This year’s adventure in technology planning–also know as EPPL 639 has officially launched, and seven brave souls (graduate students) have agreed to join me in exploring how a better understanding of technology might help them make better decisions in their future careers as K-12 or Higher Education administrators. (The second class met last night, but I always wait to see who comes back before I declare the class officially launched.) Over the coming weeks, I’ll use this blog as a reflective tool to share some thoughts and ideas about teaching this kind of class with the students, and with anyone else who might be interested.

This is the second time I’ve taught this class at William and Mary, and, just as last time, the students bring a very impressive range of backgrounds and experiences to the group. We’re about evenly split among those in Higher Education and K-12 programs, and we have a pretty wide range of technical abilities. I’ve been very impressed with the energy of the folks in the group, and most especially by their willingness to jump into new areas of learning for them.

The syllabus for the course is extraordinary fluid–so fluid that it resides on a wiki rather than a word document to allow constant tweaking and adjustment. The structure of the course is provided by 4 loosely-structured assignments:

  1. Everyone will keep a reflective journal–preferably in blog format–that reflects his/her personal interests in educational technology.
  2. We’ll work together on a major technical review of a piece of open-source software to configure it and test its applicability for a specific educational purpose involving K-12 teachers, college faculty, and librarians.
  3. We explore decision making styles through a series of critical incident discussions affectionately known as You Be The Dean.
  4. A series of short presentations on technical topics, with each student giving 2-3 over the course of the semester. We started with RSS and News Aggregators as a gentle introduction to how relatively simple technologies like the lowly text file can have such a huge impact on the communications patterns of hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of users.

I’m looking forward in watching how the interaction of these four assignments shapes our time together.