Monday, December 20, 2010

The Brian Gawlik Studio

Familiar faces... family, friends... old and new came together this afternoon to dedicate the Studio here in the Smith Center to Brian Gawlik... and the dedication on the memorial so reads:

dedicated to the memory of

Brian Gawlik

Brian came to Burr and Burton in 1999, a year after the Smith Center for Communications opened. Thanks to a generous gift from Barbara Riley and Gerald Levin, the lower level had been fitted out with a state-of-the art digital television studio complete with digital cameras, two editing bays and Avid editing stations. With his rich background in professional video editing, and news production, Brian brough just the right combination of talent, experience and personal skills to the task of setting up a vibrant communications program for students.

Under his expert, sometimes teasing, yet always gentle direction, his students became the writers, producers journalists and designers of their own news shows and films. He had high standards for their work in class and for how they conducted themselves out of class. He wanted them to have real-world experience and be professional in all they did. He was as likely to be seen instructing them in the finer points of tying a tie as checking light levels. Many of his students have gone on to work in the industry. None of them will forget him.

Brian also helped many local community organizations who came to him with requests for his experience in film and audio technology. He was unfailingly generous with his time. He is remembered by many in the community for his years as a volunteer with Race for the Cure cure committee responsible for the annual Summer event to benefit breast cancer research.

Born on March 25, 1961, in New York City, Brian moved with his family to Sunderland, Vermont in 1973. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Lyndon State College in 1983, he worked for the college's NewsLINC program. He went on to be a freelance editor and videographer for CNN and MSNBC and worked for Galaxy Broadcasting in Bondville before coming to Burr and Burton.

Brian Gawlik, teacher, mentor, and friend, died on December 8, 2009 after a long and courageous fight with cancer. He was 48 years old. He is honored and missed by the Burr and Burton community, but his legacy will live on in the students who benefit from the program he began.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sheets... and Math(ematics) in Education

We've plowed into our 'Education Revisited assignment in a couple Lab classes here. Alex Sheets, who used to teach here at BBA, sent on this great site called to chime in our discussion on mathematics.

Here's a great vid from the site. I love this sort of stuff!

Here's another:

Earlier this week in this 'Education Revisited' assignment we asked:
Is it necessary to teach mathematics today the way we usually do? 
We took on this speech on TED by Conrad Wolfram in class earlier this week. Is it necessary to focus so much on hand based computation when we teach math?

Wolfram talks of working with students on:

1. Posing the right questions.
2. Real world math formulation.
4. Math formulation. Real world verification.

Step 3. in Wolfram's sequence is 'Computation' and he poses that that's where illogically spend most of our time these days with students, why too many feel disconnected with math. I'd say he's right.

Keep the doodles in mind above doodles above and take a look at Stephen Wolfram's heady speech on 'Computing the Theory of Everything.'

Imagine project work where we use powerful tools like Mathematica, where we focus more effort on steps 1, 2, and 4, where we use the web and incorporate the principles of design into work in schools... instead of focusing so much on repetitive paper based computation. Exciting stuff.

We once thought venturing to the moon was beyond the scope of humanity. Standing on a corner and using something like a smartphone... was science fiction 25 years ago. Making movies with special effects like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, like Avatar or Inception used to be impossible. Might we use things like GapMinder to visualize very complex urban societal problems and conjure up solutions more quickly? Might we venture on to the fabled 'Star Trek Warp Drive' where we travel at the speed of light... or beyond the speed of light? It might sound crazy. Then again... it might not.

So... Business as usual... or a new frontier? Some great discussions brewing. Many thanks to Alex for passing on that site. AP

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Path From the Past to Present

Some folks contacted me recently from another school district. They wanted some advice on how to open up new technology programs, new ways of thinking. They described that their network was extremely locked down to the point of being unusable... used for basic word processing, presentation creation (mostly PowerPoint) and for basic web research. They described a disconnect between IT service policy and the needs of education. Often debates would go on for years with no motion. No one was listening and too many people had genuinely given up. Consensus was always trying to be reached... and never could be. People were beginning to feel worn down. 

I told them that our journey here has not been without bumps. It's been a laborious process at times and not without some tough, heated discussions… but we have made some progress. I started chatting over some of the five year history here and how our proposals have pushed some folks to think forward rather than about status quo. It didn't happen magically. Here's a summary:

Five years ago we started out by proposing a refit the rooms here on the floor. We shut off the bright florescent lights and added some indirect lighting, painted over the institutional white walls and took the desks out of rows. We painted two tech classrooms, extended the new look to the hallway (4 colors), put up some artwork and even tossed new color in the bathrooms. Students participated in it all and it's proven to be a great space for work here. The work drew attention from some other areas of the school and brought to light on very important question: 'Do classrooms need to look like, well, traditional classrooms?'

The old network structure here five years ago was very locked down and basically not functional for any sort of progressive or collaborative education in our new 'tech' classes. As we proposed changes we discovered a high level of frustration with other teachers and students on campus over the level of desktop and internet control… not atypical to educational institutions. So, we did our surveys and proposed a shift to a new Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). Some intense discussions and debates began. The thought of moving to a more open philosophy is difficult for some. It took a considerable amount of time to convince some folks that a locked down approach stifles educational opportunities and growth. It ultimately builds dependency and increased demands on IT services as well. Heavily restricted access also leads to user frustration and promotes very generic use of powerful hardware. The first step negotiated was to restore more local rights to computers in supervised Labs. The move (grouping Lab computers for more access rights in Active Directory) opened up educational opportunities in the Labs. Over the next year advanced access to local computers was opened up for everyone else on campus. Routine service calls initially went up (as expected.)… and then quickly plummeted far beneath previous levels. It was the first step in the overall Acceptable Use Policy change. Many discussions and lobbying then continued for more advanced access.

We had a Hardware / Networking class that was more based on book work, so a hands on Lab was created with donated machines and tossed away the books. A quick trip to Boston for some donated gear, some makeshift tables, some tools, wiring and we were off and running. Installs and experiments began for students on relevant hardware and diverse OS installation / configuration, and networking experience. Hands on learning. Refurbishing machines led to a logical next step.

We created 'a Refurbishing Program' for old equipment here on campus. Donated machines and older machines on campus were reconditioned for students to take home. 1. To begin address large problems with equity of access for students. 2. To introduce a new IT service and professional development model on campus. The program was turned over along with the Hardware and Networking class to Kevin Morrison and more intense development went into the 'Tech Research' class model.

We proposed a Student Help Desk model where students participate in tech support and training on campus for adults and peers. As a first step students introduced adults on campus to blogs and wikis via a 5 minute presentation and then adults headed down to the Labs here for training. Much to the adults surprise, about 15 students were on hand to assist with instruction. There was no lockstep group instruction, rather we dove in on a personal level and began grouping people by needs and proficiency. After that one session those 15 students setup appointments with faculty and staff over the two weeks that followed to continue web development. The training initiative was a smashing success. More detailed Help Desk proposals have followed here over these last 2 years. The program here still sits in sort of a 'beta' mode, far beneath it's potential… but it's still successful. In the meantime this proposed Help Desk model has been passed on to 9 other schools, 3 districts, incorporated into the Digital Wish Foundation Laptop initiative and is now modeled in the upcoming State Technology Plan for 2010.

As more flexible desktop computer projects got underway across campus and the Tech Research class kicked into a new gear, the next phase of our AUP proposal centered that the philosophy of internet filtering here be changed from 'what to allow' to, simply, 'what to block.' We switched to OpenDNS to filter (simple and free). We focused on simply blocking pornography and malware / spyware and left everything else alone. The decision was made at that time to continue to block all sorts of social networking on campus at this time… so we proposed that it be made accessible in supervised Labs: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Ning, Blogs, Wikis, etc.  As we expected, it was a widespread success and opened up more relevant discussions with students on our tech courses immediately. More faculty craved access to YouTube and other social networking sites across campus and more proposals and discussions over the next 1.5 years led to open access for all participants to social networking sites campus wide. The result Students and teachers were encouraged to discuss the use of social networking tools rather than simply deny use. Relevant and challenging education for the times at hand.

We moved on to propose a switch from Microsoft Exchange to GMail for Domains, later retitled Google Apps. More collaboration tools, quicker development, more accessible to students outside of school, hosted services (by Google) and… free.  2.5 years from first proposing the switch, after a number of meetings and rather intense debates the proposal was accepted and implemented. Since the shift there's more collaborative document sharing, shared calendar access, and less training initiatives related to email are necessary. Better yet, use has skyrocketed. It's been a fantastic success.

Reduced hardware needs, software licensing costs and the overall simplicity introduced to the network by these initiatives led to increased use on campus and the need to purchase more bandwidth to the internet. With all the money saved in infrastructure it was easy to reallocate money for more bandwidth. Once installed, projects continued to get more diverse by including video and audio content and higher level, more reliable and faster web research.

More widespread use of social networking tools led to the school taking on Twitter as a notification system and to develop presence on Facebook.

A widespread increase in use and demand across campus led to the need to install a new wireless infrastructure. We did our research here and by cost and feature comparisons available across the market, we proposed AeroHive as the vendor to meet our needs. 1.5 years after our recommendation was sent in, it was implemented. Along with the change, access was opened up for students to bring in their own devices.

There have been countless presentations on the items above and some tough discussions to get to this point… our present. There were many times I've wished it was easier to bring these ideas to fruition. Regardless, more collaboration and discussions are taking place about how to use technology… rather than simply locking things down, pretending it doesn't exist… and moving on, business as usual as so many educational institutions seem to do. Change… can be difficult for educational institutions… but it's necessary if we are truly educating students for their future. It's not for the sake of technology. It's about education and opportunity. It's about teaching kids to leverage these tools into something... instead of denying access and promoting that they are, in fact, only good for the purposes of writing, basic research, and entertainment.

I mentioned to these folks that we had the same debates about television years ago. The movie Good Night and Good Luck frames Murrow's famous speech to the RTNDA on this matter quite eloquently.

That old television debate is just magnified this time. It's just moving faster this time... and that's why schools, with their slow development curves have a hard time adapting. For many, the discussions and motion on technology is 'just one more thing.' What we've tried to help people understand is... 'it's not an add, it's a shift.'
I'm not sure if the tale of nearly five years of development helped these folks in spirit, but it did show them a map of sorts at least of how we got to the present. There are places where these shifts happen in a much more streamlined fashion, where energy is redirected into the projects themselves rather than simply bringing them to fruition. Often when you seek advice from other institutions it can be viewed as threatening to some internally... a comparison of sorts. Simply put, I assured them that research is a lot better than reinventing the wheel all the time... which too many schools seem to do. Research will also save folks from what I call 'pilot project and sub-committee hell.' There are formulas success, and they are easy to find.

I referred these folks to our Proposals page to view our pieces discussed here in more detail. 

We continue to field requests now and again... but many have traveled down these roads already now. It's time, hopefully, to move forward again.

We've got a number of other proposals floating out there that have evolved from our discussions and detailed research out and about. One has been in discussion for as long as 10 years... one-to-one computing. Some others proposals are just a year or two old and a few others that are brand new. We'll discuss these in the next posts… Present and Future Discussions.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Semester 2010 Underway

We're off and running.

Folks have chosen study topics, started journals, assembled materials, software and equipment to help the projects along. We dove into some tips to get started and took on Diigo and Twitter to help expand research and open up resources ala aggregation. Our camera stock is on the move for digital editing projects and recording interviews. Discussions on the news are also underway with more to come in the next few weeks. Discussions on project management are being woven in every day as well. Chinese, German, Japanese and English students and the Google Translator are in full swing. Not bad tinkering for about 20 days.

Here's a list of the projects underway in the Lab thus far this semester:

Facebook Security
iPhone Technology and App Development
Video Effects and Editing
4 Digital Photography and editing projects
Military Technology
Social Networks and Communication
C++ Programming
Tattoo Technology
Event Management and Scheduling
Adaptive Camouflage
Space Tourism / Transportation
Sustainable Energy
Logo Design / Illustrator and Photoshop
Autonomous Vehicles / Urban Planning
Small Business Technology / Management
Online Education
Modern Journalism
Music Composition
Bike Design / Engineering
Swimming Technology
Psychology Technology

Some projects will wrap up quickly while some others will weave on through the semester or even all year, continuously expanding. Multiple project threads in the same room, multiple languages, class projects, discussions and collaboration. I'm always curious to see where people go. For so many, it's the first chance to explore their own interests.

On the horizon we'll take a few breaks from projects and take a look see at some philosophies of education, how technology has pushed changes in 'school' and learning and folks will analyze their thoughts on 'education' and 'entertainment.'

Just getting started. Engage.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Message from one of our Alumni, Jilli Deibold

Getting messages like this... never gets old.

Jill Deibold 
So I was talking with my academic advisor about my Calc 1 class I had signed up for. As soon as I walked in he was like, "I don't think you should take Calc..I think we're going to put you into a web design class using Flash CS4 and Dream weaver, I'm sure you haven't used it yet but I think you'd be interested in it more than Calculus"

I then told him about my tech classes at BBA. He was impressed to say the least with the very idea of the class :3
I'm gonna miss not having you as my tech teacher this semester though : )

6 hours ago · Comment · Like · See Wall-to-Wall

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Many hands make lighter work

On the 21st I took a tumble down some steps in the rain while carrying a friends munchkin. I very happy to report that the munchkin is intact... Not even a scrape as I was able to pull her onto my chest as I fell. My tailbone and lower back... Not so much. Took a ride down four steps and onto the pavement. Hey, all the more reason to wear a cape! The fall left me pretty sore with some good bruises. Not a great way to end the Summer!

On our return trip to Manchester I needed to shore up the Lab for the Guidance Dept to work with the Senior class for Wednesday am. Kevin Morrison, our neighbor Stephanie, my two kids, and Janice helped me shore up the room: resetting tables, computers and cables, cleaning and some touch-up painting. Many hands make light work. Something that usually takes me about 7-8 hours we knocked out in just under three. Many thanks to the crew for their help. I couldn't have done it without them.

I'm on the mend and improving day to day. Now it only hurts when I breathe! Hahaha!

-- Posted from batphone

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Technology and Performance

This marks my third year back on a bike... And I've loved every second of it.

I whisked out these three years on a Trek 1.5 road bike. It carries itself and me on some Bontrager SS 25 rims and Select B 25x700 tires. The bike came with 23s and they had some trouble toting around 215 pounds of me so Trek swapped them out at no charge... Which I appreciated immensely. The 1.5 has an aluminium frame, and carbon forks in the front. Ipgraded to a longer neck extension (for free at the local bike shop... Battenkill Sports Cycling Shop... Thanks Robin!) because I like to lean forward more. I like to ride at 100psi in both tires since moving to the 25s... Helps it feel a bit more free on the road. With the tires at 100psi and the aluminum frame being stiff on the 1.5 I compensated a bit to accommodate for distance rides by putting on a softer seat, a Serfas RX+ (which was not free but well worth it). I also upgraded to some dual function Shimano pedals so I can ride with clips or shoes. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I've discovered over these three years I never ride with shoes! All told the 1.5 is a significant upgrade from the old 17 pound Vista Espada I used to ride no doubt.

I piled on more distance this Summer than the previous two years, averaging about 325-400 miles per week and a high one week of roughly 500. All that time on the road can lead to some thinking.

300 plus miles per week, and a trip average of about 50-70 miles seems my comfort limit on the 1.5 in my hips and lower back. Long trips with some almonds and other snacks, some water mixed with water and occasionally orange juice has kept me fueled... As well as some stops for some great delis along the way. The extended distance got me to thinking about looking into some new bikes... Some bikes that are less rigid, that carry a bit more flex. To boldly go...

Based on how much I've enjoyed this bike I'd certainly look at a Trek Again. The 2X series seems similar to what I've got so I'll look toward Madone series as a next step. Researching components and specs led me down the high end path a few days ago... like a Time frame and some Zipp 404s. Just those two components though are more than I'd spend, likely in the $6500 range! Like most things, there's no limit to the amount you can spend on bikes.

So... With a drive inside to put more distance on a bike... What next? Stick with the 1.5 and upgrade a few more components like new pedals and shoes? Having some shoes that are lighter and more stiff would be a good thing I'm thinking atm. It'd help me drive more power to the pedals with less foot flex.

As I look at new bikes... Is my goal to go more distance? Faster? Both? Just to enjoy a new sled and seek out it's limitations?

I'll also be switching from Gatorade to Hammer Fuel for longer trips for sure. Tastes less sweet while having and equal amount of sugar while offering up more protein and carbs. Seems like a good ticket.

All good questions.

Perhaps I'll go for another ride and give it a think.

-- Posted from batphone

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keep Moving... In the Right Direction

I saw this interview with Sir Ken Robinson on a post by Dan French.

Encouraging stuff.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Course Descriptions

Image created by Morgan Lendway, class of 2010

Each semester students and alumni help carve out new paths for these courses. The revisions here are often a product of our class discussions, emerging trends, technologies and curiosities. Here's the current course descriptions below.

My thanks to all those folks, current students and alumni, who continually participate in these revisions. It's inspiring to work with you and a privilege to have your input. AP

1 credit Level 2

How many times have you said, “I’d like to try that?” Ever wanted to explore a topic but not dedicate a full semester to it? What if you had the opportunity to propose your own topic and bring that interest to fruition either working in a group with your friends or on and individual project? What if you could study alternative energy, technology in “green” buildings, hydroponics, how skis are made, or even something like how technology is shaping the future of education? That's the trick here: You choose the topic. You also choose the duration of your project. Take on up to three different projects in one semester, devote an entire semester or year to a project, take multiple sections of this course simultaneously, or extend topic tracks into successive years by repeating sections of this flexible course. With up to twenty different projects underway in the room at the same time it's a pretty dynamic atmosphere. Along the way, we explore how technology is changing the news, education, business, the cell phone landscape, the Internet, e-commerce, collaboration, computer gaming and entertainment, and even the future of medicine and aging. We incorporate modern web apps like Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Twitter, blogs, and aggregators like iGoogle. On top of it all we seek to polish up your project management, research skill, public speaking and collaboration skills. It's a chance to explore your own diverse interests, or even get a jump start on a career or major all while you work in an alternative learning environment. Traditional course offerings not spark your interest or something you read here make you curious? If so, Tech Research is the course for you.

PREREQUISITE: Sophomore, Juniors and Seniors or permission of instructor.

1 credit Level 2
Seniors (available to Juniors if there is space available)

Ever get worried about life after high school? Need advice on finances? Credit cards? Bills? Online banking? Health? College? How to deal with roommates? How about nutrition? Cooking? Cars? Aging? Retirement? What practical knowledge do you need to help you into the future? We'll frame up questions as a class, and we'll find answers. We'll invite guest speakers in to share their expertise with the class on themes we design and also to discuss their personal transition from high school and into life. Along the way, we'll explore and uncover a deeper layer of using social media. We'll help you sculpt your thoughts on how you appear online, what you should know about these tools, and help you learn to leverage them to help you in the future. You'll learn more about how to learn, and how to communicate in this hyper-fast world. You'll gain deeper technology and social media skill, and gain a wealth of practical knowledge for your future. It's a course designed by your peers and explores your new questions each semester.

1 credit Level 2

Rekindle your creative and experimental spark in this course and dive into the creative world of digital design and build your skill at the same time. Our project themes here range from the dark and mysterious to fun and whimsical. Rekindling your creative spark may prove more fun than you think. Students also design their own themes here with the intent of sharing their work with friends and family and publishing their work to the web. In the first half of this course students will explore and develop skills in digital design by experimenting with programs in the Adobe Suite like Photoshop, and various open-source programs like GIMP. In the second half of the course, students will learn basic and modern techniques of web publishing using a variety of tools including various blogs, wikis, through feature-rich applications like Dreamweaver and even on to mobile devices. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2nd Semester Presentations Begin... Today!

Three presentations kick off today in D block. We'll post some updates as we go. Engage.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Acceptable Use Policy Advice... and a Good Dose of Common Sense

A friend called me recently for advice. He works in a school district and they have been hammering out a revised Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). He described that the discussions on this new AUP been going on for over a year, meetings were now bi-monthly, in complete gridlock and the current draft they were working on had expanded to 11 pages.

I told him a quote from Phillip K. Howard's TED speech: "The constitution is only 16 pages long."

As you might imagine, the AUP draft he sent was loaded with restrictions on web access, programs, hardware, personal devices, restrictions on the use of social media and a long list of resulting penalties.

I told him I felt the document would lead to paralysis and that it was educationally irresponsible for the needs of modern students and educators. The perspective of out of sight, out of mind won't help. Denial of service on such issues is not educational... it's avoidance.

I encouraged him to pass on a series of drafts from other districts to the committee to help them gain some perspective on where neighboring schools were headed educationally. I also recommended that the AUP should be no more than 3 pages, preferably 1. The final that they decide on should be discussed with teachers across the school, and with parents. It should be made part of professional development initiatives to help folks understand the potential pitfalls and strengths. It should not lead to business as usual.

I also offered up that it would be a healthy shift to discuss what they wanted to do educationally rather than simply what they will prevent people from doing.

In sent him the link to Howard's speech below to watch and to pass on to the committee. Howard's speech speaks volumes about refining general principles and goals.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I've had many discussions on the role of technology in schools, society and our lives over the years.

I like this video. A lot.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Fringe Benefits of Failure

I was prowling the web recently and stumbled on this Harvard Commencement speech by JK Rowling on the subject of failure. I spent the rest of the day mulling it over after watching, thinking about where I've been and how I've done things along the way.

When we do fail... we have to learn to pick ourselves up. I've failed many times in my life. There are times when I've picked myself up quickly and moved on and some others where it has taken me some time to regroup and get moving again.

Rowling touches on another theme that hit home for me. When it does take some time to get moving again I often think of something my father told me many moons ago: 'Surround yourself with good people and good things happen." Years later he added some more wisdom: "There are a lot of fair weather friends out there. Spend more time with the people who truly look to help you when the chips are down."

Rowling's speech conjures up a good deal of other thoughts too. What thoughts will it conjure up for you?

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Under the Weather

Rule # 1: Don't post messages on Facebook to the like of how it's been ages since you've been sick.

Managed to get myself a sinus/respiratory infection/flu... thing... over the last week. Rather than getting better over the course of the week though I've steadily got worse. Currently I'm just about unable to speak. This may please some co-workers (kidding, I think)... but I can tell you it's no fun at all. Sore throat, fever... blah.

The bad news though is that I'm missing a unique day at school. The schedule has us closing out 1st semester classes in the first half of the day and opening up the second semester in the second half. Interesting idea. The chance to meet with folks after exams is a great idea... something not readily practiced in education.

So... to all my first semester e-design and RLab students, my thanks for your work. My sincere hope is that you learned to see more threads in the world, more opportunities and more things to keep a careful eye on. Drop in and say hi anytime.

To all those folks coming into new semester classes: The courses you are enrolled in change all the time. Your predecessors in the first semester provided valuable feedback that will help shape the course of your journey here this second semester... and possibly many more days in your future.

Here's a quote I like:

"All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger, but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. - Niccolo Machiavelli

I'll stick with sloth today though...

Back to bed!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Decade Ahead

There's no end of avenues to write about that happened over the last ten years. World events, nature, the economy, education... It'd be a long entry. So, I decided to try and summarize it all... succinctly... and here's what I came up with:


That about sums it up I think.

There are tons of summaries anyway out there already.

What's ahead in the next decade? Thats where my thoughts usually land. Here's a few thoughts on the technology front:

We're entering a new era of visual data summaries and search on the web, an era where we won't just talk about data being king... it will be. Searching the 'real-time web,' seeing trends develop as they happen is on the front burner of every major search engine, and hoards of businesses.

Social networking will continue to expand exponentially. Smart phones, laptops, netbooks, tablets and e-paper... the affordability of these tools will bring billions of users and volumes of information into the web. These tools will also continue to bring incredible opportunities for folks to learn and enrich their lives. It will be increasingly easy to use but it will take refined skills to take advantage of it all. There will be new social challenges with this development too. Discussions have evolved from the dangers of reading newspapers to texting while driving. It's no different from every era in education... another 'new' era in information, education and connectivity. It's my hope that "The Tipping Point,' a phenomenon summarized by Malcom Gladwell, will at last hit education in the main regarding technology. We're close I think. 'Out of sight, out of mind' won't get us anywhere we need to be. We'll gain far more ground by focusing on building skills rather than business as usual. Shifting to smart boards is not the answer. The tools themselves are not the answer... but we've started down a path to meet these challenges, to engage these discussions... a start toward increasing skills and building fluency. It takes access. Getting folks involved is the key.

How will education shift in this next decade? We'll see. Hopefully online courses, alternative schedules, internship opportunities, revised school lunch programs and the inclusion of technology will offer great potential for education. There are some encouraging developments out there. The Virtual Florida program (and this one too... there are two) and the Science and Leadership Academy in Philadelphia are two innovators that come to mind.

The Human Genome Project will continue lead to new advancements in medicine in both proactive and reactive care. The advancements will push on research around the expansion of regenerative medicine, organ replacement and extension of the human life span (see The Methuselah Project). Were in for some incredible debates in the coming decades.

Discussions on conserving energy, alternative fuels, propulsion, new materials like Aerogel... we're headed for some interesting times. $4 a gallon for gas two summers ago while oil companies made record profits... still doesn't sit well with me. Solar energy, wind power, alternative fuels, short range autos and cycles... inspiring design and new innovation is on the horizon.

I can't help but wonder what 'phones' will look like 10 years from now. Skype, Grand Central/Google Voice, the Blackberry, iPhone... they've all changed the face of how... we stepped into the mobile access era. Something more than just a phone. Will conventional household phones exist 10 years from now? I'm guessing no.

There's far more to write about but we'll get onto that later this year.

What were we doing 10 years ago? Giving a look at what's available today will help. What will we be discussing 10 years from now? Students entering 1st grade will be halfway through their high school career 10 years from now. What will their education look like? What will the collegiate realm look like? Global / online commerce and business? What tools will be in folks hands? What will we be driving? Stay tuned.

On a personal front... what a trip it's been. I've had the fortune to work with some great folks along the way and we've done a good share of innovating and development. The thought of building on that work...

Let's get to it.