Saturday, August 21, 2004

Education Expert Eager to See Lafayette

I went to the Zydetec meeting that featured Don Knezek, covered in the Advertiser story Expert: Technology vital in education and was impressed. Thanks to Zydetec for inviting him. Knezek is an interesting guy and I agreed with most of what he had to say about education and technolgy. A happy thing for me since ISTE, the organization he heads, is tremendously influential in setting standards for technology education at every level from kindergarten to grade 16 (that's what educators call seniors in college). Part of my job in a former life was to make sure our college of ed could meet those standards for new teachers.

It turns out he's a fan of broadband and intelligent advocate of settling on what you want to accomplish in education—the vision thing—before buying into particular technologies. That was refreshingly forthright and absolutely crucial to good decision-making. If we decide to persist in the idea that education is about transferring knowledge from one head to another textbooks really are the cost-effective, "proven" solution. It's only if we decide we want to help students learn to engage in more active learning—the sort of learning that is more like our day-to-day, real world learning than textbook learning, do the richer resources of computation, databases, simulations, and the net turn out to be crucial.

Be as interesting as I found that and related parts of his talk, this blog isn't about education and what was interesting from a broadband point of view was that this guy is smart, actually really important and, get this, passed up a slot on Jay Leno to come to Lafayette. What drew him was local projects that bring students into more active learning by bring them into the workplace and --you guessed it--the rumors of a large-scale fiber initiative.

If rumors can move a guy like this to visit, imagine the influx of just education folks eager to try out their grants in a large, diverse community. Folks will line up to beg for a chance to trot out the latest ed tech innovations. And that would be a lot of fun, believe me—and not only for the kids.

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