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The top 25 education technology advocates.

The common, and not untrue, criticism often heard about K-12 education is that it doesn't embrace change. Let's face it, adults outside of education could walk into most classrooms today and recognize many similarities to when they attended school.

But blanket statements, even if true for the majority of school districts, administrators and teachers, don't cover the innovators.

When Editor Laura Dianis came up with the idea of creating this section, it was with the thought that not only would we recognize the visionaries, but we would offer a blueprint to others who may want to make changes, but for a variety of reasons, haven't yet.

When we compiled the list, we were surprised to see the diversity of people and jobs included. Because some entries contain two people, our list actually numbers 29. We have 13 educators on the list, from teachers to superintendents to higher education professors. But we also have two governors (in Tom Ridge's case, a former governor), six people chosen for their work in associations, four people who are gurus for education technology ideas, and four people who affected change while working in government jobs.

While all of these profiles prove that change can occur when strong people act upon innovative ideas, this list also proves that change can come from many different places, in many different forms.

We hope you enjoy learning about our choices and what they have accomplished. But most of all, we hope this information spurs you to consider improvements in your own school district.

Yvonne Marie Andres & Al Rogers

They are committed to linking teachers and kids through Internet-based learning

In 1984, Yvonne Marie Andres, a Title I teacher in Oceanside, Calif., met Al Rogers, who was running a meeting at the San Diego County Office of Education. When Rogers announced the formation of a new technology called electronic mail, Andres immediately felt a connection.

The pair set up the Free Educational Mail Network for every teacher in every school in the U.S., promoting its use for student writing projects. "We were really convinced that this truly would make a difference in how kids learn," Andres says.

And the rest is history? Not in the world of technology. Their venture became the Global SchoolNet Foundation in 1990, and in 1993 GSN created an educational Web site called Global Schoolhouse. Andres, 49, serves as president and CEO, and Rogers, 59, is COO and CIO. "I tell him what we need and he figures out a way to make it happen," Andres says of their partnership.

Through the International Schools CyberFair program, which is now in its seventh year, the site asks students to conduct research about their local communities and share their findings on the Web. The site also "connects kids to real people doing extraordinary things" through its online expeditions, Andres says. All of GSN's projects encourage collaborative learning, or creating a learning community around a topic and a common goal.

Andres remembers how she felt in 1984 as she and Rogers promoted the idea of e-mail in education. "We spent years trying to raise awareness, jumping up and down saying, `Look at this!' We feel the same now about collaborative learning that the Internet allows."--Melissa Ezarik

James Apana & Tom Saka

This Maui politician and educator pioneered a way to bring technology to its remote population

You think school's computer specialist has problems? Imagine if he or she could only move about your district by airplane. That was one of the major challenges faced by the Maui County School District in Hawaii, as it attempted to network its schools across the district's three islands.

"You can't have a systems administrator taking a plane and renting a car every time a school's computer system needs trouble-shooting, says Tom Saka, 41, information specialist for the Hawaii Department of Education.

Solving Maui County's unique logistical problems was just one aspect of a comprehensive, ongoing effort to enhance computer literacy skills among the county's students. The county's dynamic mayor, James Apana, 39, has been at the forefront of this effort. Concerned about the reluctance of technology firms to locate in Maui, he went to Silicon Valley to persuade companies there to do research and development in Hawaii. During his visit at Sun Microsystems, he became enamored of the Sun Ray, a thin-client device that allows users to access software and the Internet from any station within the network. Apana decided to make this technology the basis for the school district's plan to place computers in every public school classroom, youth center and library in the county of Maui.

Initially, the school district had no pot of money for such a major initiative. But that didn't deter Mayor Apana, or Saka, who, as the man in charge of "non-traditional computing," had been building and coordinating the school district's messaging, information management and collaboration infrastructure during the last six years. Mayor Apana decided the county should pay the $1 million required to implement the technology and then hold fundraisers to recoup the expense.

As a result, 1,400 Sun Rays and 55 Sun servers were installed on three islands. The allocation was one appliance per classroom, plus an extra five for school administrators, support staff, counselors and the school office.--Laura Dianis

Andy Carvin

He introduced educators and technology experts via the Web

Andy Carvin, 30, a Northwestern University graduate with a master's in telecommunications policy, essentially started his career as a New Media Program Officer for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting where he developed Internet-related grant programs for the public broadcasting community.

"I never thought I'd have a career in this," he says now. "In many ways I was in the right place at the right time."

So Carvin, now a senior associate at the Benton Foundation, which works in part to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social ills, created EdWeb: Exploring Technology and School Reform, or Among the first Web sites to advocate using the Web in education, it's designed to explore educational reform and information technology. On the site, anyone can track online educational resources around the globe, learn about trends in education policy and information infrastructure development, as well as keep up on Carvin's adventures around the globe--just for fun.

Carvin is also a coordinator of the Digital Divide Network, a national coalition of IT corporations and nonprofit foundations working to find solutions to the digital divide. Last March, he developed, a national database of more than 20,000 sites that offer free Internet access and IT training.

Carvin says his role is merely to "focus the debate" and help people from different cultures and philosophies understand the different roles in the process, such as a school's role in the digital divide or a teacher's role to use technology effectively.

"I think one thing that has been proven in the last couple of years is that putting the Internet in the classroom isn't going to change anything unless teachers are prepared with the skills to teach effectively and be culturally acclimated" to the potential of the Internet in the classroom, he says.--Angela Pascopella

Fred D'Ignazio

He envisioned multimedia computers before they existed and has promoted their use in education ever since

"I've always thought of myself as Johnny Appleseed--going around with my seeds where things can grow and planting them," says Fred D'Ignazio, 52. An internationally renowned author, consultant, educator and television commentator and president of Multi-Media Classrooms Inc. (which offers multimedia training workshops to schools), D'Ignazio remains humble.

As a classroom helper dad, D'Ignazio fills in where needed and is careful not to tell teachers what they ought to do. "The better thing is to be totally service-oriented," he says, adding that just being in the classroom helps him with his own work. "It has tamed my imaginative ideas and made them more practical."

But his workshops are by no means typical. "Paper Training Sparky the Dog: A 12-Step Program" is a staged intervention. Teachers must come to admit that adults are paper trained and paper centered, while kids are real-time, electronic centered. As D'Ignazio offers technology integration tips, he has been known to fall down, stand up on chairs, run out the door, even don a jungle or hip-hop costume ... anything to entertain. "I probably should have been a clown," he says.

One of D'Ignazio's greatest feats, however, is his 1979 picturebook, Katie and the Computer (starring a character like his own daughter, Catie). In the story, Katie sees a colorful flower on a computer screen and tumbles through it into a world of adventure. Essentially, the book predicts the future multimedia capacities of computers.

As D'Ignazio's career took a turn from computer programming to educating, it was his children--first Catie and his son Eric, and now Laura--who inspired him and became his sidekicks during presentations. At home, they have the chance to learn multimedia tools from an expert. And D'Ignazio has the chance to watch as imagination meets technology. He says, "One of the luckiest things about being a parent is you get to have a box seat."--ME

Mark Edwards

He transformed his district's technology program by giving a laptop to each student

When it was time to upgrade hardware for his Henrico, Va., district, Mark Edwards, superintendent, wanted to make more than the predictable improvements. He wanted to take several leaps into the future.

He accomplished that in July when he announced his plan to give an Apple iBook laptop computer to every student and teacher in the district. "Our challenge was to bridge the digital divide," says the 49-year-old superintendent, who has served in Henrico for eight years. In his district--which spans rural and urban areas--about one-third of the students had no access to technology at home. Edwards and his staff remedied that this year, with a program that allows students to use the laptops in school and at home. A complementary wireless network, which takes advantage of the iBook's airport card technology, gives students access to Internet lessons from anywhere on the grounds: the cafeteria, the auditorium or the school steps.

A total of 23,000 iBooks will be given to students and teachers by the end of this year. Edwards and his staff pulled this off by signing a four-year, $18.6 million lease agreement with Apple. Each new iBook was acquired for a discounted price of $900. With iBooks in hand, Edwards hopes to realize cost savings while improving resources. Eventually more online lessons will replace textbooks, and the space allocated for computer labs can be used for other needs.--Jean Marie Angelo

Nina Hansen

She created a Web-based community that has reached students on every continent

Nina Hansen, 55, was one of the first to blaze new trails in using the Internet for K-12 teaching and learning projects, and she inspired countless teachers throughout the world to follow suit. Her groundbreaking "Save the Beaches" project started in 1991 as a text-based e-mail science and social studies program involving six schools, and it grew to become an annual Web-centered project involving teachers and students on every continent.

The concept was for participating classes around the globe to collect, categorize and analyze trash from local beaches, contribute results to project databases, and compare their findings with schools in other regions. The students also devised plans to rid local beaches of selected kinds of litter such as plastic straws, which typically involved publicity and letter-writing campaigns with follow-up evaluations.

Save the Beaches has received international recognition through books, articles, workshops and awards--including DA's Curriculum Web Site Award in 1999. It has been offered in languages including Danish, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and is presently headquartered in Brazil at Hansen made online projects accessible to teachers, and continues her leadership as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford, vice president of the Connecticut Educators Computer Association, and Educational Director for Australia-based SchoolWorld, Egil Dyrli Dennis Harper

He developed a model that empowers students as primary reformers of education

Dennis Harper, 55, grew up in several schools around the world as a so-called military brat. "I always wanted to teach," he says. "I just thought that I could contribute to make schools better."

He taught in an East Los Angeles High School, earned a doctorate degree in International Education from the University of California in 1983 and traveled the world to bring the first computers into classrooms in 34 nations.

In 1992, Harper returned to the U.S. and created the Generation Y program through a U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant. The program essentially trains students to train teachers in technology. Teachers in participating schools are paired with students who actually create projects using technology, ranging from emailing students abroad to creating historical hometown videos. The projects are then used as teachers' curriculum tools for future students.

Harper says he is most proud that he helped open people's eyes that students must be involved in their education. It's about "getting people to realize that kids with expertise in technology ... can become partners in school reform and can become change agents," he says.

After the Challenge Grant was eliminated this year, Generation Y has become Generation YES (Youth and Educators Succeeding) which is the same program but funded by individual schools and other grants. Having been implemented in 41 states, the program was designated "exemplary" last year by the U.S. Department of Education's Educational Technology Expert Panel.--AP

Judi Harris

This professor from the University of Texas at Austin, has made telecommunications technology real for educators

Judi Harris, 42, has possibly done more to equip the K-12 education community with curriculum-based telecommunications information, skills and models than almost any other educator in the world. She has authored major texts on classroom applications of online technologies, including Way of the Ferret: Finding and Using Education Resources on the Internet (ISTE, 1995), Teaching and Learning with the Internet (ASCD, 1996), Design Tools for the Internet Supported Classroom (ASCD, 1998), and more than 150 professional articles.

She has initiated numerous Internet projects such as Wings Online,, for telementoring teaching interns and novices, and the popular "Electronic Emissary Project," emissary.ots., that matches volunteer content area experts with K-12 Classes for mentoring learning projects. Harris also does continuing research in education telecommunications and professional development.--OED

Angus King

He used a budget surplus to buy laptops for all of Maine's seventh and eighth graders

Independent politicians are mavericks. As one of only two independent governors in the U.S., Angus King of Maine, 57, doesn't play it safe.

In 2000, when the state realized a $30 million budget surplus, King was urged to spend the money on school building renovations and teachers' raises. Instead, he proposed buying every seventh and eighth grade student a laptop computer. His rationale is easy to follow. Maine needs to train its future workforce to be technologically competitive. He noted that about 70 percent of Maine's workforce use computers every day, yet only 2 percent of its students had daily access to computers. Computer labs just weren't cutting it for King. "Michael Jordan would never have been as good as he is if he only played basketball 43 minutes a week," says King.

One voter bluntly asked why Maine--a poor state--had to be a leader in education. "Can't somebody else lead?" King was asked. His answer: "We'll stay poor unless we lead."

"I took a lot of flack," King admits. He eventually won. His plan was passed by the Maine legislature this May.

His next effort will be setting up a wireless Internet network through the school system, so that students can have access at school and at home.--JMA

John Kuglin

This technology evangelist makes technology tangible for educators

John Kuglin, 51 is passionate about using technology to its fullest potential. When speaking to educators at conferences around the world, Kuglin gets audiences excited about technology by helping them put the "technology puzzle" together. This dynamic presenter has 25 years of experience as a classroom teacher, district technology director, senior director of technology for the U.S. Department of Education and as a former director of educational outreach at the University of Montana-Missoula.

While he has spoken to an estimated audience of 150,000 educators, Kuglin attempts to reach each member of his audience. "All educators need to have their personal piece of digital real estate developed," Kuglin says. Just recently, Kuglin received an e-mail "out of the clear blue sky" from an educator in Omaha who had seen his presentation and was influenced to dive deeper into the world of technology.

A few months ago, Kuglin joined ComChoice Inc. as vice president of education and training programs. In his new position, Kuglin hopes to get educators "excited about the possibilities DVD and it's large bandwith can bring to the education arena."--LD

Darryl LaGace & Barbara Allen

They helped create a high-speed network to connect students' homes to the school

Many of the reasons that educators give for a lack of innovative programs are present in the Lemon Grove (Calif.) school district.

A preponderance of low-income students? Lemon Grove has that. A majority of children with limited English proficiency? Yes, the K-8 district near San Diego has that. Yet this district's goals were straight forward, but far-reaching. Administrators wanted to bring students not only up-to-level in English and learning but also to have them use technology as an everyday tool.

So how did this district overcome its obstacles to become Bill Gates' favorite example of a "connected learning community?"

Enter Darryl LaGace, the director of information services, and Barbara Allen, LemonLINK's project director. Through the hard work and leadership of these two, the district now boasts a high-speed WAN that connects not just the district schools and offices, but also its students' homes, City Hall, Public Works, fire stations and senior centers.

LaGace designed the network and keeps it running. Allen runs LemonLINK's teacher-training component, a pivotal part of the project that makes sure that all teachers are up-to-speed on all the technology the district has to use.--Wayne D'Orio

Marc Liebman

A former businessman, this superintendent has made technology the nucleus of his district

The education industry does a lousy job when it comes to customer service. At least that's what Marc Liebman, superintendent of the Marysville Joint Unified School District in Yuba County, Calif., believes. Prior to his current position, Liebman, 52, served as IBM's principal consultant for education management. It was there that he learned how big business is in demand to constantly upgrade its products and services to meet customer needs; yet he doesn't find the same drive to keep improving education.

"Working at IBM gave me a frank look at how business works and how often schools ignore customer service and satisfaction to the detriment of the very students that we are challenged to educate," Liebman says.

And when it comes to "technology for technology's sake," Liebman doesn't buy it. One of his proudest accomplishments has been "using technology effectively to target student needs." Liebman says, "We can document that each new technology we have brought in has shown measurable data in increased test scores."

Using his business experience, Liebman has found ways of infusing money into his district--mainly through aggressive grant seeking.

For example, the district secured a $700,000 competitive grant through the California Digital High School Program that has helped fuel a number of tech initiatives.

Other examples of how the district is spending money include:

* High speed communication between and within schools allowing voice, data and video capabilities in all classrooms.

* A laptop pilot program for teachers.

* Partnership building. "We are creating major partnerships to "take advantage of favorable pricing for both hardware and software purchases."--LD

Ted Maddock

He created an award-winning multimedia lab at his high school

Five years ago, Ted Maddock was a veteran teacher at a California high school trying his best to save a class of students who weren't advancing to college, or weren't even good bets to graduate.

Today, the 54-year-old teacher is the director of The Digital Safari Multimedia Academy, a school-within-a-school at Mt. Diablo High in Concord, Calif.

How he went from one spot to the other is the best type of education example, a mix of opportunity, vision and plain hard work.

When Maddock's district received a government grant for a project no longer under consideration, he used a year off from teaching duties to reinvent his district's vocational program. The two-year career academy "teaches core academics in a technology-rich, collaborative environment," the former woodshop teacher says.

Students, from special ed to National Merit scholars, learn how to create Web pages, install the latest technology and hone skills that can earn them well-paying jobs right out of high school.

His program has exceeded its grasp. Besides a waiting list that includes some of the best students in the district, Maddock finds that his students are getting better grades in other classes and their attendance rates have improved. Best of all, he can't keep the children out of the lab.

Students come in before school, during lunch and stay afterschool so much that Maddock had to make rules about when the lab is open. Even children not eligible for the junior and senior program are found lurking at the lab's multimedia machines, hoping to glean some information that will make their entry into the program easier in the years to come.--WD

David Moursund

He founded ISTE, and in doing so ensured technology's place in education

David Moursund, 65, recently retired after working for four decades as an academic and advocate for technology in education. As founder of ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, Moursund helped the organization grow into an international interest with 70,000 affiliated members and 50 chapters. He was also editor-in-chief and founder of ISTE's Learning & Leading with Technology.

Prior to forming ISTE in 1989, Moursund led the International Council for Computers in Education. Most recently, he has been instrumental in establishing technology standards for teachers and students. Now ISTE has released standards for district administrators, too.

"I am proud for starting an organization that has grown to its current breadth, depth and scope," he says.

Moursund balanced his work for ISTE with his academic achievements at the University of Oregon. As a professor of education, he taught, researched and wrote about technology. He began teaching about technology as early as 1963, when he ran a summer program for talented and gifted students. In 1965, he started training teachers. This, he says, was not only informative, but fun.

Not one to be complacent, Moursund still sees much work ahead. It isn't enough to have computers in classrooms, he says. Educators can take technology to the next level by incorporating computers and the Internet into state and national testing and by pushing Internet use beyond e-mail messaging and simple Web searches. He plans to continue volunteer work with ISTE to help this vision become reality.--JMA

Seymour Papert

The father of educational computing

Here's a list of education milestones: The 1971 book, Twenty Things to Do with a Computer; creating the Logo computer language; becoming the driving force behind the LEGO Mindstorms programmable brick.

Any one of the previous accomplishments might qualify a candidate to make this list, but in the case of Seymour Papert, 73, all these accomplishments--and more--are his.

Papert is now the LEGO professor of learning research at the MIT Media Lab, but his contributions to education stem back nearly 40 years.

In the 1960s, he predicted not only that every child would have a personal computer, but that they would also program the computer. He backed up this vision by creating the Logo language, a computer programming code that provides a way for students to learn formal connections between disciplines. Millions of children have learned with his Logo, and its current versions, such as MicroWorlds.

In 1987, he was the main inspiration behind LEGO's TC logo, a product that allowed children to construct complex machines and control them with simple Logo programs. From this grew the era of child programmed toys, including the recent LEGO Mindstorms programmable block.

Papert's genius is three-fold--his ability to dream big dreams, his willingness to risk criticism by recommending strategies to realize his vision and his uncanny predictions of how the current school system will co-opt the ideas.--WD

Jim Parry

He has led South Dakota in educational technology use and school reform

Growing up on a dairy farm in the plains of South Dakota, Jim Parry's first career aspirations involved what he didn't want to do. "For darn sure I knew farming wasn't going to be my career," he says. "It's much too hard."

However, taking his father's strong work ethic and an appreciation for the world of education from his mother, a teacher, Parry chose no easy occupation. As a special education teacher in the late 1970s, Parry discovered technology's potential for his students, and his interests took a swing in that direction.

After earning a Ph.D. in educational technology and special education from Utah State University, Parry returned to his home state in 1986 to direct an initiative called Technology & Innovations in Education, a statewide, non-profit organization. Of TIE's many projects, Parry, now 51, is most proud of its annual education conference, which attracts one-third of the state's educators.

"Sometimes educators in rural states are underestimated," Parry says. "No, we don't have some of the resources and access to some of the opportunities that urban areas can offer, but I've also discovered that rural areas are rich and deep in their commitment to education."--ME

Amy Perry-DelCorvo

This technology leader brings professional development to teachers and courses to students at home

Amy Perry-DelCorvo, 34, wanted to be an accountant while growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., but she found it "impersonal."

"I needed a field where it was important to be a good person and teaching is where I found that success," she says.

So Perry-DelCorvo became a kindergarten teacher at Arkport Central School in New York, where she later became computer coordinator.

Wanting to have a greater impact in a regional area in 1996, she went to Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES, or the Board of Cooperative Education Services. She is president of New York State Association for Computers & Technologies in Education and a Board of Directors member of International Society of Technology Educators.

As Education Strategist at BOCES, Perry-DelCorvo transformed education, in part by gaining technology grants and creating a Web site, "We were one of the first to go online for professional development for teachers" and teach classes online for students, says Perry-DelCorvo, winner of ISTE's 2001 Outstanding Technology Leader Award.

During the past five years, 110 school buildings in 47 school districts were wired and received equipment and training to link students, teachers and parents to the Internet. Under, teachers can take professional development courses and high school students could take curriculum courses if they can't make it to school for such reasons as emotional or disciplinary problems, she says.

But Perry-DelCorvo, who also works with Cisco and Xerox, is modest. "While I do believe I have vision and drive, I am not the one that makes technology integration work," she says. "We have very strong collegial support at BOCES, NYSCATE and ISTE ... I simply share the successes of our region ... with others so the success can be replicated."--AP

Patrick Plant & Kate Clark

SIF pioneers help refine the interoperability framework

In 1998, Microsoft came up with a simple, but potentially groundbreaking, idea. What if all the software programs a school needed could "talk" to each other and share relevant information?

The Schools Interoperability Framework grew out of this idea. And while this concept and getting more than 100 competing companies to sign up is impressive, the hardest work was yet to come.

The initiative, now run by the Washington, D.C.-based Software and Information Industry Association, needed some school districts to test the new system.

This is where Patrick Plant, 46, and Kate Clark, 48, come in. Plant, the technology coordinator at the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Coon Rapids, Minn., ran the first test of SIF in 1999, and later served as the group's acting director until Director Tim Magner came aboard.

Plant was one of the first to see the many benefits of SIE Not only does the system save multiple entries by school personnel, it allows schools to have a wealth of student information available for analysis immediately. It also allows districts to pick the best software products, as long as they are SIF compliant, without any worry that these products won't work together.

Kate Clark, principal of the Ocoee Middle School in Orange County, Fla., not only pushed to make her school a SIF site, but she badgered the vendors to make their software bend to her school's needs. Her attitude then, and now, is, "If I can think of it, [they] should be able to make it happen. Quickly."

These two educators are key reasons why the SIF initiative continues to move toward unified standards and possible mainstream adaptation.--WD

Tom Ridge

As governor of Pennsylvania, he made education a cornerstone of his administration

Tom Ridge has a serious new assignment as the director of the new Office of International Homeland Security. He is charged with keeping America safe. His is a new cabinet post, created as a result of the events of Sept. 11. But before he was tapped for a national role, Ridge, 56, ran the state of Pennsylvania. There he lived up to his promise to advance educational efforts and to oversee technological improvements.

Under his leadership, Pennsylvania spent more than $240 million on creating a high tech infrastructure for schools. The network, Called Link-to-Learn, has been enhanced by the state's various technology partner ships, including a recent deal signed with AOL@ School. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania made AOL's free educational software program available to all K-12 schools. The program includes information on state standards, staff development, Pennsylvania education news and teacher-certification facts.

Pennsylvania had already signed partnership agreements with MCI Worldcom and Oracle.

It was under Ridge's leadership that Pennsylvania instituted performance level criteria for schools, giving teachers, students and parents a better understanding of technology in the classroom.--JMA

Linda Roberts

She was the Federal Department of Education's longtime point person for education technology

Linda Roberts is widely recognized for her efforts to improve the awareness and incorporation of technology in education. As the senior adviser on technology to the secretary of the Department of Education, Roberts headed up the Office of Educational Technology from its inception in September 1993 to January 2001. She was responsible for coordinating the department's technology programs, growing the technology budget to more than $900 million annually. During her tenure Roberts directed three landmark studies on the use of technology in education for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

She also spearheaded the four main goals of the department's Technology Literacy Challenge: to put powerful computers into the hands of teachers and students in the classroom, connect those classrooms to the Internet, work to train all teachers to use technology tools and resources across the curriculum, and encourage the development of applications that would yield both compelling and effective content for learning.

Speaking about her tenure Roberts says, "I've had the great opportunity to meet educators around the country who are using technology in innovative ways. This experience has reinforced that teachers are key to the effective use of technology in education." Crediting the technology education community at large, Roberts says, "Together we have made tremendous progress on the four national technology goals and in focusing the nation's attention on the power of technology to support teaching and improve learning."--LD

Allen Schmieder

He grew up to spearhead national technology programs that promote technology in schools

There's not enough space here to accurately write about Allen Schmieder. Now the vice president for K-20 Education and Technology Futures at JDL Technologies, which has served the nation's schools for 10 years, Schmieder, 68, was a key player in developing the Technology Innovation Challenge Grants, which were recently eliminated but funded technology-driven programs, including Generation Y and Virtual High School programs.

Among many accomplishments, "I'm proud of what I'm doing now," he says. "I'm criss-crossing the country arguing that the real Digital Divide is between schools and the rest of society ... I'm writing a book on the major barriers of the effective infusion of technology in schools ... and educational leaders don't realize how huge that gap is. I'm trying to change that."

Schmieder grew up in a poor family of nine in Pennsylvania. But with a positive attitude and brains, he became a professor at Ohio State and University of Maryland, where he established faculty and student academic recognition programs.

He then went to the U.S. Department of Education where he served seven presidents, and most recently worked with former Vice President Gore to set up a worldwide technology-rich research and education program in 8,000 schools in 80 nations.

He helped start or started national initiative programs, including National Teacher Centers program and created the Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Program.

A well-known author, Schmieder also helped develop the Minnesota eSchools Program to transform schools into technology-based 21st century learning centers.--AP

Elliot Soloway

He says asking teachers to "integrate technology" is the biggest educational change in 200 years. But he tells them it is achievable

Elliot Soloway, 55, is among the most active and experienced education technology researchers and developers in the world, and is an expert in modeling and visualization tools, project-based software, intelligent tutoring systems and staff development. He has written hundreds of books and magazine articles, done countless conference presentations, consulted with numerous technology companies, directed millions of dollars of funded projects and worked intensely with school systems throughout the U.S.

Soloway is committed to helping students and teachers "engage in serious intellectual inquiry around authentic, meaningful, motivating, mindful, learning experiences."

For the past 10 years, Soloway and his colleagues at the Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education,, have explored ways in which computing and communications technologies bring constructivist, project-based pedagogy to science classrooms. The group has developed cutting edge tools such as Artimis--named for the goddess of the hunt--to help students do science-related online searches and keep track of previous searches; and Symphony, an integrated Web-based suite of planning, data collection, and modeling tools. Soloway has joined with colleagues to form a company called Learner-Centered Technologies, to market products including "Model-It" software that creates dynamic representations of complex systems such as watersheds, and PiCoMap for students to develop "concept maps" using Palm PDAs.--OED

David Thornburg

He explores what's happening now and what's on the horizon with educational technology

Of all the workshops on emerging technologies and their impact on learning that David Thornburg, 58, has presented, Jamming as a Pedagogical Model comes out on top. "We go through and analyze what musicians do in a jam session, then show that each characteristic makes sense in the classroom," Thornburg explains. For example, jamming requires multiple people, and the best learning is accomplished through collaboration.

Thornburg discusses how peers can use the Internet to create workgroups and collaborative projects.

As the guitarist in the Silicon Delta Blues Foundation, Thornburg has performed songs that poke fun at everything from the Silicon Valley culture to school networking ("Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Wire").

But Thornburg's passion for learning is no laughing matter. As the founder and director of global operations for the Thornburg Center, he conducts research and provides staff development in the areas of educational futures, multimedia, communications and whole mind education. Splitting his time between his homes in Illinois and Brazil, Thornburg helps educators explore the ways technology is changing the face of learning. "A lot of what we focus on today is taking a look at the skills students need when they leave school in order to take part in the global economy," he says. In addition to his consulting and speaking, Thornburg is involved in shaping federal education policy as a Senior Fellow of the Congressional Institute for the Future. Although he says his thoughts could be different in six months, Thornburg believes the future shows every student having a computer that looks like a Game-boy--fully wireless with high-speed Interact access and retinal projector glasses to improve the display.--ME

Robert Tinker

He originated the idea of using probes in computer-based laboratories for real-time learning

Bob Tinker, 60, has been a pioneer in the innovative use of technology in education for more than 30 years, and he originated the idea of using probes--such as motion detectors--in computer-based laboratories for real-time learning. His group at TERC,, developed probeware that is now widely used in physics and mathematics courses, as well as for the Voyage of the Mimi project, and did the first NSF-supported research on the use of probes in education.

In 1985, Tinker invented the idea of teaching science through having students gather and share data over e-mail networks, which resulted in the National Geographic Society Kids Network, the first curriculum to make extensive use of student collaboration. The NGS Kids Network introduced hundreds of thousands of students and teachers to computers, networking and genuine science, and led to the development of the Global Lab and GLOBE projects, and LabNet, an early use of networking to support teacher professional development.

Six years ago, Tinker started the non-profit Concord Consortium,, to conduct educational research and develop applications for portable and handheld computers, online courses for teachers and secondary students, sophisticated simulations, and technology-rich education environments. The best known of these projects is the online Virtual High School, which currently offers more than 200 courses to high school students throughout the country.--OED

Al Weis

His non-profit organization recognizes students who collaborate while building award-winning Web pages

Sometimes the best ideas start simply. In 1986, eventual ThinkQuest founder Al Weis, now 63, remembers sitting on a national panel that was studying how to bring the Internet into colleges.

"If this thing [the Internet] is good for universities, we ought to get it to K-12," he remembers saying to Ken King, president of Educom.

Six years later, after he had sold his business to AOL, Weis and King revisited his idea. What they came up with was ThinkQuest, the now global network of students, teachers, parents and technology experts. Students work in teams to research curriculum topics and publish their work as an educational Web site to be used for research throughout the world.

Students go through the entire product development life cycle while creating these pages, from doing market research to testing the site to make sure it works to registering the site with search engines. "They don't know it, but one day [this information] will be very useful for them," Weis says.

The site also promotes collaboration, sometimes with students on the other side of the world that speak a different language. "Teaching people how to collaborate is important and you don't learn that in schools," he adds.

Out of an annual contest that draws more than 10,000 participants, ThinkQuest has created an archive of more than 3,000 Web sites at that draw more than four million hits per day.--WD
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Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Cover Story
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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