Prospecting for Digital Riches: From Now On-The Educational Technology Journal Bellingham, Washington

By McKenzie, Jamie | Multimedia Schools, January-February 2002 | Go to article overview

Prospecting for Digital Riches: From Now On-The Educational Technology Journal Bellingham, Washington


McKenzie, Jamie, Multimedia Schools


Not so long ago, it was fashionable to speak about students surfing the Net. Schools rushed to connect classrooms to the Internet as if mere connectivity might work wonders. Many proponents of new technologies promised revolutionary shifts in the kinds of learning that would occur if schools bought the right equipment. The proponents also predicted impressive gains in student performance--claims rarely substantiated by credible research findings.

But then the Internet and the dot-com bubbles burst. Many ventures proved unworthy. Others turned into dot-compost. Some schools awoke with empty hands and bankrupt business partners. Some digital emperors even paraded without clothes. At about this same time, the rush to wire classrooms was criticized by The Alliance for Children as a rush for "fool's gold."

For a response to these charges, take a look at MultiMedia Schools editor Ferdi Serim's article, "Gold into Straw: Alliance Report Misses Mark" at http:// www.cosn.org/resources/113000.htm. Ferdi writes, "Fool's Gold is the perfect snooze alarm for people who have yet to wake up to the idea that educational improvement requires change. And change is about more than velocity; it is also about direction. The debate today is about more than technology or school choice; it centers on whether your model for learning is based on transmission or construction of knowledge."

Riding the Curl of Innovation

Given this recent history of speculation followed by skepticism, criticism, and doubt, schools now face a menu of apparent opportunities seemingly laced with risks.

How can schools maximize a return on technology investments, backing mostly winners while avoiding losers? How can schools ride the curl of innovation without tumbling into heavy surf? How can they escape failure and a vicious undertow?

I'd like to present in this article a strategic approach to the selection of innovative educational practices and tools, an approach designed to protect staff and students from "toolishness"--a fondness for tools that transcends purpose and utility. (See the article in the September 2001 issue of my educational technology journal From Now On at http://fno.org/sept01/toolishness. html.) The goal is to improve schools without falling prey to bandwagons or train wrecks.

A Dozen Strategies for Making Discerning Choices

   Life's but a walking shadow, a
   poor player

   That struts and frets his hour
   upon the stage,

   And then is heard no more; it is
   a tale

   Told by an idiot, full of sound
   and fury,

   Signifying nothing.
Macbeth,
by William Shakespeare

How can we avoid what Shakespeare warned about some 500 years ago?

"Discernment" is the answer. We approach the adoption of new tools and practices with discernment.

discernment

1. The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.

2. Keenness of insight and judgment.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the

English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

Teachers and administrators may select from a dozen strategies to help make discerning use of new technologies (see Figure 1 on page 16). These strategies make it possible to sort through the noise of conflicting marketing claims to focus upon value, reliability, and authenticity.

Figure 1

 1. Prospecting          Looking for the right combination of
                         promising program elements and indicators.

 2. Focusing             Keeping an eye on major philosophical
                         commitments and program purposes.

 3. Challenging          Demanding evidence, data, results, and
                         substantive theoretical underpinnings.
                         Considering the risks, the costs, and the
                         dangers.

 4. Testing              Setting up small, low-risk pilot programs
                         and reviewing the results of others' pilot
                         tests. … 

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

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

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
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Prospecting for Digital Riches: From Now On-The Educational Technology Journal Bellingham, Washington
Settings

Settings

Typeface
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?

Help
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

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now 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, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    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.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.