A Quiet Revolution

The Days & Nights of a Quiet Revolution

Most teachers have never taught in a school without computers. But when the author of this book started teaching social studies to seventh graders, personal computers did not exist and calculators still cost hundreds of dollars. His story chronicles more than thirty years of technological advancement and the revolution it has ignited in the ways that we conduct schooling. It celebrates the pioneer-heroes who led the revolution, its antagonists who resisted technology and those who attempt to use technology to corrupt our children’s education.

Table of Contents
(with descriptions)

  1. A Rough Start
    I admit that there are some biases in my book. What's a revolution without biases. To provide some context for my particular philosophies about schooling, I spend about 19 pages describing my pre-(technological)revolution education, including my less than spectacular career as a student.
  2. The Confabulator
    TRS-80 Model III, the first personal computer I ever laid my eyes (and hands) on.Here, I describe my first experiences with personal computers, starting with how I was knocked out of my seat by an idea.
  3. Leaving Kansas, Apples & Kindred Spirits
    In 1983, I moved from teaching Social Studies in rural South Carolina to leading an instructional technology program in rural North Carolina. I also joined a users' group (MICRO5) and transitioned from monochrome Tandys to color Apples – dazzling.
  4. Networks Open the Gates
    My first experiences with modems and learning to use computers to communicate. Project based learning (PBL) became our modus operandi – using computers for collaborative learning.
  5. A Line is Drawn
    Moving to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction I learned what a small team of passionate and imaginative professional educators could accomplish. I also learned how little could be accomplished from inside the system. I have to note here that what hindered us was not the nature of state government, but the nature of state politics, and a manipulative narrative that sought to demonize government.
  6. New Education Models
    After leaving NCDPI, I lucked into a project instigated by Allan Weis and Advanced Network and Services. It was called ThinkQuest and it showed us how we could make students active learners by making them innovative teachers.
  7. My First Flat Experience
    I was so embarrassingly naive on my first trip to Asia.
  8. A Bad Day for Education
    Our work toward using technology to encourage more progressive styles of learning ground to a halt on January 8, 2002. No Child Left Behind successfully shifted the aim of public education from active learning by doing, to passive learning by memorizing facts to pass tests. Computers became teaching tools instead of learning tools.
  9. Literacy 2.0
    This became my most passionate mission, promoting a model for literacy that addressed the changing nature of our information experience. As information became increasingly networked, digital and abundant (and social), merely reading and writing (and arithmetic) were no longer nearly enough to be truly literate.
  10. The Day that Education Almost Became Fun
    As video games became more sophisticated and social networks became places that our students visited and collaborated, we started to recognize the unique skills that they were developing – that much of their play was actually the hard work of learning. We began to look for ways to structure classroom activities to trigger the same learning practices that our students were gaining outside of education.
  11. The Evil Empire Strikes Back
    As technology became more prevalent in our schools, investors saw a "golden moment." There was an opportunity to use that technology to "profit by taking over broad swaths of public education." This has become, in my opinion, the greatest threat that public education has ever faced.
  12. The “Perfect” Technology

  13. Apple's iPad. It didn't surprise anyone. But is it so "perfect?"
  14. BookBag 2024
    I end with a few pages of casual predictions of where education might be ten years from now (2014, when I started writing this book). This chapter mirrors the first chapter that I wrote in Redefining Literacy, describing education ten years from then, 2014.
A Quiet Revolution

Table of Contents
(with descriptions)

  1. A Rough Start
    I admit that there are some biases in my book. What's a revolution without biases. To provide some context for my particular philosophies about schooling, I spend about 19 pages describing my pre-(technological)revolution education, including my less than spectacular career as a student.
  2. The Confabulator
    TRS-80 Model III, the first personal computer I ever laid my eyes (and hands) on.Here, I describe my first experiences with personal computers, starting with how I was knocked out of my seat by an idea.
  3. Leaving Kansas, Apples & Kindred Spirits
    In 1983, I moved from teaching Social Studies in rural South Carolina to leading an instructional technology program in rural North Carolina. I also joined a users' group (MICRO5) and transitioned from monochrome Tandys to color Apples – dazzling.
  4. Networks Open the Gates
    My first experiences with modems and learning to use computers to communicate. Project based learning (PBL) became our modus operandi – using computers for collaborative learning.
  5. A Line is Drawn
    Moving to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction I learned what a small team of passionate and imaginative professional educators could accomplish. I also learned how little could be accomplished from inside the system. I have to note here that what hindered us was not the nature of state government, but the nature of state politics, and a manipulative narrative that sought to demonize government.
  6. New Education Models
    After leaving NCDPI, I lucked into a project instigated by Allan Weis and Advanced Network and Services. It was called ThinkQuest and it showed us how we could make students active learners by making them innovative teachers.
  7. My First Flat Experience
    I was so embarrassingly naive on my first trip to Asia.
  8. A Bad Day for Education
    Our work toward using technology to encourage more progressive styles of learning ground to a halt on January 8, 2002. No Child Left Behind successfully shifted the aim of public education from active learning by doing, to passive learning by memorizing facts to pass tests. Computers became teaching tools instead of learning tools.
  9. Literacy 2.0
    This became my most passionate mission, promoting a model for literacy that addressed the changing nature of our information experience. As information became increasingly networked, digital and abundant (and social), merely reading and writing (and arithmetic) were no longer nearly enough to be truly literate.
  10. The Day that Education Almost Became Fun
    As video games became more sophisticated and social networks became places that our students visited and collaborated, we started to recognize the unique skills that they were developing – that much of their play was actually the hard work of learning. We began to look for ways to structure classroom activities to trigger the same learning practices that our students were gaining outside of education.
  11. The Evil Empire Strikes Back
    As technology became more prevalent in our schools, investors saw a "golden moment." There was an opportunity to use that technology to "profit by taking over broad swaths of public education." This has become, in my opinion, the greatest threat that public education has ever faced.
  12. The “Perfect” Technology

  13. Apple's iPad. It didn't surprise anyone. But is it so "perfect?"
  14. BookBag 2024
    I end with a few pages of casual predictions of where education might be ten years from now (2014, when I started writing this book). This chapter mirrors the first chapter that I wrote in Redefining Literacy, describing education ten years from then, 2014.