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 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