PILOTed. The online learning newsletter from PILOT Online Learning Systems. February, 2003

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1 PILOTed The online learning newsletter from PILOT Online Learning Systems February, 2003 I attended the Summit on Information and Communications Technology Literacy which was held in Washington, DC on Friday, January 24 th. There were a lot of interesting points dealing with technology, education, and our workforce. This month s PILOTed newsletter will cover my notes on the summit without any editorial comments. Not that I don t have opinions, it s just that I thought you d appreciate hearing what all the experts are saying. I tried to take notes as fast as I could. These are not direct quotes, I could not write that fast. But I have tried to accurately represent what people said. PILOTed is a monthly newsletter published by PILOT Online Learning Systems. PILOT online learning systems designs and implements online learning systems for corporations, schools, and publishers. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, send an to with your name, company, and address.

2 Shelley Hynes, US Department of Labor, Director of the Office of the 21 st Century: By age 34, the average person has had 9 different jobs. There are as many technical workers in the Washington area now as there are lawyers. Shelley maintains that we need elearning so workers can learn the skills they need in order to advance their careers. They need the flexibility to learn these skills off the job. Do you know what is the largest training organization in the world? The US Department of Defense spent $14 billion on training in The emphasis of the Department of Labor is on productivity producing more goods and services with fewer people. Their view is that with greater productivity there will be better pay and better jobs. Dick Osborne, Vice President, Phillips Consumer Electronics In addition to the historical three R s, the fourth required skill that must be taught by schools today is critical thinking. Kathy Bushkin, President, AOL TimeWarner Foundation Add civic skills to the list of required skills. Astronaut Col. Frederick Gregory (USAF Retired) Deputy Administrator, NASA This is may be the first time where we have adults, who are in a position of teaching, trying to catch up with some of the kids they are trying to teach. 2003, Page 2

3 We have gotten to the point in this country where there is only one commercial airline manufacturer. Attendance at engineering schools is way, way down. But we have this great capacity to produce entertainment and trash. Are we losing the capability in the US to make things better? Kurt Landgraf, CEO, Educational Testing Service If you look at where the biggest advances are likely to come from in the next 10 years, they are in areas like nano technology and biogenics. All these disciplines require a thorough knowledge and familiarity with math, science, and technology. Other countries are putting an emphasis on these areas. We are not. If we took a medical doctor from the 19 th century and brought that person into the world today, he would be unable to practice medicine. He would not be able to relate to 100 years of innovation. On the other hand, if you brought a teacher from 100 years ago, he or she could step into the classroom, pick up a marker, and start teaching. With issues of access and quality of education, we are leaving a whole cohort behind. Safra Catz, Executive Vice President, Oracle There are some great free technology sites for teachers, including think.com and thinkquest.org from Oracle. There is a teacher-training program that Oracle runs in San Diego where we train teachers to teach technology. Training teachers and kids to program in Java is not just about learning Java. In order to write a program in Java you have to know how to think clearly and precisely. 2003, Page 3

4 The bar is rising even for basic jobs. Folks who don t have access to technology, or who don t know how to use technology, or who can t upgrade their skills are being left behind. John Super, VP Strategy and Business Development, Plato Learning There has been talk about making learning entertaining and sugar coating technology. We ve found that when people really want to learn, they want to learn. It doesn t have to be entertaining, it has to be educational. A lot of the discussions have been at the student level or they ve been at the administration level. But not much thought has been how do we help the teacher how do we bring up the teacher s knowledge, how do we help the teacher introduce the technology, and how do we help the teacher reach the kids. Professor Barbara O Connor, Director, Institute for Study of Politics and Media, CSU/Sacramento Some would say that one of the best examples of technology in education is turnitin.com which helps teachers and professors stop plagiarism. The issue of students copying and pasting from Internet sources and calling it their own work is an example of the best and the worst of technology literacy. We also have to face the issue that there are 130 million kids throughout the world who will never set foot in a classroom, never attend a class, and never learn from a teacher. The old paradigm was that the teacher would come in and everything that had to be taught would be in her head or in the book. That s not true today. There s too much knowledge and it s growing too fast. 2003, Page 4

5 Barry McGaw, Director, Education Directorate, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris The Technology Literacy debate is often framed in terms of two questions. How do you raise the bar keep a minimum level of literacy? How do you prepare for the next generation of leaders? Many countries are achieving high levels with their leading students and also maintaining low spreads between the higher and lower achievers. The US has this vision that you can t do both, but that is not borne out in countries like Canada, Finland, and Korea. We all need to study these countries and learn what they are doing right. Internationally, higher education is growing dramatically. There are international providers that are growing rapidly. It s not the public institutions it s the for profit providers that we see driving this. Dr. Mark Edwards, Superintendent, Henrico Public Schools, Virginia We ve given each student from Middle School and up a laptop and now we find that we have higher levels of achievement yet we spend about $600 per student less than other districts in the state. First we gave each teacher a laptop a year in advance of the students. With everyone using laptops, the laptops become transparent to the educational process. Teachers are advancing their skills with greater access to learning. We pay teachers $18 an hour to learn online. 2003, Page 5

6 Joe Simpson, Deputy for Leadership Services and Professional Development, Council of Chief State School Officers If we want to move beyond just talking about improving literacy, we also have to address the point that there are only three states in the entire country that are not facing severe budget shortages this year and in the foreseeable future. Tina Sung, CEO, American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) Did you know that 13% of all the money that corporations are spending for training is on IT training? And this is because people are not coming into the workforce with the basic necessary skills they need. We need recognition that technical literacy is a basic skill. We seem to do that at an elementary level but not as much in the middle years and high school. If we do a good job in this area then the education and training will not have to be picked up by the private sector for the workforce. Don Knezek, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) It s not technology in and of itself. The bigger issue is curriculum and incorporating technology into the curriculum. Professions use the technology. Chemists spend most of their time on workstations assessing reactions. When one responds the way they want it to, then they take it to the lab. And you ll find similar stories in all the other professions. In neuroscience, social sciences, etc. the curriculum must use the technology in the way people will be using it when they get out of school. I thought that these notes and comments framed some of our educational issues very well and I would love to hear some comments from others. 2003, Page 6

7 Information on the author: Mitchell Weisburgh is a founder and the Learning Architect of PILOT Online Systems. He has over 20 years experience in training and education. He has written over 100 courses on both technical and soft skills. You can learn more about PILOT and see other papers by Mr. Weisburgh at and he can be reached at 2003, Page 7

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