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Tech Support Simplified

Tech support is not my job.

But, of course, it is. My title and job description has the word “technology” right there. Just ignore all that “instructional” stuff.

On those days when I spend too much time mired in the processes related to helping people make their machines work, the customer service approach taken by Roy and Moss in the UK series The IT Crowd comes to mind. One that is nicely summarized in these two minutes.

Go find the whole series and laugh your arse off.

Understanding the Numbers

From PHD Comics, an excellent explanation of why the K12 math curriculum should include annual healthy doses of basic statistics.

And it’s simple enough for even those back-to-basics types who believe we can’t possibly teach math concepts until we’ve drilled any possible interest in mathematics right out of the kids.

Actually, any adult claiming to be a “journalist” should be required to display proof they’ve taken a basic stat course.

Teaching on the Big Screen

This week on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review show (on an obscure cable channel called Current TV), the hosts offered their choices for the top 5 movie teachers of all time.

5. Dave Jennings (portrayed by Donald Sutherland) – Animal House
4. Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos) – Stand and Deliver
3. Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2. Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) – Mr. Holland’s Opus
1. John Keating (Robin Williams) – Deat Poets Society

So, are these the teachers who best represent the profession on the silver screen?

Maybe they should have included Ditto from the 1984 mess of a film called Teachers.

You’ll need to suffer through the movie to understand that reference. :-)

My Kind of Holiday Music

Tradition with a hint of chaos. :-)

From the recently opened MuppetStudio Channel on YouTube featuring new stuff and classic clips.

Jim Henson, we still miss you.

Six Ideas for Skipping NECC Sessions

So, NECC in DC is about three weeks away and if you’re planning to attend, here are six ideas for stuff to distract you from the conference sessions and exhibit floor.

The International Spy Museum – Whoever is running the tours for NECC will charge you $65 for the full package here. Buy tickets online for $25 (plus $2 service charge) and ride the Metro two stops from the convention center. Or walk. Many exhibits are interactive and the whole place is a lot of fun.

The Smithsonian Folk Life Festival – This annual celebration on the National Mall is presented in two parts, one just before NECC begins (June 24-28) and one just after (July 1-5). I have no idea why they split it that way but if you’re going to be here early or late, it’s worth attending. Lots of great music, food and exhibitions. And it’s free (except the food, of course).

The Newseum – Again, the NECC tour will cost you $55 but you could walk or take a short ride on the Metro and buy a regular $20 ticket. The 3D theater is pretty good and don’t miss the view from the 6th floor terrace.

The US Capitol – I haven’t been to the new visitor center yet but I’ll probably sneak off to see it during the conference. If you want someone to show you around, contact the office of your Senator and arrange for it as far ahead of time as possible. You can do the same for the White House but that tour is not really worth the effort (IMHO).

The National Zoo – Certainly not the biggest zoo in the country but a very nice experience that can be seen in half a day. And it’s free. Go first thing in the morning before the crowds show up and don’t miss the Asia Trail (right, Karen? :-). Take the Metro to the Cleveland Park station and walk down hill to the entrance. Then walk down hill to the Woodley Park/Zoo station to get back to Metro.

The National Cathedral – Sitting on a hill above the National Mall, you can get a good view of the city from up here. If you can, take the Behind The Scenes tour (weekdays at 10:30) which usually include a climb to the bell tower from which the view is even better. Unfortunately, there’s no easy and direct way to get here on public transportation.

Anyone have other suggestions?

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