Kids in a Network Learning Science, Geography, GIS, Computational Thinking and all of that Jazz ..it worked!!

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Many people embrace what is called STEM at this time. There was SMET before there was STEM.

There was a time when science was pushed aside and people who dared to advocate it were not in the right political space. We suffered but continued the practice of good teaching.

We had our champions, and one of them was Dr. Robert Tinker of Concord.org who got great funding for a number of revolutionary programs and projects and many of them were for K -12.

His projects were much needed to change teaching and learning .

More alphabet soup.

You may ask what is TERC?

For more than fifty years, TERC  introduced millions of students throughout the United States to the exciting and rewarding worlds of math and science learning. Led by a group of experienced, forward-thinking math and science professionals, TERC is an independent, research-based organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring all students through stimulating curricula and programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to ask questions, solve problems, and expand their opportunities.

 

What is really important is that there was extensive broadening engagement and the vision that TERC and Robert Tinker had was an immersive imagining of a future in which learners from diverse communities engaged in creative, rigorous, and reflective inquiry as an integral part of their lives—a future where teachers and students alike are members of vibrant communities where questioning, problem solving, and experimentation are commonplace.

This ideational scaffolding worked.

One of the projects was the NGS Kids Network , standards-based, online science curriculum that allowed students from around the world to investigate topics and share their findings.

Students explored real-world subjects by doing exactly what scientists do: conducting experiments, analyzing data, and sharing results with peers.

You will remember the climate march and the scientists march. With Bob Tinker we marched with our fingers and minds exploring real world science and the ideas are still being used and referenced.

There are pieces of this work that are still relevant. There was an extensive set of resources for teachers at each topic.

You can explore the Unit TRASH here.

You can explore the topic “What’s in Our Water?” here.

Here is the background for water. 

You can explore SOLAR ENERGY here. It has been updated.

HISTORY

A National Geographic Summer Institute was where Concord.org was introduced to me. I believe I met Dr. Tinker however, at the NSTA conference. or at the George Lucas Educational Foundation in a round table discussion.  There we learned about probes. The way we worked was revolutionary in science , and we true pioneers got some push back. We had Dr. Tinker as a resource and the information was free. The promise of the Internet for all has never happened , but if you could get on the Information Highway, well, Concord was there for you.

 

 

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If you ever taught a National Geographic Kidsnetwork Program and did it well ,you know that it changed the face of teaching and learning. Here is a research report that explains the way in which it worked.

The National Geographic Kids Network

REFERENCE: TERC. (1990). The National Geographic Kids Network: Year 4 Final Annual Report. Cambridge, MA: Author.

In conjunction with the National Geographic Society, TERC created The National Geographic Kids Network as a resource for improving elementary science and geography instruction in classrooms around the world. Since its inception in 1986, more than a quarter of a million students in over 7,500 classrooms had then used the network to collaborate on science and geography projects ranging from the study of solar energy to acid rain.( old data)

The primary goal of the National Geographic Kids Network was to promote science and discovery in elementary classrooms by combining hands-on science, geography, and computer technologies with telecommunications activities.

GIS 1The topics were the beginning of real science study for many students.


The National Geographic Kids Network includes seven 8-week curriculum units focusing on “increasing the time spent on inquiry-oriented, hands-on science instruction, strengthening science process and data analysis skills, raising public awareness of the value and feasibility of appropriate science instruction, and publishing and widely disseminating curricular materials that further these goals.” While students research, collect, analyze, and share data with their peers they also problem solve and collaborate with students at other schools. In addition, the network also features a scientist who works with students electronically to evaluate their data, make comments, and offer suggestions. The seven 8-week units include:

  • Hello!  This was a special introductory unit that let us learn how to use project based learning and collaborate with other classes.
  • Solar Energy
  • Acid Rain
  • What Are We Eating?
  • What’s in Our Water?
  • Too Much Trash?
  • Weather in Action

The beginning unit was very special.

Students and teachers and community collaborated and shared , giving information, history, geography and data about where they lived. They got mail. This was a personalized way  , it was a pre-social media of talking with and learning with students in other parts of the world.

How excited my students were to link with a school in Moscow, Russia, or to figure out what animals were pets in some places of the world that we considered pests.

 

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For those of us who used the units , the task of classroom management was quite different from that faced by teachers employing the traditional instructional methods of lecture, discussion, and seat work. Geography was a huge factor in the work. Sometimes there was application of the arts, and yes, there was purposeful reading and writing. The face of the working classroom was changed. Extensive resources were shared with teachers.

Students were involved in an inquiry process and reported back to a scientist who helped them analyze their data . There were geographical teams of students sharing information , and collecting data and sometimes telling their stories. I was a teacher of the Gifted, but I was able to use technology to transition into being a classroom teacher for all. Parents and community members were excited about meaningful  uses of technology.

With NGS Kidsnetwork, students spend the majority of their time working on their own or in small groups collecting and doing research.

Teachers often spend their time participating in projects as peers , with community interface of experts, parents helping with the data.

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Journeys, Field Trips and Globalization

The recent chaos about immigration and some photos that my friend Linda Taber Ulla shared, brought me to the realization that many who have not traveled do not know the world. What I mean is ,that with the Internet and various media we see the world, but we might be lacking in learning the cultural components. We can learn about the places that immigrants come from. The USA is a nation of immigrants. It was peopled by Native Americans and Africans were brought as slaves. All others were immigrants.ships_waiting_to_sail_out-t2 project in 1994, gives young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage.

The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention).

Now we have Skype, and technology that connects us to various countries so we can interact with students, teachers and community.

Ways to Connect.Communicate, Learn Culture and be Global Citizens

One way is to do virtual field trips. https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions/#explore

What is Expeditions?
Google Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater, and outer space. Expeditions are collections of linked virtual reality (VR) content and supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculum. These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° panoramas and 3D images — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. Google is working with a number of partners, including: WNET, PBS, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, David Attenborough with production company Alchemy VR and many of the Google Cultural Institute museum partners to create custom educational content that spans the universe.

The important sentence is that one that shares that they can be used alongside existing curriculum.

Geography and learning about the cultural elements of a place are important. There may be an update on what the elements of culture are but here they are defined for anyone to understand.

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Here is a mapping tool.

And here are tools that ESRI shares free of charge to classrooms in the USA.

The Google Cultural Institute adds information and resources and artifacts.There is lots of information and there are many resources there.

Here is a very short explanation.
the five elements of society are the

Political Element
A MONOPOLY ON THE USE OF FORCE/VIOLENCE TO MAINTAIN ORDER.
Social Element
PERTAINING TO CUSTOMS, EDUCATION, AND GROUPINGS
Religious Element
SYSTEMS OF BELIEF THAT DEAL WITH QUESTIONS OF EXISTENCE
Economic Element
PROVIDING FOR THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE AND OTHER HUMAN WANTS
Art/Intellectual Element
DEALS WITH TRUTH, GOODNESS, AND BEAUTY

If you have never been taught geography you may want to explore the country through the eyes of the National Geographic and other sources. I like to use books and museums to share what I think helps children to understand another country.

What is Geography?

This cartoon is an introduction into the complex and rich world of geography and geographic education. It acts as a catalyst to thinking about the multi-faceted functions of geography, and the myriad of applications of the discipline. The world of geography is much more than place names and state capitals, and this cartoon aims to show the full breadth of the field.

We don’t want our explorations of countries to be misguided.

We don’t want the short descriptions that are given in the media to describe a country.

Countries are complex.

At higher levels of working we can include GIS and use ESRI tools to create a story map.

For quick hits and ideas we can use Instagrams.

There are groups that have grants for travel for students, and teachers.

One such grant is from Earthwatch.Some opportunities for teacher and student fellowship are on that site.

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We can understand countries and people who live there from the personal journeys of educators who work to share using their knowledge to open the world to us.

National Geographic has opportunities for students in an award. You can nominate a student.

http://ngstudentexpeditions.com/2017-student-contest?utm_source=nge-lightbox

Technology, content and curriculum that is connected to the experience!!!

We Should Be A Nation of Digital Opportunity for All

ISTE has a wonderful template of the digital age learner. It works for those students lucky enough to be in the right environment, the right school, and with a teacher who is looking toward the future with academic support of new technology.

standards-poster-500full Here is the template. It is gorgeous. Get it for your school, for your community and for those who are interested in helping to create digital age learners.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.

This is an amazing document that should be shared and given to school boards, community activist, informal education teachers, and parents. I have a powerpoint that explains all of these. How do we make the change to help “all students ” to have these skills and qualities?

Many schools and communities are  in denial about their state of technology . I live in Washington DC, and I heard the CTO of the city say that all of our students are being well served. This was at an IoT conference with global citizens. I didn’t know what to do or say. I assume that what she said , is what she was told by the school system in DC.

We the people, we the public, we the teachers need to be confrontational about the lack of those who are digitally denied.

We the teachers ,need to be educated toward the transformative policies that ISTE has shared. There are too many people who misunderstand. They think that all students are being well served.

On December 13, Free Press published Digital Denied: The Impact of Systemic Racial Discrimination on Home-Internet Adoption. The report, written by Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner, examines the racial divide in home-internet adoption and exposes how structural racial discrimination contributes to it. Below is an edited summary of the report written by Dana Floberg — Free Press’ C. Edwin Baker fellow — and reprinted with permission.

Internet access is a necessity for engaging in our communities, searching for employment and seeking out educational opportunities — but too many people are still stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. And that divide disproportionately impacts people of color.

Indeed, the racial divide in home-internet adoption — including both wired and wireless service — leaves people of color behind the digital curve. People of color comprise 32 million of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Free Press research exposes this undeniable gap and explains how structural racial discrimination contributes to it.

Systemic discrimination creates serious income inequality in this country. Whites have far higher average incomes than Blacks or Latinos. Low-income families are less able and willing to buy internet subscriptions. And many families who are willing to pay for service find they can’t due to racially biased barriers like credit scoring. Given how stark racial and ethnic income discrepancies are, it’s no surprise that people of color lag behind in internet adoption.

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Income differences explain some of the racial divide, but not all of it.

U.S. Census data on income and internet adoption paint a clear picture:

  • 49 percent of households with incomes below $20,000 have wired or wireless internet, but nearly 90 percent of households with incomes above $100,000 do.
  • 81 percent of Whites have home-internet access, compared to 70 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of Blacks.

Free Press’ report demonstrates that the racial-adoption gap persists even after we account for differences in income and a host of other demographic factors. For example, there is a divide between people who are in the same income brackets but in different racial or ethnic groups. The gap is widest for people earning less than $20,000: Fifty-eight percent of Whites in this group have some form of home internet, compared to just 51 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Blacks.web_header_3

There is research that tells us how to reach and teach the students. It is here.

There are students who are of tribal, rural, distant and urban areas who are affected. They are all kinds and all colors. Years ago, when the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council formed policy ( Kickstart) we acknowledged these areas of difficulty and sought to solve the problems. Politics has gotten in the way sometimes.

There are other sources , such as that of the George Lucas Educational Foundation that give examples of what helps and what hinders. Here is a special set of blogs on the topic.

Research and templates inform. We the public need to hold the school systems and communities to the standards so that all children benefit from the uses and skills enabling them to be digital citizens . But parents may not know or understand the uses of technology well.

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Common Sense Education
Common Sense Education provides digital literacy and citizenship programs to school communities to empower students to harness technology for learning and life.They just published a report “The Digital Lives of Minority Youth”. But this report, The Common Sense Census Plugged in Parents of Tweens and Teens 2016 matches nicely with the ISTE report.
Plan of Action?
Print out the template and take it to the next PTA meeting. Share copies of it with parents and have a speaker to access it online. Have a discussion about it and plan action for your school and community.
See if your school has an ISTE member. ISTE has a conference where these types of action and study of the topic is a part of how they serve their members. Hopefully, the school will sponsor a teacher to attend and be a part of ISTE and other technology minded groups. There are also state groups and regional groups that help in outreach.
Is there a low-cost provider who serves your community? If so get some community people working to help them with outreach. Make sure that the provider meets the needs of the community. There are many ways to do this.
 Query the school board and if possible involve people in a presentation about this topic. Use resources that fit your community.

Field Trips, Flights of Fancy, VR and Reality for the Holidays

There are many new ways to take field trips and many new ways to enrich the learning that takes place in the classroom or at home. There is a world of opportunity at your finger tips.No matter which holidays you celebrate there are resources on line.iuri

hol. In a round table discussion with people who are in charge of learning places, museums and outreach at the Center for Cyberlearning  Conference a remarkable thing happened . We broke down the silos and talked face to face about how to involve students in learning in places that are not school. Transportation and time are issues. Teachers do not often know the offerings of the local museums nor interact with the people who staff workshops and outreach.

New technologies change what and how people learn. Informed by learning science, cyberlearning is the use of new technology to create effective new learning experiences that were never possible or practical before. The cyberlearning movement advances learning of important content by:

  • Applying scientific insights about how people learn
  • Leveraging emerging technologies
  • Designing transformative learning activities
  • Engaging teachers and other practitioners
  • Measuring deeper learning outcomes
  • Emphasizing continuous improvement

Sadly, lots of people are still mired in the difficulty of getting access, and the tools to use technology. We can’t allow people to stand still in technology as it advances on. We must broaden engagement by involving as many people as possible in the sciences of deeper learning and the technologies of the future. Museums, AI, VR and other tools help us to do this. Watch “What is CyberLearning?” to get an idea of what they are doing at the Center for Cyberlearning. And you can go to their website to learn more or to get engaged in Cyberlearning.

For another perspective on Cyberlearning go here.

We need to be Futuring..

I am writing about the future while many go into the past to teach students what we learned 20 years or more ago. That is why I have picked this topic on field trips to show the differences that technology can make and why we must equalize the opportunities for all.

At an ISTE conference we were introduced to Google Cardboard.

You can use Google Cardboard to take a virtual field trip. Say, to New York during the Holiday Season. MASHABLE shares this possibility with us .

“New York’s annual tradition of rolling out incredibly elaborate holiday-themed store window displays in December is as much a part of the city’s seasonal tourism as the Thanksgiving Day parade or celebrate Winter Holidays. “ Christmas in New York?

3D Panoramic Views

The experience is called Window Wonderland, with most of the displays offering an audio narrative from the window’s creative director. Along with narration, the windows offer 360-degree panoramic images as well as high-resolution galleries that essentially allow you to “walk” past the windows in much the same way as you might if you were actually in New York.

You won’t get to buy a NY hotdog, or a pretzel, or roasted Chestnuts, or feel the cold wind on your face.

SANTA?

For 12 years now, an entire generation of excited kids have spent Christmas Eve with their eyes glued to the computer watching Santa Claus circle the globe. Over the past few holiday seasons, Google has pulled out all the stops for an interactive holiday experience that runs from the start of the month until Christmas Eve. Google Santa Tracker is fun.It is a much better experience than the quick hit on the news that most people miss.

The Field Trip? Discovery shares regularly scheduled field trips here.

That is one kind of a field trip. Drones have also let us explore real places. Drones also change the Christmas experience in some places.nintchdbpict000282857405

Drones? Here is information if you need it. click here

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Virtual Christmas GIPHY’s? They are here. A lot of people share a lot of ideas that are virtual.  http://blog.giphy.com/post/70205764276/holiday-gift-guide-giphys-picks-for-the-best

One of my unexpected Christmas gifts was that a child I taught made , actually drew her own card and printed it out to take home. Her mother shared it with her employer , a national hotel chain, and it was used as the card that the hotel mailed that year. Sometimes taking the time to introduce a child or adult to progtams that let them express their creativity brings wonderful rewards.

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What is CyberLearning?

I live in Washington , DC near the mall, and am steps away from many learning opportunities. So are many students but when I briefly taught in Washington in my own neighborhood there were children who had never , ever been to a museum or a zoo or a learning place. All school systems have rules and management for actual field trips.When they match it is wonderful. Who goes to museums and why? Sometimes the cost, and the time of transport are a problem. But there are many new ways to access museums.p011nryz

Here is a favorite of mine. It has actually been around for a while.

The Smithsonian  http://3d.si.edu

They welcome educators with this message

Welcome educators to SIx3D! We are excited about the possibilities of using 3D objects—and the data sets that make them possible—for K-12 learning and believe that they offer an excellent opportunity to excite and engage students in a valuable, interdisciplinary education experience.

The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.

With few exceptions, SIx3D also offers access to these data sets. Hailed by many as the third industrial revolution, 3D technology is molding a new K-12 STEM model. Students can use the same tools as professionals to become creators themselves. Whether students are printing invaluable museum objects or inventions of their own design, we hope the chance to bring objects to life will give students the opportunity to create imaginative and innovative work.

To help you introduce 3D and its possibilities to your students, Smithsonian educators are working on new resources for K-12 classrooms. Click here to be kept up to date about new 3D related education resources. To access the page for educators and the places to sign in use this http://3d.si.edu/article/educators http://3d.si.edu/article/educators

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You can connect to learning places, and museums in many different ways. There is also the Google Cultural Institute. It offers daily news, and a guide to cultural things around the world.

The Kennedy Center does programs for families, and for some families the most important thing is to know the possibilities. Nutcracker? Do you know the background of it/ and the music. It is here.

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In Arlington , Virginia  I was able to manage field trips, walks and use the Metro to extend my student’s learning in the real world. I had a principal who felt that museums were for all children and she created possibilities for teachers to take workshops, for parents to go on school busses on Saturdays. We did a community grant to do this. Parents and teachers volunteered to participate. It was a great success. Arlington has an outdoor lab facility. Teachers are and were trained to use it for class trips. You can be a community activist for the real field trips while arranging online resources as well.

When teaching in overseas schools, it depended on the location of the school and transportation. So virtual field trips work too, if they are managed correctly in that the content has meaning.

Ok, I cheat. I live near the Smithsonian Mall and love the real museum interaction. But the online is great.  One last goody.. the Chemistry advent calendar for last year. It is awesome.

 

 

Stop Bullying..Here’s How

This is a report from a conference

The most important skills that teachers have to communicate empathy and to share knowledge of this issue sadly might be intuitive for good teachers. But wait , there is help.

The Department of Education and other government agencies came together to serve schools, communities and children in a conference entitled StopBullying.gov.

The conference was research rich. It shared positive examples that work. Out children are deep in the uses of all kind of technology. Sadly , few people who teach reach out to gather the resources to help students establish a good digital footprint and understanding of the path to take in using technology in learning and home environments.iho

How many teachers or administrators know how to guide students, community and individual parents to best uses? We were given a ton of resources to explore, examine and to be aware of. You can find them here. Today I want to focus on Bullying. The resources here will be something to share in your educational community.

 

Bullying is no rite of passage.

An image of four schoolchildren wearing backpacks.

HRSA launched the first federal anti-bullying campaign in 2004.
Today, all 50 states have adopted anti-bullying policies or regulations.

The consequences of bullying extend into adulthood and can be more severe than physical violence and other forms of child mistreatment, Acting HRSA Administrator Jim Macrae said in a recent C-SPAN broadcast(at the conference)

Not only are bullied young people more likely to suffer low self-esteem, depression and loneliness, but entire classrooms, schools and communities can be affected — and children who bully others also are likely to experience emotional and mental health problems themselves, Macrae said.

“In particular, we know that some youth are disproportionately impacted by bullying: children with special health care needs, who may have cognitive challenges such as autism, as well as people in the LGBT community,” Macrae said at an August 12 Bullying Prevention Summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. “About one third of kids who are LGBT are still being bullied in school.”

A pre-conference initiative on August 11th at the White House was a focus on the problems in bullying that South Asia and students who are identified as Sikh, Muslim and Arab suffer.

Do you have definitions of these students and how do people identify them? Students shared their stories with us.

What kind of a community initiative do you have in your school and neighborhood?

Here is what we were offered to share with you.

Prevention at School

A teacher talks to a class of teens.Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying.

Getting Started

Assess school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior, including substance use and violence. You may be able to build upon them or integrate bullying prevention strategies. Many programs help address the same protective and risk factors that bullying programs do.

Assess Bullying in Your School

Conduct assessments in your school to determine how often bullying occurs, where it happens, how students and adults intervene, and whether your prevention efforts are working.

Engage Parents and Youth

It is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying. Launch an awareness campaign to make the objectives known to the school, parents, and community members. Establish a school safety committee or task force to plan, implement, and evaluate your school’s bullying prevention program.

Create Policies and Rules

Create a mission statement, code of conduct, school-wide rules, and a bullying reporting system. These establish a climate in which bullying is not acceptable. Disseminate and communicate widely.

Build a Safe Environment

Establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Use staff meetings, assemblies, class and parent meetings, newsletters to families, the school website, and the student handbook to establish a positive climate at school. Reinforce positive social interactions and inclusiveness.

Educate Students and School Staff

Build bullying prevention material into the curriculum and school activities. Train teachers and staff on the school’s rules and policies. Give them the skills to intervene consistently and appropriately.

 

In the next post I will share about Cyberbullying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Digital Age, Digital Equity is an Essential

Excerpt by Larry Irving /Fast Forward by Bonnie Sutton

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The day America married the Internet

In 1993, the Internet was the province almost exclusively of scientists and hobbyists, with only about 2 million users worldwide. U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore saw huge potential in connecting all of the United States to the Internet.

They believed that a robust Internet would provide immeasurable benefits to the U.S. economy, would create jobs and would improve the provision of critical services to the American public, including education, healthcare, library services, public safety and government information and data.

As importantly, they believed that the Internet could spur needed private-sector investment and innovation in both the underlying infrastructure and in the platforms, applications and services that would ride on that infrastructure.

They were right on all counts.

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The vision

“Imagine you had a device that combined a telephone, a TV, a camcorder and a personal computer. No matter where you went or what time it was, your child could see you and talk to you, you could watch a replay of your team’s last game, you could browse the latest additions to the library, or you could find the best prices in town on groceries, furniture, clothes — whatever you needed.”

The above paragraph was the opening paragraph of the Agenda for Action — 20 years ago. It was an eerily accurate vision of a then-distant future. Sometimes having a coherent vision helps propel progress. The administration knew where it wanted to go and knew it needed a plan to drive the progress required to get there.

The plan

The Agenda for Action laid out a series of principles and proposed actions to support them. Virtually all of those principles remain the cornerstones of the United States’ domestic and international technology policies today.

The Agenda for Action stated a strong preference for private-sector development and deployment of the Internet. The administration felt it important to state that preference clearly and unequivocally because of fears that the government would attempt to build the Information Superhighway using public dollars.

In light of the U.S. government’s efforts at that time to encourage increased investment in our domestic infrastructure and to promote privatization of telecommunications networks abroad, the administration clarified its preference for private-sector investment to build the Internet, supported by tax and regulatory policies that would promote an investment-friendly environment.

The Agenda for Action presaged virtually every major policy debate surrounding the Internet and delineated a comprehensive policy approach that protected the rights of consumers while also providing increased certainty for industry and innovators by calling for the following: extending our historic commitment to universal service to the Internet; seamless, interactive user-driven operation of the Internet; information security and network reliability; improved management of wireless spectrum; protection of Intellectual property rights; and increased coordination with state and local governments and with other nations to ensure that the Internet would be fully global.

Looking back today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore got much right. Their vision for the Internet was realized more quickly and more completely than any of us had any right to expect.

Reading the Agenda for Action today, the administration accurately predicted the power of the Internet to increase access to information and to be a key economic driver. As importantly, the administration provided a forward looking and flexible policy template that would underscore the growth of the internet over the following decades.

The astonishing growth of the Internet in the mid-1990s was driven in large part by the innovation, talent, ingenuity and passion of many in the private sector, principally the Internet pioneers in Silicon Valley and other creative centers, as well as the Internet service providers who built the physical networks.

It is unlikely that the Internet’s growth would have been as explosive or that we would have seen as much early acceptance and adoption domestically and internationally without the administration’s leadership and use of the bully pulpit to drive policy prescriptions and procurement efforts designed to support and encourage private-sector investment and innovation.

At a time of increased skepticism about the role of government and widespread derision of visionary leaders, it’s important to note that sometimes the government and its leaders get it right. The United States and the world is at another inflection point today as wireless technology, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, social networks and data analytics become drivers of economic and societal changes.

Revisiting or restating fundamental policy principles to ensure that they provide an environment that will promote investment while also protecting the rights of consumers would seem to be as necessary today as it was 20 years ago.

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Advances in information technology (IT) are reshaped the U.S. labor market. The demand for workers who can read and understand complex material, think analytically, and use technology efficiently will continue to increase. Congress established the 21st Century Workforce Commission to assess current and future demand for IT workers and the education and training needed to fill IT jobs. By conducting field hearings and site visits and reviewing pertinent research, the commission identified nine keys to success that leaders at all levels can apply to build a highly skilled workforce prepared for high-technology job opportunities in the 21st century. The keys are as follows: (1) building 21st century literacy; (2) exercising leadership through partnerships; (3) forming learning linkages for youth; (4) identifying pathways to IT jobs; (5) increasing acquisition of IT skills; (6) expanding continuous learning; (7) shaping a flexible immigration policy for skilled IT workers; (8) raising student achievement; (9) and making technology access and Internet connectivity universal. During its work, the commission found many examples of how stakeholders at all levels exerted the leadership to put the keys into practice. (Ten tables/figures are included. Concluding the report are a list of the commission members and 85 endnotes.) (MN)

Fast Forward 2016   Are We A Nation of Opportunity for All? Not Yet!!

We still need a plan to engage, inform, educate and create possibilities for all communities.

In the Digital Age, Digital Equity is an Essential

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 NCDE  Puts forward an Action Plan

We are , in America still trying to solve the problem of the Digital Divide. EDC has allowed us to have a solution. Not to talk about the latest tool, or gadget or even coding.

HOW DO WE SOLVE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE?

Not in an hour to talk about problems, but a whole day to define, to work across communities , schools, libraries, businesses, teacher groups and government to find solutions and to learn from each other.

Dr. McLaughlin  shared thoughts as a framework for our discussions

 Principles for Designing and Evaluating Digital Equity Investments and Initiatives

They were well focused on achieving not only digital equity but also locally determined economic, educational and social impacts.  fostering digital equity not just for its own sake but for its critical contributions to other more fundamental locally determined priorities for equity, social justice, and well-being.

 

Systemic- providing equitable( free or low cost) access to the full array of essential resources for digital inclusi0n, lifelong learning, workforce development and economic opportunity including:

IMG_8958

-broadband

-computing devices with keyboard ( and assistive devices for those with disabilities}

-multilingual tech support

-librarians skilled in guiding learners to high quality content and tools, keyed to their learning priorities

-low interest financing (or full subsidies) for gamilies with weak or no credit so that when devices are not free they can afford to finance them and still support their families

-educational and productivity apps and software

-open and “Deep Web”educational resources that are universally designed.

The initiative will publish, share videos and the outcome ideas of our Digital Equity Symposium

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The National Coalition for Digital Equity will publish these in greater detail the outcomes of the symposium.

IMG_9980

 

 

Yes, there Still is a Digital Divide, and a Broadband Problem , There Should Be a National Consideration of Digital Equity

Future Learning

Wireless shows the way to the future ways of learning
if we can conquer the digital divide.

Bonnie Bracey-Sutton

I was the only K-12 teacher on the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council. I have been waiting years for transformational change to happen.We still have need, lack of access, and a broadband problem.

Let’s start with this set of charts.  Source (http://mashable.com/2013/06/14/digital-divide-problem/)

I have been researching and working with these issue for a long time.

Take a look at this info-graphic. (http://mashable.com/2012/02/05/digital-divide-infographic/)

Early exposure and interest

Early exposure and interest are key!

Recently people talked to me and said, you know, people are tired of hearing about the digital divide, and broadband access, it is boring.Why don’t you do something that is more interesting!( It was depressing to hear) But recently the White House, and other reports confirm the concerns that I had about the  two Americas we have in technology. Most people with the technology went their merry way , not remembering that many had neither the tools, technology or knowledge to make the change we want for 21st century learning. see this report from NTIA.

RESEARCH PROOF

Here’s a bit of disappointing but not-so-surprising news: according to a new report from the nonprofit think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), U.S. schools aren’t doing enough to enable technology in the classroom to live up to its potential.

Oh really? Oh really…

Not only are students across the country frequently using technology for basic skills (for example, middle school students are mostly using computers for drills and practice exercises, not data analysis or other activities that really take advantage of computing power and sophisticated software), schools aren’t looking at the returns on their technology-related investments. The CAP also found that students from high-poverty areas were less likely to get access to rigorous science and technology learning opportunities.

“In this analysis, it quickly became clear to us that many schools and districts have not taken full advantage of the ways that technology can be used to dramatically improve education-delivery systems,” the report said.

The White House

The White House’s new broadband report is embedded below. What can be done to bridge the digital divide? Share your thoughts in the comments.

White House Broadband Report

( This is a document that can be downloaded )

This isn’t about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America tothe digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”
– President Obama

 ” Committing to high-speed connectivity for all our students in five years will unleash the potential of the education technology market, where a lack of infrastructure has held back innovation.”

In June , the White House announced an initiative  to expand high-speed broadband Internet access to virtually every school in the country. The program is expected to cost several billion dollars; according to a senior administration official. The White House argues that the expanded Internet access will provide teachers with more tools; make learning more engaging and better prepare students for 21st century jobs. The plan does not require congressional approval. Instead; an existing program that subsidizes Internet access in schools and libraries. E-Rate is funded through fees on monthly telephone bills. The White House officials said officials expect the president’s plan would add no more than 40 cents to every phone bill per month for the next few years. The proposal would be a one-time investment with the goal of providing schools with Internet connections of one gigabit per second—about 100 times faster than the average home broadband connection. The White House expects 99 percent of students to have access to at least a 100-megabit-per-second connection within five years. The administration notes that many schools currently rely on a single slow connection for hundreds of students and teachers. The officials argue that next-generation Internet speeds will allow students to download up-to-date learning materials.

The announcement was a relief to me , it signified that official Washington understood that the new initiatives based on technology, digital textbooks and common core , and other STEM initiatives are not possible without new infrastructure.

Richard Bennett in a recent article states that

“The major causes for low subscribership, as extensive survey research shows, are low interest in the Internet and minimal digital literacy. And too many American households lack the money or interest to buy a computer. As a result, more Americans subscribe to cable TV and cellphones than to Internet service. Our broadband subscription rate is 70 percent, but could easily surpass 90 percent if computer ownership and digital literacy were widespread.”

Indeed, the most critical issue facing American broadband has nothing to do with the quality of our networks; it is our relatively low rates of subscribership.

What ever the reason. There is digital inequality in the US. Mr. Bennet may not work or travel in rural and distant areas. I assume that he has no real experience with the schools in these areas.

White House Initiative

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/06/bringing-america-s-students-digital-ageImage“In this analysis, it quickly became clear to us that many schools and districts have not taken full advantage of the ways that technology can be used to dramatically improve education-delivery systems,” the report said.

What ever the reason. There is digital inequality in the US. Mr. Bennet may not work or travel in rural and distant areas. I assume that he has no real experience with the schools in these areas. There are some efforts kind of complicated to get people comfortable with being on line.

Google also sees the problem and this is one of their solutions.

Most of you might have heard of Google's new global Internet access 
experiment - Project Loon. 

See http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420540,00.asp 

Check out the beautifully done motion graphics video at 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m96tYpEk1Ao

Read More about the Digital Divide and STEM here.
http://www.scoop.it/t/broadband-and-connectivity-in-america
http://www.scoop.it/t/broadband-and-connectivity-in-america