Two Views on Innovation

from Technology & Learning

This month we focus on innovative practices taking place in the field with "No Limits". In it, author Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach reviews a range of district, school, and individual initiatives that represent transformative approaches to teaching and learning with technology.

Another angle comes from "CoSN Delegation Visits Scandinavia", a report on the November 2007 trip taken by U.S. ed tech leaders, including T&L publisher Jo-Ann McDevitt. Among the observations made during the visit: Scandanavia views technology in schools in a much different way than do we. While they recognize students need technology skills for the workplace, they do not emphasize technology as a tool for innovation. In fact, innovation was not a concept much bandied about during the visit. Instead, delegates noted a deep respect for educators, responsible student behavior, a minimized focus on testing, and a highly collaborative work environment are what help students succeed. Despite all our "flat world" and "global economy" rhetoric, in the end it seems cultural factors (and yes, the homogeneity of the student population) still play the primary role in determining student achievement and attitudes toward education in general.

If you're interested in integrating Web 2.0 tools into your curriculum but hesitate to set students loose on social networking sites, help is on the way. In "Safety and Social Networking", Alec Couros offers expert tips and guidelines for using such resources. Safety is also addressed in this month's Product Guide, "Classroom Management Systems", where Jeff Branzburg details common features of desktop control programs, and brings you up to speed on the latest offerings. More expert advice comes from Douglas Brooks in Part 2 of our Bottom Line column, "Grant Writing for Beginners". We're sure you'll find numerous practical ideas to implement to enhance funding efforts in your district.

Susan McLester
Editor in Chief