These are my notes from Ben Coley’s presentation at MITC 2007 titled, “The Future of Technology in Your Organization.” My thoughts are in ALL CAPS.

BEN SHARED A FEW INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS, BUT BASICALLY FACILITATED AN “UNCONFERENCE” DISCUSSION WITH PARTICIPANTS. THIS WAS A GOOD SESSION AND CONVERSATION. EYE OPENING IN MANY WAYS.

Day to day research
Tacticial research: next 12-18 months (near term)
Strategic research: stuff we won’t implement for 24 months or more, or won’t implement but need to investigate

Our questions: what should the research agenda be for MOREnet?

We publish an electronic report once a year, about the current research agenda from the past 3 months and what it will be the next 3 months

CALEA: Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement agencies
– came out in ’94
– this is basically wiretapping
– VOIP has captured the attention of law enforcement, because they are not able to wiretap as they were in the past

CALEA is about being ready so you can be quick and responsive if and when law enforcement agencies show up asking for information / assistance

Also we are working on “the next generation network phase 2”
– we are building out a new backbone for MOREnet, a fiber backbone, RFP is out

There are lots of places in Missouri where broadband ethernet services are NOT available
– it is critical we provide that type of access
– T-1s don’t aggregate nicely, esp when you get up to the 10 MB area

Step above T-1 is DS3 (45 MB) and very expensive
OCX is expensive
Ethernet, where it is available, can provide a scalable solution
– can put software in place to aggregate ethernet

Looking to work with communities have city fiber in place
– want to find out what it would take to get that fiber pulled into a public school, library, public health facility, etc.
– can just turn a knob and increase available bandwidth

High definition video is another current project
– you can begin to do things with hi-def video that you can’t do with resolutions available in the past
– just getting videoconferecing available in your classroom is a big deal in many districts and areas.

Another project, Coffman Foundation grant proposal, wanting to use some technologies to change classroom practices (like high definition videoconferencing)
– METS (Math, Engineering, Technology and Science) as well as increasing bandwidth applications will be involved in these grants

Just got back from Minneapolis last week (it’s already snowed this year in some parts of Minnesota!)

New NSF grant application
global environments for network innovations – GENIE project
– next-gen Internet research
– what networks need to be doing 10 and 15 years from now

What is your current hot button for research?
– second life?

Participant comments:

some teachers consider web content to be distracting and not desirable for students
– there is strife between teachers

there is a subculture out there which fears the change and subcultures which are using the technology which has really bypassed many teachers
– so many people are far behind (teachers)
– kids have never known life without technology, and many of those technologies are really mind boggling
– where is it going next?

story of a fight at a high school put on myspace
– students use technology to sensationalize
– I’m sure kids rush home not to do their homework, but to see what is happening on their space (myspace page)

no one person can possibly keep up

kids don’t know how to socialize with each other as well as we did when we were
– they have to interact through technology, that worries me

student abbreviations in text messaging let them compress

Kansas is in the process to moving to computerized assessment, now it is optional for districts
– feedback from that is students are performing better with computerized assessments than pencil and paper

A district uses Tungsten benchmarks (Edison Schools)
– we are now using those digital asessments in analog ways: putting those out on paper first
– seems ironic because Tungsten is designed as an all online assessment system
– teacher are insisting that everything be xerox copied
– started with special education, then it spread like wildfire: All the teachers want the students to use paper and pencils
– teachers insist the students are more familiar with paper-based delivery

Ben’s question:
– How many of you feel like your classroom technology is behind what the students have at home

Responses:
– this makes us (as teachers) look like dinosaurs
– teacher buy-in is the real key, PD and helping teachers use it effectively
– “we are having a hard time training teachers – we have some that JUST bought in to email”
– “the online gradebook inspired a lot of retirements in our district”
– teachers are overwhelmed
– we want electronic response systems to use with students but don’t have them, that type of technology (even though you are asking the same questions) focused on state standards would be getting closer to where students are with their technologies

students are becoming much more empowered because of technologies to create their own meaning, and then circumvent the teacher or the other person who was providing the information
– whether that info is real or like, we need to help teachers and students navigate this
– maybe we need resources of time and training, instead of just packaging information and technologies

Another question from Ben:
interested in problem-based learning?
– NO ONE IN THE ROOM RAISED THEIR HAND!
– could using PBL methods free up time for teachers and students?
– that is a whole different shift in how we traditionally learned?
– that is the way we solve problems in the real world, there is a school of thought that thinks we should be doing more of that work
– is a Univ of Missouri project at the Medical School

My question to the group:
– how about providing laptops for teachers? for all teachers?
– In a room of 60, just 1 district has given laptops to all teachers
– a few have given laptops to a few teachers (eMints teachers)

Other responses:
– a few teachers go out and find blog and other tools, but those teachers aren’t getting guidelines about keeping students safe from the tech department, no training, teachers are basically on their own

everyone wants to do services like ePals
– I don’t have the money or expertise to write code for the safety aspects of programs
– I don’t think there are enough open source solutions for eduation that meet our needs

(THIS LAST COMMENT CAME FROM A TECH DIRECTOR WHO IS BRAND NEW TO EDUCATION FROM THE BUSINESS SECTOR. CLEARLY WE NEED TO TALK AND CLARIFY SOME PERCEPTIONS.)

Ben’s question:
How many of you can remember when the technologies were the problem, not the policies?
How many of you have dealings with law enforcement (about 6 hands out of 60)

more responses
– the rate of information coming at teachers is too fast
– new student info system, eInstruction, etc… just the district initiatives are overwhelming
– lots of tools are locked down in our system because teachers can’t even keep up with district initiatives
– we don’t have the staff to train and share
– Sprint is working on providing laptop
– could MOREnet provide online professional development, and then credit for teachers who participate?

[I SHARED ABOUT THE K-12 ONLINE CONFERENCE WITH THE PERSON WHO ASKED THE PREVIOUS QUESTION]

more responses
– I just participated in my first online webinar last week, it was very helpful
– live webinars seem to be more beneficial to teachers rather than online courses (teachers like the interactivity)
— teachers can’t

Ben’s comment
– my sophomore girl doesn’t bring her textbooks home to learn
– I don’t understand that, how can I as a parent help you if I can’t see your textbook
– my kids have no problem doing six things at once

more responses:
– technology needs to be just in time not just in case, use it or lose it: we must expect follow-up and use by teachers

[I BROUGHT UP THE OLPC PROJECT AS AN ISSUE AND OPPORTUNITY]

other response:
– give the kids projects and give them the responsibility for teaching teachers how to use the technologies to communicate

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One Response to The Future of Technology in Your Organization

  1. Colin says:

    Tungston Tests – I used to use them. It was so hard for the kids to do the math on paper without printing them. It drove me nuts when a child would just guess at a simple math problem because they didn’t have to write it down. There is also talk that we need to prep the kids for the MAP tests, year end required tests that are all paper based.
    This session sounded great. I am sorry that I missed it.

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