Microsoft Seeks Path Beyond the Gates Legacy
by Steve Lohr
June 27, 2008, New York Times
“Bill Gates is retiring, sort of. He is still only 52, and he is going off to spend more time guiding the world’s richest philanthropy, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He will still be Microsoft’s chairman and largest shareholder, but Friday is his last day as a full-time worker at the software giant, marking the unofficial end of his career as a business leader.” . . .
“Despite his success, Mr. Gates is moving on as the company he co-founded in 1975 is struggling to find its way. The center of gravity in technology has shifted from PCs to the Internet, altering the old rules of competition that were so lucratively mastered by Microsoft. For millions of users, mobile devices like cellphones are beginning to edge out PCs as the tool of choice for many computing tasks. And Google, the front-runner in the current wave of Internet computing, has wrested the mantle of high-tech leadership from Microsoft.” . . .
Creating and Connecting/Research and Guidelines on Online Social and Educational Networking
National School Boards Association
January 28, 2008
“Overall, an astonishing 96 percent of students with online access report that they have ever used any social networking technologies, such as chatting, text messaging, blogging and visiting online communities, such as Facebook, MySpace and services designed specifically for younger children, such as Webkins and the chat sections of Nick.com. Eighty-one percent say they have visited a social networking Web site within the past three months and 71 percent say they use social networking tools at least weekly.”
“Further, students report that one of the most common topics of conversation on the social networking scene is education. Almost 60 percent of students who use social networking talk about education topics online and, surprisingly, more than 50 percent talk specifically about schoolwork.”
“Yet the vast majority of school districts have stringent rules against nearly all forms of social networking during the school day – even though students and parents report few problem behaviors online. Indeed, both district leaders and parents believe that social networking could play a positive role in students’ lives and they recognize opportunities for using it in education – at a time when teachers now routinely assign homework that requires Internet use to complete. In light of the study findings, school districts may want to consider reexamining their policies and practices and explore ways in which they could use social networking for educational purposes.” . . .
The study was comprised of three surveys: an online survey of 1,277 nine- to 17-year-old students, an online survey of 1,039 parents and telephone interviews with 250 school district leaders who make decisions on Internet policy.
Technology-Based Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students: 2002-03 and 2004-05
National Center for Education Statistics
June 27, 2008
“This report details findings from “Technology-Based Distance Education Courses for Public Elementary and Secondary School Students: 2004-05,” a survey that was designed to provide policymakers, researchers, and educators with information about technology-based distance education courses in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide. This report also compares these findings with baseline data collected in 2002-03, and provides longitudinal analysis of change in the districts that responded to both the 2002-03 and 2004-05 surveys. For these two surveys, distance education courses were defined as credit-granting courses offered via audio, video, or Internet or other computer technologies to elementary and secondary school students enrolled in the district, in which the teacher and students were in different locations.”
“Findings indicate that 37 percent of public school districts and 10 percent of all public schools nationwide had students enrolled in technology-based distance education courses during 2004-05. During 2002-03, 36 percent of districts and 9 percent of schools had students enrolled in technology-based distance education courses. About a quarter (26 percent) of school districts that existed in both 2002-03 and 2004-05 had students enrolled in technology-based distance education in both school years, 11 percent did not have students in this type of education in 2002-03 but had such enrollments in 2004-05, and an equal percentage of districts (11 percent) had students enrolled in technology-based distance education in 2002-03 but not in 2004-05.”
“The number of enrollments in technology-based distance education courses increased from an estimated 317,070 enrollments in 2002-03 to 506,950 in 2004-05. The number of enrollments varied considerably among districts, although the majority of districts (57 percent) reported between one and 20 technology-based distance education enrollments in 2004-05. Distance education was more commonly offered by high schools than by schools at any other level, with 61 percent of technology-based distance education enrollments at the high school level. Seventy-one percent of districts with students enrolled in technology-based distance education courses in 2004-05 planned to expand their distance education courses in the future.”
Nancy Duarte, principal of Duarte Design and one of the guru’s behind Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth presentation, took over 135 people through her advice and thoughts on how to create powerful presentations.
Karen Montgomery and Wesley Fryer discuss using cell phones and other mobile devices for learning in K-12 and university classrooms. Part two will focus on iPhones and web applications for the iPhone. Podcast.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden located in Washington, D.C. “collects, preserves, and presents international modern and contemporary art in all media, distinguished by in-depth holdings of major artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” Their Web site includes nearly 80 podcasts – conversations with artists and curators for their collections and discussions on topics like bookmaking, experimental filmmaking, and the craft of sculpture.
The Myth of Multitasking
by Christine Rosen
Spring 2008, The New Atlantis
. . . “The Kaiser report noted several factors that increase the likelihood of media multitasking, including ‘having a computer and being able to see a television from it.’ Also, ‘sensation-seeking’ personality types are more likely to multitask, as are those living in “a highly TV-oriented household.” The picture that emerges of these pubescent multitasking mavens is of a generation of great technical facility and intelligence but of extreme impatience, unsatisfied with slowness and uncomfortable with silence: ‘I get bored if it’s not all going at once, because everything has gaps – waiting for a website to come up, commercials on TV, etc.’ one participant said. The report concludes on a very peculiar note, perhaps intended to be optimistic: “In this media-heavy world, it is likely that brains that are more adept at media multitasking will be passed along and these changes will be naturally selected,” the report states. ‘After all, information is power, and if one can process more information all at once, perhaps one can be more powerful.’ This is techno-social Darwinism, nature red in pixel and claw.”
“Other experts aren’t so sure. As neurologist Jordan Grafman told Time magazine: ‘Kids that are instant messaging while doing homework, playing games online and watching TV, I predict, aren’t going to do well in the long run.’ ‘I think this generation of kids is guinea pigs,” educational psychologist Jane Healy told the San Francisco Chronicle; she worries that they might become adults who engage in ‘very quick but very shallow thinking.’ Or, as the novelist Walter Kirn suggests in a deft essay in The Atlantic, we might be headed for an ‘Attention-Deficit Recession.’ ” . . .
by John Medina
The brain is an amazing thing. Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know. How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget – and so important to repeat new knowledge? Brain Rules is about what we know for sure, and what we might do about it.
Disruptive, Online Education to go Main Stream
Book Review by Terry Anderson
June 26, 2008
“I’ve long been a fan of Clayton Christensen’s ‘disruptive innovation” theories outlined in “Innovator’s Dilemma” and the follow up “Innovator’s Solution I think he provides a great deal of sound theoretical and practical reasoning about the process of innovation. Unfortunately, the examples in his books come mostly from industry and especially high tech innovation contexts. Thus, Walter Archer, Randy Garrison and I wrote an article in 1999 Adopting disruptive technologies in traditional universities: Continuing education as an incubator for innovation. applying Christensen’s ideas to distance education and extension education. The paper actually won an award, but we just just scratched the surface.”