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Jul 2002

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Cover Story

You could call it a technological wonder, or a slap to student rights. But the most accurate description might just be Big Mother.


You could call it a technological wonder, or a slap to student rights. But the most accurate description might just be Big Mother.

In the first year of the E-rate, schools filed paper applications (some of which got sent back for want of a blue-ink signature) and then waited eight months for funds that looked like they would never come.


Whether you have faith in standardized testing or hope the pendulum swings the other way real soon, you have to admit that there's power in data. The question is how that data is understood and used.

It was only 10 years ago that I wrote the first article for a leading K-12 technology education magazine on the then-new phenomenon called the Internet. I used the Internet to communicate with teacher education colleagues, participate in online discussion groups, do online research and download resources. But relatively few K-12 schools were yet involved. Therefore, in addition to explaining the fundamentals, showing examples of pioneering applications and presenting connection alternatives, I shared my belief that the online exchange of information would likely revolutionize education.


At a suburban elementary school in Washington, just outside Seattle, students sometimes learn best when they match the natural beauty of the great outdoors with man-made plastic computers chips. Students at Benjamin Rush Elementary School in the Lake Washington School District walk through nearby wetlands, take digital pictures of plant species, transport them into their color-screened iPaq handheld computers, and sync the handhelds to a computer to research plants on the Internet. Thus, they create a walking guide to plants on the handheld.


Digital Divide: A Pass? Notion?

Most of the recent political talk about inequities in education has focused on the gap between high achieving schools and those that fail to meet education standards. What happened to the government's concern about the digital divide?


Two years ago, when times were flush for both school districts and the companies that sell them technology products, the big question was: When will all the technological wonders being created actually show up in classrooms?

READING: It's a Destination

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