sure that if one is too much of a perfectionist or a little OCD then it might just drive you mad. For now I consider it a novelty and hope that the novelty wears off soon.

One thing that really gets me is that I receive a rating on my driving at the end of my journey. A display of flowers – varying numbers and with a varying number of leaves appears to score my “green” journey. I am already competing with myself to get a perfect “garden”!

I was feeling guilty about my carbon footprint due to my long journey to work every day and I thought a hybrid car would held ease that but now I think I have just added another stress to my life – how green is my journey!

The medium is the message

Little 16 month old came to meet petit fille yesterday . He arrived with dummy in mouth, and iPad under his arm. He has been taught a form of sign language ( no he is not hearing impaired nor are his parents) over verbal language and he is already a deft hand playing with his iPad

As a teacher i  am more than a little concerned. I feel that his verbal development is being restrained by the use of signing over speaking. Apparently it cuts downing frustration but as his parents are the only ones who understand him it is very limited. His social interaction with other children is going to be interrupted.

Then the iPad. It was a lovely story about farm yard animals but I noticed that he was just scanning it. His level of concentration is miniscule. This is a problem we are encountering now, students skim read and do not read to learn.

Another child born and raised in this country has been spoken to only in her parents native tongue, a middle European language because they want her to be bilingual. Bilingual is great but at three she should be using English as well. Social interaction with her peers is again restricted and she will be starting her education with English as her second language.

Maybe my generation is showing, but I am of the opinion that these parents while they are trying to do the best for their children are setting their child up for a less than successful start in our main stream world.

What do you think?

Update: just found this article on the subject too. Eric Carle and iPad babies.

Eric Carle and iPad babies

they say the darnedest things


Two incidents made me realise that the world is changing faster than even I suspected.

I was teaching the year 8 class to check their school email account. I casually asked how many students had sent an email before. Two students out of a class of 24 put their hands up. The majority had no idea what an email was. Why should they when they text and facebook their lives away.

Do you think they complain about the number of tweets they get in a day like adults complain about the number of emails they have to read?

I instructed my home class to bring a pen to class. One student announced that he never brings pens to school. Can you imagine going to school without a pencil cake and at least a red pen and a blue pen? I guess he either uses his laptop in all his classes, or bums a pen from someone on the rare occasions he absolutely must use one.

How long is handwriting going to remain a norm and not just become a quaint hobby like calligraphy?

Sneaking change that you don’t notice until you want a kid to do something that just results in a blank expression from them.

the times are indeed a changing

In many ways we don’t notice the changes that sneak into our daily lives through the use of technology, but I was reminded of this on Sunday when I went to buy a small thank you gift for a woman who is coming to our school to present a workshop for teachers later this week.

Previously, one might have purchased stationery for a teacher as a gift, and heavens we teachers have always loved stationery; but now that we have laptops, iPads, iPhones and all the programs that allow us to keep files on the skydrive, addresses in our email and facebook pages and calendars on our phone etc. there is little need for notebooks, pens and post it notes. Now there are even electronic sticky notes for our desktops, so I even baulked at buying Kath Kidson sticker pads, a personal favourite. Technology has wiped that fall back gift line off the line, especially as this particular presenter is speaking on IT!

And changing social attitudes means that chocolates are not always acceptable as everyone is always trying to shed weight and get healthy. Wine, well they may not be a drinker, and there are mixed opinions regarding gifting teachers alcohol as we are suppose to be role models

The last thing a teacher needs is usually another cup or mug, as everyone gives teachers cups and mugs. We’ve probably all done candles to death. So, I was starting to panic, and was going to just go for a bunch of flowers, but that seemed a bit naft and what if she is allergic? (Minerva is allergic to flowers and the last time someone brought flowers into the library I had to lock them in my office. I didn’t get them away fast enough and her lips blew up like a trout mouth and I thought I was going to have to apply an epipen to save her). So scratch flowers.

In the end I settled on bath fizz bombs in the shape of macaroons. Hopefully she will read the label and realise that they are not a food product. If she doesn’t have a bathtub, well. she can throw them into a bucket and soak her feet! Or better still, she can put them away to regift and claim that she has already started her Christmas shopping! Win, win there I say.

This day will end…won’t it?

This day has been difficult from beginning to end.

I was being nice Mother and drove over to feed Mr and Mrs Boy’s worms, only to have their door key break off the key ring they gave me. It was lost somewhere in their yard, I knew that, but where was the big question.

I searched and searched and could not find it, and eventually gave up and drove home. I told Mr FD he was returning with me later in the day to search anew. (There were tradesmen renovating the next door house and I didn’t want them to guess that I had lost the door key, just in case one of them was packing a metal detector and would find the key and help himself to Mr and Mrs Boys electrical goods. That is how a mother thinks, even a Flamingo Dancer mother!)

So, we did drive back later in the afternoon, when the renovators had gone home and searched again. Eventually key was found…inside the worm farm! It was on its side and under all the food that I had added, but covered in worm dirt. I guess it fell off the ring and either into the food bag I was carrying or out of my hand and into the worm farm. I had looked but it had fallen deep…that is my excuse).

THEN, I arrived home and tried to access my email account only to discover I had been hacked (2nd time in recent weeks!) and locked out of my email! The reset went to an email address I can no longer access and have tried to delete on several occasions but it keeps popping up. It is a hotmail account and trying to contact anyone to assist or to change information is just like trying to climb a never ending mountain. After resigning myself to one last attempt before I went and consumed the last of the Christmas brandy, I got it to reset.

I need to go and lie under my doona now. I may be some time.

This might be funny…

…if it wasn’t my mother!

The government has provided all senior citizens with a new set top box for their televisions to assist with the change to digital television.

My mother has experienced some confusion in adjusting to the new process for switching her television on and off. So, my niece wrote a note telling Grandma how to turn her television on and off. The instructions finished with “press the red button” and an image of a red button. A red sticker was placed on the appropriate button.

My sister received a phone call from Grandma, she couldn’t figure out how to work the television. She kept saying that she was pushing the red button and nothing was happening.

Eventually my sister asked “which red button are you pressing Mum?”

Yes, she was pressing the red button on the note taped to the wall!

It was one of her more confused days, I have to admit. but… Like I said, it would be humorous, if it just wasn’t my mother!

more on technology and generations x,y,z and boomers

What is with all of the panic about e-books and iPads and Kindles and the pleasure of reading? Everywhere I turn I hear or read about people’s opinion about the pleasure of reading involving the tactile experience of touching a books pages, of turning them one by one, of the smells and their associations with print based books, of the need for annotations and scribbles, and how those scribbles hold histories and meanings that will never be captured by some cold, clinical, technological equipment used to mediate and reduce reading to something that is lesser – less pleasurable, less immersive, less tactile, and less sensory. Why is there some sense of either/or… and such strong emotion and argument about “it will never replace the real thing”.

Read more:

x,y, z and boomers

I am a little tired of hearing about the generation x, y and z stereotypes, just as I am exhausted from hearing about the baby boomer stereotype. Digital natives versus digital immigrants.  I don’t believe that one stereotype fits all. What’s the old adage… assume makes an ass out of you (u) and me? Assumptions are in the same stable as far as I am concerned.

I am also tired of the way baby boomers (and I am a tail ender baby boomer) are working so hard to button hole younger generations. Are we going to be just like every other cranky older generation and carry on about “the kids today”? Surely we can do better than that. We are better than that.

Sitting at the English teachers’ conference today, I also grew tired of the older generation, and particularly the elder of the older generation, bemoaning the death of the book. I swear if I hear another teacher proudly boast that they refuse to use email, I may just push a chalk board duster down their throat. Failure to adapt is not a trait our students require in a teacher, especially as we try to instil a passion for life long learning into those students.

Get a grip, people, there is room in the world for both traditional books and new text forms. Don’t decry technology just because it frightens you, or you are too lazy to update skills. If you choose not to use it in your private life, that is your choice, but as an educator, you have no choice, but to evolve along with your students. Otherwise, exit stage left, I think.

Surely if nothing else, history has shown us that if something is valued it continues to hold importance. If we continue to find value in the written hard copy book then it will continue in its traditional form, if not, then it means we found something better. The horse and carriage preceded the motor car, remember? Somehow society continued to survive, as did the human race.

Just try raising the bar…