Monday, February 17, 2014

Technology in the Classroom

What do Hewlett Packard, Google, Microsoft and Apple all have in common? Legend has it that these powerhouse tech companies all started in garages. However, at least in this context, more important than that, none of those companies had a significant presence in the traditional K-12 classroom as recently as 10 years ago. Today, Google can be properly used as both a noun and as a verb! 

The use of technology in the classroom is not a passing fad - it will not go away. The children of today have grown up with technology, some studies have indicated that our students average over 7 hours per day using entertainment media - primarily outside of the classroom. As such, those students expect technology to be a part of their learning experience. 

Our conversation needs to quickly shift from "if" we will embrace, (and fund) technology in the K-12 environment o "how" we can integrate technology in ways that will promote broader and deeper learning for our students. This cannot be a topic for future discussion - the time is now. 

Educational consultant and author Chris Lehman says it best, "Technology should be like oxygen; Ubiquitous, necessary and invisible." 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Zingermans 5-90-5 Rule

Virtually everyone who lives near or travels through Ann Arbor has heard of Zingermans. Not only is Zingermans famous for their outstanding food, they have developed a well-earned reputation for outstanding service as well.

One of Zingermans founding partners, Ari Weinzweig has written a book called "Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service" and one of the concepts Ari discusses is the 5-90-5 rule. Simply stated, Ari believes if he hires 100 employees, 5 will naturally give great service. In addition, 5 will likely be inclined to give relatively poor service. At Zingerman's, Ari elects to spend the majority of his time with the 90 in the middle - those individuals who are likely to "go with the flow." He says, "our job as leaders is to create an organizational structure that makes it much easier and more rewarding for them to give great service than not." 

While our focus is not selling food, Saline Area Schools also strives to provide great service. We strive to hire people naturally inclined to do so and to create a culture and climate where this is easy to do. We want to provide our students, our parents and our community with the same type of world-class service Zingerman's provides their customers!