Friday, July 29, 2011

ANYWHERE, anyone?

I just received an email from Anthony Foxen, Director of Business Development for BASCOM, a company that has developed a filtering app called Anywhere Filter, developed specifically for K-12 school deployments of mobile devices.  Is anyone currently using this app that can compare it to Mobicip?  I am meeting with Tony next month to check out the app for myself.  You can get more information about Anywhere Filter at:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Personal Mobile Devices - Enhancement or Distraction?

So here is the $50,000 question - Are kids responsible enough to use their own mobile devices while in school?  Will changing current policies to allow for the use of personal mobile devices enhance instruction or distract kids from learning. Here are two different viewpoints.  The first is from the St. Charles Parish School System in Louisiana.  They are piloting the idea of letting kids use the own devices in school.  The second is from New York City where the mayor insists the policy of banning student cell phone use will stay in place.  Who is right? Your thoughts?

My thoughts?  Glad you asked.  Why not give kids the benefit of the doubt about how responsible they can be?  The first year of our pilot taught us many things, one of the most important lessons was related to the level of responsibility our students demonstrated.  We were most impressed with how responsible kids were for the appropriate use of their devices, as well as how responsible they became for their own learning.  The latter observation is truly transformational.  When folks talk about "distractions from learning", are they assuming the only person a student can learn from is the teacher?  If so, they have really missed the boat.

What if you had to turn your mobile device off for 7 and 1/2 hours a day?  What if you wanted to look something up on the Internet you had to wait in line to use one of of the two classroom computers?  Think about it.  We're old.  Being connected is something relatively new to many of us. Imagine if you can what its like to be nine, or fourteen, or seventeen and having grown up connected everywhere except while at school.  What a drag.  Not just because you can't check your Facebook, but because you no longer have control.  Although we say we want kids to take responsibility for their own learning and become independent life long learners, aren't we inadvertently fostering dependency? Is the issue of control what it all really boils down to?  Hmmmmm.

Louisiana -

New York -

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Una lezione imparata in Italia (subtitled-A lesson learned in Italy)

After a week in Italy, a lesson learned- Not everyone here is tethered to their wireless device. Not sure if it's the expense of international roaming or what, but it's rare to see people on their cell phones. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here. It's ironic that my last post before leaving for Europe addressed independence from mobile devices. Maybe we should each pledge to spend a period of time each day unplugged. Instead, lets connect to the people, places and moments around us. At the very least, we'll be a lot less annoying to the folks around us! As much as I have enjoyed being off the grid during the days, I still find myself connecting to the wireless at the hotel after returning from the night out. Checking email, checking out the news in a language I understand, making sure the Orioles lost, and seeing if any of my retirement savings have made it through another day in the market. Maybe next year I need to find a locale that does not have Internet hot spots. Does such a place exist? At any rate, by this time next year there will be 5G service that you'll be able to access from the North Pole. Oh, va bene! Arrivederchi from Firenze!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ciao from Roma!

My apologies for not posting since last week. I've been in Rome this week. I know, I know, it's rough, but someone has to do it. Off to Florence and then Venice. New posts coming next week. Stay tuned. Arrivederchi!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day 2011

It’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day here in the USA! (Sorry to remind our followers in the UK)  While we celebrate the birth of the greatest nation in the world (again my apologies, this time to our followers across the globe), let’s continue to work together to “free” ourselves and our students and declare our “independence” from wires, hubs, data drops, and the like.  Let’s hear it for mobile computing, cloud computing, 3G & 4G and all the G’s to follow.  Go ahead, throw that old desktop out the window and declare “I’m tired of being chained to the wall and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  Oh, and don’t forget to pick up all the pieces when you are done and take them to the local recycling center. 
On second thought, how about on this Independence Day you declare your independence from technology?  Turn off your smart phone and computers (after reading this post of course!)  Go to that family picnic or fireworks display and focus on family and friends without the distractions of email, the internet, the weather channel app, Twitter, Facebook, ESPN sports, Angry Birds, The New York Times,  Words with Friends, CBS Sports, etc., etc. etc.  
On third thought, never mind.   See you in the cloud!