When single mom Kelly Stern moved to Hawaii in 1990, she did not know the local public school system was poorly rated in educational quality compared to those in other states across the nation. Private schools were financially out of her reach, so Stern reached out to other families in similar situations.
On June 16, 2007, Envision Schools, a nonprofit organization that manages charter schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, held its first commencement for its flagship school, the Marin School of Arts and Technology. This occasion allowed me to reflect on my journey thus far. As I think back on the successes and challenges of coleading Envision Schools with my partner and fellow CEO Daniel McLaughlin, I pondered these questions: How does a high school teacher become a cofounder of a leading nonprofit charter-school-management organization? And why would anyone want to start an entirely new school system?
This year's Digital Equity Summit, sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education, included a dynamic exchange of ideas and strategies. The excitement and camaraderie in the room was evident as colleagues greeted each other after a year's separation. It was a time to catch up informally on new advances in research, funding, resources, and support systems that drive and sustain the integration of technology in our schools, universities, and communities.
A few months back, a high school history teacher introduced me to a great Web-collaboration tool called Diigo (Digest of Internet Information, Groups, and Other Stuff). By creating a Diigo account, you can visit Web sites and mark them up by tagging sticky notes on the page with a simple drag-and-drop procedure. Imagine being able to place a tag on an image, a specific line of a poem, or a statistic on a page of data.
I am just back from a conference in Mitchell, South Dakota, where I was sharing some of what we have learned in Maine as well as things learned from working with other one-to-one laptop efforts across the country. Because South Dakota is, like Maine, largely rural, the 350 or so educators attending the conference were receptive to my message.
This is a follow-up post to "1-2-3 -- Red Light!: Let's Give the Use of Technology in Classrooms the Green Light Instead." There's still a lot of talk about the digital divide in this country. I've seen it firsthand as I've worked with schools and school districts around the country on technology-leadership issues; some student populations do lots of online and computer work at home, but other schools serve students who don't have computers and Internet access at home, so the choices for after-school technology work are limited.