Trend Watch(2) - Tech Learning

Trend Watch(2)

Un-Trend of the Month Todd Oppenheimer's book, The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved (Random House, 2003). OK, so he won a National Magazine Award back in 1998 for his controversial Atlantic Monthly story on this subject, but we say: Time to arise from
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Un-Trend of the Month

Todd Oppenheimer's book, The Flickering Mind: The False Promise of Technology in the Classroom and How Learning Can Be Saved (Random House, 2003). OK, so he won a National Magazine Award back in 1998 for his controversial Atlantic Monthly story on this subject, but we say: Time to arise from your sensory deprivation tank, Mr. O. We're using cell phones now, there's been a turnover in Washington, and oh, this isn't the hottest debate in town any more.

Blogging for the Masses

You know Web logs have made it to the mainstream when AOL decides to jump into the fray. Made available in late summer to the company's 34 million subscribers, "AOL Journals" is different from other digital diary tools in that it lets users update their entries not just via a conventional online template, but also through AOL Instant Messaging software and phone (though phone service costs extra). That means, for example, that teachers could call in voice messages to be posted to their classroom Web log — making last-minute lesson updates a phone call away.


This year's National Education Computing Conference turned up the following:

Most swamped press event: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills announced their commitment to "resolving issues about teaching either basic skills or 21st century skills." For more on this, visit and stay tuned for Technology & Learning's October cover feature.

Best communication booster: SIF. Okay, we've got the hardware; we've got the software; and we've got the networks. Now how do we get them all "tawking"?

Foremost Aha!: blended learning. Digital publishers are adding print and print publishers are adding digital.

Longest coming attraction: whiteboards. Yes, it took 150 years, folks, but now we've got the whiteboard as well as the blackboard. True, whiteboards aren't breaking news, but now it seems these digitally-enhanced presentation tools are really taking a front row seat in the classroom. Check with Promethean and SMART for details.

Stickiest trend: information and resource management. Not going away — in fact, increasing — are products and services designed to help us sort, store, analyze, share, and do everything else required to stay on top of today's info overflow.

Quotation of the Month

What's Your Opinion?

Do you agree with Mr. Kay's assessment of the state of math instruction in today's schools? Click here and let us know what you think. We'll report your responses on Back Page.

"The best thing that's going on right now is that kids are flunking math and science."
— Alan Kay, computer visionary, senior fellow at H-P Labs, and keynote speake at NECC 2003

Kay goes on to explain that the way math and science are being taught in schools today has little to do with the real world. So if kids were acing math and science tests, he argues, "I guarantee you that virtually none of those children would have learned anything about mathematics." Kay went on to demonstrate for the audience how elementary students can derive key concepts in math and science via experimentation and computer modeling disguised as play. View some of the kids' projects and learn how to incorporate computer modeling into your classroom at

Read other articles from the September Issue



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Trendwatch Topics Rolling Up our Sleeves Probeware Revisited Special 25th Anniversary Survey Quotables The Learning Game Educated Opinions New on Rolling Up our Sleeves Practical tools were definitely front and center in this year's conference offerings. Organizations and vendors alike

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From Building Blocks to Blogs A recent article in UK-based Teachers magazine described an after-school blogging club that includes members as young as 8 years old. The teacher who sponsors the club reports that the prospect of an audience — and the thrill of tracking hits on their sites — has proven as

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Like, Get a Clue Eighth-grade girls from Maryland are playing a pivotal role in nabbing online pedophiles, reports Phuong Ly of The Washington Post. Their expertise: teaching seasoned FBI agents to pose as teenage girls online without giving away their cover. A non-standards-based curriculum that includes pop

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E-Rate Windfall Last March, a selection of libraries and school districts across the country got some very good news indeed. Due to a significant carryover in unused E-Rate funds from previous years, some $420 million fattened up the 2003 coffers. This means the Universal Service Administrative Company was able to

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File Sharing for Fun and Profit "How many hours have you spent doing work that you aren't being paid for?" asks the Web site, whose new Einstein file sharing program is sure to raise ire in the education community. Primarily designed to allow high school and college students to share homework and

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Going Mobile in South America While handheld computing has steadily been gaining momentum in U.S. schools over the past three years, it's also drawn the attention of developing countries looking to provide their students with a low-cost, portable educational tool. For example, researchers at the Catholic University

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Nature: The Anti-Internet The German government has developed a new social service program for kids perpetually tethered to IM chats and multiplayer Web games: a summer camp for Internet addicts. The first program of its kind, reports German media company Deutsche Welle, it feeds youngsters with a steady stream of

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Talking Technology While we're starting to see Voice over Internet Protocol make inroads in K-12, higher education seems to be where the communications technology is getting the most traction. Case in point: New Hampshire's Dartmouth College has established a campus-wide VoIP network, which essentially turns a

Trend Watch(7)

Got Grokker? In the ever-expanding World Wide Web, the most relevant resources for research are not always on the first page of Google results. Sometimes they're not even on the first 20 pages. Data visualization tool Grokker offers some relief for users looking to quickly retrieve pertinent information from deep