Technology has always been used in education, from the early days of chalk and a board to the days of PowerPoint and the bored (students). I have been in Higher Education for almost 25 years. I am admittedly a technophile, but I rarely use technology in the classroom. I use it after class in the form of blogs, audio/video links, hyperlinks, and basically just to get the information out to my students. In the classroom I do use source materials but they can be anything. It has never been about the coolest gadget (although I did requisition an iPad back in November 09 before they were even introduced) it is about the realization that a wealth of information is now available at no cost, everyday, through numerous venues.

I send emails out at 6:00 am to my students. They all ask when do you sleep? Very simple answer – 10 to 5:30 like normal working folk. Not much goes on after 10:00 pm that isn’t available on YouTube or Hulu or wherever. It is no longer about appointment entertainment. It is about freedom of choice.

What does this have to do with education? Simple again – students/teachers whomever can chose to do their research whenever and wherever they feel comfortable. If the library is closed – simple – go online and get a reputable source for your research. No, not (although they are getting much better) go to any of the billions of sites and find reputable sources. There are a number of them out there. More about that later – remember it is not about the article it is about the bibliography. (Yogurt – SpaceBalls – 1987? Look it up on later.)

Validated, reputable, vetted, source materials make an education work. The immortal question – “who said so?” remains the best question. That and telling yourself – “I do not know” – or in my native tongue – “Io non lo so”. It is the basis for educating oneself. Who knew it was Socrates’ motto. I had a very bad education. If it weren’t for my mother I would never have learned a thing. (Notice the reference to parent involvement?).

Does it take a village? In my case it was a small multi-cultural hamlet on the South Shore. Everybody’s parents were focused on one thing – get an education. My generation of the family are all Ph.Ds, M.A., M.S. or whatever. We were taught to work hard in school, like most of our generation. However, we did have the 1960’s there for a while. So there was temptation. How did we manage to focus on our studies – simple! We were scared to hell of our parents. There was no CPS there was OMG they are going to kill me if I show him this report card. Were there shenanigans going on? Of course there were – everyday. It was the 60’s into the 70’s, but somehow we all made it through, with a tough guiding hand. Oops! Parental reference again.

Was it easier – No! My father worked seven days a week and built both of our houses from the dirt up, literally. It has always been about hard work. Were there MTVCribs? No there was the Five Towns, with saunas in the houses and wine cellars and Cadillacs and bling before it was bling. Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts. Every generation faces difficulties.

How do you get through it? Simple – you just work through it. So what does this have to do with Education and Technology? You guessed it, simple. Technology does not educate – desire does. And today we have lost the desire. We have the technology heck you’re using it right now.


We need Sputnik. It scared us right into developing the Internet. The problem is we have it, however it is in stealth mode this time. Where is it? It is right there in front of us, everyday. How can you see it? Simple – pick up the item you are buying and look where it is produced. Am I advocating isolationism? No – I am advocating moving on, into the future, where the economic model is built on bits not atoms. How do we get there – ________ (you fill in the blank.)

Imagine if you could marry the technology we have today with the desire to learn that we had before? Well you can and it can be done for very little cost. How – yet again simple. (I believe in keeping things simple.) Do the math. Oh no not math! My point again – yes the math. (BTW – I teach design. And I love math. Fibonacci numbers, perfect design – look it up.) It is integral to everything.

Passion  + desire + worldwide resource materials x 24 students + (1 common goal)  = a good education.

Today we are faced with a declining global presence. Our economy was left in a shambles from a decade-long return to the dependence on a fossil fuel economic structure. “I thought I was out and they pulled me back in!!!” – (always have to have the Godfather reference, somewhere – hey I said I came from the South Shore). We were almost there. We almost realized Nicholas Negroponte’s dream of bits over atoms. And we blew it!

We will never go back to a muscle economy. We must move forward. Stop just being consumers. We need to manufacture. This time out it is algorithms. (Not derivatives – we tried that didn’t work so well did it?) Yes, math and design and science and all the other goodies thrown in. How do I know it pays off? Simple – look at Google. Opened at $85 and is now around $580 a share.

Technology in a classroom is great when used correctly. Money doesn’t fix the problem. Desire does.

Today you can do it all very inexpensively. How – simple.

iPad – $499

Picoh projector – $300

Internet – free

An informative, engaging, accessible class lesson uploaded to a blog that teaches the world – priceless!

There is our answer to Sputnik. Internal desire – a totally reusable, renewable resource – as American as a double cappuccino half-latte espresso.