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: