Nov 21, 2009
I'm a tech guy, as you have probably noticed, and as a tech guy I often find myself spending a lot of time talking about all sorts of great technologies, like social media and Web 2.0 tools, the latest hardware and gadgets, and how to use them to build online communities and develop collaborative practices in the education space. I attend and participate in a number of conferences and webinars on a regular basis, both as a presenter and attendee, and serve on a number of panels and implementation teams, all of which I believe to be valuable. But lately I have been struck by the fact that, even though everyone is gathering together to talk about education, we really aren't talking much about education. We're talking mostly about tools. Think about the last conference or webinar you attended - how much of the conversation revolved around tools and how to use them? I would bet the vast majority. While the geek in me really enjoys learning about what the hot new tool is and how I might make it work, I think as a whole we've jumped the shark on ed tech. Because when we think about ourselves as educators, what we do is not really about tools, is it? It's about kids. It's about helping kids to learn and grow, and to prepare them for the world they are about to enter.
I've given a number of presentations lately around the general theme of "Rethinking Laptops and Learning". For those who haven't been able to attend (and even some of those that were) below is a compilation of links to related information and resources.

SaugusUSD SWATTEC Project:
Saugus Linux on Netbooks (now the ubermix project):
Saugus K12 Social Networking Resources:
K12 Social Networking Presentation at Harvard:

Blog Posts and Commentary:
When do Laptops Become School Supplies? (Jim Klein)
Netbooks and Open-source: Rethinking Laptops and Learning? (Jim Klein):
Linux on Netbooks and Whiskers on Kittens (Karl Fisch)
Transitioning to 1:1 Netbook via BYOL (Wes Fryer)
The Value of Comment Moderation and Feedback... (Wes Fryer)
Quit Substituting Expensive EdTech Gadgets for the "Real Deal" (John Patten)

Key Open Source Projects:
The OpenDisc -
Elgg Open Source Social Engine -
Ubuntu Linux:
iTalc Project -

K12 Open Source Resources:
CoSN K12 Open Technologies Initiative:
Jim Klein's Open Source Pages:
K12 Open Source Help (Contractor):

Great Netbooks for Linux:
Asus EeePC:
Acer AspireOne:
Dell Mini:
Nov 13, 2009
On November 12, students in Ms. Gardner's 4th grade class at Rio Vista school had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a soldier in Iraq about being in the military and his experiences there. It was an excellent example of what happens when technology meets learning and enables new experiences in the classroom. Below is a brief (rough) clip from the day. You can also review some of the students' blog posts reflecting on the event at: . More student posts are sure to follow!

Nov 6, 2009
I was thrilled to hear from Tammy Parks at Howe Public Schools in Oklahoma that their teachers are beginning to spend some time with netbooks based on our open-source image from the SWATTEC program. It's been great to see the concept spread to other schools and districts across the country. I believe open-sourcing education technology implementation to be the most effective way to bring large-scale classroom innovation and lasting change to schools, and to drive student achievement into the 21st century.