Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Validated Evaluation Rubric for Mobile Applications (APPS)

As promised, the link below will connect you to the empirically validated evaluation rubric for mobile apps that was the result of my doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University.  I appreciate everyone's support who contributed as subject matter experts in the study, as well as those who are currently using and adapting the rubric in their wok around the world.  When my dissertation is completed, I will be certain to provide a link so that any interested may have easy access to my research.

And if you have been wondering where I've been.....  40 days and 40 nights without a post......

At the end of October, I resigned after 32.8 years in the public schools to take a senior consultant position with Education Elements.  Our company is in the process of truly transforming education.  And I thought I was changing the world before.  We are doing amazing work all over the country designing and implementing personalized learning environments for kids.  I'll have more about my work in an upcoming blog.  Until then, you can check out my new company at-

If you have tried reaching out to me in the past month, your emails have likely gotten kicked back as I no longer work in BCPS system.  You can reach me at  I look forward to reconnecting with folks I have worked with in the past.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do You Kuno?

What's this?  A competitor for the iPad? Not so fast Josh and JR (CEO and Vice President).  At a $500 price point, breakage issues, and ice cream sandwich (not a big fan, the platform this is, not the treat), I'm not convinced.  Your timing was great, seeing a great opportunity to cash in on the tablet market, but your product?  Not the "biggest competitor" to the iPad as Eric Lai suggests in this ZDNet posting.  Me?  I'm still hanging around what for the iPad Mini to be released.  Come on Apple.....

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Capitalism - Alive and Well, But Really?

     Okay, I'll admit it. I am proud to be an American, a dyed in the wool capitalist and proud of it, but really, $197 for a webinar to have some published, tech geek share his top apps?  This guy, Harry Dickens, co-author of Apps for Learning: 40 Best iPad/iPad Touch/iPhone Apps for High School Classrooms tells you about his "prize bull" (his words) apps, sprinkles in some Common Core for good measure (why not, everyone else is) and charges you $197.  Only in America.  What happened to sharing docs and the promise of worldwide collaboration for the greater good?  Maybe I should start charging $19.99 to use my app rubric?  Just kidding.  As educators, let's continue our focus on the children as our way of en"rich"ing our lives.  Here's the link to his webinar if you've got a couple of Benjamins burning a hole in your pocket.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

App Rubric Research Update

     I just completed the data analysis for the second round survey of my doctoral research utilizing the Delphi process to establish content and construct validity for the Evaluation Rubric for iPod/iPad apps.  Overall, very few changes to the rubric are indicated by the data.  One domain name will be changed and point descriptors in two of the domains will be revised as driven by the input from the subject matter experts who participated in my research.  Based on the data, I am not going to need to do a third round survey.  You can view the data summary from the second round by clicking on the link below.  I will be making the final revisions and publishing the validated rubric in the coming weeks.  I am hoping to have my dissertation completed sometime around the first of the year. Thanks for your interest in my work.  Stay tuned for the final validated rubric later this month.  Happy computing....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Driverless Cars? Not Science Fiction Anymore!

What's the next big thing Siri?

So how would you feel about a 1/2 ton vehicle speeding down the highway at 65 miles an hour being driven by a computer?  After you get over the initial freak out, check out the stats.  Google has been testing a fleet of 12 "autonomous" (no pun intended) cars for several years, racking up 300,000 miles without an accident, making it safer than my own personal experiences driving around my little fender bender.  Does that mean folks can now text, eat their Big Macs, and apply eyeliner without crossing into my lane?  And will people maintain the speed limit as they pass a cop car sitting on the side of the road?  And will I not have to cringe while braking, watching the car in my rear view mirror hurtling toward my back bumper as the operator checks his email? And will folks not slow down to read those overhead signs on the highways causing mini traffic jams for no reason at all?  (Right there is a huge reason to improve reading instruction in schools).   If the answer is yes to any or all of those questions, where do I sign up?

That being said, leave it to California to write a bill regulating this whole advance in technology.  Do California legislators get some kind of bonus for sponsoring bills?  If the whole driverless car thing works, it will work, not because the government has a hand in it, but because it works.  To our elected officials - get out of the way and let technology run, or drive its course.

You can read a piece posted on the BBC website below:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Tech Please!

     It seems that everyone recognizes the need for more technology in schools. A LEAD Commission survey indicated 82% of teachers and 71% of parents said technology would be helpful to enhancing learning.  SO how do we translate that enthusiasm into actual funding? Ditching textbooks, expanding online learning, encouraging BYOD, leasing rather than buying technology, flipping classrooms, expecting local governments to set up broadband towers to reach into our poorer neighborhoods?  How about all of the above?
     While the above survey numbers are encouraging, check this one finding out.  Only 54% of teachers think technology will become much more important during the next 10 years.  Really?  And therein lies the problem.  If the folks running the show don't have a vision for what the future might hold, are they advocating for the changes that need to occur in our classrooms?  Heck no.  Too many of "us" are part of the problem, standing in the way of significant changes to our classrooms that still look pretty much the way they did 100 years ago.  Minus the whiteboard, of course.
     You can read the piece from Ed Week below.  You can also continue being the voice for your students, as most of them are not able to vote yet. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Research Results for iPod/iPad Rubric

Great news.  The initial results from my doctoral research have been complied and analyzed.  Ninety-four experts from around the world completed the first round survey designed to establish content and construct validity for the Evaluation Rubric for iPod Apps being used in over 400 schools, universities, systems and agencies across the globe.  The first round survey results were very positive.  This first round sought to determine if the domains in the rubric were good indicators for determining app quality and if the wording in the score descriptors adequately differentiated the score points within each domain. Based on the first round survey, I constructed a second round that is now in the hands of these same experts for feedback.  After the second survey I may be ready to make revisions and in the near future report with a high degree of certainty that the field has a valid instrument for evaluating the quality of mobile applications. 

I have attached a Google Doc of two tables that summarize the data from the two most important questions that made up the first round survey.  In the near future, I will also post the second round survey results, as well as the revised and validated rubric when it is completed.

It have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with so many of you and thank you for your time and expertise as we continue to better understand the most effective ways to incorporate technology in our schools and lives.  Happy surfing.....

Friday, September 7, 2012

What's Hot for Back to School?

Do your students have the latest and greatest technology as they head back to school this year?  Check to this post on  Backpacks are transforming into "Powerbags", disks are dead and netbooks are going the way of the dinosaur.  Having a college age son, I was intrigued by the 2011 study by CourseSmart, an e-book seller.  Almost half of the respondents in the survey indicated they would be more likely to complete a reading assignment if it was in a digital format.  Having spent untold funds on ridiculously priced college textbooks that never get read, I'm all about e-texts for college.  My son purchased a tablet a week and a half ago and just finished just his second e-book.  While he is well read, in digital terms, he's never been a big fan of traditional books.  If our colleges and universities would just do away with their overpriced bookstores, maybe more college students would read those assigned texts.  Here is the piece from 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Research Results Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

As many of you are aware, I am in the process of establishing content and construct validity for the evaluation rubric for mobile applications (apps) that hundreds of folks all over the world are currently using to make decisons about apps. Ninety-four subject matter experts from a number of different disciplines are participating in a Delphi Process as part of my doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University.  The first round of data is in and has been analyzed.  The results are very positive.  I am in the process of constructing the second round survey in order to further refine and improve the rubric, strengthening its validity.  The data from the first round of surveys will be posted on my blog sometime next week.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Writing in the Digital Age - Part 2

Lat month's post on digital writing was well read and generated interesting conversation about the ways "kids these days" are writing.  Rather than lament about the good old days of diagramming sentences and constructing well structured paragraphs, let's try to embrace the fact that kids are communicating in writing more than they ever have, just in ways that we are not comfortable with.  One of the cool things I have learned about kids over the past 30+ years in education is that they are capable of learning different behaviors to be used in different contexts.  Be it spoken language or written language, kids shift gears all of the time based on their location and audience. As linguistics expert Susana Sotillo, associate professor at Montclair University notes, "No one is destroying the English language; the English language just keeps changing.  It's not a good idea to present change as a negative aspect."  You can read her comments as well as the thinking of other supporters of digital writing in the mindshift post below.    :) riting, LOL!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A New Book Worth Checking Out

......and not just because the evaluation rubric is in it.... (page 227). You will want to check out this new book by Brian Puerling, Director of Education Technology at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.  The book is entitled, Teaching in the Digital Age, Smart Tools for Age 3 to Grade 3. (ISBN 978-60554-118-1). Brian is a visionary educator who helps make sense of technology and ways to enhance its use for classroom teachers.  Brain gets it - it's always about the learning and the kids first and the technology second, as a tool to enhance the quality of instruction.  Thanks for your insights Brian.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cheating in the Digital Age?

     In this day of instant information access, what exactly constitutes cheating in school?  It's no longer a black or white issue. With plagiarism being the exception, do we need to look at "cheating" through a different lens?
     Plagiarism has been an issue since early man copied his neighbor's cave paintings. The protection of intellectual property in the digital age is as essential now as it was back in the day of card catalogs.  The biggest difference with the digtal age is cutting and pasting beats the heck out of having to retype someone else's work.  I've been a victim of theft myself by a professor who  lectures on intellectual property rights in the digital age.  Really!  Maybe she was trying to model just how easy it is to do? 
     The kind of cheating I think we need discuss is the "cheating" referenced in, "Teachers Put to the Test by Digital Cheats" in a recent posting on  The article includes quotes such as, "it's not easy to catch them" and "The kids can really get away with it."  Maybe these same teachers who are battling with their students need to step back and take a look at their assessments.  I don't see a lot of value in an assessment of student learning measured by multiple choice tests with content specific items that can be easily accessed with a couple of keystrokes on my smart phone.  We spend a lot of time talking about 21st century skills and learners but we are still subjecting them to 20th century assessments.  Is it cheating or simply using the resources that they have grown up with, important skills they use in their everyday lives outside of school?      
     Biology teacher Jason Crean states, "They need to think and solve problems...and the technology is taking away from that."  Really Jason?  Technology doesn't think or solve problems, people do.  Let's take a closer look at how we are assessing children and make sure we are asking them to think and solve problems, not simply locate information on the Internet.  If kids are passing our classes by looking up things online, or getting answers to an exam from their friends, then we are failing.
     You can read the piece form the Chicago Tribune below:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Got Favorite Apps?

Got Favorite Apps?  I have been asked by a number of people to put together a list of highly rated apps for use across all age ranges.  I am reaching out to you all for some help with this task.  If you would like your favorites included in a future blog posting, send me your favorites as soon as you are able. Please indicate why the app is rated highly by you (e.g., score on the Evaluation Rubric for Apps or some other quality measure).  Also I would like to cite you and your school/agency in the blog, so please indicate if that meets with your approval.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Internet Safety - Who is Responsible?

The Internet, while an amazing resource, is also a place that can be quite dangerous, especially for children.  Who has the responsibility for ensuring children's safety while online.  Parents?  Teachers? The kids?  How about all of the above?  As educators, we have to assume responsibility for our students' safety while they are with us.  While we would like to think all parents are on top of their children's online behaviors, we cannot assume parents are as mindful as we would like them to be.  We need to help parents develop the skills needed to be tech-savvy Internet monitors, as well as participants.  While filtering everything that might be harmful through school servers certainly limits the legal ramifications, is it the best way to help our children become responsible digital citizens?  Once they leave school, most kids operate in an unfiltered world. It's 3:00, do you know where your children are surfing?

Lynette Owens writes a thoughtful piece about partnerships that need to develop between home and school to increase the likelihood c ourhildren become responsible digital citizens.  You can read the Washington Post piece below:  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Essential Questions

The essential question has become the latest buzz word as we ever so slowly transition to the Common Core.  While essential questions generally refer to the big ideas within a content area, some of the biggest essential questions we have to ask ourselves are related to why and how we are using technology in our classrooms.  We need to get past the "coolness" factor, as well as beyond the "well that's the way kids learn today", and ask ourselves how is technology impacting kids' learning?  One essential question is, “What are our expectations for student technology proficiency?"  Neven Jurkovic poses this, as well as three other essential questions in his post on that challenges schools and school systems to develop a comprehensive plan for how kids will use technology before adding yet another device, program, or initiative.  You can read his piece below:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?- Social Media in Schools

     How much longer are we going to sit around reflecting on the "potentially exciting learning and teaching tools" social media affords us before we actually check it out and examine what the impact might be in our schools.  While I fully understand the desire, as well as the need to protect kids from the evils of the internet, are we not doing them a disservice by not teaching them how to use social media appropriately and safely.  It's kind of like not talking about sex for fear of encouraging promiscuity.  We all know how well that works. By educating our kids, we may in fact prevent some of the slimy stories we hear in the press.  Kids, even those in elementary schools, are more social media savvy than we may want to give them credit for.  Who is teaching them how to use these "potentially exciting learning and teaching tools?"  Their friends?   Scary! Their parents? Maybe.  What is our role as educators in helping kids manage the digital world that surrounds them?  Are some kids going to make mistakes, push the limits, see what they can get away with?  Absolutely, but why hold back the overwhelming majority who won't.  Shouldn't the folks that sit at home for hours on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pintrist be willing to give their kids the same access?
     It's a complex issue, no doubt, but we are teachers.  We can figure out how to do just about anything we set our minds to.  Our kids are counting on us.  If not us, who?  Their friends?
     Here is some food for thought in an article written by Eamon O'Donovan in District Administrator:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Great Question about the APP Rubric

Hi Harry,  It's me Laurie from Australia, now living in Alexandria VA. 

I have a question about your rubric.  There has been a somewhat heated discussion within my research group around the domain "curriculum connection".   As you know, we are adapting the rubric to make it applicable to choosing apps for students with autism.  

One comment from the group, was that "curriculum connection" was too broad for our purposes because there is no "curriculum" for autism in Australia.

So we discussed changing it to "IEP connection".  Actually that was my suggestion.   I suggested changing skills and content to goals and objectives   I'm coming at this from the angle of a former state administrator and current research professor   Increasingly there is an expectation and indeed a mandate to include measures of accountability in the education of children with disabilities.   I'm also aware of a number of cases in the US where parents are retroactively suing the school district for the denial of FAPE after their child graduates because they are ill prepared for the post secondary world.   Well, the suggestion was not well received by the rest of the group because they felt it was TOO specific.   So, what was your original intent in including the "curriculum connection" domain?  was it to help teachers make a decision about what educational benefit would be derived from the adoption of that app?

Thanks for any insight you can provide. Kind Regards,

Hi Laurie from Australia why did you ever leave and move to Virginia,

      I think you make a great point.  The rubric was originally designed with the general education environment in mind.  As I have collaborated and corresponded with folks around the world, my thinking has certainly been expanded.  I have come to the realization the rubric should be revised/adapted depending on the field or the population.  In your case, depending on the severity of the child’s condition, the IEP may in fact be the “curriculum.”  A number of folks have used my rubric as a skeleton and made revisions based on the clients or students who are sitting in front of them.  That makes a lot of sense to me.  The big idea that spurred my thinking to develop the rubric was the realization that we(within a given field) needed to be using a consistent language and structure to evaluate apps for any given purpose.  There wasn’t a system for doing this prior to 2010 when I first conceived of the rubric.  While it would be nice to have top rated apps for every purpose, that just isn’t going to happen until app developers better understand what we are trying to do.  I believe the most effective use of the rubric is in the comparison of apps for the same purpose with the goal of finding the best within that group.  Thanks so much for your question and for continuing to push for the use of mobile technologies to meet the needs of all kids.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) App Rubric

Dr. Robin Parker, Professor at Nova Southeastern University created an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app rubric.  Dr. Parker is associated with Programs in Speech, Language, and Communication with the Abraham Fischler School of Education and Consulting Director UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Attached is the draft created by Dr. Parker and a colleague. They are in the process of getting feedback and making revisions to their rubric.  The link to the rubric is below.  I am sure Dr. Parker would appreciate any feedback you might be able to provide.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mission Control: We Have Lift Off!

After months (that seemed like years) in the planning, today I launched my dissertation research project.  I am using a Delphi Process to empirically establish content and construct validity for the Evaluation Rubric for iPod Apps I developed in 2010.  As of today, I have received over 350 requests to use the rubric from practitioners all over the world.  If you are one of those folks, you should have received an email from me this morning inviting you to participate in this study.  After the study is completed, I will provide access to an evaluation tool that has been evaluated by hundreds of experts working in a wide variety of educational settings across the globe.  I will share data from the study as well as the finalized rubric as the research progresses.  Thanks in advance for all of the experts who are providing feedback on this important project.  The new and improved rubric being investigated can be accessed using the link provided below.  Apparently folks were having trouble accessing the Box link.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The iPad Mini Rumors Continue

     Steve Jobs may not been a fan of the idea of a mini iPad, (Too small to be a tablet and to big to be a smartphone) but there is obviously a market for a smaller iPad.  Take a look at the tablet market.  Most successful tablets are in the 7 inch range.  The question seems to be, "Do you want mobility or do you want screen size?"  I used an iPad when they first came out because of the coolness and sexiness factors.  I switched to a MacBook Air because I found if I had to carry a device the size of an iPad, I might as well have a fully functioning computer in hand.  Away from work or home, my iPhone is my computer.  For me, the iPad is just too big for what it can do. 
     Four of my classrooms are equipped with iPod Touches as part of a 1-to-1 initiative.  Cost was a major consideration when the project was initiated.  The iPad was just too expensive for our budget. The only complaint I have about the Touches is the screen size, although it does not seem to be an issue for the kids. I have found these devices work more effectively in our 20th century classrooms (student desks, print media, notebooks, papers, school supplies) than giving each kid an iPad or laptop.  I know, I know, we need to reconfigure our classrooms if we are going to transform education, but the iPad Mini would be a device to help bridge this transition to the 21st century.  I can't wait to take one for a test drive.
     You can read a post written by Tom Kaneshige in below:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

25,000 iPads & iPods - Is Everything Bigger in Texas?

 Check out this posting from THE Journal about the McAllen Independent School District  which is rolling out a huge 1-to-1 initiative.  The district will be providing mobile devices to every single student, teacher, and administrator in their district.  Combining state, federal and private funds and taking a fresh look at how budgets are prioritized, the district is putting their money where their vision is.

Monday, July 16, 2012

iPads in First Grade

First grade teacher, Kathy Cassidy shares her experiences with a 1-to-1 iPad initiative in her classroom.  Her focus on creation, collaboration and transformation comes through in both her words and images.  Check out the piece on the website Powerful Learning Practice: 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Writing in the 21st Century

Concerned about the way "kids these days" are writing?  Tweeting, text messaging, Facebook posts..... That's not "real writing" right?  Susan Lucille Davis, English Teacher at Chinquapin Preparatory School in Houston Texas, gets it.  We have two choices.  We can throw up our hands and assume kids will never develop into the next Shakespeare or Hemingway or we can look at what Davis calls "contemporary writing activities" and use these authentic contexts to teach kids the power the written word.  We can teach them how to communicate their thoughts and dreams in their writing in a socially connected arena that was not possible when I was in school.  When I wrote in school, two people read my work, my teacher and maybe my Mom.  The written word is changing the world in real time.  Look at what has happened in the Middle East.  Tweets and posts changed a regime, not intellectual or political manifestos.  This is an exciting time to teach written language in schools.  We just need to change our mindset and teach kids where they are, not where we were.  You can read Susan's post below:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The New and Improved Rubric

After receiving feedback from folks all over the world, I have made some several revisions to the widely adopted Evaluation Rubric for iPod/iPad Apps. In the coming weeks I will be launching a formal study as a part of my doctoral dissertation research at Johns Hopkins to empirically validate the rubric.  You can find the revised rubric at the following link:

If you encounter difficulty accessing the rubric, please email me and I will send you a PDF.  I have traditionally used EmbedIt, but apparently they are no longer accepting embeds, so I'm trying a new system called Box.  Thanks and I'll keep everyone posted on my research.

If you are unable to access the rubric via the box link, try this one:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Chicken in Every Pot, A Device on Every Desk

Check out this story from the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago highlighting an iPad/macBook Air initiative in District 93 in Illinois.  Younger students will be receiving iPads, while the older kids will get MacBooks.  The district has decided to lease the devices as the technology is changing so rapidly.  Hats off to Superintendent Bill Shields for his vision recognizing that it just doesn't make sense to make kids sign up or wait in line for their turn to have access to technology in their schools. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Apple iPad: Saving to Satisfy Your Inner Gadget Geek - Guest Post

Apple’s iPad is over two years old now and it’s hard to justify to yourself to buy its latest iteration, despite the delight your inner geek gets from it. However, it just might be worth considering making the purchase after all, as the device could help you find savings in unexpected places.

How the iPad has Changed:
With the new iPad looking very similar to its predecessors, it can be difficult to pin down exactly what has improved. Fortunately, PocketNow gives a rundown of what’s new. The iPad’s processor now runs on a 32-nanometer chip, meaning it has a longer charge than the iPad 2 and can offer a savings in electricity. “AnandTech comes through again with some new data, showing that the latest iPad 2 definitely outperforms its predecessors when it comes to battery life” says PocketNow. They then get more specific, detailing exactly how much longer of a battery life can be expected for normal tasks:
·        Casual web browsing: 15.8%
·        Playing games: almost 30%
·        Watching videos: 20%
Recycling Your Old iPad:
Many consumers struggle convincing themselves to purchase another iPad after having just bought one last year. The New York Times offers tips on how to sell your old iPad in order to minimize the extra money you end up spending. In their article How to Sell Your Old iPad Now, they first recommend visiting Apple’s “Reuse and Recycle” program, where you will receive an estimate of the worth of your current device and free shipping should you decide to trade it in. Additionally, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Walmart all offer credit for trading in old devices. EBay also announced that they would purchase iPad 2s, working (they claim to give up to $475) or otherwise. Before you sell, however, NY Times recommends backing up and resetting your iPad to protect your privacy. Finally, if you want to take advantage of the new model and purchase last year’s iPad 2 at a discount, Apple is dropping the price to $399 for a brand new device.

Airline Savings:
TechCrunch explains an unpredictable area the new iPad helps in savings: airline fuel. Airplane pilots are replacing heavy flight bags containing manuals and logbooks with light iPads containing the same information. TechCrunch does the math to show that an iPad would save only around 45 seconds on fuel each flight, but continues to explain how quickly these numbers add up and concludes with [United Airlines] estimates it will save 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year. That’s in addition to 16 million sheets of paper in those flight bags.”

It’s always a challenge to keep up with Apple’s rapidly changing market of handheld devices. Still, their products are getting leaner and more efficient every year, so it’s only natural to see savings rolling in in even the least expected areas.

This guest posting has been brought to you by a fellow enthusiast at Stumble Upon

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Student Entrepreneurs & App Development

Check out this piece in the current issue of Digital Directions.  Is it about learning computer programming, teaching business and marketing, engaging kids who are checking out in traditional classrooms, inspiring girls to consider STEM careers, or all of the above?  Creativity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurism are the skills that will enable our current students to lead the way through the 21st century.  It's about time more programs such as the ones described in this article are encouraged and allowed to flourish.  Every day I get more and more encouraged about the future of public education.  Teach and inspire and then get out of the way....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Can Surface Compete with iPad?

Has iPad met its match?  While it is too early to tell what impact Microsoft's venture into the tablet market will have, the answer appears to be - not likely.  Check out this post that compares Surface to iPad. There appear to still be a lot of questions about Surface, in particular price and mobile capabilities.  Although I remain skeptical, I still can't wait to check out the new tablet in person, especially taking the pen for a spin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Apple - Seducing Folks Since the Days of Adam and Eve

Why is it any Apple store you pass by anywhere in this country is always crowded with people playing with the latest and "sexiest" technology?  Read the post from and find out.  Everything about the experience is designed to make you buy and then remain loyal to the Apple brand.  There is even a app to calibrate the ideal viewing angle of monitors for customers.  Was Steve Jobs a genius or what?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm All About Technology, But Really???

I love technology.  You know that.  I believe it will continue to change how we educate our children, but really - algorithm scoring of essays?  I came across this article the other day and have heard about essay scoring programs, but I remain a skeptic.  Has writing become so formulaic, at least the kind of writing in the upcoming release of high stakes tests that will purportedly measure writing, that a computer program can skim and scan looking for key words and phrases and grammatical errors and then profess to be scoring a studneets' writing?    Mr. Vander Ark of OpenEd Solutions is quoted, Providing students with instant feedback about grammar, punctuation, word choice and sentence structure will lead to more writing assignments.  SO that's what writing is?  Really?  I remain a skeptic.  Read the piece below and see where you stand.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Reach of the Rubric Grows

The Evaluation Rubric for iPod Apps I developed in 2010 continues to impact the field like ripples in a pool.  It was recently cited in a post on the Tech and Learning Site.  The original rubric, as well as a number of revisions, are in use by practitioners and researchers all over the world.  Later this month I hope to get my doctoral study rolling in order to provide empirical research to support the content validity of the rubric.  We have made progress, but the technology continues to move much faster than the empirical evidence to support its efficacy.  You can read the piece below:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Young Childrens' Comprehension and eBooks

So how do ebooks compare to traditional print books in terms of how well kids' comprehend the text?  That depends on how you look at it.  In a recent study released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, young kids remembered more details in narrative texts when reading print material. The good news was no differences were reported in overall comprehension.  An important consideration with young children is how the ebooks had a tendency to hinder parent/child conversation given the engaging nature of this platform.  Food for thought and definitely worth exploring in greater detail.  You can read a short piece from Kidscreen below and then link to the report from the article.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So Do Digital Texts Save Money or Not?

The problem I have with all of these discussions is they seem to focus exclusively on the financial considerations associated with digital texts.  What about enhancing the learning and educational experience for kids?  What about connecting with kids and engaging them in digital environments in which they thrive outside of the classroom?  Wouldn't that be worth spending a little more?  It's a no brainer that costs associated with digital learning will continue to decrease while quality increases.  Most importantly, educators will continue to develop their capacity to use the technology to enhance student learning.  So what are we waiting for?  Hats off to McAllen Independent School District, Pinellas County Schools, Vail School District, Riverside Unified School District.

Attached is a well written article by Jason Tomassini in Education Week that summarizes the pros and cons of rolling out e-texts in schools.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Will iPads Replace Textbooks? Really?

Sorry, been away for a while trying to get through yet another hectic end to a school year. 

I ran across this editorial from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh questioning whether tablets will overtake textbooks.  Really?  It not a question of whether or not, but rather when.  With over 600 school districts issuing iPads to their high school students, the wave is building and will inevitably wash right over the textbook industry.  While pointing out the disadvantages of iPads, the Advance-Titan Staff did not mention the drawbacks to traditional print materials.  Besides those hated paper cuts, every text I have in my school is outdated before it even arrives in my building.  Come on U of W - wake up and smell the gorilla glass.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

300 Rubric Requests and Going Strong

I received an email from a research assistant working at the, are you ready for this, University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.  Now as a student, who wouldn't want to go there? It marks the 300th formal request to use the Evaluation Rubric for iPod Apps from folks all over the world.    It is being used in school systems, agencies, universities, and by individuals from all over the planet.  And that's just the formal requests.  How cool is that?

With such a large and diverse group of folks using the rubric, I am getting ready to launch a formal research project as part of my dissertation research at Johns Hopkins to empirically establish content validity for the rubric.  If have requested permission to use the rubric and happen to be reading my blog too, look for a formal invitation in the coming month.  I have also had requests to publish a list of top apps using the rubric.  Look for that list to be in an upcoming blog (once school gets out and I have a little more time on my hands).  Thanks again for your interest in my blog, in the rubric, and most importantly in your work to get mobile devices into the hands of students.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Are a Committed Sardine?

Have you joined the army of sardines yet?  If not, it something to put on today's To-Do List.  I was privileged to attend a seminar conducted by Ian Jukes at Notre Dame College.  The guy was right on in his thinking about kids and what we need to do to connect with them if we are going to help them reach their potential.  I would highly recommend reading his latest book.  Additionally, go to the link below to read more about becoming a "committed sardine."  Join the wave....

Monday, May 7, 2012

Read All About It - It's In A Book!

The Evaluation Rubric for iPod/iPad Apps was just published in a book entitled, "A Complete Guide to Rubrics" by Dr. Audrey M. Quinlan, Chair of the Division of Education at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania.  Pretty cool.  The book is a great guide for anyone designing or using rubrics from elementary through high school.  The ISBN number is 978-1-60709-674-0.  Happy Reading. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A $200 Tablet?

A 7 inch tablet, encased in rugged plastic, created specifically for the education market,water and dust resistant, designed to withstand drops off of student desks, comes with 4GB, WiFI, gorilla glass and costs under $200 - too good to be true?  Where do I sign up?  Intel recently released what they are calling a "studybook".  It will run either Android or Windows operating systems. The release date has not been announced, but I'll be on the lookout, anxious to put one through its paces.  You can read the piece from Ed Week below:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Common Ground 2012 Conference Presentation

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our presentation at this year's Common Ground Conference.  If you missed it, we will likely be appearing at a town near you in the near future.  As promised attached is our conference power point.  Given the size of the presentation it is broken into three parts.  Sorry for the triple clicking.  Does anyone know of another embedding program that can handle larger files?  Thanks again for your interest in our work and please feel free to contact us if you need additional information or wish to collaborate.

Common Ground Conference Presentation Part 1

Common Ground Conference Presentation Part 2

Common Ground Conference Presentation Part 3

Thursday, April 19, 2012

But These Kids These Days Can't Type!!!

So, just how important is it for kids to learn keyboarding? While learning to type, "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" helped me learn how to navigate a keyboard designed by the creator of the manual typewriter right after the earth cooled, how important is it for kids today to learn the nuances of the QWERTY keyboard?  Today's thumb texters can show some pretty impressive speed on a keyboard that some of us need our reading glasses to see.  Alternative keyboarding programs such as Swype and Snapkeys and being used by some schools and districts as an alternative to QWERTY.  With the pace of technological advances, we know it won't be long until human interfaces, like Siri (but on steroids) take over and keyboards become obsolete.  Hello Hal and 2001 A Space Odyssey!  What's wrong Dave?  You can read the piece from THE Journal below.  And by the way, you don't have to type anything, just click on the hyperlink, or ask Siri to open it for you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet? The League of Innovation Schools

What a great idea! What an extraordinary opportunity.  The goals of the program are to help school districts make better informed decisions, to make innovation faster, and to scale up successes.  Why so little "super" breakthrough??  Might it have something to do with the fact that only 0.2% of the 3 billion dollars being spent on technology across the country is earmarked for research and development.  I love technology as much, or more than the next guy, but we need to move beyond the cool and wow factors and figure out the most effective and efficient use of dwindling dollars.  You can read about the League below:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Digital Texts Save Money - Like 3 Billion!

While we are only talking a paltry 3 billion dollars a year, according to an article by Peter Kafka in All Things Digital, the potential savings isn't anything to get too excited about anytime soon.  Unfortunately, too often discussion about what is best in education come down to dollars and cents.  The conversation about converting to digital texts needs to expand beyond the financial aspects to include the impact these types of text can have on student achievement.  There are so many advantages to digital texts that go beyond just potential cost savings.  I sometimes wonder if folks who aren't yet on board have even bothered to pick up a tablet and explore a digital text before passing judgement.  As one of the comments posted at the end of this article noted, there were also skeptics when the printing press was introduced.  You can check out the piece below: 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another Day? Must be time for another iSchool District!

In a state where everything is bigger, McAllen Independent School District in Texas has big plans - an iPad for each of its 27,000 students, one of the biggest undertakings of 1-to-1 mobile computing that I am aware of.  A relatively poor district (67% poverty rate) on the Mexican border with a vision and an ability to connect with folks for support will pay dividends for each of its students.  You can read the story from below:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another Day, Another iSchool District

Hats off to Franklin Township in New Jersey for becoming the latest iSchool District.  Under the leadership of Superintendent Broadus Davis, next fall each student in the school district will be receiving their own iPad 3 to use in school. You can read about the initiative in New Jersey at this link:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Breaking - Greetings from Harvard

     A week without any new posts, that's got to be a record.  I'm still alive, just taking a spring break from work and technology for a bit.  It's been kind of nice.  Tomorrow it's back to work, sort of,  presenting my preliminary research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  There's something about standing in the middle of Harvard Yard, surrounded by 375 years of big thinkers that makes you reflect on how you are contributing to the field and inspiring others, especially our children to innovate, create, and collaborate.
     I'll be posting my preliminary results in an upcoming post.  Our iPod team is also presenting later this month at the Common Ground Conference in Baltimore.  If you are planning to attend, please stop by and see us.  Thanks for following.  Many more posts will coming next week after Spring Break.  Have a Happy Easter all.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Feeling the iLove in Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Students in Lyndhurst, New Jersey will be the proud owners of 1,400 new iPads thanks to the visionary leadership of Superintendent Tracey Marinelli.  Staff and students will be working directly with folks form Apple for support and professional development.  Using a four year lease-to-own contract makes so much sense to me given the rapidly developing technology market.  The contract contains a clause where Apple will update technology without an increase in the lease.  Keep an eye on North Jersey this year....

Here is the piece form

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 ASCD Conference Presentation

It was great meeting new colleagues at our presentation this weekend at the annual ASCD conference in Philadelphia.  As promised, attached is the PowerPoint from our presentation.  Unfortunately, the file is so large I have to embed it in two sections.  Here is the first installment, minus Lauren's section.  Thanks again to everyone for their interest in our work and for blazing new trails in your schools to benefit our 21st century learners.  We look forward to connecting, collaborating, and creating together.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Technology Worth the Money?

So is all of this money being spent on technology really worth it?  It depends on how you measure its worth.  If you look strictly at our current narrowly-focused sense of what it measn to be a good student or a good school, possibly not.  Our current accountability systems are clearly off target when it comes measuring the skills and knowledge kids will need to be succesful in the future.  In this article, Larry Cuban brings up the notion of digital comeptence, or in 21st Century Framework lingo - information literacy.  While content is important, the ways we access it, anaylze it, and utilize it are forever changed. Schools need to be in the business of helping children learn to navigate through the sea of information out there.  I would say its much more importatnt than anything else we teach our kids.  You can read Larry's piece below:

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Google It" Beats "Ask Your Parents"

In a survey of 500 kids conducted in the UK, researchers found when kids need answers to their questions, they turn to Google and other search engines twice as often as asking their parents.  Get this - only 3% would ask their teachers!  What does that say about today's digital kids or how they they their techno-dinosaur teachers and parents?  When was the last time you picked up a dictionary?  I can't even remember.  In this survey 20% of kids had never used a dictionary and 45% had never used an encyclopedia.  Here is the article from BBC News:

A research brief from Birmingham Science City can be read at this link:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Assistive Technology Roundup

I just came across the article written by special education teacher Vicki Windman that was published last month on  It provides a slew, that's right a slew of resources, websites, accessories, and programs reviews of folks all over the country doing cool stuff with assistive technology.  Check it out at:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Khan Academy IPad APP!

I happened to catch the Khan Academy news feature on 60 Minutes this week.  I was blown away at the impact that one person can have on the entire globe.  The concept of a free education for anyone in the world hearkens back to the days of peace, love and Woodstock.  Well now "there's an app for that!" You can check out the piece from Fast Company below.

You can go here to download the app on your device.  That's where I am heading right now.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Technology Underutilized

 I came across this story in THE Journal attracted initially by the title "At One School, IPods Help Improve Reading Scores." The premise has kids listening to audio books on Ipods as they follow along in text.  You know what also works?  A $20 CD player.  While a fan of increasing children's listening comprehension, getting them excited to explore a wide variety of texts and genres, and building background knowledge, I see the approach as a gross under utilization of mobile technology.  There are so many other things kids should be doing with this level of technolgy other than listening to someone read to them.  I also question how much this is taking away from the only research based method I know for getting kids to improve their reading scores, having them read, yes they do the reading, in text appropriate to their reading levels.   Here's the piece.  You make the call.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ypsilanti Middle - Keep An Eye On This School

This fall, Ypsilanti Middle School in Michigan will be adopting a project-based, technology embedded model developed by the noprofit New Tech Network.  While I am not familiar with the model, it sounds like it's worth looking into, as well as following to see its impact on teaching and learning.  You can read a short piece on the Ypsilanit project below.  The second link will get you to New Tech Network's website-

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Assistive Technology Leading the Way

While much has been done in the field of education to integrate technologies, the most significant impact has been for children with disabilities. The title of the article below includes the words, "changing lives". Programs like Refreshabraille are helping kids like Kyle Beasley participate in ways not thought of even a decade ago.   While many technologies designed to be used with kids who have disabilities are expensive, how can you put a price on empowerment and independence?  Check out the piece from Digital Directions below:

Friday, March 2, 2012

What the??? Tablets That Aren't IPads????

Charlottesville, Virginia City Schools is rolling out an ambitious tablet project and one of the most interesting things is they are not buying IPads.  Instead they have purchased 2,000 Fujitsu STYLISTIC® Q550 tablets for every student in grades six through 12.  Officials cited issues with the IPad including integrity of the glass and limited ability to manage security.  Apparently, the STYLISTIC Q550 tablet is MIL-STD-810G1 tested, meeting nine of the military standard tests for various demanding environmental conditions including transit drop, dust, functional shock and high temperature.  What about kindergartners?   Based on my experiences, everything about the IPad, other than maybe durability, is far superior to any Windows based or Android tablet. Anyway, this project will be interesting to watch. Here's a short piece from School CIO:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Things Are Always Bigger In Texas!

Let's hear it for McAllen Independent School District in Texas for what might be the largest deployment of IPads and IPods in the country.  This week they are distributing 6,800 devices with the hopes that every one of its 25,000 K-12 students will have their own device by next year.  Talk about BYOD on steroids.  Assuming they are an affluent district?  Wrong! Two-thirds of their student population is economically disadvantaged.  One thing that is obviously not at a disadvantage in McAllen - visionary leadership.  You can read the piece from ABC news below:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year? A Leap Ahead for First Grade Tweeters

What a great Leap Year Story - A group of first graders leaping forward, leading the way, pushing the envelope, on the cutting edge, TWEETING away.  Just when I think that I am making progress, learning new tricks as an old dog, along comes this story out of Chicago - First Graders at Abraham Lincoln Elementary using Twitter to let their parents know what's happening in school and to send them reminders about upcoming events.  Messages are delivered as a group and controlled by the teacher, but still, how cool is this?  Kids are also blogging to share work with classmates, parents, and other contacts outside the state.  You can read the short piece from the Chicago Tribune below:,0,7378048.story

Here is the link to the Abranham Lincoln Elementary website:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So Is All This Technology Spending Really Worth It?

The answer according to researchers at Concordia University is "YES!"   A meta-analysis of 1,055 studies over a 40 year period concluded that the use of technology had "small to moderate" impacts on student learning and attitudes.  As more effective and sophisticated technologies continue to emerge along with our understanding of how to best leverage the power of technology in our instruction, one could certainly make the case we are only beginning to scratch the surface in terms of the potential impact on student learning.

If you would like to read about the study here is the lite version from the Montreal Gazette -

Here is the full research paper if you need more empirical ammunition to support your planning -

Monday, February 27, 2012

PreK Techies?

The jury is still out for many early childhood educators in the debate over technology use with our youngest students.  While millions are being spent on STEM education, the role of computers in the EC classroom is still not clear.  While an advocate to developmentally appropriate practices, including the importance of exploration and play, I'm wondering if we are proceeding a little too cautiously.  The world is changing.  The technology is changing (for the better every day). How we use technology is changing.  Why shouldn't our early childhood classrooms change as well.  I think we can marry DAP and Technology in ways that will improve the outcomes for children, particularly for experiences that cannot be provided in a classroom setting.  Technology also has the potential to even the playing field, building critical background knowledge for our students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.  What is lacking are model programs incorporating best practices.  I am looking to connect with other like minded folks who believe we need to be doing more with our youngest learners.  If you are interested in collaboraating, please email me.

Here is a short piece from the Boston Globe -   

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Implementing a BYOD Program - Three Successful Programs

So you want to bring a BYOD program to your school?  It may not be as hard as some folks have made it out to be.  Many school systems already have the necessary Acceptable Use Policies in place, other need just slight revisions.  This article from Tech Learning highlights the BYOD programs in three school districts: Lake Travis Independent School District in Texas, New Canaan Public Schools in Connecticut, and Osseo Area Schools in Minnesota.  I am still having a hard time figuring out why there aren't more folks out there taking advantage of the technology many of our students come to school with every day.  You can read about these school districts' experiences below:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Day, Another IPad District

Students and teachers in New Hampshire are getting in the game. William Allen Elementary purchased 50 IPads for their classrooms and are focused on using them in interactive ways rather than simply playing games and apps.  Students are working on research, creating projects, and developing presentations for their peers.  You can read about their project below:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegas Baby! IVegas, That Is

You have got to read the article below about a charter school in Las Vegas.  It's an ISchool, where every student and staff member has their own IPad working in a school building with a souped up infrastructure.  This has to be the closet thing to heaven for anyone who believes in the promise and potential of providing kids access to technology and to the wide world of information out there on the Internet. Apparently there are other ISchools in existence, one in Utah and one is Texas.  I would love to see this school in action.  Sounds like a road trip!  Anyone in?  Check out the piece in the Las Vegas Sun below:

Monday, February 20, 2012

California Streaming on Such a Sunny Day

A number of school systems in California are "taking the leap" and purchasing IPads for their students. Annette Alpern, assistant superintendent of instructional services at the Redondo Beach Unified School District sums it up best when she says,  "There is not a ton of debate about whether this is a direction the schools are heading." "The question is more: How quickly will the future arrive?"

Manhattan Beach Unified purchased 560 devices for a pilot project this fall.  The verdict so far: The iPads are enhancing the learning process.

Read all about it below:

Friday, February 17, 2012

East Haven's IPad Reading Initiative

Teachers and students in New Haven Connecticut have a set of IPads for each of their schools thanks to a district wide initiative.  Although the article from the New Haven Register makes more references to teacher driven uses (assessment, record keeping, etc.) they are being used in small groups with kids as well.  Note to teachers - make sure the kids get to use them more than you do, please.  You can read the piece below:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama Wants Digital Textbooks

Not being the biggest fan on government intervention, I was a little concerned when I cam across this piece in USE Today. As much as I an a fan of e-textbooks and digital media, I'm not sure it's the government's role to "begin pushing publishers, computer tablet makers, and Internet service providers to lower their costs."  I am a believer in the free market and believe we will continue to see a drop in costs and an increase in availability of e-texts as dictated by market pressures.  I'm also a little concerned about government "picking winners" in this process of adopting digital texts.  At any rate, at least the transition is getting national attention and I suppose that's a good thing.  You can read the piece below:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moving to Mooresville! A National Model of the Digital School

Add Mooresville, North Carolina to my list of places where I would live and raise my kids.  Instead of buying laptops, how about leasing a MacBook Air for just $215 a year, including warranty? Despite their innovations, as well as their recognition, Superintendent Mark Edwards insists it's not about the technology, or as he calls it, "the box." he is quoted as saying, "It's about changing the culture of instruction - PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THEIR FUTURE, NOT OUR PAST." (caps added by me for emphasis)  How cool to work for such a visionary leader.  I wonder what the housing market is like down there?  You can read the piece below:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Epistemic Games Promote Academic Achievement - Who Knew? Me.

Okay, okay, so PacMan, or even Ms PacMan didn't help me to learn much of anything, but today's computer games have come a long way since then.  Today's games are engaging learners in ways that allow them to interact and experience challenges associated with a variety of environments.  We're not talking about killing zombies here.  This is real learning in very realistic environments where kids can develop independent thinking and creativity.  You can check out the article from Mindshift below:

Now back to my online game of Donkey Kong.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guess What Teachers Want When It Comes To Technolgy - MORE!

In case you didn't know this already, a National PBS Survey reports that teachers want more access to classroom technology.  While 91% of teacher report they have access to computers in their classroom, only 1 in 5 say they have the right level of technology.  Two-thirds cite budget as the biggest barrier to accessing tech in their classrooms,  Can anyone say BYOD?  You can read the press release from PBS below:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Technology Bill of Rights for Students - A Must Read

Tech Teacher and Blogger Brad Flickinger developed a Bill of Rights for students' use of technology.  It is written from the perspective of a student to his or her teacher.  Brad really nails it.  Check out his post on school

Friday, February 10, 2012

Shy Kids and Twitter - What a Great Idea!

Anyone out there have a student who is a great thinker but is generally too shy to raise their hand and participate in class?  Who always has their hands raised?  Those kids who are confident and outgoing or those who process quickly. Without hearing each student's thinking, how can we know how effective our instruction is, or how brilliant our kids really are?  What if we allowed them to participate by tweeting?  Research conducted at Southern Cross University found Twitter was an effective way to engage students too embarrassed or uncomfortable to participate in class.  While the study addressed university students, there is no reason why it wouldn't work as well in elementary through high school.  Of course we first have to allow "tweetable: devices in our classrooms.....
You can read a short piece below:

I've also included a page downloaded from the Southern Cross University website:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicago Metro NAEYC Conference Presentation

     I had a great time presenting at this year's Chicago NAEYC Conference in January.  What a great organization.  As promised, attached is the PowerPoint from my presentation."

     We have two conference presentations booked so far for the Spring.  In March, we will be presenting at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) National Conference in Philadelphia.  This April, we will be presenting at the Common Ground Conference in Baltimore.  If you are attending either conference, please stop in to hear about our work.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Know What Kids Like, I Know What Kids Want - Digital Learning and the Speak Up Survey

So what is it about digital learning that kids really want?  Good question.  Project Tomorrow CEO Julie Evans recently reported on data from the 2010 and 2011 education of the Speak Up Survey with a specific focus on digital learning.  This data indicates kids want social-based learning, tools for untethered learning, and a digitally rich learning environment.  Exactly what we are currently providing them.  (That was a joke if you couldn't tell.)  As Strother Martin, prison camp captain in Cool Hand Luke said, "What we got here is a failure to communicate."  Well, actually, the kids are communicating; we're just not listening.  And we wonder why they aren't listening to us? 

You can read the piece from THE Journal below.  The article contains a link to the Speak Up Survey as well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Praise the Lord and Pass the Creativity!

Is the tide FINALLY beginning to turn?  For years the talking heads have been professing the need to develop 21st century skills while forcing schools to chase the carrot of NCLB, Race to the Top or politically motivated accountability system du jour.  Well, there is some good news on the horizon.  Take a look at what is happening in Massachusetts, California and Oklahoma.  All three states are trying to broaden the scope of how schools are evaluated by examining how they are fostering creativity and innovation.  Clearly in the beginning stages of development, I am encouraged that some folks are recognizing the narrowness of our current assessment systems,  They understand if things don't change, our nation will lose it's dominant place in the global economy.  The one thing that kind of frightens me is the bus is being driven by politicians.  If you happen to be fortunate enough to live in one of the states,  stand up and make sure your voice is heard.  You can read the article from Education Week below:

Friday, February 3, 2012

You Go Wisconsin! - 1,400 IPads for Madison!

     It seems like many of the articles I post  are about smaller scale projects in innovative school systems across the country.  Madison, Wisconsin is taking a big leap with the purchase of 1,400 Ipads in the coming year.  What makes it even cooler is they got the funding through a settlement with Microsoft- sorry Bill! 
     Stay tuned for more news from Wisconsin.  State Superintendent Tony Evers is expected next week to release a statewide digital learning plan that has been developed over the past year by a group of state and local technology experts.  Can't wait to read it.
     Here is a link to the article:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

IPads Do Not Discriminate on the Basis of Race, Creed or Religion

Check out this article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about Catholic schools in Pittsburgh getting their feet wet in latest technology wave- mobile computing with IPads.  Their goal? IPads in the hands of every student by next year.  Where do I sign up?  Check out the article below:

We Love Our Apps - Or Do We?

Okay, I have issues.  Hello, my name is Harry and I'm an appaholic.  Glad I got that off my chest.  I currently have 112 apps on my IPhone.  I have a feeling I'm not alone.  We love our apps, or do we?  I came across this piece in USA Today about App use.  It quotes a Pew Center report which found 68% of smart phone users open five apps or less a week.  80% to 90% of apps are eventually deleted.  I'm wondering if these fleeting love affairs with apps apply to kid's app use as well.  Are there certain apps that have staying power in educational settings, or does the novelty of individual apps wear off over time?  This might make for some interesting research....   You can read the piece below:

Monday, January 30, 2012

What Do You Mean, Not Everyone Loves BYOD?

I came across this article about students in Temecula, California being allowed to use cell phones in their classrooms, with teacher permission of course.  I continue to be encouraged to read about innovative school systems who are taking a leap of faith to take advantage of the technology many of our students are carrying around in their pockets.  I think, given the current economic times, BYOD makes a lot sense.  Apparently not everyone agrees.  You have to check out the reader's comments at the bottom of this article.  It's kind of shocking, but also enlightening to realize BYOD might be an uphill battle, one worth fighting, though.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The State of the APP Market

There's nothing like a professional conference to get you re-energized.  I just returned to the East Coast after presenting at the NAEYC Conference in Chicago.  What a great organization they have out there in the Chicago Metro Area. Hats off to Gail Conway and Brian Puerling for their roles in organizing the event.  I would highly recommend attending anything they put together in the future.  As part of my presentation in Chicago, I included a recently published article (January 2012) from the Sesame Street Cooney Center which examined the content of the education category of the ITunes Store.  It makes for a most interesting read. The thing that struck me the most was how many app developers are targeting preschoolers and toddlers.  There is so much work that needs to be done in order to identify the most effective ways to use mobile technology with our youngest students.  I'll be sharing my thinking about technology and early childhood education in upcoming posts.  For now, check out the article below:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Greetings from Chicago!

I'm presenting a session on Leadership Issues related to Mobile Technology at the Chicago Metro Area NAEYC Conference this morning.  Over 5,000 folks are here sharing their passion for early childhood education.  I'll post my presentation on their conference website in the coming weeks and I'll share a link if you are interested in reviewing the presentation.  Once I get back East I'll have some cool posts of new learning this week.  Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BYOD with a Bullitt (As in Kentucky that is)

Bullitt Kentucky Schools- another school system jumps on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) train.  Recognizing the need for students to have cutting edge technology while trying to work within increasingly tight budgets for schools, Superintendent Keith Davis is encouraging parents to send their kids to school with their own computing devices.  You can check out the story in the Courier Journal below:|newswell|text||s

Monday, January 23, 2012

Apple Does It Again - E-Textbooks

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that Apple is leading the way again, this time with E-Textbooks.  With a son in college and one on the way, it could not have come soon enough.  Textbook companies have been making money hand over fist for years.  If I weren't such a capitalist, I would scream foul, but they were only making hay while the sun was shining.  The days of $200-$300 textbooks may be a thing of the past.  Not only will folks (school systems, students, and parents) save tons of money, but the books themselves are SOOO much cooler and can be easily updated as knowledge changes.  Thanks Apple for getting this ball rolling.  Now all we need is for the powers that be to do the right thing, not only financially, but more importantly educationally.  You can read two takes on the Apple E-Texts below:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One-to-One Making a Huge Impact

Check out this story about River Dell Regional High School in Oradell, New Jersey.  Recognizing the need to engage kids in ways they are used to doing outside the classroom, this school, under the visionary leadership of Lorraine Brooks, Principal, committed to becoming a digital school.  Their tech director notes, it's not about the device , it's about the learning.  They really seem to get it and their rise in student achievement is remarkable.  Check out the story at:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can anyone really compete with the MacBook Air?

A number of companies have launched, "ultra-laptops" intended to go after the MacBook audience.  Really?  Anyone out there that owns a MacBook Air knows it about so much more than the "fashionista" factor.  It's not just how thin it is, it's the speed, operating system, software, and intuitiveness. As an Air owner, you'll have to pry my fingers off mine before I would consider the new HP, Dell, or Vizio laptops.  To the latest release of look-alikes - good luck catching up with Apple.  It's a tall order.   You can read the Business Week article here: