District Administration- August 2008 - (Page 12)
Letters X-Factor Winners Larry Carr and I appreciate District Administration for choosing our district, Mohawk Area School District in Pennsylvania, to win the $30,000 X-Factor Student Achievement Award, sponsored by AutoSkill International Inc., last summer. You cannot believe how much the students love using the room and enjoy coming to physical education/wellness. Lou Ann Miller, physical education and wellness instructor, Mohawk Area School District, Bessemer, Pa. EDITOR’S NOTE: We received interesting reactions from experts in the ﬁeld of oneto-one learning on the July cover story, “Getting Mobile.” Disappointed with Program I am disappointed that Renzulli Learning is being touted as a valid tool for diﬀerentiation and enrichment (“Diﬀerentiation and Enrichment,” June 2008). Every non-tech-savvy curriculum and instruction and gifted and talented director/coordinator is staring with longing at Renzulli Learning—it’s going to save them, integrate technology, and change how teachers teach. After my ﬁrst encounter, I wondered why schools weren’t just using Thinkﬁnity instead. It’s free! I looked at Renzulli Learning when they came to visit. I wanted to be open and accepting of this tool, but every question I asked highlighted a simple fact—Renzulli Learning is NOT chock full of “activities.” It’s a database of links to other people’s stuﬀ. Another objection is that every other system used in districts that aﬀect teachers and students features automated data transfers every 24 hours to prevent loss of service due to student/ teacher mobility. This system lacks that. And Renzulli Learning puts the burden of managing online student proﬁles on the classroom teacher. Miguel Guhlin, edublogger, mguhlin.net Do Handhelds Go the Distance? I read with interest the article on the use of handheld devices presented as a ﬁnancially and pedagogically viable alternative to laptop computers. Whenever I read of such “new” technological approaches, it appears to me as a comparison of an all-terrain vehicle to a dirt track motorcycle. Both can be seen covering the same terrain, with similar drivers; however, the ride and the results are quite diﬀerent. Although they contain signiﬁcant power, handheld devices serve speciﬁc functions and do very well in these domains. But the comparison to the potential of a laptop in students’ and educators’ hands is simply not there. Many superintendents and policy makers are seeking alternative, costeﬀective options to the laptop context, and that is understandable. In my estimation, what is really needed is to have laptop manufacturers arrive at the logical conclusion that the current provision of laptops, designed by adults for adult usage, remains a leap in logic when applied in the classroom context. Educators should insist with laptop technology manufacturers to ultimately design and provide a laptop that meets the needs of our educators and students, in a cost-eﬀective manner. If the One Laptop Per Child, the popular $100 laptop program, can do it, so can the folks in Silicon Valley. Presenting comparisons in the types of technology for our classrooms engages readers in searching for options, but the more pervasive, long-standing issue is why it is taking so long for technology to be truly integrated into our classrooms. Ron Canuel, director general, Eastern Townships School Board, Quebec The most important point in “Getting Mobile” by Cathleen Norris and Elliot Soloway may be about the future of cell phones as mobile learning devices. Already, millions of students have various smart phones, yet few districts have thought of meaningful ways of including them in the learning process. Today, most Web-enabled phones are more than simple communication or information devices. They are publishing tools capable of sharing a rich set of information with global audiences. For instance, many can take advantage of global positioning to add geographic data to pictures, video, documents and more. These artifacts can be instantly publishable to either public or private sites and archived, and the content can then be used as raw research from which to draw conclusions, collaborate with others, and create larger, more meaningful projects. 12 August 2008 District Administration
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration- August 2008
District Administration - August 2008
8th Annual Salary Survey
Do You Know the Drill?
The Evolution of Notification Systems
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
Calendar of Events
Understanding the Times
District Administration- August 2008