April 2008


All of us CEBuzzers got tagged for the Passion Quilt meme by Pete, so I’ll take the plunge. (Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)

Woodworking Tools

Original photo: http://flickr.com/photos/sadams/495544926/

Don’t let the tools determine what you build. Tools are wonderful but they are only tools. What you build should spring from your interests and enthusiasms, from the needs of your family, friends, or community. Once your imagination has conceived a project, then decide which tools will help you accomplish it best.

Tools won’t build for you. There isn’t a tool invented yet that will substitute for determination and good planning. You’re the driver. You’re the one who has to exercise quality control and see the process through to completion.

Enjoy the process. The final product may be the goal but don’t forget to immerse in the journey. Feel the satisfaction in the smooth operation of a good tool. Absorb the sensation of forward motion, of working with a good team. Laugh at your mistakes, learn from them and move on.

Keep your tools sharp. There’s nothing so counter-productive as a dull edge. Just make the time to sharpen your chisels, sharpen your mind, sharpen your awareness. Keep your eyes open to new tools that may help you be a better builder, but (cycling back to the first point), don’t let the new tools control your direction.

I tag:

Janie Herman
Marianne Lenox
Rochelle Hartman
Andrea Mercado
Marilyn Mason

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Learning management systems (LMS) have been around forever, and it appears, at least in my anecdotal observations, that public library land is jumping on the bandwagon.  

An LMS empowers an organization to manage, track, and quantify all learning activities. 

 

No system is perfect, but there are several things to consider before purchasing an LMS.  We recently acquired an LMS here at Gwinnett County Public Library after evaluating several vendors.  I began this process very green, but have learned several valuable lessons along the way.  Here is some wisdom I’d like to share:

 

v     What exactly do we need from our LMS?

Sure, as the training manager, I have many ideas for what I want the system to be able to perform, but this purchase isn’t just about me.  Does HR have specific needs?  What role will the IT department play in the implementation?  What strategic benefits do the Executive Director and other department heads hope to reap from this large purchase?  Know your core needs before contacting any vendors.  You’ll be quickly embarrassed if you don’t.

 

v     What features must the LMS have?  What’s optional?

After you know your business needs, you can begin thinking about core features of the LMS and any extra bells and whistles.  What kind of reports do you need?  Does your LMS come bundled with courseware?  How scalable is the system?  Is the LMS SCORM and/or AICC compliant?  Only you know your budget.  It goes without saying that you cover the core features first.  Do not go gadget crazy and purchase features you don’t need (ie, learning management system vs. talent management system).  There are some thirsty sharks out in the ocean of sales reps.

 

v     Who is this company, anyway?

Be sure that you are buying from an established company.  Can your vendor provide references of clients who have benefitted tangible returns after implementing the vendor’s LMS? 

 

v     Should I buy or rent?

Buying your LMS software may sound appealing, and if you have the IT resources in your organization, maybe this works for you.  If you purchase your LMS, it’s yours.  The implementation, upkeep, and upgrades also become your sole responsibility.  However, if you rent, the vendor implements, upkeeps, and upgrades using this software as a service model.  The LMS is hosted on the vendor’s servers, and you don’t have much to worry about… except the yearly fee for service.

 

v     Will the LMS work with other systems our organization uses?

This is a huge consideration, especially if your library already has a human resources management system.  Is it important that your LMS be able to communicate with your HRMS?  Can the LMS talk to the HR system?  If so, how much will it cost to customize the LMS?  Customization is expensive!

 

 Hopefully these tips will save you some grief.  If only I knew then what I know now.

 

~Jay

There is clapping, cheering, and laughter from the audience for this TED talk, in which innovator Johnny Lee demonstrates how to turn a Wii game remote into a trendy teaching tool. Lee is highly motivated to bridge the divide between those organizations that can afford to experiment with the cutting edge of technology and those who can only sit back and watch.

In this video, Lee demos how to create an affordable interactive whiteboard by taking advantage of the “high-performing infrared camera” that is in the tip of a Wii controller. He combines the motion-sensing camera of the Wii with a $50 infrared pen (available from Radio Shack)—you just have to see the video to appreciate it.

Since posting this idea on his website, there have been over half a million downloads.

“Teachers and students around the world are already using this.”

Check out Lee’s website for other “little great ideas.”