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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  May 1997, Week 4

COMMUNET May 1997, Week 4

Subject:

The onging Saga in Pittsburgh

From:

Philip Lauro <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Community and Civic Network discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 22 May 1997 12:05:43 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (66 lines)

Hi All,
        Mr. Kellers sent us a copy of the Technology that the Pittsburgh School
Board approved for $24,000,000 million.  It's a very nice review but is
quite liite on details.
        I talked with Mr. Phil Parr, Director of Strategic Planning, and he said
they woiuld be issuing a job description for a coordinator to implement the
plan.  He agreed the proposal was lite on details.  I asked him is it was
possible to set up a meeting "with those in charge" to talk about "the
plan" or if their was a route for submitting "proposals" ( remember no,
RFP).
        He was a bit fuzzy on this point but seemed to indicate alternative
proposals could be submitted.  Since I haven't really seen a proposal, as
such yet, it's hard (especially with only the grossest of specs) to
actually even to attempt to write some sort of implementation plan.  The
"Tech. proposal" as written is nice reading, but a spec. it is not.
        I guess candidates (although we feel this issue has already been decided
privately) for coordinator are expected to write the spec for free, and the
people who couldn't (or wouldn't write an RFP, we lean on the couldn't
side)will determine if the proposed spec, based on, I guess, the "Tech.
Plan, meets their needs. I think they will have to hire someone to read the
proposed Spec. too!
        In any case, we will wait for the "position offering" that can't be
distributed yet because it's in draft.
        On a personal note - when I told Mr. Parr that the SCDC was the Sheraden
Community Development Corporation (he asked what SCDC means), I received
the sort of response that (because this is such a "qualitative" detail that
I have to answer it in terms of my initial response)that made me feel like
I oaught to think of my involovement with the Pittsburgh Public School
Board as an excercise to sharpen my proposal and planning skills.  IMHO,
the SCDC will not be able to submit a plan to this governing body, that
will be acceptable, no matter how well it is thought out and done.
        One other note, the SCDC became involved in this issue at the request of
the numerous school teachers (from the Pittsburgh Public Schools) that have
benefited from our knowledge.  These teachers are involved with us directly
because of the efforts of Common Knowledge to a large degree.  They have
raised awareness in the schools and have done a hell of a good job, for
what they have done, i.e. "Providing Access".
        Our position at the SCDC is the current technology situation in the public
schools suffers because of lack of a fundemental training plan for the
teachers and a network architecture that is both administratively able, but
also acts as a tool to help teachers better deliver their curricula while
stimulating students to learn both required curricula and the skills that
will allow them to grow in an increasingly technological society.  The
amount of access versus mission critical use of that access by school
teachers and other school officials is low. We believe this reflects a
fundemental problem with ongoing teacher training and how that training is
conducted.
        As the "Tech. Plan" states, they want to put one "Multimedia Computer"
(whatever that may be) in each classroom (they will also have a few labs).
We assume these computers are for "Teacher Training" because they can't
really be used to effectively train or teach students because one computer
just will not be enough when average class sizes are rather large.
        Couple this with the "diversity" of students in the classroom and "some of
the problems" elucidated by the teachers we work with, we can only assume
the "Multimedia Computers" are primarily for teacher use.  This being the
case we have seen no concrete specs concerning network usage (besides they
can find it on the Internet, which they can do now!) with regards to
teacher education.

        This is one issue the SCDC feels is more fact than opinion.
All comments are welcome and thank you to all those who mailed me
privately, both for your support and advice.

Phil
The only difference between qualitative and quantitative information is volume.

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