Darin Janssen’s Weblog


I listened to a few of the spark episodes which Dean suggested and found them to be interesting.  I have now subscribed to Spark and I will continue to listen in between my camping and kayaking podcasts.

The one I am going to write about today is the Episode 77. QWERTY and salvage old technology.  I found the discussion about how the QWERTY keyboard came into existence interesting because I did not know the history behind why our keyboards are the way they are.  The only thing I knew was the keys in the middle row are the keys which are the most used when writing words.  The episode then went on to discuss why people always want the newest technology which comes out.  I think there are two main reasons.  One reason is people like new things.  We buy new things because we like “shiny new” things to play with.  The other reason I would say is “keeping up with the Jone’s”.  My friend or neighbor got something new so now I have to get the same or better.  I too live this situation.  I want a new computer, but in reality I do not need a new computer.  I can make up all kinds of excuses as to why I need a new computer but in reality my computer will do me just fine for a couple more years.  I sure would like replace my pc with a new macbook though.  I can say the same thing about many other things as well.  My phone, my car, my camping gear, my kayaks, as well as others.  They are all thing I would like to upgrade but I really do not need to.  I just know there is something new and better out there.

Now let me look at schools.  New computers for the entire school system or every couple of years some new focus or better way to teach students.  Are the computers needed or the new focus/way to teach actually better or are they just “shiny new” things that administrators or bureaucrats want to try.  Funny “no proof” that they are better or needed.

I was in a discussion before the break with some classmates and the professor of my moral education class and my professor related students being hungry at school to smoking.  Odd comparison but here is how it was related.  Years ago the discussion was around if smoking was bad for us or not.  Many doctors said there was “no proof” that smoking was bad for us, so we can smoke all we want.  After many years of testing we now have “proof” that smoking is bad for us.  My professor said “look at a chimney”; we have to sweep chimneys, what is smoking doing to our lungs?  Now look at schools where kids do not have breakfast and come to school without lunch.  How can they learn if all they are thinking about is how hungry they are?  I know that when I am hungry food is all I can think about.  We know in our heart that students need to have food in their stomachs in order to learn, but there is “no proof”.  Why do bureaucrats need “proof” before they move on something that is so obvious yet on other things they just do it.  They will spend thousands of dollars replacing computers in an entire system every three or four year for “shinny new” ones but they will not spend money to feed students who need a lunch in order to learn on those “shinny new” computers.  I think community schools should be feeding kids the lunches they need and then in ten years the bureaucrats will have the proof they wanted that kids can not learn if they are hungry.


February 21, 2010 - Posted by | General


  1. I definitely agree that as schools and school divisions we need to be focusing on what our students NEED in order to ensure that they are prepared for learning. In some schools, funds may very well be wisely spent updating technology. However, in some schools I too wonder why we are concerning ourselves with SmartBoards and Macbooks when our kids are hungry and don’t have proper clothing. When our kids have their basic needs met, it is then that we can begin to guide them in making effective use of the resources and technology that is available.

    Comment by driol20c | February 23, 2010

  2. I wonder whatever happened to the school plus program which seemed to be so important when I started taking this degree? I have not heard anything about school plus in years. I guess it is like everything else…give it a couple years and move onto the next program. Are the programs ever really given a chance to succeed before they are tossed to the side?

    Comment by Darin Janssen | February 23, 2010

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