Innovations Abound: With a Steady Incline in Technical Know-How, Educators Are Using Software in More Creative Ways. (Software)
Pascopella, Angela, District Administration
First of all, CD-ROMs are so last century and the World Wide Web is in. Second, a slow economy has left districts frugal or at least bracing for tight software budgets this coming year. And lastly, big company mergers are making some administrators gnaw their nails, wondering if mergers will mean they'll have to spend more for software.
These are a few trends that school administrators and the Software and Information Industry Association saw this past school year in software.
"Because the education technology market has matured, educators are beginning to leverage their investment: moving from access to integration mode, and from technology adoption to educational innovation," according to the SIIA Trends Reports 2001. "Today, educators are sophisticated enough to be asking the fundamental question: "How can technology help me better achieve core teaching and learning goals?"
In California, Debbie Abilock agrees. She's the curriculum coordinator and director of Technology, Library and Curriculum at The Nueva School, pre-K - 8, in Hillsborough. Educators are using more "old favorites" in novel ways, Abilock says. For example, she says Inspiration software, which was previously used as a "rigid" pre-planning tool/outline for school projects, is being used as a "pre-planning tool" to Stage Cast Creator, another program that teaches students about programming. "They [educators] are inventing new uses for software they have had," she says.
Many school vendors are also using graphical user interbases, which, for example, allows a child to tap into many sources of information, says Sally Trexler, library technology coordinator for Allentown, Penn., school district OPAC software can connect to online subscriptions allowing a student to search the term "dinosaur" and find a list of search engines that could offer other resources. "It's opening up their eyes to a myriad of sources to get their information," Trexler says. "It's like one-stop shopping.... The search is executed in the product's own search engine."
SO "LAST CENTURY"
Administrators agree the CD-ROM trend of years past seems to be on its way out. CDs that need to be physically flipped in CD towers pale in comparison to the anytime, anywhere access of the Internet, administrators say.
"[Districts] are going to more Web-based, districtwide audience, Trexler says. …