From the Editor

08/26/2009  |  Charles Sosnik
From The Editor

I may be showing my age a bit, but in my day Education Technology was an oxymoron. Even though I didn’t have to walk 6 miles to school — barefoot — in the snow everyday like my sister, it was still a different era. I do remember someone bringing a “portable calculator” to Mr. Wilson’s 8th grade class. It weighed 4 pounds and couldn’t even do square roots.

How far we have come! Kids today take technology for granted. They’ve never known a time when technology wasn’t a part of their lives. They probably have no idea how lucky they are. They can’t imagine going to the library to research a paper. Or imagine writing on a manual typewriter. Or not having the Internet. But technology is a relative thing. 30,000 years ago, writing on a cave wall was the height of technology. And 30,000 years from now? There will be technology beyond our imagination. The real question is will we be any smarter.
We have some great education governors in the Southeast. It’s one of the reasons for the meteoric rise in the quality of education here. One of our newest is North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue. In this issue, we caught up with the Gov for a chat about the role of technology in education. Like so many of our governors, Governor Perdue is in the fight of her life to get the money our educators need to compete in the new century. Will she get it? According to the governor, it’s a fight we have to win. Knowing the governor, it’s a fight we will win.
One of the things I wanted to do in this special Technology issue was to address the role of technology in education. Let’s boil it down. What is/should technology’s role be? What are we doing here? How does technology make learning better? We turned to Peter Robertson, an educator with a world of technology experience and a great perspective on the subject. I asked Peter one simple question: What is technology supposed to do for education? Peter looked at the issue from 30,000 feet and wrote what may be the definitive answer. His article, The Big Picture — What You Should Know about Technology, is a must read.
I have noticed learners today are telling us how they want to learn. It’s almost a paradigm shift in education. We used to tell our students what their educational experience would be. Now they are telling us. A great illustration of this point is online learning. In just a few short years, online learning has come from being a substitute for quality, traditional education to a teaching system that rivals (and in some cases surpasses) the best in-seat university programs. I think you’ll enjoy The State of Online Education by Erinn Lake and Andrew Pushchak from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The Edinboro Gang took a look at the growth of online education and examined its effectiveness. Their verdict? You’ll have to read their article to find out.
In the November issue, our theme is 21st Century Learning. We’re going to present a holistic approach to this important topic. Have an idea you’d like us to include? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a line at [email protected] or call me at 704-568-7804.

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