Building High-Tech Schools

By Van Horn, Royal | Phi Delta Kappan, September 1994 | Go to article overview

Building High-Tech Schools

Van Horn, Royal, Phi Delta Kappan

Hello. I have been asked by the editors to write a monthly column on computers and technology. The instructions were clear: give concrete advice that is useful. I think I can handle that. I was also instructed to introduce myself to Kappan readers in the very first column and to say why I'm qualified to be writing about technology. I find this second charge, much harder. Writing about myself just seems so egotistical. But since you are no doubt curious about who I am and why I am writing this column, I will give it a try.

In the late Seventies I happened to read a short news article on Apple Computer, Inc. After a scant three years in existence, Apple had gone public on some stock exchange or other, and the fledgling microcomputer manufacturer was experiencing explosive growth. I reasoned that, since the microcomputer movement was growing so fast, I should know something about it.[1] Subsequently, I designed a university course that I titled "Computers in Education" and have now taught more than 50 times since 1980.

After working with microcomputers for a few years, I began to realize that many other new technologies demanded attention: videodiscs, CD-ROM players, camcorders, video digitizers, image scanners, and so on. Computers are only one of the important new technologies, and computers are a lot more useful if they have the right peripherals.

Between 1986 and 1990 1 wrote Advanced Technology in Education, a textbook for a university course that I called "Computers in Education II: Advanced Technology."[2] (The second edition should be available in early 1995.) Then in 1988 I designed a third technology course that I called "Computers in Education III: Instructional Design for Multimedia." This advanced graduate course makes use of an excellent -- but tough to read -- text, Instructional Design: Implications from Cognitive Science.[3] If you are tired of old-fashioned instructional design that amounts to little more than frame-by-frame programmed instruction, you will appreciate this text. I heartily recommend it.

What I do these days in addition to teaching is to build high-tech schools. Let me explain. The first high-tech school I helped build was Webster Elementary School in St. Augustine, Florida -- one of five model technology schools in the state. I spent three years at Webster and learned more than I will ever be able to tell. Roger Coffee, the principal at Webster, is fond of saying, "The trick to building a high-tech school is simple: train, train, train. And when you are done with that, train some more." In the first three years of the Webster project, more than $250,000 was spent on training a faculty of 60. Incidentally, the Gardner Group has estimated that, after five years, the cost of hardware is about 18% of the real cost of installing a computer; the costs of training, upgrades, maintenance, and repair account for the other 82%.[4] It is ironic that schools and universities, whose business is teaching, usually fail to recognize that ordering hardware is the easy part; training people to use it is the hard -- and expensive -- part.

After my stint at Webster, I spent several years helping to build two other high-tech high schools in Florida, Fernandina Beach High School (three years) and Trenton High School (one year). Most recently, I have put in my first year on helping to build a high-tech elementary school in Hilliard, a small rural town in northeastern Florida. When the new school plant is complete in fall 1995, every classroom will have four student workstations and one teacher workstation, and all will be networked by high-speed fiber optic cable. Six months ago, such a design was prohibitively expensive. Today, using fiber optic cable to network every desktop computer in a school involves only a 15% to 30% premium over using copper wire. (This figure assumes new construction, not retrofitting a network into an existing building.) The times they are a-quickly-changing! …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Building High-Tech Schools


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.