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Showing posts from March, 2011

Technology Obsession

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I’ve been in the technology business for over 25 years and during that time have seen massive change occur.  I can remember the first time I experienced word wrap on a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer – I was in awe when it automatically wrapped around to the next line. All I knew at the time was having to pull the lever on a manual type writer to perform a carriage return. I remember programming an Apple II to view data in a spreadsheet format from a floppy drive.  I designed the program (we call them “Apps” today) to dynamically adjust and wrap the data fields as needed – it was amazing (at the time).  I wrote “Apps” on a DEC VAX 780 dumb terminal that drew custom screens and forms for data input and manipulation.  I was the master of my technology…  Okay, I’m getting all nostalgic here… :-)Back in the day, most people didn’t interact much with technology unless their job required it somehow.  Today, technology invades our lives.  People line up over night to buy the next big thing wheth…

Educated Citizen

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It’s encouraging to see an increase in discussion and blogging (eg, Steve Wheeler’s writing on 2020 curriculum, classrooms, and learners) about what learning might look like in 2020, 2030, 2040, etc.  Also, people are talking more about what students need to know, not just what they need to be able to do.  Education reform is alive and well on many people’s minds.  Here in British Columbia we call it “21st Century Learning” or “Personalized Learning” or both.  With the speed of change we seem to be experiencing in society, perhaps education reform should just be a continuous evaluative piece for school systems rather than some big (scary) change event.Our Student Leadership Council recently organized an evening event called World CafĂ© UshapED.  I was invited by their executive to participate, it was a pleasant surprise and an honor to be counted among the invited guests to observe and document these 100+ excited students giving up an evening to brainstorm the (their) future.  Here’s t…

Technology Powered Meetings

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A colleague of mine, a school principal, recently asked if I could think about how we might better engage people in school staff meetings and District meetings.  In particular we talked about how staff currently use their mobile devices or laptops, either covertly, or overtly but often for purposes unrelated to the meeting.  Believe it or not, meetings still most often are sage on the stage productions where a person broadcasts information to the meeting attendees.  Probably never happens to you, right?!!?  We’re making people suffer and spending a lot of money to run our meetings.  Don’t get me wrong, meetings have a place, people need to be informed and connected, but there must be a better way…Here’s a list of meeting practices that I think should be discontinued…Presentations that consist of slide after slide of bullet points or large blocks of text that a speaker readsBroadcasting informationBanning the use of technologyPacked agendas with little interaction time for participants…

Students versus Watson, What is Worth Knowing?

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I was sitting in a School Board meeting recently watching an interactive presentation by some middle school students and their school librarian.  They were showing our school trustees how the Battle of the Books competition worked.  Kids are given a list of books to read and then they are involved in a Jeopardy style competition to answer questions based on content from the books.  It seems like a great motivator to get kids reading and remembering.  I am a voracious reader myself so anything that motivates kids to read, in my opinion, is a good step.The students were in teams of three and lined up on either side of a table with their teacher-librarian playing the role of Alex Trebek asking the questions.  Each student had a bell to ring in with when they felt able to answer a question.  Two trustees were asked to be judges to determine which student / team rang in first for a given question.  I was impressed with the speed at which the students were able to jump in with correct answe…