Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring cleaning: e-waste

The cable drawer. Do you you have one? I have two:

It's vacation week and I've been in the mood for spring cleaning.The result? I'm down to just one cable drawer.

Where'd the stuff go?

The other day I discovered the Best Buy recycling kiosk where you can get rid of old CDs/DVDs, rechargeable batteries, plastic bags and...cables!

Read the fine print

Can I trust Best Buy with my junk? You're probably wondering what this could possibly mean. It means: do they do the right thing with my e-waste and the answer is yes, they do. If you visit and look for Best Buy Recycling Standards you can read all about the recycling process and the Recycling Partners . There are three listed on the site:
Of course I was compelled to do my due diligence and review each of the partners guidelines and policies. The findings: all three partners are R2 (Responsible Recycling) certified and then some. In a nutshell this means that e-waste will be broken down in a manner that complies with health and safety standards with minimal environmental impact. If you love factory tours check out this live stream video of the electronics breakdown process.

More stuff

In addition to the recycling kiosk that can be found at the store entrance, Best Buy also accepts larger items in the store. Check out the recycling FAQ for more information specific to each state. Here in NH e-waste recycling at Best Buy  is free, but there is a limit of up to three items per day.

I love the spring and fall  Small Dog Electronics e-waste events, but now I've found the perfect solution for all of those in-between cleaning binges.


Monday, April 23, 2012

A B C, easy as 1 2 3

Apologies, Fans, this is not going to be about the 1970 number-one hit song by the Jackson 5.

It's not about restaurants either. The menu discussed below is a menu on a web site or in a software application.

It's about Hick's Law. From Wikipedia:
Hick's Law, named after British psychologist William Edmund Hick, or the Hick–Hyman Law (for Ray Hyman), describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has...Hick's Law is sometimes cited to justify menu design decisions...if the list is alphabetical and the user knows the name of the command, he or she may be able to use a subdividing strategy that works in logarithmic time.

What does this mean in English?

Because the human brain often seeks known patterns, putting the menu items on our new school web sites in alphabetical order intuitively made perfect sense to me even before I knew about Hick's Law. If a visitor to our web site is looking for a classroom teacher (s)he may intuit that there will be a staff list somewhere in the navigation menu. If the staff menu item joins the other menu items in alphabetical order , it will be easier for the visitor to locate the needed information.

Seeking patterns: classroom implications

Beyond the simplicity of putting menu items in alphabetical order, teachers can put more complex pattern seeking opportunities to work to support deeper learning for students as described in this article in ASCD's Classroom Leadership: Patterns, the Brain, and Learning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Red Leaf is useful!

Red leaf is useful! Especially when it comes bound together by those green velcro-like bands.Anise is pretty useful too. No further explanation needed!