Imagine going to school, and not having to lug a lot of books home with you.
Sure, we want students to be more physical, but carrying books, backpacks laden with “stuff” for school, is probably not the best way to be active.
Cheryl Atkinson, superintendent of schools for DeKalb County, Ga., recently announced that by August 2014, every middle school and high school student in DeKalb will have HIS own device, with all his textbooks on it. Every teacher will have a laptop. Every school will be wireless.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussed this in her Dec. 10,2012, column. Atkinson spoke at a DeKalb Chamber of Commerce luncheon about this topic. “The fact is … (students) can’t wait for us to catch up to their style of learning, nor should they have to,” Downey quoted Atkinson.
Technology is eventually going to change education in more ways than one. School districts are scrounging for resources. Their governmental benefactors want to give them as few resources as possible. Many see public education as a costly burden, that wastes much of what is given to it.
Technology can solve a good bit of that problem. Technology is making books – one of education’s biggest costs – obsolete. One day, we could see many classes taught by interactive videos. Imagine having one teacher who teaches a certain subject well, simultaneously broadcast to multiple schools. How many fewer teachers might we need in the future? How many students might get the best education the school district can offer, vs. multiple teachers of various experience and abilities making learning in one school better than learning in another school in the same district?
Imagine a student carrying everything he needs to learn with in a device. As innovations progress, devices shrink. Someday, everything students need will be in their pockets. Just think: no books, no pencils, no pads of paper. All those supplies that cost money will be totally unnecessary. If you buy each student a device, it will seem like a bargain, compared to all those other supplies.
Education will be like other industries, using technology to do more, and better, with less. These advances may not go over well with teachers and other employees, who will see job opportunities decrease. On the other hand, technology can help the really good teachers get in front of more students. That can only improve education.
Because of the Internet, information is readily available to students. Teachers can spend less and less time imparting information, and more and more time teaching students the best way to use information. Teachers can be more creative with student interaction, and less structured in the classroom.
Education is slow to use technology to increase productivity and improve quality. The education systems have to overcome old barriers to innovation, so that students can learn in their own style, as Atkinson put it.
Imagine making a great income showing friends something on a gadget. How? Visit
We’ve seen many young people so immersed in their gadgets doing insignificant things for hours on end. We’ve seen gadgets keep kids stationary, when they should be moving more. We’ve seen students lugging backpacks full of books and supplies to and from school.
When the school requires them to use their gadgets for educational purposes, they’ll still spend hours with their gadgets, but doing more fruitful tasks. They won’t be lugging books and supplies to and from school, so maybe they’ll want to get out and move more.
Technology may be a curse as well as a blessing, but it is reality. Let’s hope our educational system catches up with reality sooner rather than later.


“If I had only an hour to live, I would spend it in this class because it feels like an eternity.”
That was one student’s comment to Jason B. Huett, a technology guru and University of West Georgia professor, when evaluating one of his courses.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, quoted Huett for the Dec. 10, 2012, edition. Huett was making the point that education is slow to change the way students are taught, despite the technological advances.
But a larger point might be: must students be bored in school?
As Downey paraphrases Huett, a frontier teacher from a century ago would be agape at the changes in the world, but the classroom would still largely look the same.
That teacher probably was taught that school needs to feel like work to a student. School should be the student’s job. When the student finishes school, he would go to a job that would be tedious and hard, so they had to learn to endure that in school.
If you read a typical textbook of yore, it’s hardly something you’d take to the beach to read – unless, of course you were cramming for an exam in the sun.
But what if teachers concentrated on ways to make learning more fun, or at least enjoyable? Sure, learning IS work, but a century ago, it seemed we taught students how to be good employees – how to duplicate repetitive tasks that they would do in the workplace when they graduated. We taught routine. We taught doing what you are told, and only asking questions if there was something you didn’t know.
In yesteryears, we gave students information in the only way we knew how. Today, however, students can get their own information through technology, faster than a teacher can convey it. The jobs of the future are going to require more innovation, because machines will handle the repetitive and tedious tasks.
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But, if we want kids to be more innovative, the education system has to be more innovative. If we want kids to be more collaborative – employers are looking for good, team players – we have to teach them that collaboration trumps competition with those on the same team. Sure, we have to evaluate students in terms of what they’ve learned, but what if the grading system were less about beating the person next to you, and more about the student’s and the person next to him’s mutual achievement?
Technology is changing our workplaces, but it is changing our education system at a much slower pace, Downey paraphrases Huett. Huett refers to the education system as a factory model that puts students on a conveyor belt at medium speed.
The workplaces of yesteryear had few innovators. To compete globally as a nation, innovation has to be encouraged at the earliest stage of life possible. Technology can make education more productive, and, perhaps, more interesting to students.
How refreshing it would be for educators to have more students in their classroom who WANT to be there? The jobs of the future will be less repetitive, less duplicative and more innovative – no matter the level a person works in an organization. Workers will relish the mutual success with those around them. It will be work, but it will seem less like WORK. Why can’t school be work, but seem less like SCHOOL?


Jody Reeves, 53, dreams of starting a neighborhood seafood shop in Atlanta.
Will she fulfill her dream?
Research shows that the number of Baby Boomers starting businesses is increasing, according to a report by David Markiewicz, a business writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His report was published Sunday, Dec. 9. 2012.
Mind you, most businesses are still being launched by 20-somethings or 30-somethings. But those in the older set, who decades ago looked forward putting their feet up, collecting a pension and relaxing, are launching businesses by increasing numbers. Markiewicz quotes figures from the Kauffman Foundation, which says the number of people 50 and older launching businesses has increased every year in each of the last 10 years.
Also, Markiewicz reports, the percentage of new entrepreneurs ages 55 to 64 has grown to 20.9 percent as of 2011, from 14.3 percent in 1996.
What’s behind this trend? There is a combination of dreams and realities at work here.
For some, starting a business has been a lifelong dream that had to be postponed for years because they needed a steady income to raise families. Back when the 50-somethings were in their 20s, starting a business was risky. Having a job was not nearly as risky. One tends to be risk-averse when security is there for the taking.
In this economy, however, there are new realities. Having a job is more risky than starting a business. Companies are outsourcing tasks to avoid hiring people. So, instead of doing a task for a company as an employee, the company can hire you as a contractor to accomplish the same thing. No guaranteed salary and benefits to pay. No sick pay. No pension contributions. No disability payments.
Some Baby Boomers have found themselves out of a job, but not ready, able or eligible to retire. They have had to start over at the back end of their careers. They are starting businesses out of necessity, and hoping they can succeed.
According to Markiewicz’s report, Reeves doesn’t know whether her seafood shop will ever become a reality. “ Some days, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I can do this.’ Other days, I think I might just be better off to go work at Target,” Markiewicz quotes her.
There are a few considerations for anyone of any age when thinking about starting a business. First, do you have what it takes to make it through the launch phase, which could take years, before you see anything resembling a steady profit? Rule of thumb: if you need a paycheck tomorrow, this might not be for you – at least not now.
Secondly, patience and perseverance are essential. If you are the type to try something that may not work initially, then give up on it, starting a business may not be for you.
Thirdly, if you’d love to ditch your boss – if you haven’t already been ditched — but don’t know what you would do instead, visit There are lots of ways to make money without having a job. This is one of the best. If you are intrigued, you might think about getting set up BEFORE you have to, so that when you are shown the door, or when you can’t take it anymore, you can walk out with a smile because you’ve prepared for it.
Putting one’s feet up in retirement is a nice thought. But, to paraphrase poet Robert Burns and novelist John Steinbeck, the best laid plans may not come to fruition, through no fault of yours. Speaking “Of Mice and Men,” getting out of the rat race before the rats win is the best thing anyone can do.
Don’t wait until you’ve lost the race. Take a little time now to prepare so that the rats can only THINK that they’ve won. You will know something the rats don’t know.


The Libra horoscope for Dec. 8, 2012, read: “Don’t waste time speculating about how you would perform in other circumstances. Focus instead on the circumstances you’re in now.”
That horoscope was published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Not everyone takes horoscopes seriously, of course. But this one has a resonating message.
It makes one think about the difference between wishes and dreams.
A wish is something you want, but usually can’t get. A wish is usually something that depends on circumstances to come true.
A dream is something a person can ACHIEVE, regardless of circumstances, if he really wants it.
A dream is usually something a person creates, along with the way he’s going to achieve it.
Circumstances are none of your business. You can’t control most circumstances. Circumstances result from things that happen beyond your sphere of influence. What takes place in your sphere of influence is how you react to the circumstances around you.
For the last three years, the economy has been in the pits. Lots of folks lost jobs. Some still have not gotten new ones. Others have gotten new ones, but at far less than they were earning before they lost their original job.
Jobs are circumstances. They do not belong to the job holder. There is no entitlement to work. Jobs will come and go, through no fault of the job holder. Some will never come back, either to the job holder or anyone else.
Job holders can’t wish for time to go backward. They have to deal with new realities. They have to face the fact that the job that took care of their lives and families is gone. It would be the same as if a hurricane, or other natural disaster, wiped out one’s livelihood, home or entire town. You may have known it was coming, but you never really know how bad it’s going to be until it hits YOU.
Most circumstances, like the weather, are beyond your control. When a boxer faces his opponent in the ring, he knows he’s going to get hit. He can do a lot of things to prevent himself from getting hurt, but he can’t prevent everything. And, he certainly can’t prevent his opponent from swinging at him.
We all face certain circumstances. We can’t wallow in the misery, and expect to come out better. We have to DO something to make things better. We have to acknowledge what has happened, but not be paralyzed by it. We must look at the bad, yet see the good – or potential good – of any circumstance.
If you face tough economic circumstances, solutions are all around you. You just have to look for them. Lost your job? There are many ways to make money WITHOUT having a job, and regardless of education or background. To check out one of the best ways, visit
If you face tough circumstances, think of all that is good in your life. Let those thoughts dominate your mind. Don’t wish for things to be better. Do what you need to do to make them better. Don’t wish for circumstances to be different. You can’t control them. Establish a dream, write it down, and go about achieving it. If you focus on that, after a while, circumstances won’t matter to you. Circumstances can take away your job, home, possessions and surroundings. They cannot take away your dream.
It’s been said to focus on the things you can control. You can’t control most circumstances. You can control how you respond to them.


Adult triplets all coming home to live with Mom and Dad? Really?
Sounds farfetched, but Procter & Gamble, playing off its Tide detergent ad on the amount of laundry three infant triplets generate, has a relatively new Tide ad with the amount of laundry three ADULT triplets, who’ve moved back home with Mom and Dad, generate.
Though the ad may be effective in advertising detergent, it begs the question: what is the likelihood that ALL THREE adult triplets would be so down and out as to move back home? Better yet, what is the likelihood that Mom and Dad would almost playfully work together to wash their adult kids’ clothes? In fairness to Mom and Dad, they want the kids gone – not because they don’t love them, but they NEED to be on their own.
Parents who’ve raised triplets, and perhaps other kids, look forward to that empty nest when the kids are grown. They want to still see them, but they don’t necessarily want them living back home. If you are a parent, would you welcome your, say, 30-year-old still living with you? If you are the 30-year-old, do you want to be living with Mom and Dad?
In recent years, with the number of job losses etc., parents have been a fallback for younger adults whose lives were suddenly changed. The young person can save on rent, perhaps even food and other living expenses, by hanging home. But as much as parents may not want this arrangement, the young person shouldn’t want it either.
For many, getting out of the house to live on one’s own is a goal as a young person. Parents, meanwhile, undoubtedly look forward to lives they’ve never been able to live while raising children. When the economy is going well, everyone should be happy with their own independence.
The unintended consequence of the economic downturn is the number of people who lose their independence. Mom and Dad could disallow their child or children to move back in, but most parents have never gone through what these young people are going through. They’ve never seen so many young careers threatened by forces their children can’t control.
The good news for children is they have time to recover. Presumably, the triplets in the Tide ad are all single. Matters get really complicated if the adult children have spouses and families themselves. It also gets really complicated for the person who is close to retirement, but not quite there yet. Their unexpected lack of work may sentence them to an extension of their work life, in some fashion.
Add to that the trend of companies refusing to hire those who have been unemployed a while, and you have the makings of a very slow recovery. Meanwhile, those who want to be independent – parents and adult children – can’t be in many cases.
What to do? If you are indeed forced to move back home with Mom and Dad, don’t stick them with your laundry or any other life chore. Live as if you were on your own. Sure, you can eat meals together, but if you don’t eat at the appointed family time, make your own meals.
If you are indeed unemployed, and are looking for an income source, visit This is among the better of the many ways out there to earn income, without having a traditional job. If you already have a job, don’t presume it will always be there. Check out other ways to make money – and save money, too.
If you are a parent and have adult kids at home, you, too, can buy into this venture and have your kids work with it. That may hasten their independence, and yours.
Having kids around is great. Many parents whose kids they never see would relish having their children home – for a time. But, after a while, they will want them to go to their own homes. The kids, after a while, should want that, too.