The Days & Nights of A Quiet Revolution

From My Blog

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    I saw my first personal computer in 1981. At that time, the closest you could come to a computer store (where I lived) was a back corner of… Read more »
  • The Table of Contents
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    My chapter titles are a bit cryptic, so I am adding some explanation to better anchor the reference points. A Rough Start I admit that there are some… Read more »
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    The programming manual that came with Radio Shack TRS-80 computers in the early 1980s. Without any software for my 11 TRS-80 computers, I set out teaching myself how… Read more »
  • Quiet Revolution Promo Video 1
    I will be producing little 2-minute videos over the next few weeks to promote my new book, The Days and Nights of a Quiet Revolution.  This first one… Read more »
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    The Days & Nights of A Quiet Revolution Most practicing teachers have never taught in a school without computers. Yet it was only a few years ago that… Read more »
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Table of Contents   •   Index   •   Blog   •   Order

Challenging the What, How & Why of Education in the Digital Age.

Most teachers have never taught in a school without computers. But when the author of this book started teaching social studies to seventh graders, personal computers did not exist and calculators still cost hundreds of dollars. His story chronicles more than thirty years of technological advancement and the revolution it has ignited in the ways that we conduct schooling. It celebrates the pioneer-heroes who led the revolution, its antagonists who resisted technology and those who attempt to use technology to corrupt our children’s education.

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Table of Contents (with descriptions)

I. A Rough Start
I admit that there are some biases in my book. What’s a revolution without biases. To provide some context for my particular philosophies about schooling, I spend about 19 pages describing my pre-(technological)revolution education, including my less than spectacular career as a student.
II. The Confabulator
Here, I describe my first experiences with personal computers, starting with how I was knocked out of my seat by an idea.
III. Leaving Kansas, Apples & Kindred Spirits
In 1983, I moved from teaching Social Studies in rural South Carolina to leading an instructional technology program in rural North Carolina. I also joined a users’ group (MICRO5) and transitioned from monochrome Tandys to color Apples – dazzling.
IV. Networks Open the Gates
My first experiences with modems and learning to use computers to communicate. Project based learning (PBL) became our modus operandi – using computers for collaborative learning.
V. A Line is Drawn
Moving to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction I learned what a small team of passionate and imaginative professional educators could accomplish. I also learned how little could be accomplished from inside the system. I have to note here that what hindered us was not the nature of state government, but the nature of state politics, and a manipulative narrative that sought to demonize government.
VI. New Education Models
After leaving NCDPI, I lucked into a project instigated by Allan Weis and Advanced Network and Services. It was called ThinkQuest and it showed us how we could make students active learners by making them innovative teachers.
VII. My First Flat Experience
I was so embarrassingly naive on my first trip to Asia.
VIII. A Bad Day for Education
Our work toward using technology to encourage more progressive styles of learning ground to a halt on January 8, 2002. No Child Left Behind successfully shifted the aim of public education from active learning by doing, to passive learning by memorizing facts to pass tests. Computers became teaching tools instead of learning tools.
IX. Literacy 2.0
This became my most passionate mission, promoting a model for literacy that addressed the changing nature of our information experience. As information became increasingly networked, digital and abundant (and social), merely reading and writing (and arithmetic) were no longer nearly enough to be truly literate.
X. The Day that Education Almost Became Fun
XI. The Evil Empire Strikes Back
As technology became more prevalent in our schools, investors saw a “golden moment.” There was an opportunity to use that technology to “profit by taking over broad swaths of public education.” This has become, in my opinion, the greatest threat that public education has ever faced.
XII. The “Perfect” Technology
Apple’s iPad. It didn’t surprise anyone. But is it so “perfect?”
XII. BookBag 2024
I end with a few pages of casual predictions of where education might be ten years from now (2014, when I started writing this book). This chapter mirrors the first chapter that I wrote in Redefining Literacy, describing education ten years from then, 2014.

Alphabetical Index

Writing this book was, in part, an act of remembrance for all of my experiences as a revolutionary educator during the rise of the digital age. It was also an act of love for all of my comrades, with whom I worked during the days and nights that we spent sharing our knowledge, insights and quirky ideas for using these emerging new technologies.

Book Cover

The four years that I have spent on this project have been especially rewarding for me, be cause it has provoked memories of people and experience that I would otherwise have never thought of again. If you are among my contemporaries, I hope that it does the same for you.