Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Timeless Classics.......?

To quote a movie character, "Just cause it's old, doesn't make it classic!"

I'll put an asterisk next to the ones I have ever read. Uh huh.

Timeless Classics

An old Chinese proverb says, 'A book is like a garden in the pocket.' Many of us who have valued reading in our early years derive enjoyment from reading to our children, and now, as I do, to our grandchildren. Books are voyages of discovery and transforming instruments to all of us.

A few years ago, the National Endowment for the Humanities asked schools around the country to send reading lists of their favorite books. Noticing how often books that other generations have enjoyed appear on these lists, we decided to make this compilation of tried-and- true titles. The works herein, published in 1960 or earlier, have delighted generations of readers.

Some have asked, 'Is the book dead?' as we move into new computer technologies. Not at all. Print text will co-exist with these new mediums.

As concerned parents, educators, and counselors, we must continue to emphasize the importance of access to good reading in order to shape our students’ learning process, enhance their understanding of American heritage, and open up a new world of self-fulfillment. As Aldous Huxley said, 'The proper study of mankind is books.'

There are some excellent older books that are missing from the list, because they appeared too infrequently in the school selections: Kate Douglas Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, for example; Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales; Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Despite the absences, we hope this compilation will nevertheless bring hours of pleasure and enlightenment.

The titles presented for suggested extracurricular reading provide a solid foundation and hours of enjoyment for students and scholars of all ages.

We at NEH hope that the 'Timeless Classics' booklist will continue to be a rich source of material for everyone.

Sheldon Hackney Chairman

'Books are humanity in print' ...Barbara Tuchman

'Literature is an investment of genius which pays dividends to all subsequent times.' ...John Burroughs

'All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.' ...Thomas Carlyle

### Kindergarten through Grade 6 ###

Adamson, Joy Born Free

Aesop Fables*

Alcott, Louisa May Little Women

*Andersen, Hans Christian Fairy tales

Atwater, Richard and Florence Mr. Popper’s Penguins*

Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin Miss Hickory

Recommended for K-3, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

*Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan

Baum, L. Frank The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

*Bemelmans, Ludwig Madeline series* A favorite of mine!

Bond, Michael A Bear Called Paddington

Boston, L.M. The Children of Green Knowe

Brink, Carol Ryrie Caddie Woodlawn

Brown, Margaret Wise Goodnight, Moon*

Brunhoff, Jean de The Story of Babar*

Burnett, Frances Hodgson The Secret Garden

*Burton, Virginia Lee Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel*

Butterworth, Oliver The Enormous Egg

Clark, Ann Nolan Secret of the Andes

Cleary, Beverly Henry Huggins series

Coatsworth, Elizabeth The Cat Who Went to Heaven

Dalgliesh, Alice The Bears on Hemlock Mountain* The Courage of Sarah Noble*

De Angeli, Marguerite The Door in the Wall

De Jong, Meindert The House of Sixty Fathers The Wheel on the School

*Dodge, Mary Mapes Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates

Du Bois, William Pene The Twenty-One Balloons

Edmonds, Walter D. The Matchlock Gun

Estes, Eleanor Ginger Pye Moffats series

Farley, Walter The Black Stallion

Field, Rachel Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

Fritz, Jean The Cabin Faced West

Gilbreth, Frank B. and Ernestine G. Carey Cheaper By the Dozen

Gipson, Fred Old Yeller

Godden, Rumer The Mousewife*

Grahame, Kenneth The Reluctant Dragon* The Wind in the Willows f

Gray, Elizabeth Janet Adam of the Road

*Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Hawes, Charles The Dark Frigate

Haywood, Carolyn Betsy series*

Henry, Marguerite King of the Wind Misty of Chincoteague

Keith, Harold Rifles for Watie

Kelly, Eric The Trumpeter of Krakow

Kipling, Rudyard Captains Courageous Just So Stories for Little Children* The Jungle Books

Kjelgaard, Jim Big Red

Knight, Eric Lassie Come Home

Krumgold, Joseph ...and Now Miguel Onion John

LaFarge, Oliver Laughing Boy

Lamb, Charles and Mary Tales from Shakespear

Latham, Jean Lee Carry on, Mr. Bowditch

Lawson, Robert Ben & Me Rabbit Hill

Leaf, Munro The Story of Ferdinand*

Lear, Edward Book of Nonsense*

Lenski, Lois Strawberry Girl

Lewis, C.S. Chronicles of Narnia series

Lindgren, Astrid Pippi Longstocking series

Lofting, Hugh Doctor Doolittle series

*London, Jack The Call of the Wild White Fang

*MacDonald, Betty Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle*

MacGregor, Ellen Miss Pickerell series

McCloskey, Robert Blueberries for Sal* Homer Price Make Way for Ducklings*

McSwigan, Marie Snow Treasure

Meigs, Cornelia Invincible Louisa

Milne, A.A. The House at Pooh Corner* Now We Are Six* When We Were Very Young* Winnie-the-Pooh*

Minarik, Else Holmelund Little Bear

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables

Mukerji, Dhan Ghopal Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon

Norton, Mary The Borrowers series

O’Hara, Mary My Friend Flicka

Pearce, Philippa Tom’s Midnight Garden

Perrault, Charles Cinderella*

*Potter, Beatrix The Tale of Peter Rabbit*

Pyle, Howard The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Rey, H.A. Curious George series*

Richter, Conrad The Light in the Forest

Selden, George The Cricket in Times Square*

Seuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat* (Seuss is the anti-christ,banned in my family!)
Sewell, Anna Black Beauty

Sorenson, Virginia Miracles on Maple Hill

Speare, Elizabeth George The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Sperry, Armstrong Call It Courage

Spyri, Johanna Heidi

Steinbeck, John The Red Pony

Stevenson, Robert Louis A Child’s Garden of Verses* Kidnapped Treasure Island

Travers, Pamela L. Mary Poppins series

Van Loon, Hendrik The Story of Mankind

White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web Stuart Little

Wilder, Laura Ingalls Little House series

Williams, Margery The Velveteen Rabbit*

Wyss, Johann Swiss Family Robinson

Zion, Gene Harry the Dirty Dog*

Grades 7 and 8
Alcott, Louisa May Little Men

Bagnold, Enid National Velvet

Blackmore, Richard D. Lorna Doone

Boulle, Pierre The Bridge over the River Kwai

*Bradbury, Ray Dandelion Wine Fahrenheit 451 The Illustrated Man Martian Chronicles

Buchan, John The Thirty-Nine Steps

Bunyan, John The Pilgrim’s Progress

Carroll, Lewis Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass

Clark, Walter The Ox-Bow Incident

*Cooper, James Fenimore The Deerslayer The Last of the Mohicans

Curie, Eve Madame Curie: A Biography

Dana, Richard Henry Two Years before the Mast

Day, Clarence Life with Father

*Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe

*Dickens, Charles A Christmas Carol

Douglas, Lloyd C. The Robe

Doyle, Arthur Conan Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

*Dumas, Alexander The Count of Monte Christo The Three Musketeers

Du Maurier, Daphne Rebecca

Edmonds, Walter D. Drums along the Mohawk

Ferber, Edna Cimarron

*Forbes, Esther Johnny Tremain

Forester, C.S. The African Queen The Hornblower series

Frank, Anne Diary of a Young Girl

*Frost, Robert Poems

Gallico, Paul The Snow Goose

Gunther, John Death Be Not Proud

Guthrie, A.B. The Big Sky

Haggard, H. Rider King Solomon’s Mines

Hansberry, Lorraine Raisin in the Sun

*Hemingway, Ernest The Old Man and the Sea

Hersey, John A Bell for Adano Hiroshima The Wall

*Heyerdahl, Thor Kon-Tiki

Hilton, James Goodbye, Mr. Chips Lost Horizon

Hudson, W.H. Green Mansions

Hughes, Richard A High Wind in Jamaica

Hugo, Victor The Hunchback of Notre Dame

*Irving, Washington The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Keller, Helen Story of My Life

Kennedy, John F. Profiles in Courage

Kipling, Rudyard Kim

Knowles, John A Separate Peace

*Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird

*London, Jack The Sea Wolf

Lord, Walter A Night to Remember

*Malory, Sir Thomas Le Morte d’Arthur

Maxwell, Gavin Ring of Bright Water

McCullers, Carson Member of the Wedding

Michener, James The Bridges at Toko-Ri

Mitchell, Margaret Gone with the Wind

Nordhoff, Charles and J.N. Hall Mutiny on the Bounty

O’Dell, Scott Island of the Blue Dolphins

Orczy, Baroness Emma The Scarlet Pimpernel

Paton, Alan Cry, the Beloved Country

Pyle, Howard Men of Iron

*Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan The Yearling

Renault, Mary The King Must Die

Roberts, Kenneth Northwest Passage

Saint-Exupery, Antoine de The Little Prince Wind, Sand and Stars

Saki Stories

Schaefer, Jack Shane

*Scott, Sir Walter Ivanhoe

*Shelley, Mary Frankenstein

*Smith, Betty A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Steinbeck, John The Pearl Tortilla Flat

Stevenson, Robert Louis The Black Arrow The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

*Stoker, Bram Dracula

Thurber, James The Thurber Carnival

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit The Lord of the Rings

*Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Tom Sawyer A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Innocents Abroad Life on the Mississippi The Prince and the Pauper

*Verne, Jules Around the World in Eighty Days Journey to the Center of the Earth Mysterious Island 20,000 Leagues under the Sea

Wallace, Lewis Ben-Hur

Washington, Booker T. Up from Slavery

*Wells, H.G. The Time Machine War of the Worlds

Wharton, Edith Ethan Frome

Wilder, Thornton The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Wister, Owen The Virginian

Yates, Elizabeth Amos Fortune, Free Man

### Grades 9 through 12 ###

Agee, James A Death in the Family

Anderson, Sherwood Winesburg, Ohio

Austen, Jane Emma Northanger Abbey Pride and Prejudice Sense and Sensibility

Baldwin, James Go Tell It on the Mountain

Balzac, Honore de Pere Goriot

Beckett, Samuel Waiting for Godot

*The Bible Old Testament New Testament

Bolt, Robert A Man for All Seasons

Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre

Bronte, Emily Wuthering Heights

*Browning, Robert Poems

*Buck, Pearl The Good Earth

Butler, Samuel The Way of All Flesh

Camus, Albert The Plague The Stranger

Cather, Willa Death Comes for the Archbishop My Antonia

Cervantes, Miguel Don Quixote

*Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales

Chekhov, Anton The Cherry Orchard

Chopin, Kate The Awakening

Collins, Wilkie The Moonstone

Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness Lord Jim The Secret Sharer Victory

*Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage

Dante The Divine Comedy

Defoe, Daniel Moll Flanders

*Dickens, Charles Bleak House David Copperfield Great Expectations Hard Times Oliver Twist A Tale of Two Cities

*Dickinson, Emily Poems

Dinesen, Isak Out of Africa

Dostoevski, Fyodor Brothers Karamazov Crime and Punishment

Dreiser, Theodore An American Tragedy Sister Carrie

*Eliot, George Adam Bede Middlemarch Mill on the Floss Silas Marner

Eliot, T.S. Murder in the Cathedral

*Ellison, Ralph Invisible Man

*Emerson, Ralph Waldo Essays

Faulkner, William Absalom, Absalom! As I Lay Dying Intruder in the Dust Light in August The Sound and the Fury

Fielding, Henry Joseph Andrews Tom Jones

*Fitzgerald, F. Scott The Great Gatsby Tender Is the Night

Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary

Forster, E.M. A Passage to India A Room with a View

Franklin, Benjamin The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Galsworthy, John The Forsyte Saga

Golding, William Lord of the Flies

Goldsmith, Oliver She Stoops to Conquer

Graves, Robert I, Claudius

Greene, Graham The Heart of the Matter The Power and the Glory

Hamilton, Edith Mythology

Hardy, Thomas Far From the Madding Crowd Jude the Obscure The Mayor of Casterbridge The Return of the Native Tess of the D’Urbervilles

*Hawthorne, Nathaniel The House of the Seven Gables The Scarlet Letter

*Hemingway, Ernest A Farewell to Arms For Whom the Bell Tolls The Sun Also Rises

*Henry, O. Stories

Hersey, John A Single Pebble

Hesse, Hermann Demian Siddhartha Steppenwolf

*Homer The Iliad The Odyssey

Hughes, Langston Poems

Hugo, Victor Les Miserables

*Huxley, Aldous Brave New World

Ibsen, Henrik A Doll’s House An Enemy of the People Ghosts Hedda Gabler The Master Builder The Wild Duck

*James, Henry The American Daisy Miller Portrait of a Lady The Turn of the Screw

Joyce, James Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man Dubliners

Kafka, Franz The Castle Metamorphosis The Trial

Keats, John Poems

Kerouac, Jack On the Road

Koestler, Arthur Darkness at Noon

Lawrence, D.H. Sons and Lovers

Lawrence, Jerome and Robert E. Lee Inherit the Wind

Lewis, Sinclair Arrowsmith Babbitt Main Street

Llewellyn, Richard How Green Was My Valley

*Machiavelli The Prince

MacLeish, Archibald J.B.

Mann, Thomas Buddenbrooks The Magic Mountain

Marlowe, Christopher Dr. Faustus

*Maugham, Somerset Of Human Bondage

*McCullers, Carson The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

*Melville, Herman Billy Budd Moby-Dick Typee

*Miller, Arthur The Crucible Death of a Salesman

Monsarrat, Nicholas The Cruel Sea

O’Neill, Eugene The Emperor Jones A Long Day’s Journey into Night Mourning Becomes Electra

*Orwell, George Animal Farm 1984

Pasternak, Boris Doctor Zhivago

*Poe, Edgar Allan Short stories

Remarque, Erich All Quiet on the Western Front

Rolvaag, O.E. Giants in the Earth

Rostand, Edmond Cyrano de Bergerac

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye

Sandburg, Carl Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years Abraham Lincoln: The War Years

Saroyan, William The Human Comedy

Sayers, Dorothy The Nine Tailors

Shakespeare, William Plays and sonnets

*Shaw, George Bernard Arms and the Man Major Barbara Pygmalion Saint Joan

Sheridan, Richard B. The School for Scandal

*Shute, Nevil On the Beach

Sinclair, Upton The Jungle

*Sophocles Antigone Oedipus Rex

*Steinbeck, John East of Eden The Grapes of Wrath Of Mice and Men

Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travels

Thackeray, William M. Vanity Fair

*Thoreau, Henry David Walden

Tolstoy, Leo Anna Karenina War and Peace

Trollope, Anthony Barchester Towers

Turgenev, Ivan Fathers and Sons

Twain, Mark Pudd’nhead Wilson

Updike, John Rabbit Run

Vergil The Aeneid

*Voltaire Candide

Warren, Robert Penn All the King’s Men

Waugh, Evelyn Brideshead Revisited A Handful of Dust

Wharton, Edith Age of Innocence

*White, T.H. The Once and Future King The Sword in the Stone

Wilde, Oscar The Importance of Being Earnest The Picture of Dorian Gray

*Wilder, Thornton Our Town

*Williams, Tennessee The Glass Menagerie A Streetcar Named Desire

*Wolfe, Thomas Look Homeward, Angel (Another favorite, introduced to me by my wife)

Woolf, Virginia Mrs. Dalloway To the Lighthouse

Wouk, Herman The Caine Mutiny

Wright, Richard Black Boy Native Son

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Meteorological Fiction

Until 2001, I spent my career as a research meteorologist, delving into areas as diverse as cloud physics and weather modification, numerical weather prediction, and artificial intelligence. Over a span of more than thirty years, I'd written numerous technical articles. But nearly seven years ago, I retired from my job with the Naval Research Laboratory.

Why did I retire? At the time, I was doing some of the most fascinating research I'd ever done. However, I knew that unless I quit then, I'd miss a dream I'd been harboring for decades: that of writing fiction. (At my retirement luncheon, several colleagues jokingly suggested I needn't have retired to claim that distinction.)

For years prior, in association with author/mentor Arline Chase, I'd written short stories to learn storytelling skills. It's one thing to write a story, but quite another to write one that is enthralling and keeps the reader riveted. Regrettably, most of what we write in technical journals - although less so for the Bulletin - is hardly stay-up-all-night-turning-the-page material. Another way to put it is that fiction has to be fun, at least for the genre of fiction that I chose for my first novel.

After retiring, I spent another year writing short stories exclusively. But in 2002, I tackled a novel. Those of you who read fiction know there are various genres. During my short story period, I tried many of them: humor, fantasy, young adult, romance, mystery, and thriller. I concluded that I had the most success and fun writing thrillers. What is a thriller? Here's a good definition: A novel of suspense with a plot structure that reinforces the elements of gamesmanship and the chase, with a sense of the hunt being paramount. The common thread is a growing sense of threat and the excitement of pursuit. Those of you who enjoy books by Tom Clancy know that he writes thrillers.

So, with genre in hand, I had to choose my topic. In fiction, a common saw is to write what you know. What did I know? Meteorology. And so, for months, with coconspirator Robin Brody (a meteorologist who continues to be my primary reader), we debated ideas worthy of a thriller, together with a plausible premise. After months of discussion, we had the makings of a story.

As the author, I had one nonnegotiable requirement: Enough of James Bond-like spies - I wanted the protagonist to be a meteorologist. If the world had to be saved (and it often does in a thriller), I wanted our discipline to be up there - in lights. Why choose a meteorologist? The choice is obvious. The qualities that manifest our ranks are many: intelligence, attention to detail, the ability to integrate and make sense of disparate sets of data, training in both theoretical and numerical processes, and a thorough appreciation of science in general. One other important quality is our ability to accept frequent failure, and criticism; who among us who has made a forecast wouldn't agree? What more could you want from a protagonist who must decipher complex clues and save the world in the process?

Of course, I gave my protagonist, Dr. Victor Mark Silverstein, a few added gifts: I gave him a photographic memory (I've always wanted one of those) and a genius IQ (something I could have used). The most fascinating characters are not perfect, however. They become interesting and more human because of their faults. Silverstein is arrogant because he knows he's smart, and he often uses his talents to manipulate people. As you might suspect, this combination can get him into trouble. There to save him is his associate, Dr. Linda Kipling, also a meteorologist, who possesses complementary skills - and is fearless.

Fiction is either "plot driven" or "character driven." The best books are both. I tried for a balance. You can imagine that meteorology shows up in the plot, whereas human interactions (often involving moral/ethical dilemmas) provide the character-driven aspect.

Two-and-a-half years later, I completed Category 5 (iUniverse, 2005). Obviously, the plot concerns hurricanes. I won't give away the premise; suffice it to say, the bad guys are doing bad things with hurricanes, and it's up to the good guys to stop them.

As an aside, I've concluded that it is impossible to publish a book with no errors. Readers have spotted a few. I'm proud to say, however, that not one of them (yet) has been meteorological. I can't take the credit. Robin Brody and several other meteorologist reviewers saved me from embarrassment. (Note, however, my fortuitous forecast for 2007's Hurricane Noel, for which my book's east coast track is close to the observed, including "…threading the needle between Cuba and Haiti…")

To make my story more realistic, I visited all chapter locations except for two remote sites (Christmas Island and the Suez Canal) and the CIA. For example, at the end of Category 5, considerable commotion breaks lose in Bermuda. My wife Becky and I spent a week there scouting appropriate sites (someone had to do it) and taking their GPS coordinates (they're listed at the beginning of chapters). If you use Google Earth (or go to my Web site, where I've summarized the images), you'll see where I imagined the action occurred. Enter the coordinates for chapter 6 (32°22′02″N, 64°40′39″W), and you'll find yourself at the Bermuda Weather Service (where the staff was most helpful). Do the same for chapter 3 (41°01′03″N, 28°58′17"E), and you'll be looking at the approximate location for the Pandeli Restaurant, located in the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey. My wife and I had a nice lunch there. In other instances, I "construct" a building in a location I've scouted. The chapter 8 coordinates (32°18′20″N, 64°47′20″W) in Bermuda identify the concrete fortress where the final showdown occurs.

Following Category 5, I wrote a sequel called Prophecy (iUniverse, 2007), published in July. Although this time the problem facing the world is not meteorological, I chose to keep my meteorologist protagonists. The skills that make us what we are transfer easily to other areas of science - in this case genetics, DNA, and the genome.

However, I must say I feel guilty about deviating from meteorology, and have decided to make amends with the third book in the series. Because it seems to be the meteorological topic of this decade, I've decided to tackle global climate change. Robin and I have developed a premise worthy (we think) of a complex thriller. And, if a fictional character is going to be doing the heavy lifting in resolving a climate crisis, I'm going to make darn sure that he or she is a meteorologist. We deserve the recognition!

(This article by Paul Mark Tag was published in the December 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and is reprinted with permission).

About The Author

Until he retired in 2001 to write fiction full-time, Paul Mark Tag’s work revolved around meteorology and his career with the Naval Research Laboratory. Prophecy is his second novel, following his thriller, Category 5. Tag lives in Monterey, California, with his wife, Becky. Visit http://www.paulmarktag.com.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nine Excellent Reasons for Technology in Education

Two events prodded me to write this. The first was my involvement in formulating a technology plan for a technologically advanced local school. During this process I became increasingly concerned that while the school intuitively knew it should improve in this area, it did not really know why.

The second event was an email I got from a teacher concerning my web site Math Open Reference. In it she said, to paraphrase: 'Thank you so much! Now I have something to do with those laptops they gave me!.' You can visualize the scene: a school decided to move technology into the classroom so it gave the teacher the computers. This is putting the solution before the problem. Again I wondered if this school really knew why they wanted the technology. In what way precisely would the education be better?

So here they are. Nine fundamental reasons why I think technology is important in education. Hopefully, they can act as the rationale for technology plans in schools. If you disagree, or find things missing, my contact information is at the end.

Reason 1. Expansion of time and place
In a typical high school a student has access to a teacher for one hour each day. That means she has access to the teacher approximately for 6% of a 16-hour waking day, and even that time is shared with 25 classmates. But she has access to the Internet 100% of the time. That's a lot better — some twenty times better. Yes, technology is no substitute for an inspiring teacher. However, on-line materials are FAR more available. As shown above, some twenty times more available.

Using the traditional textbook + classroom approach, the places where learning can occur are limited. A portable wireless computer has access to the teacher's course material and the entire Internet almost anywhere. And this is a vastly larger resource than can be practically carried on paper in a backpack.

Bottom line: information technology allows learning anywhere, anytime; not just in one particular classroom for one hour a day.

Reason 2. Depth of Understanding
Interactive simulations and illustrations can produce a much greater depth of understanding of a particular concept. When virtual manipulatives are used in a classroom setting they can go far beyond chalk and talk. Using a projector, the teacher can conduct onscreen investigations and demonstrate concepts far more easily than with just words and arm-waving. For example see Subtended Angle. Combine this class demonstration with access to the same tools over the web, and the student can reinforce the ideas by playing with the simulations themselves, any time, any where.

Reason 3. Learning vs. Teaching
Technology allows the tables to be turned. Instead of teaching (push), students can be given projects that require them to learn (pull) the necessary material themselves. Key to this is the ability to get the information they need any time anywhere, without being in the physical presence of a teacher. This project-based pull approach makes learning far more interesting for the student. I have seen firsthand how students cannot wait to get out of regular classes to go to the after-school robotics project.

Reason 4. New media for self-expression
In the old days, students could write in a notebook, and what they wrote was seen only by the teacher. Using modern technology, they can: make a PowerPoint presentation, record/edit spoken word, do digital photography, make a video, run a class newspaper, run a web based school radio or TV station, do claymation, compose digital music on a synthesizer, make a website, and/or create a blog.

Reason 5. Collaboration
A vital skill in the new digital world is the ability to work collaboratively on projects with others who may not be physically close. This can best be done using modern computer tools such as the Web, Email, instant messaging and cell phone. Rather than laboring alone on homework, students can work in small groups wherever they happen to be and at any time. They are doing this already – it can now be formalized and taught as a vital skill. Many university projects are undertaken by teams spread around the world. Your students need to be prepared for this.

Reason 6. Going Global
The worldview of the student can be expanded because of the zero cost of communicating with other people around the globe. The internet permits free video conferencing which permits interaction in real time with sister schools in other countries. From an educational viewpoint, what could be more important than understanding other cultures through direct dialog and collaboration?

Reason 7. Individual pacing and sequence
Students are, of course, all different. Information technologies can permit them to break step with the class and go at a pace and order that suits each student better. Without disrupting the class, they can repeat difficult lessons and explore what they find interesting. With time, it will become more like having a private tutor rather than being lost in a large class.

Reason 8. Weight
Three textbooks and three binders easily weigh over 25 pounds. A laptop computer weighs about 5 pounds and provides access to infinitely more material via its own storage and the Internet. A 40Gb hard drive can hold 2 million pages with illustrations; the Web is unfathomably large. Right now, students are getting back injuries lugging around a tiny subset of what they need in the form of black marks printed on slices of a substance not all that different from the papyrus used by the ancient Egyptians. And it's just static boring text.

Reason 9. Personal Productivity
Students need productivity tools for the same reasons you do. They need to write, read, communicate, organize and schedule. A student's life is not much different from that of any knowledge worker, and they need similar tools. Even if they are never used in the classroom, portable personal computers will make a student's (and teacher's) life more effective. To cash in this benefit, schools need to go paperless.

In summary, if education is about knowledge and intellectual skills, then information technology lies at the heart of it all. We have only just begun this transition. School will eventually look very different. Get ready.

Email: John Page
By John Page
July 1, 2007
URL: http://www.techlearning.com/showArticle.php?articleID=196604531