Showing posts from November, 2010

Students need Technology and Teachers

I had the good fortune to be invited to the staff professional development (PD) day (Nov. 26) at Gleneagle Secondary School as a speaker (you can view my presentation here ).  More importantly though, I was able to sit in on the student panel session.  Five grade 12 students were asked to speak about their use of personal technology at school and in class, in particular cell and smart phones.  Their use ranged from addiction (yes, really) to indifferent. This school staff had recently been debating the use of cell phone technology in class ( see blog post here by @bryanjack ).  I am impressed that they included student voice in their PD day.  The back and forth between the students and their teachers (and vice principals) was very open, honest, and authentic.  Teachers had an opportunity to “drill” them on how teacher policies (ban, allow, or…) for personal technology affected them.  One student admitted to being very capable of covert texting…  Overall, the key message was that cel

Overcoming the Digital Divide

Many school districts have socio-economic diversity.  I know in our District there are school communities that are very affluent and others where families are quite poor.  We also have schools where there is a diverse mix of affluent and poor families.  When technology and access to the Internet is brought into the mix, we are unfortunately faced with the Digital Divide , a canyon so to speak, between have and have not families. (photo credits: ) We, as are many other school systems, talk about how technology (laptop, netbook, mobile) will become a common school supply.  This is based on the belief that tech costs will continue to decline and families often buy game consoles that cost about what a netbook costs today.  I wonder how close we are to this becoming a reality?  One where all families have equal access to technology in their homes, connected at high speed to the vast Internet, and their children have a mobile learning devic

Thoughts on being Digitally Responsible

I wrote a post Digital Natives Need Infrastructure last spring about a visit I made to our first Digital Immersion classroom at Riverside Secondary school.  That visit and subsequent workshops with principals and IT staff on Digital Tools and Social Responsibility spawned a priority for our District to review and revise our procedures.  We need to ensure they are current and able to guide our students and employees in being responsible in their use of digital tools, services, and content.  The need for increased bandwidth is another top priority but without digitally responsible use, bandwidth on its own is not the solution to an overused network.  While writing Living and Learning Responsibly in the Digital World and then  Privacy, Living and Learning Digitally , I reflected on some examples of students not being digitally responsible.  What digital “foot print” are students leaving? (photo courtesy of ) A small team of amazing

Education for an automated future

I just got back from a short trip to Toronto, ON, Canada.  I used my iPad with my kindle reader to read some books on the way there and back.  It’s amazing that I can have 1/2 dozen books on a thin electronic slate, highlight and add notes, and later sync it up to “the cloud” for use later.  E-readers are disruptive technologies… While sitting in a cab cruising through the city, I wondered about the economy.  Actually, I think a lot about our economy these days.  I am overwhelmed with the complexity and magic that defines the economy.  Small shops on obscure streets, massive 50 story business towers, huge hotels, hospitals, government buildings, university facilities, restaurants, people walking everywhere, grid locked traffic with people coming and going, and so on.  At the airport, there are untold numbers of people going to and coming from hundreds or thousands of locations.  Some for pleasure and some for business.  Just one day in Toronto probably represents billions of dollars

Technology enabled choices for Students and Teachers

I recently had the privilege of visiting a couple of our middle school classrooms.  Our middle schools have students in grades 6-8 and they are organized into teams of approximately 120 students who share teachers for their core subjects then explore other topics or subjects with specialist teachers. One classroom I visited is led by a technology specialist teacher James Gill .  I wrote briefly about this visit in a previous post Preparing Students through Educational Futuristics .  In this classroom, James was facilitating skills development and collaboration with a variety of technical tools including discussion boards within our my43 portal and using Google Sketchup (free) to propose designs for their new school to open in 2014.  Here is James talking about the setup for the learning activity… James talks about using discussion board to brainstorm school design Emily took the lead with a topic discussing the pros and cons of Smart boards vs. White boards and shares some perspe