Questions about Personal Computer Hardware and Software to Answer in a Vision of Education in 2010


    Writing your Vision of Education in 2010 implicitly answers a series of questions. Electronics engineers, especially independent software vendors, may consider your answers as recommendations about hardware and software they can produce for you. Perhaps you will find it useful to consider answers to these questions as part of your vision for your classroom. All questions are derived from information about learning, instructional, and electronics technologies.

    About Hardware
    What kind of computer hardware do you want your students to use?
    What do you want to use?
    Do you want it self-contained?
    What hardware accessories?
    Do you want them tethered (with a physical or electronic security device) to school property (desks?) or independently mobile?
    Do you want one mobile unit assigned to each student?
    Do you want students to take the unit home in order to complete school assignments?
    How will you select (rather than rely on your school district to select) appropriate hardware for the software you choose?

    About Software
    What software do you want your students to use in your classroom?
    Will you assign use of it to the whole class or to individuals?
    What parts will traditional electronic didactics and edutainment play in selecting software?
    For what subject areas, by priority of what is the most important to what is least important.
    How self-contained do you want each software package?
    Will electronic learning tools supplement or dominate your students’ classroom learning?
    How much teacher intervention and supplementary instruction do you want to use with software?
    What level of learning efficiency do you want?
    What level of learning effectiveness do you want?
    Will you rely on publisher or third party claims of learning effectiveness and efficiency?

    About Classroom Uses
    To what classroom uses will you put computer hardware and software?
    Will you insist on products that report individual student learning rates (they count the number of trials, correct responses, etc. and record them for analysis of individual student learning strengths and weaknesses)?
    How will you continue to use print books and material?
    Will you permit students to provide their own hardware and software?
    How will you adjust your classroom procedures to accommodate probable increased learning efficiencies with electronics?
    Will you allow students to proceed at their own learning rate, or restrict all students to proceed at the same rate through a software package?

    How will you check for plagiarism as it may evolve?
    Will you accept larger numbers of students in your classes because of learning efficiencies?
    Will you post your lesson plans in advance so students may work ahead of scheduled assignments, maybe even meeting grade level promotion standards before the end of the first semester?
    Will you provide online homework support?
    Require or recommend that students contract with a private homework support system?
    How will you credit students for learning and other achievements beyond scheduled class assignments?

    About Educator Decision Making
    How much initiative will you assert to insure that your students have the hardware and software you want in your classroom?
    What part do you want in deciding software and hardware for your classroom in 2010?
    How will you know what electronic products to select?
    Will you write a grant application to underwrite use of software and hardware not selected by your school district?
    Will you write software for your students to use?
    How will access to electronic equipment affect your selection of where to teach?
    What relevant to learning rates should parents, hardware and software vendors know that these questions do not address?

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    Robert Heiny
    Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.