At BBA one tech credit is mandatory. The classes below, a dig art class or one of three dig film courses could fit the bill.

We teach an intro class called Digital Exploration. Usually Freshman take it. It overs Google Apps, Oo, Office, iWork, iLife, logo programming, Sketchup. Publishing tools with those office packages on through inDesign etc. Digital art with Photoshop, Gimp, Illustrator. Then they do a week on Google Earth, online photo sharing. OS explorations, file access, saving, storing, archiving, web searching, citing sources along the way. It's a semester long course.

eDesign covers digital art and web publishing. A few freshman and senior take this. Mostly sophomore - junior.

We run a hardware networking intro course on through advanced student mentors in class. Mostly sophomore through senior. The advanced students help run the lab and prep stations for jangin' (tinkering). Computer hardware, software os installs on multiple platforms, basic networking, home networking, netwrok history, the web etc. We farm out computers to kids for experiments at home as we can. We accept working donations only and refit them for basic use... online or offline as the recipient sees fit. Open source software pakages Oo and Gimp. others as the student sees fit. Tux apps if there are young kids in the household... or old kids to play with. The student and parents/guardians sign a form... no responsibility or warrantee on the schools part. Most keep the computers. Some bring them back. We've farmed out 67 computers so far in three years and 37 used iPods. Many folks seem to value the program and some alumni have been bringing stations back as they move on to get their own machines. Love it.

I teach 3 sections of a class called RLab. It's available in a semester or year long offering. A few sohomores and mostly juniors and seniors. The Lab is centered around students doing indy projects and create a journal, syllabus and presentation ala OpenCourseWare at MIT on "something that involves technology." This allows us to cover diverse student interest ranging from programming to thoroughbred horse racing technology in the same room. Exploring personal interest in the class is key and has also helped the gender equity. All three sections this semester have higher female than male enrollment. Topics covered so far listed here:

I mentor all RLab projects and students must find at least one 'community consultant / business' to help spur on each project too. Saves me learning the intricacies of thoroughbred horse racing technology.

Students choose up to to three 5 week projects per semester or two or one project over an indefinite time frame during the semester, cross semester or even years. One student took RLab 5 times and worked his way on through professional certifications as an example. Another new they were headed for art school and dedicated three semesters to a digital art. Another took the class four times and worked on 6 different projects ranging from amphibious vehicles to java programming and CAD. All projects are archived for future students ala MIT OpenCourseWare style. That way students have all their peers research at hand and learn the annals of archiving and the creation value... rather than just turning it in to me and it falling into the void. Archiving alone boosts the level of project work. Each student must present at the end of their indy study project to move onto the next or a minimum of once per semester. Not binding folks to one project per semester or year ala traditional course topics is what participants here cite they love the most. The chance to try things...

Layered on the RLab indy projects we cover the following in the class (cut and paste from a intro doc we have):

- Digital ethics / responsibility: PBS "Growing Up Online" series and cases from around the country on misuse, abuse, digital predators and the traits and trends involved in each case. We look at the evolution of our own "Acceptable Use Policy," now retitled "Network Usage Agreement" and any other AUPs or the like we can get offline from other schools. Intersting stuff ranging from open access to only filtering porn to 100% lockdowns on stations, banning search engines, web 2.0 sites etc. Makes for pretty lively discussions. We discuss the history of some stances in education on civil rights, rock and roll, sex ed and substance abuse programs and it gives students a clearer understanding on some folks perception on technology use in education. Another cycle... another evolution. Takes time.

- Discussions on CIPA, FERPA and the history of access in the RLab over 3 years. Totally restricted machines to todays 'almost' open labs here today where we only block porn. "With great power comes great responsibility." We actually do play the clip from Spider Man on that quote and discuss what 'educational / shared bandwidth use' means. Machines groups that allow advanced access to all the tools above in well supervised Labs. It's a discussion on responsibility and the trials of access over the years, and the conflict of opening up access for students to more relevant work with these tools rather than discussing them theoretically or not at all.

- We go over that great ditty from MIT: 20% of the capacity of a computer is used for information (I've always loathed the term "Information Technology" anyway) in web browsing, email and such. The other 80% sits in the creative capacity of computers. So... how do we get on to exploring that other 80%?

- Learning to use software vs being taught how to use each piece of software.

- Philosophy of education: Specifically behaviorist and constructivist. Changing landscape of education:
Sections of books covered listed here:
Gardners multiple intelligences: For and against.
Shifts in literacy, information filtering.

- 10 days minimum on what we call "functional public speaking training" spread throughout a semester. Intro to the elements of good speech making, considerations for archiving. Students to three impromptu speeches, two 2-minute speeches, one tribute speech and prepping for their indy project speech to the class. We do 2 minute and impromptu speeches early on in teh semester. Gets everyone loosened up and collaborating.

- One to one computing.

- Open Source: Online tools listed below, Oo, Tux series, Sourceforge, Phun, Gimp etc and OS:  Ebuntu, Fedora (intros only and demos). Comparing features to traditional business apps stability, virus and spyware issues.

- Operating systems: Linux (Ubuntu, Linspire, Fedora... those three primarily), Mac, Windows. Discussion on using bennies of using Linux on older hardware especially.

- We discuss the news: Watch the movie Good Night, and Good Luck. Discuss the Murrow / Cronkite era, a few articles (Rottenberg / NBC ditty) and the "new" vision of the news as a paparazzi / speculation engine.

< Looking at how each major network covered the Presidential election alone was an eye opener for students>

We read and gab over a few good articles on the subject and routinely chat over the news at the beginning of each class (about 10 minutes).

- Aggregation / Networkin':

Pageflakes, Diigo, Google Reader and Google home page (ig), etc. Students have to find one they like and keep at least one personal page with a minimum of 7 feeds on their project topic at the time. We go over pitfalls and strengths of aggregating data and one page on new trends.


Delicious and Diig: Students use this one all semester or year to doc ument their own research and network to others with like interests. One of the favorite research tools here thus far.

- Citing research into their own work: MLA, APA, digital ethics. EasyBib, snap ins, Google Docs. What works and what doesn't. Ethics of "intellectual property." How they'd feel if their work were stolen... very lively discussion.

- Brittanica and Wikipedia: Scope, accuracy etc.

- Google Apps: Collaborative writing assignments, search based apps, Google Gears, adjusting settings and features.

- We discuss this changing phone landscape often and new models that come out. Those that don't have phones team up with someone who does. Those that have phones we explore calendar integration, including subscribing to school academic, event and extra curricular calendars of their choice. Not perfect... but it's the best we can do.

Great discussions here:

Cell phone ethics: When to use, when not to etc. Stories of my friend who many feel is a cell phone addict.

- Project management: Getting Things Done, by David Allen and this great t-shirt:

The goal here is to learn to "chip away."

- Facebook, MySpace (discussions here, most kids are working Facebook here), YouTube, Google Vid, TED, knol, Jott, iTunes, iTunes U and podcasting. ITunes podcasts and iTunes U in particular have become very popular here in project work.

- Online photo: Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, shutterfly etc. Meta data and the evolution of geo tagging: Seadragon to Photosynth, iLife etc.

- Each student does two mini presentations to the class on another item in Google Labs or other social networking tools.

- Offshoring of data jobs. Economic shifts.

We write class proposals to the school / administration: We've changed the appearance of the classroom, built an internship program, Google Apps etc. proposals listed here:

- I ask folks to pick two articles from Gary Stager ( over the semester and write up a review on each. I like Gary's work. This intros us to look at programs outside school walls: colleges, Universities and businesses. Abeline Christian U iPhone project, Pepperdine, ASU, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and many others. Businesses lead us to discussions on the changing workplace. Emphasis on collaborating, networking socially etc are essential.

I ask students to redesign education. Very popular and this generates lots of feedback from alumni too.


There are a good deal of other assignments and discussions but this is getting a bit long for this forum I think.

If a student repeats the class, they do not repeat any of the work above except speeches. They build upon on those assignments, mentor other students in class and continue their own project work. Each repeat offender needs to present more polished work.

I push folks pretty hard.

I weave in topics as they arise too, which I feel is critical to our mission here in the course. Here are five of the latest discussions:
1. New President, new educational plan and Arne Duncan  
2. Economy
4. Newspapers going digital and the evolution of digital paper:
5. and the genome project. How long will we live in the future ? What that might mean to you.

Grading / evaluations are based on individual ability demonstrated on early assignments and discussions - where students feel they sit. I look up grade reports on every student who enters class, usually takes 2-3 hours. I eval the progress they make: Their resolve to gain familiarity with all the things above, participate in discussions, effort on informal essays and their project development. Students submit two-week updates in writing on project progress and next set of goals. The progress and effort on their work is the key. Cumulative grades, no curves, open discussions on each assignment with each student. Lively debates on effort and thought. Next step: Share a Google doc with each student on their grades and we debate in person and online.

Lots of info coming in but that's what search and email filters are for right ?

Mash all that together and we play music and videos during class, students can eat and drink in the lab... as long as they pick it up. Only one spill so far... and now I use a cup with a cover !  Classes rotate each week to clean the Lab for 5 minutes on Friday. Creates ownership. Gives me more time to chat, the custodians love it, keyboards desk and mice are cleaner and the Lab stays clean and streamlined.

I have distributed this course outline to quite a few folks, spoken on it a few times and we have had quite a few visitors. Let me know if your interested and we can chat on it. About a year ago we wrote up RLab under a Creative Commons License and are looking to sign on other schools / distribute all the information to those who feel they might benefit from it. We'd like to build a web site (we think) around curriculum ideas, assessment / eval / teaching notes, assignment listings, class flow, project archiving and promote live student projects across schools. Saves reinventing the wheel. Each school would have flexibility, of course, to adjust anything, call it what they wish (though we're fond of the RLab title) etc as they see fit. Let me know if you might be interested.

Proposals on the horizon in the Lab:

Some advanced hardware / network, Lab vets and, an IT gent here named Rick and I are working on a simplified infrastructure model. Discussed this with Craig (Lyndes) the other day. Making a lot of sense to us and we'll share it up soon. Great for small schools especially. We're ramping the RLab, this infrastructure and a one to one  model for posting so folks can draw from it.

There's another course thread here called "RLab Teaching and Internship Practicum" where students are working a help desk style / prof dev program for adults and students on campus. It's a pilot for our full fleged help desk program.

Two student projects on nutrition have spurred on a "Lunch Club" here. Nutrition programs in schools became a major discussion point in our school refit assignment. Lively debate.

One that emerged recently... Some kids here want to make up "Got RLab ?" t-shirts. Love it.

So you get the idea that things start flowing together and create great discussions, give students a voice in proposals for change and most importanlty diverse ways to learn... among other things.

" Information Technology and Vermont Education Goals: A Vermont State Technology Council Position Paper.  

A number of the essential skills relate to more than one strand or area. These are higher- level thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating. These skills are recognized as basic to the effective use of information technology. We also recognize a core of knowledge necessary for students in the use of technological tools for learning and working. This core includes: basic terminology, ethics, privacy, ownership, copyright, health issues, and vocational implications of technology."

Figured we've got that covered and then some.

Gotta love snow days, Adam

On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 8:20 AM, Steve Cavrak <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

On Jan 27, 2009, at 9:04 PM, Laurence Booker wrote:

Next step:  please tell me what you guys do in your IT classes so I can measure my own classes
and what I teach them.  If you're way ahead of me -- and I want to know this, if it is so -- then
I have to catch up.

Following Lucie's reminder, I dug up a link to 

Information Technology and Vermont Education Goals: A Vermont State Technology Council Position Paper.  

A number of the essential skills relate to more than one strand or area. These are higher- level thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating. These skills are recognized as basic to the effective use of information technology. We also recognize a core of knowledge necessary for students in the use of technological tools for learning and working. This core includes: basic terminology, ethics, privacy, ownership, copyright, health issues, and vocational implications of technology.

A  classic ...


This thread reminded me of some of the more modern skills - not included in the "office" suite ...

- social computing a la youtube, facebook, orkut, ... 
- collaborative computing a la online conferencing, webinars, wikimedia, twitter, aim, ...
- media computing a la flickr, fotolog, 
- datasharing a la delicious, citulike, digg, 
- keitai computing a la iphone, blackberry, android, 

- ??? a la dslight (brain age, sonomama, ...) or wii/fit