Wednesday, October 26, 2005

HI All,

On the following statement prompted a response from me. PLace your reaction below! (or better yet at the link I am providing at Ed Week)

The Article

Laptops, Internet access, scanners, and video cameras can help teachers and students access information and resources quickly and easily. Digital imagery, PowerPoint presentations, and microphones create fun, interactive classrooms.

But access and ease do not equal knowledge and comprehension, according to Peter N. Berger in his Oct. 26 Education Week Commentary. In the midst of all the educational technology hype, Berger writes that we have lost sight of the basics of learning and teaching.

How effective is cutting-edge equipment in improving actual achievement? Behind all the bells and whistles, does hi-tech gear really help students learn? Tell us what you think.

I posted in response...

Hi All,

This conversation NEVER changes. (See Larry Cuban's body of work.) The bottom line always has to do with the way in which educational technology is being used to transform classroom learning. Too often technology is used to confirm and "slicken up" old ways of doing things. Jeopardy style games and blue tooth clickers (and such) are NOT what kids need. A curriculum, and related technology tools, that allow them to work in a constructivist manner and a group of teachers who are aware of technology's "power-pointless" pit-falls is what the doctor ordered!

IMHO......Jim Forde of

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Lap tops are cool but....

Hi All,

I caught an article on-line...

The Article

...that highlighted a private school's new committment to lap top use. I wrote a letter to the author. See the following.

Hi Julia,

I enjoyed the article about Santa Fe and their daring venture into the digital world. The essential question for me is, "How will education be DIFFERENT as a result of all of this new technology?" If this infusion of dollars and technology leads to a digital version of what they are already doing then it is a waste of time. For example, handing in an assignment in by e-mail, versus paper, will not lead to a difference in what is learned and how it is learned.

How is homework more meaningful? What new experiences or curricular topics can now be covered? What impact is this having on student engagement or homework completion rates? What is the metric for "success" that the school has adopted for this project? (particularly considering the other ways in which this HUGE amount of money can be spent on the students)

Thanks for the article. Keep up the good work!


Did I ask the right questions? What do you think about lap top learning? Obviously, the devil is in the details. Yes? or No?

Do you think that we have a responsibility to ask reporters to frame better questions when covering these types of stories?

Jim :-)

Friday, October 21, 2005

National Ed Tech Plan action steps

HI All,

I just took the time to read over the action steps in the National Ed Tech PLan. I thought I would react to them in the hopes that some of you would read them and share your thoughts.

There are 7 of them. Four of them are obvious. 1) encourage broadband access 2) move toward digital content 3) integrate data systems and 4) consider innovative budgeting. This doesn't mean that I think that typical school district will be able to do these anytime soon but...yes, I agree 100% with them.

"Strengthen Leadership" - This one concerns me because I don't really understand how you could become a state, district or building leader without some technological literacy. Would a town or state really consider a tecno-phobe for a leadership position in this day and age? Why is this still a necesary action step? I continue to be impressed with the incredibly creative use of technology I see being used across the country by building level principals. This is particularly true in relation to communication and management tasks. Maybe this is why I am confused as to why this is still necessary. I like the sub-bullets which encourage creative technology partnerships with the business community and including students in planning.

"Improving teacher training" - How long have we beating this drum? Why hasn't it happened yet? One misperception that many in the public have is that many veteran teachers are technophobes and the new ones are tech-saavy. MANY young teachers I have encountered were is desperate need of training in technology for their own personal productivity. The vets seem to embrace any technology that has merit and innovate with it. Often the reason that teachers, in general, aren't using it more has to do with logistics, reliability, and availability. Am I right or am I right? See Larry Cuban for more on this!!

"Supporting e-Learning" - Are we really thinking that e-Learning is going to provide meaningful educational experiences for kids? I take on-line grad courses in order to efficiently get through my degree. I have all of the independent learning skills necessary to manage that situation. Does your typical kid? I think there is a place for this but there is a very small percentage of kids who have the situation necessary to meaningfully learn in this way. (ie- AP Mandarin Chineese class for which one instructor exists in a 500-mile radius) Take a second to think of three of your most meaningful educational experiences. Could they have been easily encapsulated into an e-learning experience? It's the teachers stupid! This is an OPINION. Am I wrong? Tell me why by commenting below.

All in all...these are good action steps. I guess what bugs me is the need that still remains for some of them and the shift away from the actual and towards the virtual classroom. Could it be the ever changing nature of technology or shifting priorities at the DOE that cause this constant need? I don't know but I hope this posting evokes a response.

Jim :-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Big Brother in the Lunchroom! maybe it's big mother or big father, but did you hear about Mealpay? This allows you to track what your kids are ordering in school? Using the purchase history feature you can see which items have been purchased in the past 30 days.

The Article

Could this be a solution for the increasingly chubby U.S. student population?

What do you think? Comment below.

Jim :-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jamie's 10/05 article - The power of words

Did you catch this in jamie's piece?

"During the past two decades, schools have spent billions of dollars on new electronic technologies with the hope that these tools will live up to the impressive list of promises advanced by their makers, yet there is slim evidence that these investments have paid off in ways that approach the projections, predictions and promises of the technology lobby."

How do you feel about that? What about his other ideas in the article?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Jim :-)

I'm back!

OK...I have absolutely no excuse for being away this long. (Unless you are willing to let me blame my 8 and 13 year olds and their over-scheduled lives!)

I am going to turn over a new leaf and hope to breath some life into this blog!

Thanks for your patience with me and keep usuing the site!

Jim :-)