Technology Resources and Training

The most important computers in my classroom are my students' minds
The majic of the craft has opened for me a world in which I shall confront, within two hours, the black dragons and the crowned crests of a coma of blue lightnings, and when night has fallen I, delivered, shall read my course in the stars. Antoine De Saint Exupery.

Page Sections

This Page
Resources Training Measure of
My Training
References Why Bother?

About This Page

NOTE: Putting this page to your own use...(with apologies to everyone who already knows this)
To see the HTML code that drives this page in your browser just click on the 'VIEW' button of your browser and then select "source." You can copy and paste this code to a text file on your machine and experiment by making changes of your own. Just be sure to save it as a text file with a ".html" siffex. You can save the pictures by right clicking with your mouse and selecting 'save picture as'.
Some technical points...
[1] This page was initially written in a traditional three frame format (top, left and main, this required top and left html files and one main html file for each subject area), however, when all the html files were uploaded there was a problem with the advertizing inserted by the Tripod server and my frame structure. As I did not want to pay for an ad-free site I re-wrote the page without frames and uploaded the new files. I admit this frameless format is not as aesthetically pleasing. Except for the inital frame set up (which I could not use) all of the coding for this page was done with MS Notepad.
[2]This page was developed to meet the DO6 requirement of Section 6.
[3]The wider your screen setting probably the better it page to look
Last undated Wednesday January 24, 2002 by Janice Tyler.
Rationale for the Contextual Themes. Metaphore exploration is an important part of Information Architecture design (TerraLycos 2002) I realize the topic of the section is constrains of the classroom but I have been so happy that every one of my summer school students passed that I just did not want to focus on constraints or limitations. I constructed a visual theme of Leonardo da Vinci and a Literary theme of Saint Exupery with the organiiizing concept being that my students were co-explorers, with them, of the relationships among nature, machines and humanity. These contextual environments for my discussion are cohesive because both men saw an intimate relationship between machinery, the natural environment and the human spirit. Leonardo's absolute genius saw the manifestation of nature in the laws that governed machines of all varieties. The action of nature was manifest in the human arena as authorities tried to apply machines to social purposes (O'connor and Robertson 1996, Kausal 2001). Antoine de Saint Exupery was passionately in love with the technology of aviation and in awe of its potential to uplift individual men while benefiting humanity as a whole . Now, with computers, we have an opportunity to understand the workings of nature in an new way and a corollary of this new insight into nature will be a new definition of what it means to be human. The ultimate goal of my use of computers is to help enable my students to participate in the quest for the new vision of what it means to be human. When my students join in this quest they join Leonardo and Saint Exupery.

When I make applications for my students, I try to make them engaging and uplifting and I tried to do the same with this.


My Resources

The strategic Approach to techology in my school is one of concentrating resources in the Computer Lab with minimal resources distributed out among the classrooms.
Banaszewski's (1997) article was reassuring because there is one Pentium III computer in my classroom and it does triple duty as an
  • administrative support devidce
  • communications system and
  • instructional tool

The primary software installed on my machine includes
  • MS Word
  • MS Excel
  • MS PhotoEditor
  • MS Access
  • MS PowerPoint
There are two tremendous strengths to this suite of applications.
First is the modularity of the object components and second is the inclusion of the incredably powerful VBA that was introduced as the scripting language for MS Word as far back as version 'Word 8'.

Teachers who do not take advantage of the VBA included in these applications are missing out on 99% of the power they have for developing instructional aids for their students (Perry 1997 367-371). With the injection of VBA in the world of MS Windows applications and Script-Literate browsers the various appications are all merging (this was a big part of the suit against MicroSoft) and knowing how to distinguish among the various applications is rapidly evolving into a 'short term' skill because they can all be used to produce interactive products that can be sent over the web or used on the desk-top and the products produced by one are becoming accessable to the other (Perry 1997).

Example: Data Files produced in Word, Excel, or Power Points can all be fed into Access and then either directly queried by ASP / ISS code or fed to SQL Server to be queried over the internet. By 1996 the idea of separate applications for separate tasks had become obsolete but like the case of DOS it has continued because of popular demand (Balena 1999, Grahm 1996, Ladd and O'Donnell 1996, Petroutsos 1996). The default Browser on my machine is MS Internet Explorer but I sometimes test applications with Netscape.


My Training

My undergraduate studies were in mathematics and computer science. I later returned to school be certified to teacher secondary math.

However very little of my old FORTRAN training for mainframes is of much good anymore. First there was the desktop revolution (Stevens 1989, Lafore 1991) and now the internet/www revolution (Thornburg 1996). And the MS Office suit of applications is rapidly evolving to the web environment so that the Browser and the OS will be inseperable. We will be producing product that will not be used on a single stand-alone machine but will intereact over the web either in a server-client manner or in the peer-to-peer mode (Thornburg 1998).

Anyway my formal training did not prepare me for the world of the Browser Operating system and I am having to re-train myself.

I have not been trained by the school, nor, I suppose have expected the school to pay to train me.
The only technology training opportunities the system has made available to me were to learn proprietary software for administrative support that was not as powerful as MS Excel. The provided contracted software may have been easier to use in the short term for the novice but it lacked the programming power of Excel with VBA.

I have prepared instructional aids, and guided student projects in VBA enriched Word, Excel, Power Point and Access (for advanced students). It is only rarely that I use commercially prepared instructional software.
I have self trained in Visual Pascal, VISUAL C++ and VISUAL Basic (VB) for DOS and early versions of windows. For curent software I have self trained and taken on-line tutorials for VB6, and the VBA the edition of VB included in the usual MS Office Applications.



The Measure of My Training

Leonarod's method for measuring the distance from the earth to sun
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.... Saint-Exupery The Wisdom of the Sands

In essence I think my training is now dated, owes little or nothing to my school system, but is fundamentally sound because I was taught to see technology as a means to an end rather than a goal in itself, and the end to which the technology is applied has a social context and societal consequences. My undergraduate computing mentor had been in army intelligence and in charge of an early computer database system in Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s and afterwards specialized in computer simulation studies at Georgia Tech for the US military and other organizations. He continually stressed that a quick jump into failure can easily be made by defining social issues as technical problems. As a teacher I try hard to see the problems of my students as multi-faceted and based in a wide range of issues, mental aptitude, psychological factors, economics and class, cultural adjustment, etc. For technology to be effective in empowering students it needs to accommodate the material and semiotic realities of home, classroom and school, but must also be flexible and easily formatted to address specific and unique learning needs of individual students (cf Education Week 2001). It is my belief that the best way to ensure this focused, specialized, and individualized application of technology is to have the teacher be well trained in assessing the needs of the individual student, the hardware and software of the technology itself, teaching method and theory, and how to integrate all of the above into one vital component of a cohesive, systemic, and comprehensive teaching strategy. This would hold true regardless of the available material technology.


Desires for Future Training

The speculation by futurists and the findings of researchers concure that the use of technology in the classroom may enhance learning but it does not guarantee it (Chaika 1999, Trotter 1999, Kleiman 2000, President's Advisory Committee 2001), so the teacher's choice of how to invest her limited time in training becomes a crucial matter.

For me the training area of choice is the new wave of mark up languages that are used in crafting dynamic web pages, Java, and VB.Net. What I want to avoid at all costs, if possible, is investing my limited time in training in the use of proprietary software and programs purchased at great expense by the state and county but out of date before the bureaucracy can implement them. Such applications make us dependent on a system we can hardly rely on, retard our flexability, diminish our ability to assist students in the most efficient manner, and divert our attention from advances in the greater field of technology. So long as I can read and have access to a good bookstore, the capital to invest in current general programming languages, and access to on-line tutorials I will look to my self for self training rather than reduce my stature as a practicing teacher by relying on the system to train me and "keep me current." Much too often we are expected to accect as current and good what the county buys into for whatever pedagogical, administrative, or political reason.


In preparation for this exercise I reviewed the on-line literature provided in the course bibliography, as well as websites of UNESCO, the U.S. Department of Education, my state's Department of Education website and the website of my county system. Time only allowed a brief sampling of ERIC papers but several of the items in the course Biography are from ERIC. I also went on line for information about Leonardo and Saint Exupery.
Association of College and Research Libraries. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 440 624)
Balena, Francesco. (1999). Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0: Master Object Oriented Programming Techniques for Rapid 32 Bit Development Redmond,WA: Microsoft Press.
Banaszewski, T. (1997). Strategies for the one-computer classroom. Educators’ Outlook. Available at
Chaika, G. (1999). Technology in the schools: It does make a difference! Education World. Available at
Education Week. (2001). Technology counts 2001: The new divides, looking beneath the numbers to reveal digital inequities. Education Week, 20(35). Available at
Friedman, S. M. (2002?). Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery Pilot, Poet, Man 1900 - 1944. Online and available at
Graham, Ian S. (1996). HTML (3.0) Source Book, 2nd Edition. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Kausal, Martin. (2001) Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) Available at
Kleiman, G. M. (2000, April-June). Myths and realities about technology in K-12 schools. Leadership and the New Technologies Perspectives, 14. Available at
Ladd, Eric and Jim O'Donnell. (1996). Using HTML 3.2, Java 1.1 and CGI, Platinum Edition. Indianapolis: QUE.
Lafore, Robert 1991 Object Orient Programming in Turbo C++. Emeryville, CA: Waite Grouop Press.
O'connor, J.J. and E. F. Robertson. (1996) Leonardo Da Vinci. Web site of Saint Andrews University, Scotland Depatment of Mathematics Available at
Perry, Greg. (1997). SAM's Teach Yourself Visual Basic 5 in 24 Hoours. The Complete Starter Kit. Indianapolis: SAMS.
Petroutsos, Evangelos 2000 Database Programming with Visual Basic 6: Client-Server and Three Tier Database Applications with Visual Basic San Francisco Sybex.
President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, Panel on Transforming Learning. (2001). Report to the President: Using information technology to transform the way we learn. Arlington, VA: National Coordination Office for Information Technology Research and Development. Available at
Stevens, Roger T. (1989). Fractal Programming in C. Redwood City, CA: M&G Books.
Terra Lycos (2002) Information Architecture Tutorial Free design tutorial for members.
Thornburg, D. D. (1996a). Campfires in cyberspace. San Carlos, CA: Starsong Publications.
Thornburg, D. D. (1998). Brainstorms and lightning bolts: Thinking skills for the 21st century. San Carlos, CA: Starsong Publications.
Thornburg, D. D. (2000). Technology in K–12 education: Envisioning a new future. Available at
Trotter, A. (1999). A question of effectiveness. Education week on the Web. Available at


When Teachers Fail

Old bureaucrat, my comrad, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape. You, like a termite, built your peace by blocking up with cement every chink and cranny through which the light might pierce. You rolled yourself up into a ball in your genteel security, in routine, in the shifting conventions of provencial life, raising a modest rampart against the winds and and the tides and the stars. You have chosen not to be perturbed by great problems, having trouble enough to forget your fate as man. You are not the dweller upon an errant planet and do not ask yourself questions to which there are no answers. You are a petty bourgeouis of Toulouse. Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning.

Saint Exupery Wind, Sand, and Stars (1939/1967)San Diago: HJB Books.
Translation by Lewis Galantiere.