Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Dear Blog,

Let me re-introduce myself. My name is Noel Forte and up to this point, I haven't really cared for you very much. I don't mean to hurt your feelings but I've only viewed you as a "requirement" for a class. You don't reflect my personality....no connection to what I really feel. I've feared for a long time that I would be judged negatively by the things I might reveal about myself. After all, I'm a tech integrator, I should know about the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools and wikis should fly from my fingertips. But you know what? They don't. And you know what else? That's ok. I am a learner...

I am very lucky to have a few friends who have such passion for technology integration that they devote a tremendous amount of time to learning more and networking with others who share their passions...it exceeds the school day and becomes part of who they are. But blog, that's not where I am in life right now. And you know what? That's ok. I am a wife, mother, home owner, friend....On my lunch hour, I like to go to the faculty room to talk to my colleagues or go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Lately, I've been taking a nap in my van! You see, blog, I need some "me time," too! At home, the 3 men in my life deserve my attention. Once they're asleep, I do my homework for grad school.

So blog, I need the cliff notes. I need to feel that I can ask, "How'd you do that? Would you show me how? What was the process you took to get you from A to B? What's the prep time?" I appreciate the amount of time it takes folks to become effective at what they do. I, however, need the condensed version. And that's ok. After all, what's our purpose? My purpose is to help teachers to integrate technology into their school lives, to help them see the benefits for themselves, but most importantly, how it can improve the learning experiences of their students. The students, after all, are the ones who will be using these new technologies in the future.

Once I learn something, I'm off to the races. Once I see how it can be beneficial, I can show others how it can be beneficial. I'm pretty proud of the direction we are going in at my school. It is a slow process, but it is a thoughtful one.

So, blog, I am now looking at you in a new light. I am a learner and this is my process. It's nice to meet you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Now, the Near and the Distant

Recently, Karen Kliegman (Library Media/Technology Specialist) and I were discussing our joint research program and some of the web 2.0 tools we have been using over the past year. As excited as we were over the free access to incredible collaborative/expressionary tools, we also began to see how the "free" access to these tools may soon change. As these tools become more popular, we fear that they will become fee-based and accessibility will then be limited to those who can pay. We've seen it happen with sites like United Streaming or Brain Pop. These once free sites are now charging for services that are beneficial and support learning. I've read how open source/freeware programs can level the playing field between districts of different socio-economic levels, no matter if budgets are tight or endless. If the popularity of web 2.0 tools increases, will the desire to charge for access increase?

In the article "Which Technologies Will Shape Education in 2008?"
by Dave Nagel, (Dave Nagel, "Which Technologies Will Shape Education in 2008?," T.H.E. Journal, 2/4/2008, http://www.thejournal.com/articles/21972) he states that there are 6 technologies are or will impact the learning community. Those 6 technologies are divided into time periods in which they will be present: the near term, mid term and down the road.

The near term technologies, such as grassroots video and collaborative Web Technologies have made expression and endless possibility. Right now, one is only limited by their imagination. Mid term technologies such as mobile broadband and mashups allow for easy access to web based technology and an integration of tools to create something that never existed. Down the road technologies, like collective intelligences and social operating systems, have yet to be developed, but their future seems promising.

My questions over accessibilty still overshadow the excitement of embrascing these new technologies. While we have it at our fingertips, we should use it to the best of its abilities when it is educationally and philosophically beneficial to our students. But for how long will it be available to all?