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Kaler will leave post at U of M in 2019

U of M President Eric Kaler
MinnPost file photo by Jana Freiband
U of M President Eric Kaler

Kaler to step down. KSTP’s Frank Rajkowski reports:Eric Kaler, who has served as president at the University of Minnesota since 2011, will leave his role in July of next year. … Kaler announced his decision in a letter released Friday morning, ‘Today I write to inform you of my decision to step down as President on July 1, 2019,’ it began. ‘My tenure already exceeds the national average. This is an incredibly demanding job, essentially seven days a week, evenings and nights included, and as proud and confident of my contributions and ability as I am, I also know that the University will benefit from a fresh perspective. … Quite simply, it is time.’”

Mudslide report proves slippery. The Star Tribune’s Carlos Gonzalez reports: “Concerned about unstable river bluffs, officials closed a stretch of West River Parkway along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis late Thursday. … The closure was near the site of a June 2014 mudslide that shut down the parkway for more than two years. But an inspection on Friday morning revealed no sign of a reported mudslide, said Dawn Sommers, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.”

Safe to say Johnson’s not on board the “Abolish ICE” train, then. MPR’s Brian Bakst reports: “The Republican-endorsed candidate for governor called Thursday for a halt to refugee resettlement in Minnesota until security and cost concerns are addressed, although he didn’t say what would trigger an end to the proposed moratorium. … Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson said Minnesota has taken in more refugees from countries in strife than many other places. But he said the federal government isn’t doing enough to support them once they arrive, pushing costs on state and local taxpayers.”

Smart money’s not on smart boards. The Duluth News Tribune’s Jana Hollingsworth writes: “Smart Boards are set to be phased out from Duluth school district classrooms beginning next summer. … A major selling point at the advent of the $315 million long-range facilities plan, also known as the Red Plan, most of the interactive boards are past their prime. And there isn't money to replace them. … Red Plan money wasn't intended to buy eventual replacements of the technology it first paid for, but district technology manager Bart Smith expected new money would follow to address evolving needs. … ‘It really hasn't happened,’ he said.”

In other news…

Doesn’t really change the basic fact, though:Minnesotan tossed by a charging bear didn’t die as result of encounter, autopsy finds” [Pioneer Press]

Uptick in … biting insects:Be prepared! New ticks are moving north, but scientists offer hope” [MPR]

Ride from St. Joseph to St. Cloud:Lake Wobegon Trail comes to St. Cloud metro with new segment” [St. Cloud Times]

Stay cool:Here's all the Twin Cities ice cream you should be eating this summer” [City Pages]

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Comments (3)

Smart boards

Yet another reminder to me that low-tech (i.e., chalk, black/green/blue chalkboard, eraser, and sometimes – gasp – the printed page) is often the most economical and effective in the long run. I watched colleagues go through overhead projectors, digital projectors showing PowerPoint presentations, an assortment of video formats from tape to CD to computer to, I suppose, plasma lightning bolt. They're all relatively expensive, they all wear out, or suffer from defects that are expensive to repair, and they all, eventually, get replaced by the next bright, shiny technology in an educational context. This benefits the manufacturers of the hardware, the software developers, consultants who specialize in "integrating" various technological platforms, repair services for the many platforms.

The benefit to actual students, however, seems to be minimal, despite the truly astonishing costs involved.

Tech gets in the way

In my experience as a tutor, I found tech a stumbling block for teachers and students. Substitute teachers invariably had no idea how to use the tech employed in the classroom. Students routinely used it for anything and everything but its intended purpose. Sharing an iPad to go over math lessons was nigh unto impossible.

All that glistens is not gold, especially with children.

Good news

Kaler will gone soon. Way too many mistakes in his time, especially in athletics.