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Q&A with Roger Wagner Big Idea: Invented multimedia authoring software HyperStudio, released by Roger Wagner Publishing in May 1989. K-12 Cred: Before founding his software company, Wagner taught math and science at Mountain Empire Junior-Senior High School in Pine Valley, Calif. Owner: PBA Galleries, a San
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Q&A with Roger Wagner

Big Idea: Invented multimedia authoring software HyperStudio, released by Roger Wagner Publishing in May 1989.

K-12 Cred: Before founding his software company, Wagner taught math and science at Mountain Empire Junior-Senior High School in Pine Valley, Calif.

Owner: PBA Galleries, a San Francisco-based rare book auction service

Q: What was your inspiration for HyperStudio?

A: The arrival of the Apple IIGS, one of the most amazing computers to come along, and in some particular ways, never replicated. The IIGS had color available at an affordable price before the Mac or Microsoft-based computers. In addition, it had the potential for recording the user's own voice, and even a MIDI synthesizer with 16 stereo voices. In fact, the musical capability was so radical that the Beatles' Apple Records filed a suit against Apple, and they never put a hardware synthesizer in a computer again. When this remarkable computer appeared, it was compellingly clear that for the first time, a new form of writing could be done where every imaginable form of information could be used, as though from an artist's palette, to explore a subject and tell a story.

Q: What have been the biggest boosts and obstacles to technology-driven education reform?

A: The biggest boost in the past decades has been the combination of highly energetic, enthusiastic, and dedicated educators with funding that supported their vision. Unfortunately, one of the obstacles has been an actual lack of faith in proven educational theories such as constructivism. As the political side of education shifted to an emphasis on test results, and funding for technology was questioned and cut, too many educators, apart from the early pioneers, did not adopt the belief that constructivism and other "educational reform" techniques do improve test scores. Even if the assessment isn't any deeper than a multiple choice test, the truth is that sound educational techniques yield a better educated student and even better test results.

Q: Where do you see education headed in the next decade?

A: Educational institutions in the United States have a sobering array of challenges before them. I share with other educators the puzzlement that more parents don't place a higher priority and concern in the matter of the quality of their children's education. However, I also think that this continues because of a lack of clear communication of the essential elements and principles of educational theory and practice between educators and their parent communities. Educators can read numerous articles in magazines, books, and scholarly works that they all share with each other, but how often do they share these ideas with the parents? The local paper has extensive sections on gardening, car maintenance, and even playing cards and chess, but how often do we see a regular space for educators explaining the ideas behind what they want to do in their schools? In the absence of that, it's not surprising that the limit of some parents' imagination for a better future is "just make the test scores go up."

Back in Time

Issue: May 2000 Technology & Learning

"Beyond the Digital Divide: Pathways to Equity"

"The Skinny on Thin Clients"

"Software Review: The Headbone Zone"

"Cool Science Tools"

News and Issues:

President Clinton proposes a multibillion dollar program to help bridge the digital divide, with $150 million earmarked for training pre-service teachers to use technology effectively.

Georgia Tech's Amy Bruckman talks with T&L about the potential of multi-user dungeons, or MUDs, for teaching reading, writing, and computer programming.

Educators and industry experts debate the pros and cons of the Application Service Provider model.


Russian President Vladimir Putin is sworn into office.

The "I Love You" virus wreaks havoc on computer systems worldwide.

Celera Genomics announces the company has completed sequencing an entire human genome.

Santana's Supernatural album tops the Billboard charts.



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Q&A with Tom Snyder Founder: Tom Snyder Productions in 1980 Hallmarks: Creative and collaborative curriculum products for the one-computer classroom Award Winners: TimeLiner; Fizz & Martina's Math Adventures; Geography Search; Decisions, Decisions; and more. Q: What has been the biggest turning point in education

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Q&A with Alan November Work: Internationally-known ed tech leader, author, designer, consultant, and speaker. Upcoming: Building Learning Communities international conference, July 19-22, Boston, Mass. Details at Contact: Q: What has been the biggest turning point in

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Gleanings The Young and the Wired A surprising percentage of kids use e-mail as early as kindergarten, according to NetDay. The nonprofit, which recently released the results of its Speak Up Day 2003 study, found 29 percent of grade K-3 students have their own e-mail accounts, compared to 45 percent for grades 4-6

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Q&A with Ian Jukes Past: Teacher, administrator, writer, consultant, and university instructor. Current: Director, InfoSavvy; keynote speaker, author, editor, and publisher. Recent: Net Savvy: Building Information Literacy for the Classroom, co-authored with Anita Dosaj and Bruce Macdonald, and Windows on the

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Q&A with Peggy Healy Stearns Job: Award-winning children's software designer Clients: Sunburst, Tom Snyder Productions, Fable-vision Creations: Solve It!, The Graph Club, Neighborhood MapMachine, Community Construction Kit, Diorama Designer, Rainforest Designer, Let's Get Writing, Stationery Studio Next: Stationery

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Q&A with Chris Dede Post: Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies, Harvard Graduate School of Education Interests: Emerging technologies; multiuser virtual environments; telementoring; and interactive learning simulations See him at Tech Forum in Itasca, Ill., on April 29. Q: What do you see as the biggest reform

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Gleanings New Poll Reveals Budget Woes District technology budgets have taken big hits, according to a report released this summer by CoSN and Grunwald Associates. The Digital Leadership Divide survey found that while 38 percent of district tech budgets have increased in the past three years, 62 percent have

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Gleanings Surf Report A new survey from Web filtering company St. Bernard Software and JAS Market Research found inappropriate Net use is alive and kicking in K-12 schools, with 59 percent of the 200 technology decision-makers polled reporting incidents ranging from students accessing games (the number one

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Gleanings The Skinny on School Choice Only a small fraction of kids are transferring out of schools that have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress for two straight years under NCLB, according to a new study from the Center on Education Policy. The report, which revealed 2 percent of eligible students have opted