Oct 12 2006

In The Frenzied Worlds Of Publishing And Education, Deadlines Are King

Editors, teachers and students turn to sanity-saving tech tools to ensure that no one misses a crucial due date.

Every part of the process, from selecting story ideas to ordering the paper and getting on press, involves some type of project milestone or deadline. Having teams assigned to each task helps ensure that things get done—if not on time, then at least a few seconds before disaster strikes.

Even with elaborate spreadsheets and the occasional use of a bullwhip, we still slip from time to time. I’d be lost without sanity-saving tech tools, which I can consult for misplaced phone numbers or to remind myself about a hopefully not-yet-missed deadline. It’s difficult to imagine keeping track of progress reports, notes to parents, homework assignments and field trip projects while struggling with Attention Deficit Disorder. For special education students in Philadelphia with this learning disability, managing these tasks used to present quite a challenge. Luckily, educators there sought out organization tools, in the form of PDAs, to get them on the right track.

In “Lost Homework?” (p. 84), you’ll learn how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Ipswich Public Schools put technology to work for their special education students. As the school educators point out, technology doesn’t solve every problem, but it’s helping students get a leg up on staying organized and providing another option for tackling specific challenges to learning.

This is Ed Tech’s largest issue to date and with articles like this, we’re underscoring the magazine’s mission to provide technology insights for leaders in K-12 in order to solve a problem or fulfill a dream by using technology.

Dreaming big is what propelled Sabrina Sterling and Michael Wooden, a teacher and principal at Mamie Lou Gross Elementary School in Georgia (p. 32), to meet an aspirational goal. After doing a total cost of ownership analysis, they decided not to deploy a wireless notebook cart but to use handhelds instead. The PDA lab kept them within budget, while improving the quality of teaching and increasing the range of options for using these tools. For more on analyzing costs, read “Facing the Facts About Technology Costs” (p. 71).

Lastly, we heard from Roxanne Kaylor, an educator at Fairfax High School Academy for Communications and the Arts, who encouraged her students to showcase their tech skills outside of the classroom (p. 46). Eight seniors and two juniors designed an interactive CD-ROM using their computer technology and design skills. It showed them that technology skills can aid in teaching and in building a career. For more on schools that teach specific technology career skills, turn to “Partners in Tech” (p. 80), which details what can happen when schools and the IT community collaborate.

This issue is filled with insights and experiences from teachers, students and administrators who understand the difference that technology can make. We hope you’ll enjoy reading the issue as much as we enjoyed reporting all of their exciting endeavors. There’s always more to tell, but we had to mind our deadline.

Lee Copeland
Editor in Chief