Thursday, May 25, 2006

Should we all "get over"

Hi All,

In an article for titled, "Guess Why They Call It MySpace? It's time for adults to grow up" Gary Stager makes the case that all of us need to basically "chill-out".

He states, "Dependency and fear retard the learning process. It is difficult, if not impossible, for students to develop moral values and solve ethical dilemmas when school never allows them to make a decision or mistake."

He also takes a stab at the ed tech community when he states, "The educational technology community has a similar level of paranoia manifest in discussions over whether students should have their own floppy, be allowed to save on the hard drive, surf the Web, send an e-mail or use a USB key. It is impossible to discern the lines between genuine safety concerns and tyranny."

I've had the pleasure of learning from Gary in person. His creative and important work has demonstrated his concern for kids. I think that he makes some very good points. They are at least worth mulling over, after you take a deep breath.

If you don't agree with me I'll simply take you out of my "top 8". So there.

Jim :-)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Is tech injuring children?

In an article on C/, by Stephanie Olson, she explores this question.

My gut tells me that most kids probably won't suffer RSI injuries due to gaming or computer use. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be more concerned about ergonomics in classroom/lab computer use or in game design. I know for a fact that my computer lab was not ergonomically designed and that the line of sight to the monitor and the posture of the kids while working was not ideal. (To say the least!)

I have come across articles concerning black-berry related injuries and since 1998 we have have been apparently concerned about "Nintendo Thumb". (I kid you not.)

Stephanie points to some real data that suggests that prolonged use of bad computer habits could ultimately result in RSI injuries. This is definitely something for ed tech enthusiasts to be aware of and concerned about.

Jim :-)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Let's get freaky with Ed Tech

HI All,

Ok, that was a bizarre title but I just finished the book Freakonomics. You are going to want to want this book. I haven't been this intrigued since I read Tipping Points! Do I agree with everything I read in the book? No. But it is the the approach that dictates that you question conventional wisdom that I love!

We may all assume things about educational technology that are wrong, simply because it has been said a lot and it is a comfortable conclusion. We need to figure out what these things are and start thinking differently.

We also need to start thinking about unconventional connections to the topic of ed tech and student achievement. For example, we always relate free and reduced lunch to test scores or the way in which tech is used with kids in schools. What if started asking stranger questions? What if asked about the relationship of appropriate ed tech use in a school to things like the amount of team planning that exists or the way it is used? Or the connection to the existence of an achievement gap or the number of suspensions? Or the connection to the quality of the bulletin boards or the amount of on task behavior in class?

You see what I'm getting at? If you don't, you will after reading Freakonomics. I say we all start getting freaky and find the unconventional wisdom that will improve our use of ed tech with kids.

Jim :-)

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Hi All,

I just discovered an award winning podcast for ed tech enthusiasts called,

As I wrote to Mark Gura of Fordham University.....

"I really enjoyed PFT #37. I am going to be sure to direct people to your podcast from my .

As a past NYC teacher (Dist 11- I student taught in Dist 10), Yonkers native, and a Manhattan College graduate I take pride in the fact that our neighborood is getting people think about ed tech in meanngful ways."

Keep innovating in the Bronx! You got a problem with that?

Jim :-)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Getting There by Alan Warhaftig

Read Alan's Ed Week piece. If you haven't registered at Ed Week it now. :-)

Here he questions the vaildity of Marc Prensky's "21st Century Tools". He also gives it to, "vendors who shamelessly hype potential not evident in actual products—urging schools, meanwhile, to buy what’s available today, so American students won’t fall behind."

Isn't it disturbing that we are still asking the same questions about the integration of educational technology that we were asking in the late 80's? Isn't it disappointing that a typical classroom (I'm talking about a REAL public school classroom where a vendor wouldn't survive 5 minutes, not the rare space mocked up for glossy ads.) has not been impacted by all of the technological advances of the last 20 years, physically or pedagogically?

Man...Alan, you really "hit a nerd" with this one.

Jim :-)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is e-mail old school?

According to my 13 year old son..."exactamundo!"

eSchool News does a great job of exploring this trend.

Kids IM every day but apparently only e-mail to transfer files or communicate with adults. That cracks me up! I have to say that this exactly mirrors my experience.


Jim :-)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A couple of Blogs to consider

Hi All

Both of these recommended blogs are created by Mike Muir. Mike is a professor of educational technology at the University of Maine at Farmington. He works with several learning with laptop initiatives and with schools on how to motivate underachievers. He is a great guy and an awesome presenter to boot. You'll like these.

The first one is ... Everyone Learns: Pedagogy, Technology and Motivation. Here you will find lengthy and meaningful postings.

The next the collective wisdom of 1-to-1 learning with technology initiatives across the country and around the world.

I know that I have posted articles that provide differing views on "laptops for schools", but THAT'S THE POINT of this blog, to get all of the ideas out there for your perusal.

Great Job Mike!

Jim :-)