Educational CyberPlayGround ®

Bonnie Bracey sutton


Bonnie Bracey Sutton

23O G Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
202-285 3343

23O G Street SW
Washington, DC 20024

"Thanks to Karen Ellis, the women who runs the Educational CyberPlayGround, you have access to the wonderful resources that she has aggregated here for you." ~ Bonnie Bracey Sutton 2001


Professional Development


K-12 Member of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council

Date: July 16, 1998
While doing outreach for the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council and the White House Technology Intiative, Cyber Ed, I have been priviledged to travel America delivering the vision of technology to teachers, administrators , and community groups. One observation I would like to share is the paucity of women in technology at various levels. I have started to think about the why of this.

It is my observation that men are in many of the visible technology jobs, the tech coordinators, and planning, and that often they do not talk to the teachers they serve. They do not seem to always make the teacher's knowledge a part of the reason for the use of technology. There is merit in making the teachers feel ownership in the program. What I mean is, they do the teaching and there is little feedback or involved interchange. They seem to know , or to believe that they really know how to tell teachers how to use technology. Rudimentary things. So teachers close them up and out.

Most of the stars.. the wonderful speakers we find on the circuit are also men. Many of these men are my friends, Ian Jukes, Larry Irving,Chris Dede, David Thornburg, Sol Rockman, and and there are others, I would not give up their friendship and the wisdom, experience, ideas theyshared,imparted for anything. But conference after conference , is mostly men. Why is that?


A special support I had was that of the George Lucas Foundation. I had the special priviledge of being able to be a part of the Foundation's technology Initiative as an advisory member. I had the friendship of Patty Burness.

During the dark days, I had that appointment as an amulet and a talisman to help me when things went bump in the dark, and people attacked me for using technology ( Learn and Live. )I returned from one of the meetings to find my technology, teaching supplies and materials in a mountainous pile with a transfer to another room, but I could smile, I knew
that I was too far ahead.. and so I did it with a smile. I moved and I persevered. What do others do? I had a national appointment to cushion me.

*As a Christa McAuliffe Educator, I had the NEA and its resources, and funding to learn. I had David Wallace to help me find powerful pedagogical models.

*As a project participant, I had NASA , National Geographic, Earthwatch, and other software companies let me learn. Who supports the regular classroom teacher ?

As a member of the NII, I had the attention of powerful people. What I did and what I said mattered to them. I had clout.

What support do pioneers have? Do even their families understand?


Teachers need find real classroom pioneers who have stories to tell too, like Marilyn Schlief, Gail Morse, Misty Brave, Carmen Gonzales, and Kathy Schrock. It is important to have their campfire stories recorded and told, and Gwen Solomon helps with the Well Connected Educator to keep the stories. Campfire stories should also be in a book for those who aren't even remotely connected.Then they can catch the heat , and warmth of the sagas of the pioneers.

When I look around at powerful women I find that references to their work are few and far between. Kathleen Fulton, Laurie Maak, Leni Donlan, Esther Dyson, Linda Roberts, Lynn Forester, Susan Herman, Gail Lovely, are friends and people who are visible but where are the women, the rest of them on the lecture circuit, doing the demonstrations of technology? We certainly are majority of the teachers in America. But women do more than teach and women can use technology .

It cannot be a given that we who teach cannot do the technology. I believe there is a reason that there are fewer women in technology but, I do not know all of the answers. Nora Sabelli of the NSF/OSTP thinks that we need to pass along the pedagogy. It is my concern that pedagogy is the last thing taught, and that models of teaching and learning are not taught, but how to use the computer and how to use software sometimes of dubious choice.


I like the NFIE project which probed teachers about their learning
"To improve schools we must focus on the teachers," said Judith RÈnyi, executive director of the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, (NFIE) in releasing this report .
Teachers Take Charge of Their Learning "Schools can only be as good as the teachers in them. This is something that all other so-called 'reform efforts' have missed. It's what teachers know and can do that will make the difference in improved student performance."

That organization is also under the leadership of a capable woman. When I am on the road, I learn that most teachers have little or no knowledge of the documents, and kinds of support they can get. People keep giving us lesson plans, and more websites, but what we need is applications of pedagogy. These should be delivered up close and personal. A website to a techno-terrifed teacher is of NO significance.The website can be a wonderful link after teachers have developed a vision for driving technology into their personal school tool armature.

If we look at the way in which people are attracted to technology, there are several routes, courses, games, mentoring, and use at school that entice people to use technology. Most of these are male oriented. I won't even
mention the macho of most computer stores.

They know you want a computer.. and they still are mixed in response with shoddy customer service. It is a trip to go.

1. To buy a computer, is an ordeal. If the seller can, they will guide you to their choice even if you tell them what environment you are working in, they don't understand the educational world. They talk down to teachers and most importantly, do not seem to know anything about the educational buys. That is another hour in the store if they will acknowledge the process.

Even if you do your research on the internet , talking about an educational buy in the store causes one more hour of waiting that is about the bundling. The long and lonely pursuit of a computer purchase is not a wonderful experience for the novice.

2. So you have the computer. The pursuit of peripherals is another journey.Cameras, scanners, CUSEE ME who wrote the directions for that stuff. Arrrgh. Heck, just finding out where to get the darn batteries for the laptop of your choice is mildly interesting . The store that so quickly accepted your money, seems to be deaf. Batteries? What those? Huh? Send for them on the internet. Why?

3. The computer stores ought to give out a free coupon, to any of or some of the computer magazines,and resources.They could learn from the makeup counters...I guess they feel you gotta come to them so they are usually rude and distant. Only men would stand in line forever. IF the marketing genius of the Makeup Fashion industry had a Computer salon they would take a use profile. They would use the computer in some way while they talked to you and give you a print out.. There would be a special person you could call. As new merchandise came in, they would give you a call and offer to demonstrate it to you. A few pictures, some concrete examples. Really. And a bag full of sample disks, and coupons.

"Wired" Recently AOL statistics showed an increase of women on the net.

According to Adam Clayton Powell III/World Center statistics show that the net was predominantly white and male just two years ago, the Internet is now used by men and women almost equally, and the racial composition of Web users now mirrors almost exactly the general population of the United States.

Those are among findings of a new survey by the Harris Survey Unit of Baruch College published in an article by David Birdsell, an associate professor at Baruch, and three colleagues in the April/May issue of The Public Perspective, using data collected last winter.

The Web has grown from 13 million U.S. adult users in the fall of 1995 to more than 58 million adults this winter, which means 30% of U.S. adults are now online.

The biggest changes were in the sex and race demographics of those online: Men outnumbered women by more than 3:1 in September 1995, but last winter 44% of active Web users were women.

The racial composition of U.S. Web users by last winter was 75% white and 19% African-American and Latino, which Birdsell's article described as "statistically indistinguishable from Census data for the general population."So there are some changes but I am talking about the technology from producer , to distance educator, to project director to webmaster, to content specialist to the consumer.

How Many Teachers Use Technology?
A recent ETLS survey shows these points...
Connecting Teachers and Technology

" Research shows that helping teachers learn how to integrate technology into the curriculum is a critical factor for the successful implementation of technology applications in schools. Most teachers have not had the education or training to use technology effectively in their teaching. Only 15 percent of U.S. teachers reported having at least nine hours of training in education technology in 1994."

(It is also a sad fact that most of the teachers taking these courses are not getting courses that really help them with what they want to do. Using technology is a series of steps, and learnings that transform people's individual teaching styles. That is not usually what the courses are made of. The courses are usually techniques for the use of technology.)

"In 18 states, teacher education students do not need courses in educational technology to obtain a teaching license. Only 16 percent of teachers currently use telecommunications for professional development. Research on the adoption of innovations in schools consistently points to the key role of administrators in successful implementation. "

(The variable of acceptance of administrators depends on their understanding of the technology, what a learner should look like as they learn, and what the test scores should be. Administrators are even less likely to understand the pedagogy which involves instructional technology because of their lack of experience with it or accountable research that makes them feel comfortable with a pioneering teacher. Many administrators, gladly accept Title One or other government projects but do not accept project based learning or use of integrated use of the internet in technology as a part of the learning landscape.)

"Effective staff development for teachers should take advantage of telecommunications technologies that allow teachers to interact with each other, take online courses, and easily access the latest research in their discipline."

It is also interesting that many technology gifted people cannot understand the job of the classroom teacher. I believe it is because, they know technology well but the pedagogy is lacking. The experience in the classroom is taken lightly. There are skilled teacher workers who know the roadmap to create a learning landscape.

A recent report from NCATE shared these observations on teaching in America. Getting America's Students Ready for the 21st.

"Despite the technology changes in society, being a teacher in American schools too often consists of helping children and youth acquire information from textbooks and acting as an additional source of expertise. Teachers are provided role models of this approach to teaching from kindergarten through graduate school; their teacher education courses provide hints for making textbook-oriented instruction interesting and productive, and as teaching interns, they both observe and practice instruction based upon mastering information found in books."

"Teachers may be forgiven if they cling to old models of teaching that have served them well in the past. All of their formal instruction and role models were driven by traditional teaching practices. Breaking away from traditional approaches to instruction means taking risks and venturing into the unknown. But this is precisely what is needed at the present time."

How must teachers adapt to take advantage of technology for instruction?

New Understandings

Teachers need to understand the deep impact technology is having on society as a whole: how technology has changed the nature of work, of communications, and our understanding of the development of knowledge.

New Approaches

Today, teachers must recognize that information is available from sources that go well beyond textbooks and teachers - mass media, communities, etc. and help students understand and make use of the many ways in which they can gain access to information. Teachers must employ a wide range of technological tools and software as part of their own instructional repertoire.

Professional Development? Is it often a joke? Workshop? Please NOOOOOO!

There are other problems. Who instructs the teachers who are already in the classrooms? I could make you laugh and cry when we talk about learning to use technology. I believe that there are in school systems, men and women teaching teachers to use technology. I believe the point here is the problem of whether they are teaching technology, or using pedagogy to help teachers learn to integrate it into their practice. Techhead vs Egghead? I dunno. I like flashy fun stuff, but I want results and evaluations. So do parents.

Professional Development for Teachers

The incorporation of technology in the classroom affects the learning landscape of a the classroom. As the classroom structure changes, teachers must receive professional development to help them incorporate these new technologies in an effective and beneficial way. Often times, educators must overcome several sets of obstacles to accomplish integration of technology in the classroom. Some of these are: Lack of Vision - What are the possibilities? Lack of Pedagogical Models - Where is the model that can be used as an example to make this work? Lack Restrictions on Time that is required to incorporate it into use; Lack of technical support - download this, scan that, Lack of Administrator understanding for the transformation of learning? Who is supporting the pioneer? Lack of incentives to continue learning. Why bother at all when? Lack of developemnt of stakeholders so that parents, libraries and communities work together to have a successful integration. Lack of understanding of where community resources can be located?


  • Establish the vision of what's possible with the use of technology as a tool in education
  • Establish the pedagogy that energizes the transformation of education
  • Raise the level of awareness of national initiatives and methodology for unconnected school populations
  • Create a support system for educators and administrators, providing resources, research and readiness with virtual support
  • To successfully implement the vision, which incorporates technology in learning, the formation of a partnership between the Family, School and Community is not only vital but a necessity. As stated by The Partnership for Family Involvement in Education, "Better Education is everybody's business.

San Francisco Women on the Web Top 25 Women on the Net

Bonnie L. Bracey, <> an Arlington teacher, is a member of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Commission - Department of Commerce. She attended Saint Joseph Parochial School in Alexandria , Virginia( it was a mission school for coloreds). She graduated from Virginia State University , and did graduate work at Marymount in Science Education, and is currently working as an assistant to Chris Dede, at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

She is a former Christa McAuliffe Educator, National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, NEA, a PAEMST Winner, Science ( Virginia), a Challenger Fellow , and a NASA Newest Winner. She has considerable experience in thematic teaching.

Advisory Boards:

George Lucas Advisory Board since 1992
Lightspan Partnership 1994
Apple Advisory Board 1995
Technos Advisory Board
Learning Company Advisory Board

Highlights of Career

Participation in the National Geographic Summer Institute 1988.
Workshop on Water 1993 Owens Valley Ca. Summer Seminar
Hayes -Fulbright Seminar/ India 22 cities and cultural/geography study 1987
Secretary , Virginia Geographic Alliance, 1990 through 1994
Member NCGE, attending all conferences since 1988.
Geography book author / McGraw Hill 1989-90 / Project held for technology Forests of Bohemia,
Earthwatch Grant 1994
Earthwatch Teacher Council Member 1993


Virginia Energy Grant and course 1989 Vepco
Virginia Science Museum Leadership 1989
Earthwatch , Grant Wildcat Foundation, 1989 Deia, Marjorca , Spain
"Prehistoric Man of Marjorca"
Virginia Assocation of Science Teachers 1987 through present
Virginia Presidential Awardee 1990
Challenger Award - Challenger Center
NEWEST 1990 Langley , NASA
Carribean Mongoose, Dr. Roy Horst, Earthwatch grant, Pepco
POPS University of Virginia, Guest Lecturer, 1994
Challenger Faculty , 1991 to present, workshop facilitation and demonstrations. Young Astronaut Chapter Leader 1984-present
Earthwatch, Teacher participant award, article 1994
Earthwatch , Endangered Songbirds, Canada 1995
POPS Berkeley, Astrophysics, Lawrence Hall of Science, participant

Integrated Curriculum Projects

" Under the Microscope "television productions, Challenger Center . " AIT" Inside Out Television Project, teacher advisory and writer 1983-85 "Bread and Butterflies " AIT review board.

"Shake Hands with Shakespeare ", enrichment program with involvement of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Lecture series, Folger Teacher workshops 1983 Enrichment programs from 1983 through 1994.

"Solar Energy" Kidsnetwork, "What is in Our Water "Kidsnetwork, " Hello" Kidsnetwork. " What are we eating?" Kidsnetwork." Acid Rain." Kidsnetwork. "Trash", 1988-through 1995.. Student work featured in various magazines, such as Scientific American, and Apple Magazine. I wrote the article for Apple magazine.

"Moonbase America", " Touching the Future", " Marsville". "Mars City Alpha " These are all national programs. We presented our models to the IEEE group and shared experiences with Moonbase America on a national teleconference. Young Astronaut Chapter Leader with commendation from President Bush in 1992. Distance education participation as teacher, Young Astronaut teacher 1994. Participation Challenger Center Faculty meetings, Arizona, Hawaii, Seattle.

Jason Foundation, each project, Mediterranean, Great Lakes, Galapagos, Belize, resource person for Hawaii. Participated in the telepresence project each time at the National Geographic. Lead teams of 4 teachers in the school project.

Columbus Quintencenerary Project/ Santa Domingo NCGE Workshop

Presentation of Smithsonian Summer Project Aditi Festival, the Smithsonian, 1986, teacher participant.

Keynote Speaker/Presenter

Keynote IDECOLN Conference 1994
Keynote presentations:
Ask Eric Seminar, Alexandria,Virginia, 1994( Lynn Smart)
Keynote : Secretary's Education Conference, 1994
Keynote CECA Conference, Massachusetts Conn
Keynote presentation:Dade FLA,County Schools 1994
Keynote presentation: Eureka ,CA County Schools 1994
Keynote presentation: Apple Advisory Board 1995
Keynote presentation: Charter Oaks School District 1995
Keynote presentation : Desegregation Conference 1995 (Atlantlic City NJ)
Keynote presentation: MECA, Promised Land -Tupelo Mississippi
Keynote presentation: MIT NESDEC CONFERENCE 1995

This teacher has collected over 47 grants to finance her technology for the classroom and when in the classroom was often filmed by the National Geographic, Challenger Center, and various news organizations.

The teacher won the Campbell's Soup, Portrait of a teacher award, and her project centered on the Chesapeake Bay

Current television work: Discovery Channel Resource teacher.

Her last television project " Promised Land" a history of the migration of blacks from the south. This project has a homepage , and can be located on America on Line in the Discovery Channel area.

Bonnie has a listserv She shares the NII work on this and several other lists.

The only Real Teacher appointed to the
National Information Infrastructure (NII)
Advisory Council!

Bonnie is a teacher, lecturer, scientist. She is a graduate assistant at George Mason University's telecommunications department, where she evaluates new programs an d technologies. Ms. Bracey is also a member of the George Lucas Educational Foundation Advisory Board.

Ms. Bracey was a Christa McAuliffe Educator for the National Foundation of Education, National Education Association and a member of the Challenger Center Faculty. She is a Young Astronaut teacher and in 1990 was named a Challenger Fellow and received the Presidents award in science. Ms. Bracey attended the Hubble Space Science Institute and holds honors in a variety of fields in education including technology, aerospace, physics, geography and multicultural education. Ms. Bracey received a graduate universities degree from Marymount University (SED) program and an educational technology degree from George Mason University.

Bonnie Bracey @ the Milkin Exchange
As information technology reshapes American workplaces, public education must change in three fundamental ways: --beyond learning how to rapidly assimilate information, students must master how to create and share knowledge; --beyond learning from teachers and textbooks, students must become proficient participants in virtual knowledge-building communities distributed among schools, homes, businesses, and community settings; and --rather than only some students succeeding in school, all learners must reach high levels of competence in sophisticated content and skills. Educational technology can accomplish this vision -- if coupled to interrelated shifts in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, professional development, administration, incentives, and the organizational structure and culture of schools. However, to achieve these outcomes, the public must invest more than tax dollars. Too often, classroom computers and telecommunications are envisioned as technologies comparable to fire --just by sitting near these devices, students will somehow receive a benefit from them, as knowledge and skills radiate from the monitors into their minds. Instead, the public's direct involvement in improving learning must accompany investments in educational technology. As examples, new media can build partnerships for learning between teachers and families, and "telementoring" relationships among students and businesses can link the curriculum to workplace skills. If educational technology is to effectively prepare students for the 21st century, stakeholders in quality education must invest not only their money, but their knowledge and time.

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