No Longer Just The Old Typing Class…

A recent article published in eSchoolNews hit home to me. It addresses issues that educators grapple with on an ongoing basis, particularly relating to how we prepare our students for the world today and in the future. Those of us involved with educational technology have seen a shift in emphasis in the national standards for technology education during the past several years (see ISTE National Educational Technology Standards), from a focus on lower-level skills to higher-level critical thinking skills (creativity, innovation, problem-solving, decision making). The eSchool News article is food for thought as we continue to review the focus of my school’s’ technology program curriculum and some of the goals that we are working toward in the middle school computer lab.

Here’s an excerpt, with a link to the full article below.

“A lot of people think the skills that students need to learn for the workforce and the skills they need to learn to be a good citizen are two separate sets. But they’re not. What makes a student successful in the global workforce will make a person successful at life…. [Employers] . . .don’t mind training employees in technology–but you can’t teach someone how to think.”

Tony Wagner from Harvard argues for a list of seven “survival skills” that students need to succeed in today’s information-age world, taken from his book The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need–And What We Can do About It. It’s a school’s job to make sure students have these skills before graduating, he says:

1. Problem-solving and critical thinking;
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence;
3. Agility and adaptability;
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship;
5. Effective written and oral communication;
6. Accessing and analyzing information; and
7. Curiosity and imagination.


Q & A: What is Web 2.0?

More than a few people have asked me this question in one form or another, and for a variety of reasons, so I thought it merits an answer here in the blog.

Here’s a pretty good entry from Wikipedia:

Web 2.0 is a term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and its hosted services, such as social-networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. Read more >> (source: , accessed 6 October 2008)

OK, but what does “Web 2.0” have to do with teaching and learning?
Quick Answer: communications, collaboration, sharing

Tell me more…How is CES using Web 2.0 applications to enhance/extend learning at CES?

This CES Tech Journal newsletter is actually a blog published using Google Blogger. Did you know that you can subscribe to articles posted on the CESTJ? Click on the subscribe button and choose how you wish to receive the articles using your RSS reader.

We’re publishing student-produced multimedia on the Cardinals’ Nest, which uses a collaborative publishing tool called a wiki. Not much on the Cardinals’ Nest yet, but be sure to check back during the year for more student-produced video, webcasts, images. Think of the Cardinals’ Nest as the Tech Department’s bulletin board….except we can post slide shows, sound and video!

Another promising Web 2.o technology is the social networking tool Ning. The families in Mrs. Beaudoin’s preschool Bugs class have created their own Ning to share photos, communicate with each other, post calendar items, and more. You must be a member of the Bug’s Ning (approved by the Ning administrator) to view any of the content, so there are safeguards in place.

What can I do to understand these technologies better?
From my experience, and in talking with parents and teachers within and outside the CES community, the best way to understand these technologies is to jump in and test the waters, so to speak. Be prudent about your content, practice good Internet safety, and consider how you can apply these tools to add value to your extended network.

Your comments are welcome.

A Article on Educational Technology

This back-to-school article on technology appeared in the Washington Post this morning.


Back to the Books (and Laptops)
By Theresa Vargas

French teacher Normandie Lee stood in front of her class yesterday, face to face with the electronic whiteboard she had just learned how to use, and confessed, “Okay, I’m scared.”

To view the entire article, go to