Monday, October 5, 2009

MEMO - "Did You Know"

It has been awhile and it is utterly amazing how fast time flies when the school year is getting underway and we are in the "normal" swing of education.

During the past several days, I was in attendance at the Minnesota Educational Media Organization's (MEMO) annual Fall conference. MEMO is a professional organization for school library media and technology staff. ( It was a great conference (though I was quite distracted during it - more on that in a minute) with a very strong program for instructional technology. I suggest all media and technology professionals in Minnesota who are not members consider joining the organization. The cost is relatively low and what you get more than anything else is connections with others in your profession. You will make of that what you will, but we are at a point in time when those connections are as important as they ever have been. If you are not in Minnesota, there are similar organizations in most states and some national organizations too such as the AASL and ISTE.

One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Scott McLeod from Iowa State University (previously with the University of Minnesota). Dr. McLeod discussed many issues facing media specialists and technology integrationists in education today. He shared with us the latest version of the popular "Did You Know" video. I recommend you take a look. ( Be prepared to read fast as it moves right along! It is amazing how much information technology has changed the way we do almost everything -- except, in some cases, teach. I pin some of the blame for that on the mandates for accountability using traditional testing methods. It is difficult to effectively change the content and methods for teaching when we are still testing the same rote knowledge. Not impossible, just difficult. If you agree with any of this, you might consider sharing some of the information in the video and from Dr. McLeod's blog ( with school administrators, school boards, parents and legislators. We don't need to turn this ship on a dime. Dr. McLeod might have us think that we need to move quite quickly - but it would be good to start moving that wheel soon.

So, I mentioned that I was kind of distracted during the conference. We were experiencing some major network slowdowns in my school districts. Fixed now, but it took several days and it made me realize even more how important the network, Internet access and so on are to our schools. We joke about the phenomenon of being distracted with the phrase "look, a chicken!" Being at MEMO and having several "chickens" distract me made me remember the ultimate chicken that distracted us during a working session at a summer conference recently. It was "Mike, the headless chicken," and for those who don't know what that is, here is a chicken to distract you for a few minutes. How would we have ever known about this before the Internet!!