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Published in Print: October 31, 2001, as Learning Links

Learning Links

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Beyond the Hype

When Jim Forde traveled the country as a school technology trainer, teachers at times asked him where they could find an unbiased online resource for technology in schools.

But he rarely had an answer for them. The Web sites he found almost always cast an unusually positive light on technology. Plus, they didn't give the hands-on, classroom- level information educators need.

So Mr. Forde, the 6th grade technology teacher at Scofield Magnet Middle School in Stamford, Conn., decided to fill the void.

This year, he created with his Apple PowerBook G3 laptop computer, the help of several friends, and a passion to provide a forum that pushes technology beyond the boosterism that has frustrated so many educators.

Mr. Forde wants the site to be a resource for teachers and parents who want to tap into the minds of experts who cast a more critical eye on technology.

And so, it features ongoing Web discussions and interviews with experts and thinkers such as Neil Postman, the New York University professor and author who wrote Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. It also provides a link to "The Snorkel," an online forum for K- 12 technology educators.

Mr. Forde hopes such resources will help educators much more than the public relations splashes about education technology coming out of corporate America.

"It's one thing to go to a conference and see a product demo by Apple," he said. "It's another thing to be in a real public school with kids with different needs, a large class load, limited time, and limited funds. So here's where I'm trying to get some real conversation going."

Still, Mr. Forde stresses that is not a technology- bashing website. Rather, he says, it is a place where technology evangelists and skeptics can debate the issues.

Like most of the experts he features online, Mr. Forde does not consider himself just a technology advocate, but rather "an advocate for the good use of technology."

—Rhea R. Borja

Vol. 21, Issue 9, Page 8

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