Is it the Internet of Things or the Internet “that thing” I need to learn to use?


BonniecopyThere are many discussions about the use of the Internet. Some say that “we have too much technology? I wonder who the “we ” are, who the people are that they are talking about.

Some of us have many devices, and there are some people who have one or none or limited access to a device. Technology is a moving target, there is always another thing to learn. There may be another device to think about  and another way to use it.

Here’s the problem. Some people think if you own the tool you have mastered using the Internet, but there are people who are one mouse click away from a problem.

There are those who learn to use the tools in a different way. There are are people who use the Internet in very limited ways.There are people who are a minute from malware and without a solution if it happens. In schools we have , in some places an IT person. In businesses there is usually an IT person, but in the community at large, how do the problems get solved. What problems can one expect? When people say we have too much technology what in fact , do they mean?

This article from the New York Times is often quoted. . I believe the writer bashes the use of technology in some cases. A writer for the BBC had a different perspective. That perspective was linked to the electrification and modification of every thing. To the students and communities without access, without the tools, and without the professionals who help us to learn meaningful use of technology , the articles do not mention the stultifying effect of not having technology as a tool.

The President of the United States just created a program to provide access to low income communities as a model for use. This Washington Post article outlines the effort. President Obama announced a pilot program to bring broadband to low-income households in public housing on Wednesday, attempting to close a gap that leaves many without high-speed Internet. The plan, called ConnectHome, will launch in 27 cities nationwide and is expected to reach 275,000 public-housing households, including 200,000 children. The program will also come to the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, where Obama spoke to share the program.

“The internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Obama said, noting that the people who “could benefit the most from the latest technology are the least likely to have it.” The plan is part of a broader White House strategy to upgrade the nation’s technology infrastructure much like it would roads or bridges, and bring high-speed Internet to every corner of the country. The administration has pledged to bring high-speed broadband and wireless Internet to 99 percent of the nation’s schools by 2017.

The Internet of Things? Here is a good article. And here is a definition.The Internet of Things (IoT, sometimes Internet of Everything) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices based on the infrastructure of International … Internet of Things – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BYOD is not as flexible as every way we connect and all phones are not created equally. I like to think of the seven “e’s” when we talk about the Internet. We will talk about the Internet of things later. The seven E’s are Expectation, Enticement, Engagement, Explanation, Exploration, Extension, and Evidence. I learned the Internet from Dr. Chris Dede,( the above picture) we took a class and he involved us in the use of the Internet. We had some expectations of what we could do, and the enticement was the free class and the opportunity to be an Edtech leader in the schools in the region I was teaching in.

Learning something new, or attempting to understand something familiar in greater depth, is not a linear process. In trying to make sense of things we used both our prior experience and the first-hand knowledge gained from new explorations. It is up to the teacher to facilitate the constructivistic learning process. The structure of the learning environment gave us opportunities and events that encourage and support the building of understanding.

And that was what he did. He created an opportunity for us to learn in a great environment. Does too much technology include the use of “Science on a Sphere?”, Ocean Imaging? Medical 3 D Printing? Google Glass? GIS? We could add a lot of things to this list. But you get the drift. There is the use of big data and the learning of robotics. Where does learning stop? Where does it begin? orienteering Social media is sometimes an application that people start to use to become familiar with technology. That would include, I think some preparation for the use of digital citizenship and an understanding of a digital footprint.

This is a good beginning video to think about cyberbullying Sharing what a digital footprint is also comes to mind.

1. one’s unique set of digital activities, actions, and communications that leave a data trace on the Internet or on a computer or other digital device and can identify the particular user or device: Our online browsing habits are part of our passive digital footprint, created without our consent or knowledge, but our active digital footprint, especially on social media, can more easily be managed. source


Yes ,There is Still a Digital Divide! The President Announces ConnectHome, He Gets it!!

The White House recognizes and reacts to the problem.

Here is their press release.logo

FACT SHEET: ConnectHome: Coming Together to Ensure Digital Opportunity for All Americans

Today, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, to announce ConnectHome, a new initiative with communities, the private sector, and federal government to expand high speed broadband to more families across the country. The pilot program is launching in twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation and will initially reach over 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with the support they need to access the Internet at home. Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.

ConnectHome is the next step in the President’s continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans and builds on his ConnectED initiative that is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries over the next five years.  ConnectHome will help ensure that these students still have access to high-speed Internet once they are home.

Since the President took office, the private and public sectors have invested over $260 billion into new broadband infrastructure, and three in four Americans now use broadband at home. Thanks to smart spectrum policies and world-leading technology, fast 4G wireless broadband is now available to over 98 percent of Americans — up from zero percent since 2009.

An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer, in an office in Warsaw June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer, in an office in Warsaw June 24, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Despite this progress, a new analysis released today by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)  illustrates that some Americans are still unable to benefit from high-speed broadband, especially America’s lower-income children.  In fact, while nearly two-thirds of households in the lowest-income quintile own a computer, less than half have a home internet subscription. While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends. This “homework gap” runs the risk of widening the achievement gap, denying hardworking students the benefit of a technology-enriched education.


President Obama is announcing ConnectHome to help close this gap and provide more Americans digital opportunity.

Specifically, ConnectHome is:

Building regional partnerships:  The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is collaborating with EveryoneOn and US Ignite who worked with private- and public-sector leaders to build local partnerships and gather commitments that will increase access to the Internet for low-income Americans.  These partnerships will bring broadband, technical assistance, and digital literacy training to students living in public and assisted housing across America. Mayors from Boston to Durham, and from Washington, DC to Seattle, have committed to reallocate local funds, leverage local programming, and use regulatory tools to support this initiative and the expansion of broadband access in low-income communities.

  • Twenty-eight communities strong: The President and HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced today that HUD has selected the following twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation to participate in ConnectHome:

Albany, GA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Camden, NJ; Choctaw Nation, OK; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Macon, GA; Memphis, TN; Meriden, CT; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Rockford, IL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Springfield, MA; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC.

HUD selected these communities through a competitive process that took into account local commitment to expanding broadband opportunities; presence of place-based programs; and other factors to ensure all are well-positioned to deliver on ConnectHome.

  • Helping deliver affordable connectivity: Eight nationwide Internet Service Providers have announced they are partnering with mayors, public housing authorities, non-profit groups, and for-profit entities to bridge the gap in digital access for students living in assisted housing units.  For example:
    • In Google Fiber markets (including the ConnectHome cities of Atlanta, Durham, Kansas City, and Nashville), Google Fiber will offer $0 monthly home Internet service to residents in select public housing authority properties and will partner with community organizations on computer labs and digital literacy programming to bridge the digital divide, especially for families with K-12 students.
    • In select communities of Choctaw Tribal Nation, Cherokee Communications, Pine Telephone, Suddenlink Communications, and Vyve Broadband will work together to ensure that over 425 of Choctaw’s public housing residents have access to low-cost, high-speed internet.
    • In Seattle, and across its coverage footprint, CenturyLink will make broadband service available to HUD households, via its Internet Basics program, for $9.95 per month for the first year and $14.95 per month for the next four years.
    • In Macon, Meriden, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, Cox Communications will offer home Internet service for $9.95 per month to eligible K-12 families residing in public housing authorities.As part of its existing ConnectED commitment, Sprint will work with HUD and the ConnectHome program to make its free wireless broadband Internet access service program available to eligible K-12 students living in public housing. This builds upon the free mobile broadband service previously committed to low-income students by AT&T and Verizon, for ConnectED.
  • Making internet access more valuable: Skills training is essential to effectively taking advantage of all the Internet offers.  HUD is collaborating with non-profits and the private sector to offer new technical training and digital literacy programs for residents in assisted housing units.
    • Best Buy will offer HUD residents in select ConnectHome demonstration project cities, including Choctaw Tribal Nation, the computer training and technical support needed to maximize the academic and economic impact of broadband access. Best Buy will also offer afterschool technical training, for free, to students participating in ConnectHome at Best Buy Teen Centers in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio, and Washington, DC.
    • The James M. Cox Foundation, a Cox Communications-affiliated Foundation, will make 1,500 discounted tablets, pre-loaded with educational software, available for $30 to students and their families participating in ConnectHome, in Macon.
    • GitHub will provide $250,000 to support devices and digital literacy training to HUD residents in ConnectHome cities.
    • College Board, in partnership with Khan Academy, will offer students and families in HUD housing in all ConnectHome communities free, online SAT practice resources, and contribute $200,000 over three years to fund digital literacy and personalized college readiness and planning training in Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Washington, DC and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
    • 80/20 Foundation will provide $100,000 to fund digital literacy training in San Antonio.
    • Age of Learning, Inc. will make its online early learning curriculum available, for free, to families living in HUD housing in ConnectHome communities.
    • The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will produce and distribute new educational, children’s, and digital literacy content via participating local PBS stations tailored for ConnectHome participants.
    • The American Library Association will lead a collaboration with local libraries in all the ConnectHome communities to deliver tailored, on-site digital literacy programming and resources to public housing residents.
    • Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide digital literacy training for HUD residents in ConnectHome communities that have a Boys & Girls Club, including in Durant, OK, part of Choctaw Tribal Nation.
    • Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Durant Independent School District will provide digital literacy courses, for free, to HUD residents in Choctaw Tribal Nation.
  • Ensuring HUD assisted housing integrates broadband: The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also taking major steps to provide communities across the nation tools to improve digital opportunity for its residents. Today, Secretary Castro announced that HUD will:
  • Begin rulemaking that requires HUD-funded new residential construction and substantial rehabilitation projects to support broadband internet connectivity.
  • Provide communities with the flexibility to spend portions of their Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants on local broadband initiatives and associated connectivity enhancements, including approximately $150 million dedicated to the current competition.
    • Begin rulemaking to include broadband planning as a component of the Consolidated Planning process, which serves as a framework for a community-wide dialogue to identify housing and municipal development priorities.
    • Supply guidance and share best practices with HUD-funded grantees on how to more effectively utilize HUD funding to support broadband connectivity.
    • Integrate digital literacy programming and access to technology into related initiatives.
  • Supporting Promise Zones: ConnectHome is launching in Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and includes Camden, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Antonio – all of which were designated Promise Zones, where the Administration works in partnership with local leaders in high-poverty communities to achieve their educational and economic goals.  President Obama has also called on Congress to cut taxes on hiring and investment in Promise Zones to attract businesses and create jobs.

Here is an awesome infographic



Sow- Eat -Grow, Read-Kids -Cooking , Gardening, and Deeply Rooted Learning

This is the result from our learning about herbs. Mr. DeBaggio started a business. We always got free plants at the beginning of spring for our class. He started us on a wonderful learning journey.

But I am starting at the end of the story. Let me tell it in sequence.

First, this quote”

Most people know me because of my interest in science, math , technology and engineering. But lots of people love me for my cooking. Well cooking is an accidental science. But most don’t think of it in that way. My dad ate a lot of my experiments he used to say. But I learned and became an accomplished cook. I never thought that cooking would intersect with teaching.
 Mr. DeBaggio was a parent in my school. He came in one day when I was teaching about plants and offered to teach the class how to grow herbs on the windowsill.
We were studying Medieval England and so I thought ok, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”. He grew a lot more. It was nice to not have to pay extravagant prices for the herbs. He also published a newsletter that told us all about the use of herbs, now and then.
He became a frequent visitor to the classroom.He told us that we would better understand Medieval Times if we studied the culture of the times to that of Shakespeare’s time. So we took on the challenge.
 He produced a catalog of herbs. He told us that they were used , not just for eating, but for other purposes, medicinal, household uses, and for fragrance, oh yes and for remembering.
 His catalog shares the use , and care of plants.
You can get the new version of the catalog here.
Download the catalog
Spring 2015
(1.4 Mb)
This is a tribute to him. He developed that hobby into a business.
Sadly, he got ill..
His son Francesco ,shared this.
My father finally succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease on Monday, February 21, 2011. He had been living in a nursing home for the last two-and-a-half years. He developed an infection that caused him to have difficulty swallowing and breathing. Within 5 days, he quickly deteriorated, and died as peacefully as possible.

**A passage in “Losing My Mind” noted the supposed healing powers of rosemary bushes and the melancholy Mr. DeBaggio felt as he watched the herb grow in the greenhouse – “splashy blue and subtle white” – on the day he received his diagnosis.

Noah Adams and, more recently, Melissa Block of NPR’s All Things Considered followed the progression of his disease in several installments over the last few years.
Washington Post Obituary Listen to the NPR interviews with Tom DeBaggio and his wife, Joyce, chronicling their experience with this devastating disease.
A Parent Helps Shape the Learning Journey“How He Helped Us Focus and Learn”

The classroom was before incessant testing.

We had time to learn calligraphy, both basic and Illuminated, to learn to play chess, and to interact with the Folger Shakespeare Library.We made flutes and then bought flutes to learn to play.We read David McCauley books on “Castles” and then we tried to build our own castles.We read so many books.

We looked at movies and videos and engineered our own “castles”.That was great fun.

Castle by David McCauley,It’s a great book. It was inspiration.So we read Cathedral too. Now there are vidoes now.

The thing about the book. The illustrations and word play. We read the books over and over again.



We studied the use of herbs as medicine , food in the early times.

We had a book, “Shake Hands with Shakespeare”. It was a student edition of some of Shakespeare’s Plays.But I was side tracked as the students found editions of the play’s in their home libraries and they preferred those editions. Soon they were comparing editions. This came in as a great help when we had to produce our own version of a Shakespeare play.


The Folger invites teachers and their students from across the DC Metro area to perform their 25-minute interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays. The students help edit, direct, and craft a piece, then perform in front of an audience of their peers in a day-long festival that celebrates Shakespeare’s language, his plays, and the students’ achievements mastering his work.

* surely it increased vocabulary

From the Herbal Gardens to Medieval Music we went…

We learned to play the flute at lunch break. A local school group came and sang madrigals to us. Then a high school group made us Medieval costumes.

In the science part of the lesson we were also hatching chickens, and one duck. Our eggs were successful , and the duck, hatched too . He was a black duck. He swam in circles in a bowl while in school. Sometimes he followed us around the room.( We called him Shakespeare) . When he got big, we gave him to a family to be a pet.

The National Geographic had a map that we used to explore trips to get ready for the big event.We wanted to know what England was like. We were after all, going to the Folger Shakespeare Library to a replica theater.

Children’s Festival
Every spring, hundreds of students in grades 3–6 perform Shakespeare for one another on the stage and in our Great Hall at a festival. The Emily Jordan Folger Children’s Shakespeare Festival, which is open to schools in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area, features audience participation, great performances, wild applause from parents and fans, guests visiting from the 17th century, and a memento to take home.

  We were a class that took all of this to heart.
The next year we:
Raised chickens and a duck
Learned chess and did living chess in the school yard
Made bread dough dragons with almond toenails
Made Illuminated Initials in Gold for our Desks ( art teacher)
Learned to make herbal wreaths and tea
Took more flute lessons
Learned to mordant wool, ( get dye colors as they did back then)
We took rudimentary fencing lessons
We had a feast using authentic recipes. BEST? Sorrel soup, and Turkey haunches)
Learned to use an abacus
Listened to a town crier
Made a replica of the First Shakespeare library
Grew flowers as Anne Hathaway did
Borrowed an 8o pound beaded dress for our “faux” queen for our own festival
Learned the language of flowers in the old times
Understood who could wear what colors in olden times and why
Made a stained glass project.
Most of all, we learned more Shakespeare plays.
The meaning of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, Scarboroh Fair
The herbs parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, recurring in the second line of each stanza, make up for a key motive in the song. Although meaningless to most people today, these herbs spoke to the imagination of medieval people as much as red roses do to us today. Without any connotation necessary, they symbolize virtues the singer wishes his true love and himself to have, in order to make it possible for her to come back again.

Why go to a Conference? Should you go? I went to ISTE, take a look!! Just a bit of the experience here. Conference?

is usually defined as a large official meeting, usually lasting for a few days, at which people with the same work or interests come together to discuss their views and to share their knowledge.
The space is used for exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, playgrounds, and social events.
in a conference room/centre/hall or building. These days, a conference sometimes has a virtual component and a social media component to link the people with interests in the topics.The ISTE conference also had a couple of sassy electronic aids that replaced usual booklets of information, but the traditional book and map were also available as well as human helpers with “Ask Me” sign.



June 28 through July 1
ISTE 2015
Pennsylvania Convention Center

ISTE promised “Groundbreaking ideas to be shared, new learning technologies being unveiled and seeds are planted that will impact education for years to come. ”

Who attended 2015 ISTE? Unofficial reports of those in physical attendance , 21,000.

A most important part of this conference is the keynote. The keynotes bring a lot of the conference attendees together for important messaging. The keynotes are framed in ideational scaffolding that help to frame new ideas and share philosophy.

Soledad O’Brian started us off.Even though you can find her keynote , and parts of it online, the excitement of being in the crowd, with the music, and the roar of the crowd,finding or making friends in the audience is a rush. She was electric!! She spoke to digital equity and social justice with outstanding examples to share. This is a snippet. It was a thoughtful delivery and sharing of ideas. Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, producer and television personality. In June 2013, she launched Starfish Media Group (SMG), a multiplatform media production and distribution company dedicated to uncovering and producing stories that delve into the often-divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal stories.

Jack Gallagher,  his keynote, “Insight into Autism: A Father’s Perspective,” shared a moving portrayal of a parent struggling to understand a child who he comes to realize is truly amazing. Drawn from his personal experience and training as an educator, his story illustrates that sometimes when pushed to the limit, we learn new lessons and discover new ways of approaching complex situations. His inspiring story underscored how parents and educators, when working in unison, can build understanding, perspective and celebration. I cried.. not for him, but for students that have been in my life, in my class, in my heart. Teachers that I knew in the crowd afterwards, shared stories and ideas and shared tissues.

Josh Stumpenhorst, the 2011-12 Illinois Teacher of the Year and an ISTE Emerging Leader, was electric in his keynote.A junior high history and English teacher, Stumpenhorst is an influential blogger whose innovative ideas have challenged the status quo and produced outstanding student outcomes. Stumpenhorst discusses his often unorthodox educational philosophies, such as his belief that homework and grades actually harm student learning and his emphasis on building relationships with students based on trust and respect rather than fear and punishment. He resonated with the crowd because he is one of us . A teacher. Yeah!!

I am sure that to newbies, in a way , the conference was overwhelming, there was something for everyone, more than enough for the innovators, and visionaries, and a wash of playgrounds, an expo hall and meetings of birds-of-a-feather. So attendees got a voice even if they were not presenting at the conference. In a year when teachers have been cast as the “enemy” in many ways, we felt as if he was our cheerleader. Well leader and we loved him.


I never found a shark hat. but there were some great surprises on the expo hall. Breakfast. Seriously. I could pay attention and not be distracted by the Reading Market. I found lots of technology that I had read about, and some that I have not experienced.

I never had funding to do First Robotics. I am a member of CSTA so at the conference I did meet with some “experts” in this field, and work on the playground. I also found some affordable robotics.I have a personal network of IT friends , some from around the world , some from my state, and some who are leaders of national prominence. The conference had so much to offer that I did not play until it was almost over. Yes, I went to the Reading Market, to the Science Museum to a luncheon and to the Barnes Museum. I also found a free bookstore, and met informally with PLN leaders.

I don’t know how the virtual experience can match actually being at the conference. so I suggest you save your money and your points, and look forward to Denver next year.


The ISTE Conference is quite the Learning Experience!!


The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world.ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.

You can come as a student, a teacher, a community organization, an administrator, or a IT person.

There are many ways to participate in the conference. The first time is like trying to catch a moving train if you don’t plan. Beginners, newbies, international participants and groups bringing knowledge. It is all good. Long ago when the Internet was planned for schools we hoped to Kickstart education through the use of technology. That is what ISTE does. There are bookstores, playgrounds, bloggers cafe, presentations, collaborations, you name it.

What I most prize about the conference is the personal networking . Because I have been working in IT so long I recognize people as they recognize me, and oh the conversations we have.


Why I attend? Collaboration, Communication and to Learn Creative Ways to Use Technology in Education

I would never miss an ISTE meeting. Fortunately I have attended every one that was available to me. The first time I went, I was all business , in high heels and a suit. I was so excited to meet and greet teachers from all over the US. I also met teachers from around the world. ISTE enabled me to do WSIS ( the world summit on the information society ) in both Switzerland and in Tunisia. I met the colleagues who invited me to speak , at an ISTE conference. The networking is powerful.

A lot of what goes on, is invisible to participants, there are dinners, special groupings, strategic meetings and personal learning network gatherings. Gatherings at dining places, runs, and tours happen.

We would be as many people in a hotel room as legal, because we never were in the room anyway and we ate lightly , some of us bringing peanut butter and crackers and soft drinks. One DC delegation drove to the New Orleans Conference. People think of creative ways to get to ISTE.


Back in the day, I had only 4 computers in my class and that was an extraordinary amount as many teachers were learning to teach using a book that gave examples of the use of one computer in a classroom. I never fell for that example.I gave up my fancy car to buy my own computers as the schools were slow in adopting technology back then.

NASA, National Geographic and other services such as NSTA had some free software. Oh, and Fablevision allowed me to pay for my software a little at a time. Fable vision had different approaches to education.

I was influenced by MECC . MECC developed hundreds of microcomputer educational programs,[1] many converted from the time-sharing original;[6] by 1979 some MECC programs for the Apple II could be downloaded from the timesharing system.[2][11] MECC distributed The Oregon Trail and others in its library to Minnesota schools for free, and charged others $10 to $20 for diskettes, each containing several programs.[6] By July 1981 it had 29 software packages available. Projector slides, student worksheets, and other resources for teachers accompanied the software.[15]

Other teachers and I learned to program ( you call it coding) and we started to integrate the use of technology into the classroom. Arlington County invested in MECC and so I had copies of the soft to use in my classroom. It was exciting!!

At the first ISTE conferences , I used to sit and get in the exhibit hall and punch all of the tickets to get free things .Later in my ISTE life, I did workshops for NASA, and the National Geographic Kidsnetwork and  Earthwatch sharing demonstrations. It was hard work but worth it.


Learning is always a big part of the conference , whether it be by workshop, pre-workshop or sessions. Now there are playgrounds, IGNITE sessions, and posters.Sometimes you get to preview products with conference vendors.

We think about social justice and digital equity. A powerful keynote brought us to the vision.In the Soledad O’Brian keynote, this year, she talked about digital equity and social justice but more than that, she demonstrated with clips, the power of technology in many wonderful ways. Here is the keynote.

Technology is a tool , she said, a means to an end and not – an end itself.

She shared several clips and examples of excellence in the use of technology but we were all captivated by the use of Google Cardboard, You can make your own if you need to ( the viewer).

The keynote this morning was ” Insight into Autism: A Father’s Perspective” by Jack Gallagher. It was a moving declaration of love to his son Liam , and a lesson to most of us about believing in a student,  a portrayal of the difficulties of a parent trying to understand and help a child, his son Liam.

I cried. I hate it when the speaker can go right to my heart and make me blink tears before I know they are coming. That was what he did. It was an amazing keynote. I met some teachers I know in the audience and we hugged and cried again. Teaching is a passion , learning and helping students is what we do.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton

Virtual Field Trips and Global Collaborations in Education , Always Awesome!!


Last night, I was glancing at the news. The news was that education is finally doing virtual field trips. Say W H A T?

I thought , where has that reporter been and why did that reporter miss the many ways in the history of the use of technology that educators have used the technology in collaborative ways?There are new ESRI projects that are GIS centered. I am loving this new iteration of technology use. See here.


The Power of Mapping
A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. But I digress..remind me to tell you about story mapping.


I had a Lumaphone. I , as a teacher paid the phone bill and we connected in black and white…around the world. It was similar to the connection shown on the virtual field trip showcased on television, and it was project focused. It was cool beans at the time. We were pioneers in the use of it. People were impressed. We are talking 1993.


Think Lumaphone, think CUSEEME. When we first initiated these projects, we got a lot of push back. The Washington Post humiliated those of us who tried CUSEEME.

CU-SeeMe was originally written by Tim Dorcey of the Information Technology department at Cornell University.[1] It was first developed for the Macintosh in 1992 and later for the Windows platform in 1994. Originally it was video-only with audio added in 1994 for the Macintosh and 1995 for Windows. CU-SeeMe’s audio came from Maven, an audio-only client developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

CU-SeeMe was introduced to the public on April 26, 1993 as part of an NSF funded education project called the Global Schoolhouse.


“It is Not About the Technology” tells about the Global SchoolNet’s Global SchoolHouse Project using the first multi-point Internet-based video conferencing to connect schools in the United States and with schools worldwide. By sending video and audio signals over the Internet using CU-SeeMe software, students were able to see and hear each other while they worked on collaborative assignments. As part of the program they interacted with special guests, such as Vice President Al Gore, the anthropologist Jane Goodall, Senator Dianne Feinstein and surgeon general C. Everett Koop.

The Global Schoolhouse project was centered around children, the faces of which you’ll see throughout this book. Larry Duffy of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory – was a very early user of CU-SeeMe. One day he popped into the CU-SeeMe reflector the GSH school-children were using. The kids explained what GSH was, how Larry could optimize his setup, and in general charmed him. Larry, the rocket scientist taught by high-school kids, is turn became a CU-SeeMe booster, setting up a reflector dedicated for the GSH, and having many interactions with the kids, and some notables as well. Steven Adams, also of JPL, became a “scientist-on-tap” for the GSH kids four hours a week.

Global Schoolnet has morphed into several other projects.IMG_0091

Global Schoolnet took me to Russia on behalf of the Eurasia Foundation. Talk about open doors to discovery!!Global SchoolNet’s mission is to support 21st century, brain-friendly learning, and improve academic performance through content-driven collaboration.  it engages educators and students in brain-friendly e-learning projects worldwide to develop science, math, literacy and communication skills, foster teamwork, civic responsibility and collaboration, encourage workforce preparedness and create multi-cultural understanding.1836866_10152188341376327_1972478766_o-2


In 1994 WXYC used CU-SeeMe to simulcast its signal to the net and so became the world’s first internetradio.

On Thanksgiving morning in 1995, World News Now was the first television program to be broadcast live on the Internet, using a CU-SeeMe interface. Victor Dorff, a producer of WNN at the time, arranged to have the show simulcast on the Internet daily for a six-month trial period. CU-SeeMe was also used in a taped interview segment in which anchor Kevin Newman and Global Schoolhouse director and founder Dr. Yvonne Marie Andres discussed the future of computers in communication.

There were other projects:

Integrated Curriculum Projects
” Under the Microscope “television productions, Challenger Center .


I believe the Kidsnetwork projects were the most awesome as they were ecology and environmentally based.
“Solar Energy” Kidsnetwork, “What is in Our Water “Kidsnetwork, ” Hello” Kidsnetwork. ” What are we eating?” Kidsnetwork.” Acid Rain.” Kidsnetwork. “Trash”, 1988-through 1995.. Student work featured in various magazines, such as Scientific American, and Apple Magazine.
“Moonbase America”, ” Touching the Future”, ” Marsville”. “Mars City Alpha ” These were all national programs. We presented our models to the IEEE group and shared experiences with Moonbase America on a national teleconference.

As Young Astronaut Chapter Leader our teams had commendation from President Bush in 1992. Some of us participated in Challenger Center Faculty meetings in Arizona, Hawaii, Seattle. Challenger Learning Centers gave students the chance to become astronauts and engineers and solve real-world problems as they shared the thrill of discovery on missions through the Solar System.

Using space simulation and role-playing strategies, students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate the skills needed for future success. Learning Centers reached into communities around the globe, engaging more than 400,000 middle school-age students and 40,000 educators each year.

CyberED , the truck, taking technology to the streets.

Enterprise and Empowerment Zones.. We taught the community and its families.



The spread of technology and communication projects was greatly assisted by Vice President Gore, who saw an opportunity for technology to be disseminated into schools. The picture above is from the tour of  a CyberEd Bus that toured the US sharing technology initiatives in empowerment and zones. We had a presentation station that linked directly with a NASA center and we and the audience communicated the use of technology at NASA.


Many of us , digital pioneers worked hard and long to put collaborative technology to use. I think the first collaborative field trips I did were with NASA. I did not know that we were using Supercomputing but we did to speak to astronauts and to other centers. It was an absolute delight to be involved.Once, my class and I visited the White House ( as Young Astronauts) and we spoke to an astronaut in space  . President George Bush and 8 astronauts were our collaborators. The children were understanding about the little lapse in time..we were experienced collaborators. The kids were excited about the hats the astronauts gave them and getting their autographs.

NASA also allowed us to collaborate with Rovers. NASA still have rover collaborations and contests. The most recent might be here.

I don’t have a picture of the students that I taught working with Astronauts and with Russian Cosmonauts but it happened. We virtually communicated with rovers in Canada. The students loved their involvement , learning and the collaboration. We had also done Marsvile. What a hoot!!

The Canadian National Marsville Program (CNM) is a unique program derived from the Challenger Learning Center’s Marsville program. The goal of CNM is to simulate habitation of the “Red Planet.” Students prepare for their adventure by studying space exploration and the planet Mars and then apply their knowledge as they create mission patches, design and build models of human life-support systems, construct Martian habitats and share their findings with other students from across Canada.

Each year the students’ mission patches are mounted on a special poster that is available to all participants.

Participating students work in teams. The primary task of each team is to design and build a model of one of nine different life-support systems. Life-support systems include; air, communications, energy, food, health and recreation, temperature, transportation, waste and water. Life-support systems are chosen by the teacher and students, and can be based on curriculum requirements.

Marsville Activities Still Going Strong in Canada


Marsville Rover
Over a three month period, starting on January 28 and running to late April, student teams work cooperatively to clarify the requirements for their life-support systems, brainstorm solutions and construct working models. Students are able to share their results and challenge teams across Canada using Team Blogs.

Early education pioneers did Rover challenges with classes, some International, and some collaborations within the Challenger Centers. I was a Challenger Fellow and we explored the new technologies in the centers and at the schools.National Challenger STEM Innovation Center
Challenger Center pioneered STEM education more than 27 years ago and continue to be a leader in STEM today.

In writing this article I simply was responding to the concerns that other educators had about the time line of virtual field trips and global collaborations. I have not included all of the groups that I know. reminded me of the 27 year history of her group.

Earth watch also had virtual and real field trips. Participants shared from the field to other schools. I hope that others will add to this list. Thank you.

The girls in my classroom worked as hard as the boys did and we learned together,

Teacher training allows dissemination of ideas to girls and boys.

How Long Does it Take to SuperCharge Education?

child Head

Superhero kid. Girl power concept

I was lucky enough to work with businessmen, inventors and politicians on framing the use of the Internet in our country. It became very clear to me that businesses work differently than we do in education. We framed a document called Kickstart with ideas to frame educational change in America and in the world. I guess in a business, if you frame a perspective you can make it come true. Some ideas are now being represented as new. Well ,STEM started out as SMET, and programming has a new name. Lots of old ideas, same reason for wanting to make change


It amused me to find out that businessmen thought if you defined the problem, as in “The Gathering Storm” that we in education would fix the problem. I offer to you the newest report,

So many great ideas here, Who will read the report? Who will make changes based on its information.


I think about these reports and the change they thought would happen. There are educational communities still resisting change. It is not about the money or being able to get professional development for the initiative.

Some say that testing has sucked the wind out of innovation.


A Retrospective on Twenty Years of Education Technology Policy

Twenty years ago,A Nation at Risk(1983) recommended “computer science” as one of the
five “new basics” to be included in high school graduation requirements. Since then, American
schools have made dramatic improvements in their technological capacity, driven largely by public
and private investments over the past ten years of more than $40 billion dollars in infrastructure,
professional development and technical support (Dickard, 2003). K-12 educators have also made
great strides in their readiness and ability to use technology to redefine the boundaries of the school
building and the school day, to improve the quality and accessibility of the administrative data that
informs their work, and most importantly, to foster the learning of core content and the development
of students’ skills as communicators, researchers,and critical consumers of an ever-expanding world
of information. However, policymakers, practitioners and the public all recognize that much remains
to be done in each of these areas.

The thing we called programming is now called coding, we can talk about computational thinking and cyber-education.

I was the K-12 teacher on the NIIAC. We started the conversations and still we wait for the changes…
The intent of the NII was to integrate hardware, software, and skills to make it easy and affordable to connect people, through the use of communication and information technology, with each other and with a vast array of services and information resources. Issues that the Council was to address included:

(1) the appropriate roles of the private and public sectors in developing the National Information Infrastructure;
(2) a vision for the evolution of the National Information Infrastructure and its public and commercial applications;
(3) the impact of current and proposed regulatory regimes on the evolution of the National Information Infrastructure;
(4) national strategies for maximizing the benefits of the National Information Infrastructure, as measured by job creation, economic growth, increased proguctivity, and enhanced quality of life;
(5) national strategies for developing and demonstrating applications in areas such as electronic commerce, agile manufacturing, life-long learning, health care, government, services, and civic networking;
(6) national security, emergency preparedness, system security, and network protection implications;
(7) national strategies for maximizing interconnection and interoperability of communications networks;
(8) international issues associated with the National Information Infrastructure;
(9) universal access; and
(10) privacy, security, and copyright issues.

We make fun sometimes of people who have a different perspective on what education is and how it should work.


In reality we in education are in many separate groups as well, with a vision that is different depending on our focus. We are K-12, we are Higher Ed, we are Technology Ed, and we are School Boards and Administratively focuses.

I am not mad with Bill Gates and others who have new ideas.