Sunday, October 21, 2007

EdTech Imponderables

David Pogue, the technology columnist of the New York Times, wrote a column this week about his technology 'Imponderables.' These are items that may or may not have answers, but they are all interesting to discuss. To take Pogue's premise and apply it to educational technology, there are more than a few things that jump out at you...

- If the government is going to fund high speed network access to each County Office of Education in California, through the K-12 High Speed Network, why don't they assist districts in funding the 'last mile?'

- If the federal government is going to mandate CIPA, why don't they help with the filtering? They only mandate that schools and libraries must have filters.

- Districts want teachers to use technology to enhance the educational process, yet they don't mandate professional development in the use of technology in schools and in most cases don't make it part of a teacher's professional expectations and use it as part of the teacher's job performance.

- Software companies, thinking they are being benevolent by cutting schools a 10% break on the cost of software, but fail to see the fact that they would make more in the long run to build product loyalty as students learn to use computers using their software. Adobe made it next to impossible to outfit a lab with their software. It looks like they may have finally figured it out when they acquired Macromedia and adopted their educational marketing strategy.

- Teachers wondering why students are so connected with MySpace and Facebook and not finding ways to transfer the skills in developing these pages into the educational process by using wikis and social networks.

- Parents providing cell phones to their children and not realizing that the 2" x 4" piece of plastic and transistors they hold in their hand, gives them a window to the world. Some good, some bad, but all at their fingertips 24/7/365.

- Teachers and schools seeing cell phones as the source of bad behavior in schools. Cell phones simply take what is already there and magnify it and make instantly accessible. What would happen if we used cell phones to magnify and make instantly accessible what we were teaching in our classes?

- Does anyone think that the number of devices that allow individuals to wirelessly connect to networks, including the Internet is going to shrink? So, why are there so few schools with a 'wireless policy?'

Do you have any 'EdTech Imponderables?' If so, send them to me and I'll post them in a follow up....

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