Parent Technology Night Flyer

We are moving quickly to refocus our community conversation in regards to technology.  To this end, we need parental input.  Please try to attend Thursday night’s presentation that concludes with an audience discussion of students, classrooms, and the technologies they need.

Parent Technology Night

October 2, 20087:00-8:30 pm … BHS Auditorium

(Childcare/Activities Provided)

Title: 21st Century Learning Technologies

The 21st century learner and his/her environment are continually discussed in articles and conferences – but why?

Three Objectives:

ü Learn what the 16 trends in education are now

ü Learn of the 7 implications of future technologies on classrooms

ü Realize the impacts of these trends on students and classrooms

ü  Why is this topic a big deal now?

Bio: Dr. Charles B. Swaim

Since founding Eperitus ( in 2001, Chuck has worked with public and private, K-12 and higher education institutions to provide instructional technology strategies and implementations. He also founded the OneNet Alliance ( and One for Education ( Eperitus is an educational research and consulting firm based in Richmond, Virginia with a second office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Through Eperitus, Chuck works with educational leaders across the United States and Canada toward obtaining their preferred future. Working in collaboration with instructional leaders and technology directors, Chuck’s projects have shown demonstrated savings in excess of $3 million in the past five years. The most notable projects include the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, a regional distance learning network design, and centralized wireless LANs. In addition, he is a leading professional futurist in education and a member of the World Futurist Society. He has spoken at national instructional technology conferences on strategic technology initiatives and designs, and was a faculty member of Harcourt’s Connected Classroom. Chuck attended the College of William and Mary, holds an MBA – Technology Management, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

7 thoughts on “Parent Technology Night Flyer

  1. Beth Cooper

    Thank you for hosting such a terrific discussion tonight regarding technology and what is possible. Tonight was a terrific start of what will surely be an ongoing dialogue, and I hope more parents and Burlington residents participate! Best, Beth

  2. Gerald Beuchelt

    Eric –

    Thank you for the opportunity to get some insight into the plans for re-shaping our community’s schools. While I think that we will have to talk a lot about the operational details, I share your desire to make sure that our children learn about technology and responsible ways to use it in their everyday lives.

    A fundamental difference between Mr. Swaim’s presentation and my views is that while Mr. Swaim seems to advise a broad APPLICATION of current and future technologies, I would rather encourage our children to understand the underlying PRINCIPLES of technology and science. Let me illustrate this:

    Mr. Swaim highlighted many tools that will help enabling remote collaboration, distance learning, and in-classroom embellishments. While these might be interesting APPLICATIONS of technologies, they do not enable our children to understand how these technologies actually WORK. A multi-touch display, connected e-ink smart-boards, or A/V library of class-room sessions make great demos and might be valuable for a number of use cases. But innovation is IMHO less driven by advanced gadgets, but much more by curiosity, fueled by a deep understanding of the foundations of technology and science.

    As such, I’d rather see our children explore freely available open source technologies on existing resources and have them work towards building their own collaboration tools, than being fed a “top-down” implementation of available shrink-wrap products. This desire is based on my my experience of how technology is developed and adopted in an academic environment, as well as the private industry: ideas are born in small groups and communities, compete with similar approaches and complement others, and finally sediment into a maturing layer of tested technologies.

    Applying these concepts to science and technology education seem most vital to me to encourage innovative behavior. Maybe an interesting approach to get our students excited (as well as their teachers) is sponsoring a yearly technology & innovation award, that honors those students or student groups can up with new ideas how to better utilize technology for the school system.

    Only applying existing solutions (e.g. for distance learning) encourages passive consumerism that is only of limited use to the students, to our community, and society in general.

    I am looking forward to engaging further in a productive discussion about how we can foster innovative technology adoption in our school system.


    Gerald Beuchelt

  3. Chuck Swaim

    Mr. Beuchelt brings up excellent points and examples – thank you very much for those! The enthusiasm of last night’s and these responses are clear indications that it will take everyone’s input and support to ensure that Burlington has an exemplary and sustainable program.

    Personally, I am a huge proponent of open-source tools and applications and I am glad there is room for discussion in this area. There are few instances where platform is even a worthy consideration – particularly as netbooks become more prevalent.

    I look forward to future discussions and “out of the box” thinking relative to BPS’ bright instructional technology future! – Chuck

  4. Chuck Swaim

    Ms. Cooper – Thank you for the support and kind words regarding the technology discussion night. I agree that the power of dialogue and input by more parents and residents, as well as staff and student, is vital to BPS success. All the best – Chuck

  5. Sam Rippin

    Dr. Conti,

    I had the opportunity to attend the teachnology forum. I was the one who works in the Winchester Public Schools.

    I guess that I was disappointed that there was not a specific vision, timetable or cost presented by you at that meeting so that parents could be in a position to be informed supporters of a technology initiative.

    More disappointing still is my understanding that not all of our six schools have wireless internet acceess and that all teachers to not have laptops to make them more productive both inside and outside of the classroom.

    I would appreciate knowing from you what your plan is to build the technological infrastructure before we begin to pursue grand ideas with respect to cutting edge hardware and software as presented at the forum.

    I look forward to your response.

    Sam Rippin
    Parent of a 6th grader at MSMS and 1st grader at Fox Hill
    Fox Hill School Council 2002-2007
    Town Meeting Member 1994-1998

  6. Eric Conti

    Mr. Rippin,

    Sorry to have disappointed you with the content of the presentation. Please know that the infrastructure conversations were taking place earlier in the day. Mr. Mercier and I discussed creating a joint town/school district presentation for the Jauary town meeting focusing on infrastructure. Your thought of equiping teachers with laptops in a managed, wireless environment is a good one.

    Thank you for your comment.

  7. Gerald Beuchelt

    I have to disagree here: The delayed introduction of wireless networking technology is – in my opinion – a blessing in disguise and a good example of prudent use of resources. If you look at the rapid decline in price/available bandwidth over the last few years, it is quite reasonable to have waited with the broad introduction of WLAN technology until now, where we are at a relatively stable plateau.

    If we start to buy into a WLAN (and possibly also nano cells) solution, we will get not only multi-band (2.4 & 5.4 GHz with 802.11g/n and beyond) transport, but also much more mature security technology: the current WPA2 standard is by far more secure than the early 40 bit equivalent WEP systems. Also, until rather recently not all laptops came equipped with a WLAN interface by default.

    More generally, early adoption always comes at a high premium with rather limited advantage, so a fiscally sound technology strategy for the schools should avoid this. In addition to being expensive, early adoption also carries the risk of investing into a proprietary solution that will not be interoperable with future versions.

    For tertiary institutions with a significantly larger budget early adoption can pay off, especially when they collaborate with the industry in the development. For most (if not all) first and secondary education systems like ours, the benefit of early adoption is marginal at best.

    Does this mean that we should only buy into 10 year old technology? Absolutely not! But when deciding on which infrastructure technology to invest in, we should not follow that latest trends in WIRED, but instead go with those technologies that analysts such as Gartner see at the ‘plateau of productivity’ of the hype cycle.


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