In the Febraruary/March edition of the Journal (Technological Horizons in Education), you will find LPS prominently chronicled with our friends from California; Saugus Union School District. The article, written by Jennifer Demski, began as a highlight of the use of Open Source Linux operating systems on netbooks. Our friend and colleague, Jim Klein, is the Director of Technology and leads a development of Linux kernel operating systems for netbooks. Our team interacts extensively with Jim's team and the result of this collaboration is a netbook that we acquire for under $300, that lasts for four years or more, and runs just about everything on the web you can access with a computer. But what was most gratifying about the article was how the instruction out-shone the technology.
In both Saugus and LPS, the use of netbooks for writing has been an emphasis. This can mislead some people into thinking the netbooks are just glorified typewriters; but such thinking is sadly mistaken. Kids in both districts are doing more than just typing up some notes. They are using Skype, live blogs, streaming video, collaborating and publishing on a daily basis. Writing is the measurable outcome we can review in test performance. But the 21st Century skills really come out when kids are empowered with a productive technology like the netbooks. In fact, my perfect classroom would begin with kids having Linux-based netbooks. I would add a computer, projector and document camera for the teacher and if there is budget remaining, I would then add an interactive whiteboard. To watch kids use the collaborative features of Google Docs, Skype with remote educators and publish their work online is nothing short of inspiring.
Of course, that's why we call it Inspired Writing. Check out the article Building 21st Century Writers
The digital edition of the magazine is available here: the Journal