Additional profile information on Alfred Thompson at Google+
Chap Percival has been blogging about some ongoing training for teachers in his Florida school district. One of the things he talks about is how the course is somewhat rushed and condensed. The teachers, many of whom are moving from Macs to PCs, are not getting a lot of hands on time. This seems to be a common problem for teacher training - not enough time to do it right.
On one hand I think administrators want to maximize the time teachers are doing teaching themselves. But at the same time a well trained teacher can do a lot more with the tools they are being given than a poorly trained teacher. Industry has a mixed record on this issue as well. I know a lot of people doing jobs that bill clients by the hour whose companies try to "save money" by limiting training time. They often also discard people after a while so that they can hire new people who already know the latest thing. But the really smart companies, and I'd hope the really smart school systems, know that taking experienced people and really training them well pays off in the long run.
But how do we get administrators, school boards, and a sometimes notoriously tight fisted voting public to understand all of this? I wish I knew.
Do you have some students who want to learn Visual Basic .NET or C# on their own? Or perhaps you want to learn them as part of your own professional development. Well if so, Microsoft has a free series of lessons for absolute beginners. They look pretty good to me. I am sure that may others will find them useful as well.
Visual Basic Express - http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/vb/learning/default.aspx
Visual C# Express - http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/visualcsharp/learning/default.aspx
Last week Brian Scarbeau installed a new departmental server at his school. He blogs about it here. One of the things he does that I think is great is that he involves his students in the process. They helped with the setup of the software and the migration of the data. And it turns out that having other people involved means that more people are there to remember the details from the previous setup.
I think that too often we exclude students from the process of setting up labs, servers and software. I agree that it is not something every student can or should be involved with. But when you have students who really want to learn and really want to be involved it can be a great learning (and teaching) experience.