Posts By: Harold Jarche

Students in Favour of Laptops in Schools

Via Seb is this discussion (in French) about laptops in schools. The students at this northern New Brunswick school were asked on the Haut-Madawaska Learning Centre blog – what do you think of the Education Minister’s request for schools to participtae in a laptops in schools project and should we participate? The responses, which seem to be all from students, range from "computers will enrich our IT skills and increase communication in class" to "access to more computers would help us to access our existing class blogs" and "it would make research a lot easier" and "Wow, what a good idea".

Even the 2nd Grade class thinks that laptops in 7th and 8th Grade are a good idea. Of the estimated 100 comments, only one was slightly negative. So there it is. The students (learners) are resoundingly in favour of laptops in school.

I have always believed that the key to learning is motivation, having been influenced early on by Gagne’s events of instruction – where the first instructional event is "activating motivation". These students are already motivated!

More on ASTD 2004

The best coverage so far on ASTD 2004 is from e-Clippings. These posts include an overview of Harold Stolovitch’s session, quoting Harold on the definition of "technology":

Technology is the application of organized and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems.

This is the correct definition of technology when applied to Human Performance Technology [my field] – which is NOT about information technology, but solving problems in an applied way.


If you want to know what giveaways are popular on the exposition floor at ASTD 2004 then read the T&D Blog. Not much else though.

Thinking like nature

Please read Dave Pollard’s post on William McDonough, a true visionary in the field of design and natural systems. Pollard lists McDonough’s four websites, all of which are absolutely fascinating. The Green Blue organization site includes a unique set of concepts that you should read, if nothing else. For example:

Good industry
The current conversation about environmental and social challenges too often points to industry at the enemy. This is a mistake. The true villain is bad design, and the solution is an industry that makes intelligent, informed design decisions. Cradle-to-cradle thinking is the key to these decisions.

After looking at McDonough’s information and concepts, I feel much more motivated to try to address some of those really big and messy issues that most of us just avoid. Yes, we can design a better world.

Technical Frustrations

Many thanks to Stephen Downes for pointing out that my web pages were taking forever to load. You may have noticed a sidebar on the left called "En Passant" that previously held my recent Furl items of note. Each time a page was loaded it had to check the Furl server, which is not working well today. My apologies to all for my technical incompetence, but a lesson has been learned.

ASTD 2004 Comments

There is an excellent conversation on Jay Cross’s blog regarding collaboration technologies and informal learning. Jay is presenting at ASTD 2004. This is well worth the read.

Also, from e-clippings is this first impression of the ASTD conference.

More people, buzz and swag than other, recent e-learning conferences

New (and Improved) LearnNB Website

The new LearnNB website was launched today. There’s much more content, and we will be using this as a portal for many other initiatives, such as our R&D community of practice. Learn NB’s aims are:

Promote the export of New Brunswick’s experience, knowledge, expertise, products and services in e-learning and related fields.
Facilitate partnerships between the private sector, governments, universities, and non-governmental organizations in pursuit of the above.
Assist the Province of New Brunswick and the Atlantic Region through the ongoing development of our human capital and, in so doing, to be able to more effectively export our collective competence in e-learning capacity building.

The site is brand new today, and I’m sure that there will be a lot more information soon. Once we get some blogs, wikis, trackbacks and RSS feeds on this site we’ll know that we’re getting somewhere 😉

Ensemble Collaboration Launches

Ensemble Collaboration, an elearning company in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has formally launched this afternoon, and is no longer in "stealth mode". The product launch is happening at the ASTD conference.

Ensemble’s offerings are collaboration and mentoring tools. The collaboration application suite is based on Search, Live Help, FAQ’s, Discussion and E-Mail functions. None of these are new, but they are all wrapped together, with access to a larger network than you would normally have in a single course. There is a demo module on collaboration available, featuring Jay Cross.

ASTD Conference

The ASTD Conference and exposition launched today in Washington. There are few local exhibitors at this year’s conferenc; nothing like the late 1990’s when we had about 20 vendors at Online Learning. Perhaps the largest local exhibitor is CSTD, which includes the newly-formed New Brunswick chapter. Other local companies are Ensemble Collaboration and LearnStream.

It’s nice to see that there is a Performance Improvement track at ASTD and I would appreciate any comments from delegates at this year’s conference.