Monthly Archives: June 2014

You’ve heard it before…It’s not about the Technology, it’s about the…

TEACHERS.

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I know you’ve heard it before but here’s an Educational Technology strategy that can have impact  (I say that because many technology pilot programs and initiatives never have measurable impact on student learning and test scores for a variety of reasons).

In order to be successful in implementing site-wide, or district-wide technology initiatives your program must have two components:

1 – Defined Scope, Scale and Funding

2 – Focused and recurring Professional Development.

The first actually requires an in-depth process to define the Scope and Scale of the Curriculum program – meaning:

– What instructional objectives does the system address?

– And which students are included in the program?

Once these two broad items are defined, the funding to license and procure, and the resources to implement and administer must also be identified and managed.  Don’t forget the second half (implement and administer) or you successes will be short-lived.

The second component – focused and recurring Professional Development – is where the Educational Services department makes their mark.  It becomes their obligation to define the professional development modules for all aspects of the identified curriculum and its technology components: from orientation to standardized classroom management and pedagogy.

We all know, that the teacher makes all the difference in the world.  The question becomes, do they have the most effective tool set, and do we have a way to support them and improve their capabilities in a site-wide and/or district-wide model?

Storage…is the current technology REVOLUTION…How does it affect you?

One little recognized fact in the current evolution of technology – STORAGE is no longer a technical constraint.  And there are some far reaching and revolutionary impacts.

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Back in the old days of computing (circa 1980’s and 90’s) the evolution of computing was often described within the context of technical capacity.  Three areas comprised the computing environment: Computing Power, Data Transmission (Bandwidth), and Storage Capacity.

Moore’s Law lays out the future of processing power and the Ghz keep going up.  Still we pay more for more Ghz.

And the bandwidth constraint has moved from the internal computer data bus, to the Internet and the last mile connection (to your device), putting the throttle on maximum computing.  Think interactive video streaming over the Internet.

But the Storage capacity constraint has vanished.  The evolution in storage capacity has far outpaced the other two constraints: Compute Power and Bandwidth.

Think of the amount of storage that is mass printed on tiny memory chips that go in your cell phones and cameras and are now revolutionizing Big Data and cloud-based storage services.  I purchased a 64Gb memory card with my SLR two years ago and haven’t even filled it half way up.

The strange reality is that they will print more storage today, than all the storage manufactured in the previous decades all together.  We can never use up all the storage now available.

So, what are some of the impacts of this revolution?

– Data management – purge and backups – There is no longer a reason to manage data, organize it better, or purge old data.  With search and archive facilities, I can back up everything, forever, and find it using search.

– Free storage – you should be able to find and utilize all the free storage available online.  Storage will become so free, you will have to chose the most reliable provider for your data – price will no longer be a factor.

– Device-based storage is gone – floppies, CD’s, Tape, USB drives – forget about it….store your stuff in a cloud, any cloud.  Drop box, Google, Web Lockers, Just remember to treat your critical and confidential data differently and secure it accordingly.

– Private Cloud Services – what’s that? It’s your internal services for network storage and collaboration.  We’re not going to tell you to stop using them, but you better be looking at the cost effectiveness of maintaining and administering servers, email servers, database servers, firewalls, voice over IP, and all the other internal services you are running.  They can all be bought and paid for with a monthly fee.  No payroll attached.  Analyze closely here.

Technology Independent Model for Education(TM) is the future for Educational Technology

As we peruse educational technology message boards and interest groups we continue to read about one-to-one and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives.  But what if I told you that the students are proving your assumptions wrong?

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Here are common WRONG assumptions:

1 – students need a school device all the time – anytime, anyplace computing doesn’t mean they need to carry a device – that you chose – around all the time.  Besides, they already have a smartphone.

2 – the requirements for SBAC are the same requirements for student computing – if you are purchasing devices for SBAC, don’t expect to redeploy them successfully to students.

3 – 1:1 means higher test scores – there is very little empirical evidence to support a causal relationship between student devices and higher test scores, although studies do show improvements in some subjective measures such as engagement and motivation.

4 – Student devices will induce a paradigm shift in pedagogy and classroom management – we all know that these types of impacts can only be realized through professional development, not the introduction of technology alone.

5 – Students need a device to have access to their work anytime, anywhere – sorry, all their stuff is in the cloud.  Device-based storage is a hindrance in today’s environment.  How do you get your files from the iPad, to your USB drive?  The student would rather use the most powerful or convenient device available at any particular time.

The more you look at it, the more you see that the instructional need is not device-dependent.  A specific instructional application may be device-dependent, but the majority of applications will likely be more browser-dependent.

What does it all mean?  We need to take a Technology Independent approach.  Let the immediate instructional requirement determine which device to use.

TIME – Technology Independent Model for Education(TM)