Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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Most tech coaches end up in the role of tech coach or Tech TOSA (Teacher On Special Assignment) because they are good at using tech and integrating it into their classroom. That’s how I got into the role and pretty much everyone else I know as well. However, once you are in the role of a coach things change. Your job isn’t to use tech with students, rather it’s to support teachers in using technology with students and supporting teachers is a whole new ball game.

I was lucky enough when I worked at the International School Bangkok to work with 6 other coaches and the school gave us time together to work on and learn coaching strategies. Ways to support teachers in their own journey of integrating technology.

Do you work with the willing or do you work with all?

It’s a question that, as coaches, we need to continually ask ourselves. It’s easy to work with the teacher that wants to integrate technology, that sees the power in it. It’s a whole different ball game when trying to work with a “closed door” teacher. How do you get into that classroom? What approach strategy can you use to get in that door and support those students as well?

Related Eduro Blog Posts

3 Pathways to Coaching Conversations

Everybody Needs a Coach

Co-Constructing a Coaching Protocol

Top 5 Strategies for Your Coaching Toolkit

Starting the Year Off Right: 5 Tips for New Tech Coaches

When administrators are hiring coaching positions all to ofter they focus on whether or not the educator has the “tech skills” or the “math knowledge” to be in a coaching role. I would argue that is only half the formula to being a good coach. Being an effective coach has more to do with building relationships and interpersonal skills then it does tech knowledge. You can have all the technology knowledge in the world. You can be an Apple Distinguished Educator or a Google Certified Trainer….that’s all great! But if you cannot relate to people, if you cannot form relationships all that know-how is worthless.

Tracy Brown from Enumclaw School District recently wrote a blog post on the power of specific coaching PD that Kim Cofino gave on behalf of Eduro Learning a few months back. As coaches, many of us never get the opportunity to learn coaching strategies. Many of us are the only Tech Coach in our districts or schools. Making it even harder to connect with and learn from other coaches in a similar role as we are in.

First, I was reminded that building relationships with the teachers I work with is the foundation of being able to coach. I am a relatively new coach in my current district so building relationships is paramount to my work with teachers. ~ Tracy Brown

It’s because of this that one of the first courses that we created at Eduro Learning was a Coaching from Theory to Practice course, and why today it is still our #1 course. On February 6th, we will be running another facilitated cohort. While you can take the course for the self-pace option, the facilitated course gives you an instructor and a community as well as a timeline for completing a course. Something that not only students need but it turns out adult learners as well. If you have more than one coach at your school or in your district, take the course as a team. This is by far the most powerful way to do any PD. When you can learn in a blended community that is both local and global at the same time is very powerful and allows you to support each other within your school or district.

We’re excited to start another facilitated cohort in a few weeks time and hope you can join us for what we believe is the key to becoming a successful tech coach or TOSA.

I wanted to share this documentary that I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a part of. Nate Becker, a high school student in Marysville, WA, asked me to sit down one day while I was there doing work as part of our Eduro Learning contract with the district, to talk about technology and education. I had no idea what the questions were going to be or where he was going with his line of questioning. Below is the documentary he created based on his own knowledge and research and how he views the use of technology in his own school system and life.

When we talk about creating meaningful stuff to share with the world. This is the type of stuff we are talking about. This isn’t an assignment that can be done in a class period or even a week. This type of learning and creative works takes time and a lot of energy.  Kudo’s Nate….I hope this is the first of many documentaries in your future.

In November I learned a valuealbe lesson. My wife and I were getting ready to run a 12K race in Vancouver, WA. The weather forecast called for high 30s to low 40s and rain the day of the race. It’s the Pacific Northwest so rain is always likely. I packed running clothes that I thought would be right for the race and the weather.

The day of the race we woke up to cloudy…but not rainy skies and tempatures in the mid to upper 40s. I decided that I would stick to my plan and wear what I brought. As you can see from the picture that included a rain proof jacket plus a cold weather long sleeve shirt and a running shirt. 

My wife warned me I would be to warm, but of course I didn’t listen to her advice (why should I, she runs faster and farther than I do). When we stepped outside the hotel I felt comfortable not to hot, not to cold. My wife on the other hand was a bit cold…huh….who’s laughing now?

The race started and not 3K in I started getting a good sweat going. My muscles loosened up and I found my stride. By the 6th Kilometer I was hurting. I was tired, soaking wet from sweat, as the rain jacket did what it was suppose to do and keep my heat in. I was dying to keep up with my wife (which is always my goal…I’ve yet to beat her in a race…2014 is my year though!)

My wife on the other hand was feeling great..she went from a bit cold to nice and warm and perfectly dressed for the race. Needless to say by the 8th Kilometer I was pealing off layers trying to cool down and get my energy back (with my wife running backwards a few steps ahead of me egging me on…..wish I was making that up).

I did finish…in a t-shirt and plenty warm.

Planning for the end not the beginning

As I was running this blog post starting rolling around in my head (I write a lot of blog posts while running….I need to get better at actually writing them down). I made a common mistake. I planned for the beginning of the run not the end of the run. It’s the same thing I see happen with technology plans or with laptop/tablet roll out programs.

All to often I see school districts plan and overplan for the beginning of the roll out or the impact the new technology might have and less time on what happens next.

It is the problem we all face with technology plans. We make a plan based on the data we have, we prepare to implement the plan and even when things (like the weather) around us change we stick to the plan thinking we have to. Technology moves way to fast to “stick to the plan”. Technology plans need to be simple, lightweight, and easily changeable. Otherwise you find yourself half way through trying to peel off layers and keep the momentum going.

We talk a lot in education about the “Backwards By Design” model of lesson planning. A method I used in the classroom, we still use in COETAIL and most other planning I do.

Yet I don’t find it much in creating technology plans.

What does learning look like in 3 years time? 

When creating plans with admin teams and school districts I like to start with this simple sentence. Not what technology does everyone have, not what do we need….but rather what does it look like. From there we talk about the skills that we hope student will learn. This isn’t a new notion. I wrote about this process in 2007 in this free PDF you can download from the front of my blog.

It’s a paper I still use today with teams. The tools have changed the idea of in sourcing to outsorcing has changed (unless you are in China…which is where I was when I wrote this…and it still applies) but the idea of starting with the question of “What do we want students to learn?” and working backwards from there is still an important one to start with.

What happens when you don’t start with the end in mind is something that I’m starting to see a lot of (and we’ll see if this holds true for 2014). It is the questions that is asked after every students has an iPad or a laptop or both.

Now what?

Getting the technology into the students’ hands really is the easiest part of the process. Rethinking learning, rethinking teaching, rethinking the classroom structure, the value of content vs process, are the really hard parts. They are the parts at the end of the plan that many times are overlooked because they aren’t tangelable. They aren’t shinny and new, but they are more important.

Refuel Stations

The only thing that saved me that last race was that about 9 Kilometers in when I was really struggling there was an refueling station. My wife pushed an energy gel pack in my hand and a cup of gatoraid. A half a kilometer later I felt it kick in, got my energy back and finished the race pretty strong (my time splits to the right thanks to runkeeper).

There is nothing wrong with using refueling stations. In technology plans these can be sending teachers to conferences, bringing in a consultant, or having a renewed technology focus. We need to be refueled in our passion and our beliefs of why we do what we do and where we expect this new learning to take us. Many times I get the sense that schools and districts feel like they have to go it alone as if asking for help is a sign of weakness or unpreparedness.

Building this into a technology plan and revisiting it helps. You don’t always know where you need a refueling stating. Is it 1 year in? Is it 3 years in? However having the option to have one is what matters. A team, much like a runner, can tell you when the refueling is needed. Be flexible, be open to opportunities and if someone pushes an energy gel pack in your hand…take it.

We make planning many times more difficult than it needs to be. It’s a pretty simple formula really. Start with the end in mind, be willing to adjust your plan when things change, use refueling stations and listen to your wife those around you.

 

 

The Baseball Winter Meetings just ended in Nashville. Which means absolutely nothing….unless you are a baseball diehard like myself…then it means everything.

Today while listening to Eric Wedge, the Mariners manager, give a press conference, he spoke about building a team.

He basically says there are two ways to build a baseball team…you either build for the short-term or the long-term.

Building for the short-term you focus on this year, you make a run for the World Series and hope you reach the playoffs.

If you build for the long term, you develop your players in the minors. In the long term, you stick with your players, you develop your young talent, you stay the course and you improve.

Now in baseball we know this approach works. The Texas Rangers changed to a long-term approach after they found out buying expensive players for the short-term just doesn’t work in the long term. (See: Alex Rodriguez).

Since they changed their approach here are their win – loss stats:

They steadily improved as they rebuilt their minor leagues and focused on good draft picks. Five years later they make the playoffs including a World Series appearance….and they are picked to be the top of their division again this year.

Since new management and Eric Wedge took over, the Seattle Mariners have been rebuilding the club for the long term. Here are their stats over the past few rebuidling years.

Eric Wedge took over as manager in 2011 and we have seen steady improvement. So his comments today that the team is building for the long term makes me happy. Makes me really happy. We are going to be good again someday soon…but we need to be patient, develop our players, watch them grow, learn, and blossom into some awesome baseball players. Would I love to see a winning season this year? Absolutely! But I would take 5 winning seasons in a row over 1 any day.

 

So what does this have to do with Education?

 

I started thinking about this today and then started thinking about where we are with technology in education:

Do we build for the short-term or long-term results?

Here’s what I have heard from teachers:

“I would love them to create movies, but iMoive takes too long to learn.”

“I would love for them to create a game using Scratch, but it takes too long to learn.”

“I would love for them to create a podcast, but it takes too long to learn the software.”

“I would love to have them blog, but it takes too long to show them how to do it, keep them updated, and monitor them.”

 

All of these above statements are focused on short-term results. You never hear a Kindergarten or 1st grade teacher say:

“I would love to teach them their numbers, but it takes too much time.”

“I would love to teach them to add, but it takes too much time.”

“Yes…I do think they should be able to write, but we just don’t have the time to teach that.”

 

You will never hear a Kindergarten or 1st Grade teacher say that. Why? Because it’s not about the short term. It’s about giving them skills that they can build upon. It’s about understanding learning is a process and every teacher at every grade level does their part to bring students along in a long-term approach to learning. The major leagues for us in K-12 education is graduation. We should all be focused on giving students the skills they need to be successful at the next level and in life.

 

Yes…it takes time to learn iMovie, to blog, to create a podcast. But they need to learn the skills at some point and at some point someone needs to step up and say I’ll get the skill building started.

Some rights reserved by @superamit

When I was at ISB, the 5th grade team stepped up and said they would teach students to blog. Yes, it took away from other curriculum “must-dos”, yes it was hard, yes it was time consuming. But somebody had to do it. Each year each grade builds on it and now there is a school of bloggers. Every teacher above 5th grade should be thanking those teachers for taking the time to teach the kids how to blog. Just like every teacher above Kindergarten should be thanking the teacher before for teaching writing, their numbers and their letters.

How do we change our view of technology in education of one from being a short-term: this assignment, this unit, this school year; to a long-term, “I’m going to teach them something they can use and build on year after year?”

How do we change our direction, our outlook on technology?

How do we build for a long term future that will see us year after year make improvements instead of build for June when the kids will move on to the next grade?

How do we make sure every year our students have skills that will help them improve next year?

How do we develop these technology skills that most people agree students need, but very few are willing to make room for to teach?

The first step might be understanding that technology is more than a tool…it’s a skill set that needs to be developed year after year just like the skill of reading, writing, and math problem solving. Technology is a skill, a skill you are going to need if you want to make it to the major leagues and be successful.

Just over 24 hours off the plane from the most amazing trip to Tanzania. As my wife and I prepare to transition back to life in America in June, we figured one last fantastic trip to Africa was in the cards….so off to Tanzania we went. 

Climbing Kilimanjaro

DSC 0151
Jumping at the Summit

I’m proud to say that all four of us in our group made it to the summit some 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above mean sea level. It was one of the most mentally challenging things I have ever done. Physically it wasn’t that hard of a 5 day hike to the summit, but the mental aspect on summit day of walking for 6 1/2 hours in the dark (leave at midnight to summit at sunrise at 6:30ish) covering some 1200 meters (3,937 feet) was by far the hardest part. As the oxygen thins out you need to stop and rest more frequently….but it is windy and freezing temperatures mean you don’t want to stop as you instantly get cold. You learn a lot about yourself on a journey like this and at some stage or another on the trip, all four of us had to push through mental or physical pain. 

cell on kili
cell signal on Kilimanjaro

On a technology note….I was looking forward to being disconnected for most of this trip and that happened…but I wasn’t expecting our guides and porters to be totally connected the whole time. Each time we would make camp the guides and porters would go on a high rock or a specific ledge, whip out their cell phones and call home. Yes…..even at the summit of Kilimanjaro in the middle of Africa there is a cell signal. Both my wife and I took out our phones and had them connect just to verify. We talk about how connected of a world we live in that we need to get away from technology at times….but can you really? It’s always there, it’s just a part of our world……we better get use to it. 

Safari in the Serengeti

cheetahs
cheetahs

Next up was five days in the Southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The animal migration for the wet season had all the animals in the south where the land was green and rich with food. Over 1 million Wildebeest and 200,000 Zebras had migrated south bringing with them lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes and a host of birds. It was fantastic to stay in tents at night with buffalo eating outside and the sound of male lions grunting and roaring some 500 meters away preparing for a nightly hunt. 

Obama

I don’t talk politics on this blog but the observations I made while in Tanzania as well as the rest of my travels the past ten years has me wanting to reflect on what I have come to understand and notice about the world we live in.

The American President is probably the only leader in the world, that no matter what country you are in everyone knows who they are. Most conversations go like this

“Where you from?”

“America”

“OBAMA!” holding up their thumb in a good-job sort of way

This has been played out countless times in countless countries over the last four years and is exactly opposite to the response we received the previous six years before that. 

The American President is held to a different standard, in places like Thailand, Tanzania, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, etc. I wonder if it has to do with the level of corruption in their own political systems and they see the American system as not being corrupted….it has its faults for sure…but corruption at the level it is in these other countries….not quite.

obama in tanzania
obama Picture in a Shop

Tanzania however was the first place I have visited that took this love for President Obama to a new level.

On one occasion, one of our guides had his cell phone ring tone set to President Obama’s speech to the muslim world in 2009. I asked him about it and he has different parts of different Obama speeches set as ring tones on his cell phone. He claims to have listend to all of Obama’s big speeches and loves to hear him speak. 

Everywhere we went in Tanzania there were Obama posters, Obama ’08 bumper stickers, and even Obama t-shirts…we saw all this in Zanzibar as well where 97% of the population is muslim.

obama08
obama Sticker in Zanzibar

Whether we like it or not we live in a global world where America and its president are still seen as powerful figures in much of the developing world. People around the world care who we elect as our leader. It impacts their lives too…one person even said that he felt the rest of the world should also get some electoral votes, because it directly influences their lives as well! 

As an American living overseas I can honestly say that it has been easier to live overseas the last four years than the previous six. The feeling towards America and Americans has changed. All of this of course is just my opinion and my experience….take it only as that. 

In the end it was a great 20 days almost completely disconnected. Other than the occasional Facebook update to let family and friends know we were still alive I lived offline and enjoyed every minute of it. 

I welcomed in 2012 standing on the beaches of Zanzibar.

Looking forward to what the New Year will bring!

dumptruck
by corykrug

I’m dumping another technology phrase that I think its time has passed by. A few years ago I stopped using the phrase 21st Century blah, blah, blah. You name it we were calling everything 21st Century. I haven’t missed that phrase in my vocabulary as I believe it is just the way things should be now that we’re 11 years into it. I was thinking about this phrase again the other day as I was talking to seniors…who were born around 1994 and who started their official schooling sometime around 2001. Why are we still using the phrase 21st Century this and that when for our students….it’s always been the 21st Century. It just is their world. That brings me to the next phrase that is going to leave my vocabulary. The notion that

Technology is just a tool

I have heard this said way too often-to the point, I believe, that some educators are using it to hide behind when it comes to using technology in their classrooms. 

Is Technology a tool? Yes.

Is it JUST a tool? No.

Technology is a Skill

The more I’ve been rolling this notion over in my head the past couple of days the more sense this makes to me. If we call technology a skill…then a skill is something we need to teach, something that needs to be learned. If we call technology a tool then it’s just something we use.

The problem is you need to have the skills to use a tool before you can use it propertly and have it effect your life in positive ways. 

A car is a tool, it gets us from point A to point B. Now we could load the car with people and have someone push it down the road. That’s using the car as a tool for transporting people from point A to point B. But once we learn the skill of driving the car it becomes a lot more efficient. A lot more practical.

A pencil is just a tool, but until you learn the skill to hold it correctly it doesn’t do you much good.

Viewing technology just as a tool never allows us to get past the substitute stage of technology innovation. A stage were we just continue to subsitute one tool for the next. Quil and ink for pen and paper for word processing. The skill of writing an essay remains the same the tool just changes. No new real skills are needed when we subsitute one technology for the next. 

Model TYou buy a new car and it works just like your old car. Sure buttons are in different places, newer, faster, easier….but at the end of the day the same skills you had driving your old car fit into the new car nicely (which is why we haven’t seen any radical change in car design since…..hmmm…the Model T).

If we view technology as a skill then it allows us to look at what needs to be taught and understood by a generation that is growing up with it. The skill of evaluating digital open content, the skill of organizing your digital resources. The skill of creating graphics. The skill of digital content design and web design. If you are looking for a good starting place the NETs for Students is a pretty good place to begin. 

Technology skills in many schools are not valued and I think it is due in part to this notion that technology is just a tool. There might have been a time when it was just a tool, but it’s a life skill today. A skill that all students should learn, that should be embedded in all their classes, and should be more important than the content that the teacher took off the web to begin with. 

We spend way too much time finding “stuff” for kids on the web and not enough time teaching them how to find it themselves. Why?

“It takes them too long, and it’s not good information” as one teacher told me recently…and they’re right. If a student has never been taught how to find good information then the information they did find probably won’t be very good. 

I can make sound come out of a flute (tool) but until I’m actually taught how to do it properly (skill) it’s going to be a horrible sound. 

Now, I don’t want you to think that these skills I’m talking about are program based. I get asked quite often about when should kids learn Microsoft Word or when should we be teaching them Microsoft PowerPoint. Skills tied to specific tools do not need to be taught. Much like when you get a new car you can sit in the drivers seat for a few minutes have a look around, turn some knobs, and you’re ready to go. Progams are much the same way. Give kids 10 to 15 minutes with a program and they’ll figure out all the button stuff, or at least enough to finish the task.

The skills I’m talking about are skills of organization, of building research systems, and meta-cognition. Skills that go beyond the tools and deep into the learning process. 

So that’s if for me, no more technology is JUST a tool. It’s not….we’ve moved beyond the tool and expect a whole lot more from all this stuff. We expect kids to learn with it and from it and in order to do that, we need to be teaching them skills that allow them to learn.

peaharvest
My Brother Harvesting Dry Peas

 

Technology continues to reinvent every part of our lives. Even parts of our lives that we don’t think about everyday. Farming is one of these. As a field of study (pun intended) and as a practice agriculture has gone through and continues to go through some major changes. In a recent article on Read Write Web  wrote about the new driverless tractors of the future. Growing up on a farm all I can think about is: Where was this when I was a kid? 

What fascinates me is as the attention of the self-driving Google car continues to get the press really smart people are looking at this idea and applying it to other situations. We might not be ready to trust a car with our lives going 60MPH down the freeway. But how about a tractor going about 6MPH around and around in a field? Check out this video:

 

Of course this really is just the next step for farmers who have already been playing with such technology. My Uncle, who works on a large farm in the middle of Washington State, has a GPS driving device. He lines up the tractor, pushes a button and for the next 45 minutes to an hour (the time it takes to reach the other end of the field) he sits back and reads the newspaper, or a book as the tractor guides itself down to the other end of the field. With perfect overlap and no skips in the field. When he reaches the other end he simply turns the tractor around and heads back. 

This is just one area where technology is disrupting farming. New chemicals, new seed varieties, and new machinery that is faster and more efficient continues to out pace our food consumption. 

Farmers are also taking advantage of other technologies. Using Twitter to communicate and form networks, using the Internet to research and stay on top of the latest trends and news in their field (pun intended). If you’re not a connected farmer today taking advantage of new ways to connect then like other industries you’re falling behind. 

I just keep thinking about all the hours I spent on a tractor going around and around in a field thinking of all the things I wish I was doing instead. Or how my time could have been used differently? I think of my family now and how technology has changed just on our little farm. When I was a kid growing up we used to pick rocks out of the field by hand….then dad bought this rock picking machine (me taking the video and driving)….of course it was after I had gone off to college.

I’m also reminded this time of year by my mother’s Facebook updates 

Folded 125 boxes then packed them with beans.

A bean picker picks the beans, a bean sorting table sorts the beans you just line up the boxes, weigh them out to 20 lbs a box and load them on the truck (FYI that’s 2,500 pounds of beans my family did in one day….basically every day….yes these are the green beans you buy at your local grocery store). 

Technology is simply amazing and effects us in so many ways….many we take for granted.

So a new school year is upon us, as today was the first day for students at ISB. I spent the first hour helping new middle school students find their way around the school….what fun. ISB set a new record for the amount of new students this year. A HUGE turn around year with 100s of families leaving and 100s more filling their place. It always makes me wonder what’s going on in the bigger picture that you have this kind of turn around in a year…..interesting….and I have no answer.

As the new year begins though I’m thinking about my job and once again supporting teachers. This is a touchy subject and the reason why I’m putting it out there is to see where everyone else is on this idea.

My job is to support teachers in using technology in their classroom. I don’t have any classes of my own I support full time. But I’m supporting an initiative that we all believe in but isn’t required. It’s not required that my teachers use technology. It’s not required that they rethink how they teach in the era of open access to content. They’re not required to rethink education as they know it. Their job is to teach….and they do a good job at it. We had 100% pass rate of IB diploma students last year….again. Our students continue to get into top colleges and universities around the world and parent feedback continues to come back that we’re doing a hell of a job educating their children. 

So, why do we need to change?

Why do we need to rethink education?

Why do we have to even worry about technology?

and

Why do they have to use me?

 

The answer is they don’t. Some choose to at different times, some are really thinking about the future and where this is all leading and other classrooms I never see the inside of.

I’m here because teachers, at some level, are forced to use technology. E-mail, Moodle, PowerSchool are the three programs that everyone has to use. So yes….I’m need to support the use of these with teachers, but not in learning, not with students, basically so teachers can do their job. 

And I have no problem doing that…..they’re just paying me a lot of money to be an application support person.

So it comes down to working with the willing. Working with those teachers who are thinking about doing things different, thinking about their students, their lives, what they’ve grown up with, and how that might affect them in and out of the classroom. It’s working with teachers who are willing to take risks, to try something new, to be uncomfortable. 

A colleague of mine often refers to us a “used car sales people” and that’s what I feel like we are sometimes. We’re selling a product, and idea, a method that doesn’t need to be used….is not mandated. Sure it’s supported IF teachers decide they want to try it. But at the end of the day they don’t need to.

So we end up with some kids getting 21st Century Skills. Those kids who happen to have teachers who are thinking about searching, finding content, communicating, and using global connections. Other kids, who just so happen to never get the right teacher leave our system not getting those skills. Is that OK? Or is that just the way it is. 

So I work with the willing. Those that ask me for help, those that I team teach with, that we explore new options with. I work with the willing because that’s who wants to work with me…..on a voluntary basis…and that’s really where my job stands. 

I’m here to help

If you want help

If not…that’s OK…I’m here if you need me

Is it OK to only work with the willing? Or is this a school thing?

Photo Credit: Superkimbo

loudspeaker
by alphadesigner

I always get excited when national international organizations (members in 45 countries) come out with statements that encourage the use of technology for learning purposes. Partly because my beliefs in the future of education and the tools students need to succeed, but also because it’s one more organization we can lean on as leaders.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals just released a statement advocating the use of Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools. Yes…that’s right….principals are saying we need to use these tools for learning. W00T!

A couple of quotes from the article that I like: 

Yet as mobile and social technologies become ubiquitous, attempts to block them are increasingly ineffective. For example, in schools that prohibit cell phones, 54% of students still report sending texts during the school day (Lenhart, 2010).

In recent years, there has been explosive growth in students creating, manipulating, and sharing content online (National School Boards Association, 2007).

(Love how this quotes 4 year old research)

Nowhere is the vision for the use of mobile and social technologies more clearly articulated than in the National Educational Technology Plan (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). The plan describes new models of teaching and learning in which students and teachers are virtually connected to one another, to colleagues, to fellow students, and to a variety of resources that maximize opportunities for anytime-anywhere learning.

I suggest you sent the article on to your principal no matter where they stand on this issue. Mine will be receiving it tomorrow in their inbox. 

A report out last Thursday from the United Nations as reported by Fast Company looks at the mobile subscription rate word wide.

I haven’t read the whole article but some of the quotes that Fast Company have are pretty interesting.

There are about 25 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people in the least developed countries (LDCs), according to theInformation Economy Report 2010. That’s up from just 2 per 100 a few years ago.

From 2% to 25% in a year…..is it just me or is that some rapid growth?

But not all is rosy. The report warns that the opportunities are “unevenly distributed and not always sustainable.”

Yes…but with growth rates like that and no sigh of it stopping I think this will even out. When I was in Laos I witnessed this first hand. In some of the rural areas we hiked through whole villiges would chip in to by a cell phone. It was their connection to the villages round them and into the city to find work and a market for their goods.

I’ve been saying this for awhile now. The future is in mobile phones. The more I travel the world and see just how connected we are via cell phones the more I’m convinced this will be the true 1:1 device. Now what are we doing in our schools to help those fortunate enough to have a cell phone now prepare to work in a world where potentially everyone is connected?