Monday, July 8, 2013

Who Needs Experienced and Well Educated Teachers Anyway?

The state of Tennessee is revamping the minimum pay for teachers. Now that the state pay schedule for teachers has changed, all of the systems must revamp their own pay schedules.

Instead of 11 steps on the teacher pay scale, the new pay structure will allow for 4 steps, topping out at the 11th year. Perhaps more disturbingly, there is no longer any pay bump required for education beyond the bachelor's degree. The districts will be allowed to pay teachers more for higher test scores or taking on extra responsibilities.

So let's say this plays out by the book. You know, the Economics book.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Teaching Digital Citizenship by Being a Bad Example

Chelsea Chaney is a UGA freshman who once took a funny picture in her swimsuit with a Snoop Dogg cutout.

And Fayette County Schools put that picture in the middle of a presentation about your digital tattoo. With her name. And cartoons about boozing it up with bad boys. Someone had grabbed the picture from her Facebook.

And she is suing for $2 million.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Free LMS Software Roundup

When I first returned full time to the classroom a half decade ago, I decided to jump into the LMS world with both feet. It was coming anyway so why not get started from the ground up on a digital curriculum instead of having to convert a more traditional set of classroom resources to digital.

A few years before, I had been using WebCT under the license of my school's partner in education, but the BlackBoard purchase of WebCT had ended that license structure. So I Google'd "Open Source WebCT" and found Moodle. I signed up for a $35/year hosting plan (2M is my personal preferred host), bought a domain name for $10 (Namecheap preferred for this) and have been paperless ever since.

The problem is, Moodle requires installing on a webhost. I had been playing with PHP web apps for several years, including installing Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and XOOPS. Installing Moodle wasn't much more difficult or technical than installing Wordpress, but it is not for everybody. So this year at ISTE13, I went looking for representative of LMS software on the floor, got their literature and talked to their reps.