1 to 1 programs are so 2007

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:15 pm

The question of "what should a classroom" look like in terms of technology has been asked many times in our district and in many places. The whole pursuit of one to one computing is still somewhat interesting but in recent times I've been trying to think a little differently about this idea. During a recent presentation I dared to say :

Certainly a statement like this will elicit a great deal of discussion as is should. My point here is that my thinking about one to one computing which has been ongoing for at least 6-7 years has focused on purchasing laptops for every student. That may still have merit in some instances but I think we have to move beyond that single path and begin to explore a variety of options and configurations that truly do enhance learning. 

The idea of BYOT (Bring your own technology) is beginning to take shape. Certainly there are cost savings involved but more importantly it acknowledges that the type of equipment you have may not matter and in many aspects of learning it doesn't. The naysayers will be quick to … Read the rest

Nice one TDSB

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

Warning: This post was written in about 10 minutes with a fair bit of emotion. While I’m hoping for clarity, I’m there’s no guarantee.
: The story I linked to was from 2007. Someone from the Toronto District School Board was not able to confirm if indeed this policy is now in place.  However, I’ll not retract the post as the ideas and arguments remain valid in my opinion. This is not meant so much to attack a particular school district but simply to address the larger issue of cell phone banning that exists in many jurisdictions.

These are the types of decisions that continue to promote the “us vs. them” mentality.  What incites me is the reason they give for banning cell phones:

There’s the disruptive nature of the phone ringing or vibrating during class.

Students can text message each other and send answers about exams, a high tech way to cheat.

They can also access the Internet over the phones, making it too easy to surf or find answers they’re supposed to know while class is in session.

Phones can also act as MP3 players,

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Hey Mr. Shareski, look what we got!

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

I’ll take these kind of interruptions any day. Working in my office, the familiar Skype chat box sound alerts me to someone wanting my attention. It was Matthew, a grade one student in Kathy’s class. He wanted to chat. This is our conversation:

are teechr sas yes you can cum from Mathew.

I will come over tomorrow if that’s okay

yes can you cum at 11:00?

okay, it’s a date!

see you too moro.

Sorry I can’t come in the morning. It will have to be later in the afternoon or else on Wednesday.

how about 1:20

That should work. I think my meeting will be finished by then.

do you wont to see wat we havein awr cllas rite nou


This is what he wanted to show me.

New Laptop

Update: As you can see this was largely a copy and paste job via Skype chat. I inadvertently left the name of the student in the post. Fortunately, Kathy was Johnny-on-the-spot and noticed but decided to check with the parent. The parent was quite happy to … Read the rest

7 year old researchers

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:05 am

I purchased an XO in efforts to consider the possibility of low cost computing and where this might fit into classrooms. I’ve played with it somewhat and was able to do some interesting things but  knew I needed some people better than me to do the real testing and dirty work. Enter Kathy Cassidy and her amazing grade one bloggers. What a treat it is to walk into a grade one classroom and they quickly resort to telling about their most recent published articles. As a former grade one teacher, you just can’t beat listening to them tell you stories about anything and everything.

I showed them the XO and a few things I’ve learned and made them a deal that they could keep it as long as they would share what they learn. (See Mark Ahlness who is already doing this with his third graders) I’ve suggested to Kathy that she allow them to take turns taking the unit home to explore. They’ll discover and learn much better than me. This computer is designed for them. I’ve now added a group of 7 year olds to … Read the rest

Are we spoiled?

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

Today my XO or “$100 laptop” arrived.  It brings with it the cool-looks-like-a-Fisher-Price-toy kind of responses from others. I fire it up and without doing anything, I’m online. (Our technicians had issues with the wireless in their office but it worked without even keying in a WEP code here).  I take a quick tour and have a look at some of the other activities. (The XO uses the term activities rather than programs). Soon I’m stumped because it doesn’t function exactly like my Dell laptop.

So here are the questions that hit me almost immediately: Will kids like it? Is it intuitive? What is required in schools to make it work?

It’s not really about the XO but about the varying devices we carry. I think of Clarence’s recent post on boxes and it resonates with me. The difference that in our country and others with wealth, we’re not content unless it’s shiny, new and almost ridiculously intuitive. We’re dazzled and amazed with the interface of the itouch. We’re begging the industry to make things easier, better, faster, cheaper and for the most part, they are responding. We’re … Read the rest