Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Technology Divide

I recently transferred schools, by choice, to another school in the same county. Physical plant aside, I did expect differences. However, I did not expect to see the EXTENT of those differences.

For example:
  • Former school, at least three printers for each of three grade level teams
  • Current school, one printer for the entire school
Did I mention that these schools are in the same county?
  • Former school was wireless
  • Current school is not
  • Former school had an LCD for each classroom and has for at least two years
  • Current school is just now getting them.
  • Former school, document cameras in almost every room
  • Current school, have not seen one yet
These are only a few issues in ONE system. And we have the nerve to talk about a level playing field. Level for whom? Quality of access to education and technology seems to still be linked to a person's home address! Wow...look how far we have NOT come

Monday, August 10, 2009

Old does not mean obsolete

Last week, I facilitated student learning at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The camp was an offshoot of STRI in the Panama Canal Zone. The camp was also in conjunction with Education Motivation. Basically, the kids study the work done by STRI scientists and then mimic their research. It is cool as the kids, unprompted by staff, come up with many of the same questions that are asked by the scientists in the field. That was cool.

Anyway, do you remember the Apple IIe computers and the 5 1/4" floppy disks? I know that I am showing my age (heck I learned computers on a TRS 80!). We gave the kids at the camp old learning games to play like Odell Lake and The Oregon Trail. I thought that the kids were going to laugh at the poor graphics and antiquated feel. But, the kids were doing something that I had not counted on...they were thinking. There were no funky or gory graphics to get in the way of learning. The programs lacked a rockin' soundtrack. The kids LOVED the programs and did not want to quit! Best thing is, they learned and thought and processed information.

Here is the irony, the program will not work easily on a Mac!.

The programs cen be downloaded here. Check them out and prepare to be engaged.