Thursday, January 25, 2007

"It's not about the technology" -

I came across a great posting at titled "It's not about the Tehcnology". I liked the way Ben explores his ideas on this topic. While this is not a new idea, the posting is honest and reflects a thoughful educator who has their priorities straight (IMHO). I responded on the site.

I hope you like it.

jim :-)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Generation WE

I have heard of Digital Natives and Millenials but....

Here is an article
on the current 11 and unders now known as Generation WE!

This is a generation of kids with parents that are just as tech savvy as they are. This is an nteresting concept. These are the kids of the Gen Xers and covers me also. We were the Pong / MTV (when their used ot be music videos) generation.

I hope you like it. I have to get back to my Duran Duran album.

Jim :-)

PULSE lap top posting -- response

Ron Canuel has produced a clever posting at the pulse concerning 1:1 computing. I posted the following response to see where the conversation will go. Hopefully we can get a debate rolling at The Pulse.

-------------------- the post below------------------

Let me play the "pencils advocate" for a moment. (A role I am unfamiliar with.) While I found this posting entertaining, I think it still didn't address the reasons why 1:1 computing is so powerful. You refer to research on the topic briefly. You state, "The research on laptops has clearly indicated that, as in any educational tool (I refer to pens, texts, lab materials, paper), integration is the key." Sure, but integrating a pencils costs five cents. Is this not significant in a real-world of shrinking education budgets? (by shrinking I mean the portion of the budget used for instructional materials)

Send us the research links in your next posting. These would go a long to quieting your critics.

Here are some thoughts from a typical (fictional) tax payer.

1) "I had some great learning experiences that were engaging and fun without the use of lap tops. Shouldn't we use the money for staff development for better instructional methods and more hands-on experiences for the kids, or maybe we can use the money to reduce class size which should clearly improve achievement instead?

2) I work in a high-tech industry and didn't have lap tops in my school. Why am I doing well?

These types of responses are not from people who are afraid of change or who are luddites. These are reasonable people who Tivo shows, check their Blackberries endlessly, and maintain encryption on their Wi-fi networks at home.

Also, in my experience, when teachers resist the use of technology there are often good reasons. This posting may be an example of Cuban's "exhiliration / scientific-credibility / disappointment / teacher-bashing" cycle, particularly when you turn to blaming the lesson plan for the lack of lap top success in some settings. What do you think?


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Too much technology in the classroom?

Hi All,

For what it is worth, here is another article questioning the role of technology in the classroom. It is from the BBC.

It covers the regular ground. The only unique aspect of this article is the focus on interactive white boards. I didn't realize how prevalent they were in the UK. It is amazing how consistent the opinions are on these things.

Jim :-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FETC changing hands

Hi All,

I just found out that the FETC conference has been acquired by 101 Communications. As you wil see they produce a lot of trade magazines, e newsletters and conferences. They are the T.H. E. Jounal people. I am not sure what this means for these FETC people but I hope that 101 Communications will use their talent because the FETC conference has been very popular over the years. Sure, it doesn't hurt that it is in Orlando in Winter, but anyhoo.

What do you think? is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Jim :-)

ps- My favorite FETC moment was when Todd Oppenheimer addressed an agitated crowd in (help me here) '95 or '96. This was shortly after the publication of "The Computer Delusion" article in the Atlantic monthly. It was, shall we say...... awkward.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Milgram effect and teachers.

Gary Stager has posted a great piece comparing the famous Milgram Effect experiments and the practice of teachers. It raises some really good questions about why we do what we do and whether we are being ethical in doing it. If we sense that we are doing harm how should we react? Should we fight the entrenched system, quit our jobs, close the door and do what we want?

See it here.

I posted a reactionary response to see if anyone will take the bait. :-) I do believe that teachers deserve more credit than they are given by society and to point to them as unprofessional for doing their job (as defined by their school district) is a cheap shot.

Jim :-)

Monday, January 08, 2007

How much ed tech do teachers need to know? ( a rxn)

In this Blue Skunk Blog post entitled "Just How Much do Teachers need to Know About Technology" Doug Johnson (Director of Media and Tech at the Mankato Public Schools) is concerned that ed tech trainers may need to spend more time reflecting on what is essential and avoiding what is confusing during staff development. He refers to the annoying uber-wonk, that we are all too familiar with, as the "Alpha Wolf" due to their need to flaunt their superior intellect.

While I can't argue with this idea, I do feel some reactions bubbling up from this post.

1st- Educational technology staff development should be about creating better teachers. Whether or not they know the origin of the acronym "URL" is irrelevant. Will the ed tech staff development session offer them ideas that will make them better teachers, with their specific kids, in their specific setting? This should be the ultimate assessment

2nd- Many of the frustrated reactions that teachers share via informal body language, rude comments or (in the worst case scenario) thrown objects are often the result of the disconnect of the "expert" from the classroom teacher. It isn't that they aren't organized, but it is that they really have no idea what great science, language arts, or math teaching looks or feels like...but "boy do they have a technology solution for you!" The reluctant veteran teachers are then labeled recalcitrant Luddites. Poor alpha wolf. :-(

3rd- As it relates to the "omnivore's dilemma" and the depth of knowledge necessary, I don't want a great reading teacher worrying about why the ISDN line works or the origin of Spam. I want them to have the tools they need to entrance kids with wonderful lessons that encourage them to be life long learners. This is where their focus should be, not on why the tech around them is not working.

I probably just woke up on the wrong side of the lap top. Let me know what you think.

Jim Forde :-)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Headline...."On-line Schools Slammed"

Here's the article.

This not the kind of headline you will find in an ed tech journal. While this certainly doesn't represent all on-line schools in all states, here is an excerpt from the article about the major issues facing Colorado on-line schools.

This may be a cautionary tale or an aberration. You tell me.

Jim :-)

Overall online education issues


An analysis of student data over three years found online students perform worse on state exams than their peers across Colorado, and the performance gaps are larger in middle and high school. On average, the audit found, online students' performance on state exams actually declines over time.


Five of the 12 online schools audited did not appear to comply with either state licensing requirements or with federal rules mandating teachers have completed college courses in their subjects. Hope, for example, had four licensed teachers for 1,500 students.


Colorado Department of Education officials did not follow their own monitoring rules. Despite recurring problems with online programs in four of seven school districts reviewed in the audit, state officials did not place them on academic probation.

Online schools typically said their student achievement was poor because their kids are "at risk," but there is no standard definition for that term. Some schools said their students were at risk if they had jobs or participated in rodeo programs."

IM stats from an AP-AOL poll

I thought you would find this interesting...Happy '07.

According to the AP-AOL poll: The original article was here.

-- Almost three-fourths of adults who do use instant messages still communicate with e-mail more often. Almost three-fourths of teens send instant messages more than e-mail.

-- More than half of the teens who use instant messages send more than 25 a day, and one in five send more than 100. Three-fourths of adult users send fewer than 25 instant messages a day.

-- Teen users (30 percent) are almost twice as likely as adults (17 percent) to say they can't imagine life without instant messaging.

-- When keeping up with a friend who is far away, teens are most likely to use instant messaging, while adults turn first to e-mail.

-- About a fifth of teen IM users have used IM to ask for or accept a date. Almost that many, 16 percent, have used it to break up with someone.

The original article was here.

jim :-)