Educational CyberPlayGround ®

Infusing Technology into P-12 Education

A Perspective on Schools Being Wired
by Bonnie Bracey Sutton
on the Educational CyberPlayGround

I was the only K-12 teacher on the NIIAC. When we thought about connectivity, we were determined to make it happen sooner more than later. While I dislike the idea that all schools are not really wired, .. I marvel at the progress that has been made and I worry about how we go the next mile. More connections to the actual teaching places in the schools the classrooms.

and.....

Teaching the teachers.

While many says just teach the kids, how should a teacher be able to do pedagogically correct work. Many think small children can lead them, but correct teacher support, involvement and understand of the use of technology will reap more benefits than just having the kids being involved. When you teach the teachers you invest knowledge in the system. The Dept of Education has shown us the statistics that tell us that the teachers do not feel comfortable using technology. For superficial use, it may be ok for kids to show them. But teacher mentoring, by teachers who use technology as a tool, and who UNDERSTAND teaching and learning gets better results and makes more sense. You will notice that most of the people who champion only this way have never really been working classroom teachers but are technology leaders. Being a teacher is an art that has more to do with using technology as a tool than the kinds of things kids can teach.

People thought we were out of our minds to place the date as early as we did. The press hardly covered it. We were right on, and the fact that this much "progress" has been made is hardly attributed to the hard work that was done by so many people. People either do not know or forgot that this work was done. It still stands as help because people are still getting connected.
It is so buried that most people probably cannot find it.

A Nation of Opportunity

Here is the McKinsey report though it is somewhat dated.

Here is information on Federal Funding for the Community Centers

And here is information that can be useful done in community and school use for understanding the use of technology

This may be most helpful http://www.ncrel.org/tandl/homepg.htm

From the McKinsey Report
Some snippits...

Connecting public K-12 schools to the NII could produce a variety of educational benefits. Clearly, it would enable students to build computer and networking skills. Early evidence indicates that it could also support both traditional teaching approaches and new methods oriented toward teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills. Certainly, students find the technology exciting and engaging, it provides them access to a wide range of information resources, and it opens up communication with subject-matter experts, other students, and teachers.

Don't forget, none of this works by just dropping the computer into the school and assigning a tech coordinator. To incorporate change teachers need time to explore, examine, be excited about, to integrate, involve and be interested in subjects that will enhance the delivery of curriculum, as they teach now and as they will teach later.The Marco Polo Project is a starting point for many.

Today, many educators are focusing increasing attention on a cross-disciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes critical thinking, synthesis, and investigative skills. Based on interviews and visits to schools, we believe that connection to the NII and widespread use of computers have the potential to support this new approach. On-line resources give students rapid access to information from diverse sources in various forms. Thus, the challenge of finding the facts can quickly give way to the challenge of synthesizing and interpreting the facts. Simulation software develops problem-solving skills by allowing students to tackle life-like challenges and experiment with different solutions in real time. For example, the Dalton School's "Archaeotype" program places students in the role of archaeologists on a dig. They work in teams to access and analyze multiple sources of electronic, printed, and human information. Networking the computers further facilitates team-based projects in and across classrooms, building skills that many educators and employers believe are important for students' development.

How do schools learn to deal with business people in technology? We are not very good at handling the textbook companies.

Well the www.ncrel.org , technology initiatives help a little but I
believe you need a business round table in the community where the people interested in technology and the people who are the technology leaders come together. I also believe the community should be involved in the exploration of the technology. Like a technology fair instead of a book fair.

There are some of these initiatives that people do to create
understanding in the community. There is a foundation , for which I am a fellow www.glef.org that has a video entitled " Learn and Live" and there is a community section of the video that shows a way to intruduce the community learning center concept. The idea of schools, libraries and communities was our call, and the e-rate has helped.

In the communities that do not have e -rate , we need to have a technology task force to create the school plan, and to help the people in the school system , if they have no awareness of the way to apply to get the data they need for the e-rate application. But more than that , we have public television, school television and school boards should also be learning, being involved and understanding the use of transformational learning with technology.

In the schools across the digital divide, there are leaders who are needed to spearhead this effort in those communities. There are recognized leaders in communities and one of their new task ought to be to get knowledgeable.

The small child who took another child's life? Why should a gun be the only technology that child touched in a day? On a computer a person could reach pro-child for him, since everyone seemed to KNOW he was in a crackhouse.

I don't understand our priorities in this wonderful economic status we enjoy. It cost more to incarcerate than to educate.

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