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Guest Thinkers

NECC 2008 – Other notes from the ISTE Digital Equity Summit

Here are the rest of my notes from ISTE’s annual digital equity summit at NECC


  • Wyatt Sledge, Forth Worth (TX) ISD, told me that the district just hired a dedicated technology trainer for its administrators. Awesome!
  • Expert panel

    Lara Sujo de Montes, New Mexico State University

    • Digital divide v. digital equity
      • Divide = lack of access to equipment
      • Inequity = lack of access to benefits of learning and using that equipment
      • Digital inequity reproduces existing social and socieconomic inequities
      • The Internet is 2/3 in English but only 10% of world population speaks English
      • Developing countries: rural, unemployed, uneducated farmers or unskilled wage laborers, subsisting on $1 or $2 per day, ethnolinguistic minorities
      • Request distance learning courses for high school students, develop online materials yourself (even for a traditional course), install Moodle
      • David Thornburg, Thornburg Center

        • Digital equity and space exploration as a STEM curriculum
        • Half of workers at Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman will retire in the next decade; 15% of Boeing engineers are eligible to retire right now; we don’t have enough new people to replace them
        • We need to go beyond teaching about STEM and help students see themselves in those jobs
        • There is a lot of beauty and joy in STEM
        • In prison they let you out early for good behavior. Schools don’t do that.
        • I’m tired of corporations thinking of children as wallets with bodies.
        • Ashanti Jefferson, Chicago Public Schools

          • Described some of the work CPS is doing with its kids
          • Al Byers, National Science Teachers Association

            • NSTA Learning Center: significant gains in the learning of science teachers who participate in its online learning modules
            • Teachers must have a voice in their own professional development if we want to see positive results
            • If you include elementary and middle school teaches (who teach science but don’t think of themselves as science teachers), there are 2.1 million science teachers in the USA
            • Discussion

              • Thornburg: Students in affluent schools use technology in creative, innovative ways. Students in disadvantaged schools use computers for decontextualized drill-and-kill exercises.

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