Saturday, February 12, 2005


Oregon Episcopal School Laptop Program

This is the website for the school that I mentioned that is starting a one to one program with their seventh grade. They are having an introductory parent meeting on Wednesday night. Wish we could be a fly on the wall at their meeting! I understand they are not putting the cost burden on the parents, and that without a financial issue, their situation is different from ours. Still, they may present ideas that will help us.

I especially like these comments that they make:

"So, this program isn’t designed to “increase technology use” for the sake of using computers more often. We’re concentrating on the larger issues of a balanced approach to the benefits and drawbacks of the technology, starting with the issue of equity of access and opportunity at an age when students may benefit the most. "

"In the end, Middle School students may not use computers any more than they do now as a result of this program, but access will be more direct, consistent, and reliable. The curricular program of the Middle School will not be changed as a result of the laptops, but the quality and impact of students’ computer use can be substantially improved. "

The consistent access is becoming an issue for our middle school. I had 2 instances on Friday where teachers wanted to use laptops and none were available because they were booked by other teachers. As our use grows, we need to be able to provide that consistency for the students and teachers.
This is great stuff. I visited the Oregon Episcopal Web Site and felt very comfortable with where they are going. Their thrust seems to be that technology does not change curriculum but changes the interaction and delivery of curriculum. I believe that is the thrust that we are looking at also.

I believe in constructivist education. There is not a fixed body of knowledge that we simply pour into students.

I have viewed the power point point presentation at OES and find it very progressive in many areas. There does however seem to be a an unreasonable fear of students finding unvetted information and viewing this as a bad thing by the teacher. The power of the classroom is its role as a forum for discussion. Students go on the web, they will find stuff. The sum total of human knowledge is out there. None of it is fixed. It is the collective consciousness of humanity. It changes as people are born and die and join the mix. It is changing all of the time. Our goal should be to give our students the opportunity to discover as many of those perspectives as they can and then to put those ideas to the test of discussion and dialogue. We don't want to shut that information out of the classroom, we want to engage it, and hopefully create new knowledge that is based on the ideas of everyone in the classroom. The teacher has a signifcant and crucial role here. It cannot be dictatorial. It should be a consensus builder. There is no subsitute for experience.

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