Sustainable Forestry Tour

I am currently taking part in the North Idaho Sustainable Forestry Tour.  Check out their Facebook page by clicking here. As we toured the Chilco Lumber Mill and the Inland Empire Paper Mill today I was struck by the amount of technology used now in these industries. At both mills most of what we saw was automated machines running things with just a few workers monitoring the computers. In both cases less than 15 people were running the entire facility.

In the image below the people you see in the lower left hand corner are those of us on the tour.  In this particular area of the mill there were only two to three workers running the entire cutting portion of the mill. There was enough lumber cut at this location to frame 4 to 5 houses an hour. The technology employed here not only cut the logs but also computed the best way to cut each individual log. Every log run through this portion of the mill was scanned by computers at least three times to ensure the best cut and optimal amount of lumber generated. This was all done with three workers. Every portion of the log is used to generate their lumber or sold to other companies to create other products. The efficiency was extremely efficient and very impressive.  This has been a very enlightening tour so far and am interested to see the actual logging tomorrow.



Technology at work in the Lumber Industry

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(Zero) Motivator or Motivation Killer

As our school posted grades for the third quarter discussion around the water cooler turned to, how do we get students to turn in work?  Our staff seemed to be divided over the use of the zero.  One camp stating that it is a motivator and provides students with accountability to complete their homework.  The opposing view was that it kills motivation for students and often makes them feel overwhelmed in school and then the student just quits all  together.  It is interesting the many different sides of grading and how people react to a simple letter.  Our staff left divided on what to do about the current situation.  One side would like to see standard based grading and removal of the traditional grading system and others felt that the current system worked and that the zero was a necessary evil.  Like learning I think that one size does not fit all but how does a school differentiate their grading system and still maintain their learning targets and objectives?  Not to mention how do you send out grades or assessment to parents with multiple systems?  I found this to be a very interesting subject that I can not really see any true solution.  So I post it here in hopes one of you would have some great insight or thoughts on this topic.  Thank you in advance for your input.

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