Bringing Your School Up To Date with the Right Software Package

cmms softwareIt is a sad fact of US public schools that many of the facilities are in need of major overhauls and upgrades.

Several studies have shown that a staggering 69% of schools nationwide have not seen renovations since the 1990s or before. That statistics applies to both infrastructure upgrades, as well as technological ones.

How are we supposed to adequately teach our children how to be successful in the 21st century, if our schools are stuck back in the 20th century. Not to mention that many of the educational practices were derived in the 18th and 19th centuries, but that’s a separate issue altogether!

Regardless of where you live, it should be absolutely essential that your school is upgraded to function and prosper in the information age. Here’s what to do.

Update Your CMMS

CMMS, which stands for computer maintenance management system, is a set of software programs that are designed to help organizations track, manage, and improve their processes.

In businesses, this could be used for inventory management and order processing software, while in non profit and government institutions the uses can vary from managing personnel to repairs.

In fact, managing the facility is the number one reason to engage a sophisticated CMMS system. The right software can help anyone with access, whether a teacher, principal, or other administrator, to enter the needed repair or replacement work to be done, with details on the project, schedule it’s execution with in-house staff or an external, integrated contractor, and then complete the work in a streamlined and efficient way.

As our buildings age, there’s no need for the technology to age with it. Because most CMMS systems are actively managed by third-party companies, the right platform will stay up to date and consistent with changing trends in technology and the organizational’s needs.

That makes it a win-win, and is generally a cost effective way to improve school management services.

For more information about CMMS and its primary uses in schools and other non-profit organizations, watch the video below, which addresses the basics of what CMMS is and how it can be applied to make your organization more efficient and cost-effective when it comes to maintenance repair costs.

The Worldwide Phenomenon of the Harry Potter Books and Movies

A Brief Introduction to  JK Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

harry potter introIn the year 1997, the first book of seven in the Harry Potter series was released, after much work by single mum JK Rowling. The popularity of the books increased with each new release, and the subsequent eight movies delighted fans and hooked new ones into the magical world southeast of London and a different, magical dimension as well.

Much of the book incorporates roots from early languages, which helps to give the book more appeal for everyone. For example, the word mundungus means tobacco which smells poor. The character with this name is continually smoking in the books.

In one sense, it is a battle between good and evil.In addition to the overall story arch of Harry and Voldemort facing a battle where only one can survive, each book has an engaging plot with subplots and twists along the way. Both of these keep readers and viewers returning and has built up an incredibly strong and vocal fan base.

Each novel is based upon the school year, so it is an exploration of life in a wizarding boarding school, something which his parents had put money aside for before their tragic deaths at the hands of Voldemort while toddler-aged Harry watched in horror. However, the death curse which he had thrown at Harry was blocked by his mother, Lily. She died and Voldemort disappeared while Harry cried helplessly.

Though Voldemort had disappeared, it is revealed in the first book and movie that he is not completely dead either. The complex turns that allow this to occur are among the fascinatingly detailed journey that Harry and his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, go through in this series. She released three additional books that are discussed within the series, adding to the pleasure for those who enjoy wizarding tales.

You can grab a copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone audio or The Goblet of Fire mp3 from one of the best Harry Potter resource sites around, Harry Potter Audio Books, or get the full book series free from Slideshare.

For more information have a listen to this great conversation between author JK Rowling and actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry throughout the entire 8 movies.

 

The Literary Themes of the Two Towers

Understanding JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy

two towers book coverThe Two Towers is a part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien.

It is an interesting book that covers several complex and deep topics. The primary topic that it looks at is the decay of civilization. Middle Earth was a world of nobility and peaceful living, but the realms that were once beautiful are now barren and desolate. The landscape is bleak, and the people are less hospitable too. The threat from Sauron has had a massive impact on the world even before the battles really start.
Another important theme is the value of fellowship. This is a concept that begins as early as the first book in the series, including The Hobbit, and is expanded throughout the trilogy. Get the Hobbit audiobook to learn more.

The group that bands together to take on the task of destroying the ring is a disparate one, and while there is no official leader, Gandalf is depicted as the most powerful, and the one that others look up to. There are moments when the fellowship is tested, but their kindness, respect and camaraderie are what sets them apart from the bad guys of the book.
Duty is perhaps the last of the key themes. This is perhaps shown by the way that the hobbits are depicted in the book. They are easy-going creatures, and they face a lot of challenges along the way, but they manage to resist their nature, and push on even when they would rather be elsewhere. Remember, it is often mentioned that hobbits donít like adventure ñ but it is shown in every title that when adventure is thrust upon them, they can rise to the challenge.
Boromir is depicted as an ally that became a traitor ñ testing the strength of the fellowship, and setting the tone for the rest of the book. No-one is above suspicion, and    Sauronís threat has made people all over Middle Earth wary of strangers.  This makes the task of the Fellowship harder than it should be.

Learn more about Lord of the Rings themes from SparkNotes. For the musical themes of the work, see the video below.

The Latest In The Game of Thrones Series

song of ice and fire booksIn case you’ve been asleep for the last couple of years, the popular book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, more commonly known as A Game of Thrones, has taken the world by storm.

The series is a great read for anyone looking for an entertaining, quasi-historical fantasy story that takes you through a Middle Ages meets Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter style work.

It’s no wonder this series is popular, since it combines the best of several other popular series, with epic adventures and quests to a few magical players and a mysterious dark evil that is threatening to descend upon the world.

The real magic of the series, though, isn’t in its pure entertainment, but its broad appeal and ability to capture on a number of important themes.

There are warring factions within the kingdom of Westeros, external threats to the throne as an exiled heiress seeks to gain power and reclaim her family’s dynasty, and incursions from the North as the savage settlers beyond the wall seek refuge from a force about which after 5 books, little is known.

Though the novels are 100% fiction and fantasy, they do have a base in reality, with a loose allusion to England’s War of the Roses, when the death of a King triggered internal battles, weakening the nation according to historic familial rivalries among lords and various claims to the throne, and drawing outside forces to attack, taking advantage of the civil war.

Get The Books

Currently, there are five published books in the Song of Ice and Fire series:

  1. A Game of Thrones
  2. A Storm of Swords
  3. A Clash of Kings
  4. A Feast for Crows
  5. A Dance with Dragons

Book 6, The Winds of Winter, is scheduled to be released this spring, along with the latest installment of the popular television series, produced by HBO. The series has, thus far, followed the books with one season for each of the published works. This year’s airing is scheduled to debut season 6 before the release of the 6th novel.

You can get access to any of the published books from a variety of retailers, but I’ve found the cheapest is Walmart. Click here to order.

You might also consider downloading an audio version of the works, as these are great novels to listen to in the car or during other down time, with an mp3 or stream to your iphone. Visit http://agameofthronesaudiobook.com for a free audio of the latest book in the series.

The Role of Policy in Education

ken robinsonAs self-proclaimed educational activists, here at AMC Insitutions we believe that there can and should be a strong role for policy in education.

At its best, sound educational policy can provide the backbone for educational practices across the country and around the world, and it can have a major impact on not just the quality of education our children receive, but also impact their life trajectories and be a solid foundation for their future success.

At its worst, however, policy can leave schools, teachers, and students wanting and even confused. With many teachers designing their classroom schedules soley around small aspects of the curriculum covered in standardized tests, it can reduce the effectiveness of the class as a whole.

In this video, we hear some great insights from Sir Ken Robinson, an English author and advisor on governmental policy for education and the arts.