Fun with Lyndon, George and Bill – and Audie

June 18, 2011

Five days on the road and we hoped to make it home Friday night.

Ed Darrell, presidents on weekends

"I've got the Presidential Seal / I'm up on the Presidential Podium. / My Mama loves me, she loves me . . ."* Playing around with the podium and teleprompter at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Air conditioning on the bus failed, and then the vacuum system failed and we lost the ability to close the door, and we started to lose brakes.  Fortunately, we were within sight of Dallas when things really came to smash.

So our Teachers Tour of Presidential Libraries came to an interesting end last night.  More good fortune — the bus stalled out in the parking lot of a gas station with a Dickey’s Barbecue attachedRoss Perot is right, at least about this:  Dickey’s food is worth the stop.

Other stops along the way provided nutrition for our minds, and for our classroom preparation.  Education experts at the 13 National Archives-related Presidential Libraries work together, and work separately, to create classroom friendly and classroom ready materials.   Beyond the museums, we were looking for history to use in our classes.  We got a lot of pointers to documents our students can use in class to learn history and how to write it.

This is the second year of this particular Teaching American History grant, from the U.S. Department of Education to the Dallas Independent School District.  It’s important that you know that, because Republicans in Congress propose to cut this program out.  This is one of the few programs I think has value way beyond the dollars spent on it.  TAH may become just one more victim of the conservatives’ War on Education.

I hope to post more about what we learned.

We toured the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, the Audie Murphy and American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

It was a rowdy group of teachers, of course, and we closed down every bookstore we found along the way.  The bus driver hopes never again to hear a single verse of  “99 Student Essays to Grade on the Desk.”

How’s your summer been so far?

_____________

Paul Simon, of course.


Education Department crowdsourcing for innovation

June 25, 2010

But, will it get my classroom thermostat under control?  Will it fix the copy machine?

Story at Federal News Rado’s Dorobek Insider:

The Department of Education is trying to foster innovation in a new and unique way.

They’ve created an innovation portal and are crowdsourcing ideas to try and improve education across the country.

Jim Shelton is Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education.

He says the idea for the portal came about after they held a competition with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The Education Department held a contest, funded by ARRA, to highlight good work being done by educators across the country.

They soon realized that there would be an even greater benefit if people weren’t simply competing with each other, but sharing ideas.

“In the run up to the competition and afterward [we realized] that there would be great benefit to all of the education community being able to hear about and see these ideas, for people to share information, find opportunities for partnership, [and] . . . for teachers and entrepreneurs to be seen by people who have funding and might be interested in supporting their work.”

Thus, the Open Innovation Portal was created.

More, there.

Well I remember when Information Services at OERI had most the department’s automation innovation, and it was in an unlocked room with a 386 computer running a toll-free telephone bulletin board.  Have we come a long way?

The true innovation was how Ned Chalker beat OPM at put a lock on the door to keep the computers from walking away.


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