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By Dan Maas on 8/26/2009
Being an IT professional, many people ask me my opinions of the value of different technologies.  But value is not an easy concept to nail down.  Do you mean value in terms of cost or total cost of ownership?  Do you mean how valuable a tool is to a proud new owner or the value a tool has to really well trained and experienced educator?  Do you mean the value the tool has in various aspects of 21st Century skills and application to learning?  Of course, the answer to these questions is "yes.... those are all the things I mean."  [;-)

So over lunch the other day I wrote out a simple matrix and scored my values for various technologies in the district.  Here is the result after I sorted my scores based on a point system I invented.  I made the application and bang for the buck concepts double valued compared to the implementation concepts as I think that implementation is important but not as important as how a tool is used.  I've simplified the concepts of 21st Century skills into the four ideas of information,...
By Dan Maas on 8/19/2009


Even on a 20th Century test, the effect seems positive.

The CSAP scores are in for the 2008-09 school year.  As a function of our pilot effort entitled "Powering Up the Writer's Workshop," we are investigating test scores to look for any changes in achievement.  The five schools that participated in the project (East, Field, Hopkins, Moody and Whitman) engaged in school-wide training on the Lucy Calkin's Writer's Workshop while the 5th grades had the additional support(and challenge) of using netbooks in the writing process.  Students were to not only learn new 21st Century skills, but also to use netbooks and web 2.0 technologies to facilitate better writing skills.

Interviews with students and blog post responses suggest that students write more and are more interested in writing when they have netbooks in class.  While it was not realistic to anticipate any measureable...
By Dan Maas on 8/12/2009
All the preparation work is winding down and schools are ramping up!  Every 5th grade classroom is equipped with ASUS EeepC netbook laptop computers.  Every section of 6th and 9th grade language arts are also equipped.  All teachers heading into these classrooms have undergone extensive training on writing best practices and how to utilize the netbooks to support that pedagogy.  Everyone has had a chance to go over the TPaCK reflection guide which is intended to be a framework for teachers and instructional leaders as they create a nexus of pedagogy, content and technology in their classrooms.  Our training wiki can be found here: http://inspiredwriting.wikispaces.com/

Now, the calm before the storm; the indrawn breath.

We are predicting high winds of rising achievement, and storms of student publishing.  We hope our teachers will ask “where did you get this information” less and ask “why do you trust it” more.  We anticipate classrooms communicating...
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