Tag Archives: september2011

The convergence of globalization and technology will eventually touch everyone


We school leaders know that some of our students are tech savvy and we know that many of our students are without access and opportunity for adequate technology experience.  We also know that the adult world our students will enter will be full of technology.    Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, the authors of, That Used To Be Us, 2011 p. 54 make the point: “The convergence of globalization and technology will eventually touch everyone.  These forces are far larger than any individual.  They are ferocious, impersonal, and inescapable.”

The role of schools cannot be denied.   As we intentionally create learning environments and expectations for today and tomorrow’s students, technology must be thoroughly integrated into our learning environments.  Technology can support efforts to engage students in critical thinking, research, collaboration, thinking interdependently, problem analysis, problem/solution efforts, and much, much more.

Many of our students can see the need for more technology to be integrated into school learning.  As reported in the Tech Journal “Technology skills are essential to a successful future, according to students surveyed in the second annual 21st-Century Classroom Report, a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 high school students, faculty and IT staff. Ninety-four percent of students said learning and mastering technology skills will improve their educational and career opportunities, and 97 percent of faculty agreed.

Despite those results, just 39 percent of students say their high schools are meeting their technology expectations.  Additionally, 86 percent of students note that they use more technology outside the classroom than inside.”

It is pretty clear that the convergence of globalization and technology will eventually touch everyone.  The term “everyone” is referring to everyone around the globe.  American schools have to get good at both ‘letting go of the past’ (minimal technology) and ’embracing the future’ (investing in learning opportunities that match the current and future learning challenges).  Our children and their futures are worth it.


A Sputnik* Moment

Many Americans are unaware of the young minds around the globe who are competing and will complete with American graduates.  As Americans and as educators – globalization and technology expertise can not be taken lightly! 

1  Zhejiang University  

2  University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

3  Tsinghua University

4  St. Petersburg State University

5  Nizhny Novgorod State University

6  Saratov State University

7  Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg

8  Donetsk National University

9  Jagiellonian University in Krakow

10 Moscow State University

11 Ural State University

12 University of Waterloo

13 Carnegie Mellon University

13 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

13 Lviv National University

13 Nanyang Technological University 

13 National Taiwan University

13 Peking University

13 Shanghai Jiao Tong University

13 Sharif University of Technology

13 St. Petersburg State University of IT, Mechanics and Optics

13 Taurida V.I. Vernadsky National University

13 The Chinese University of Hong Kong

13 Universidad de Buenos Aires – FCEN

13 University of Warsaw 

13 Zhongshan (Sun Yat-sen) University

27 Belarusian State University

27 Fudan University

27 Harbin Institute of Technology

27 Kazakh-British Technical University

27 Kyoto University

27 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

27 Novosibirsk State University

27 Perm State University

27 South Ural State University

27 Taras Shevchenko Kiev National University

27 Tianjin University

27 Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

27 University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

27 University of Helsinki

27 University of Tokyo

42 Beijing Jiaotong University

42 East China Normal University

42 Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi

42 International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad

42 Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology

42 Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

42 Princeton University

42 Seoul National University

42 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich – VIS

42 Universidad Nacional de Córdoba – FaMAF

42 Universidade Federal do Paraná

42 Universidade de São Paulo – Escola Politécnica

42 Universidade de São Paulo – Instituto de Matemática e Estatística

42 University of Alberta

42 University of Stellenbosch

 42 University of Wroclaw

42 Wuhan University

These are the rankings for the top colleges from around the world that competed in the international Battle of the Brains.

From 2,070 universities in 88 countries, the top one hundred and three teams of students competed for bragging rights and prizes at The 35th Annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals sponsored by IBM on May 30, 2011, in Orlando Florida, USA, and hosted by IBM.

The contest pits teams of three university students against eight or more complex, real-world problems, with a grueling five-hour deadline. Huddled around a single computer, competitors race against the clock in a battle of logic, strategy and mental endurance.

Teammates collaborate to rank the difficulty of the problems, deduce the requirements, design test beds, and build software systems that solve the problems under the intense scrutiny of expert judges. For a well-versed computer science student, some of the problems require precision only. Others require a knowledge and understanding of advanced algorithms. Still others are simply too hard to solve – except, of course, for the world’s brightest problem-solvers.

Judging is relentlessly strict. The students are given a problem statement – not a requirements document. They are given an example of test data, but they do not have access to the judges’ test data and acceptance criteria. Each incorrect solution submitted is assessed a time penalty. The team that solves the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least cumulative time is declared the winner.

To learn more about the ICPC, please visit http://acmicpc.org or http://icpc.baylor.edu/ . Visit the ICPC podcast series at http://battleofthebrains.podbean.com for insights from past contestants and current IBM executives. 

* Sputnik was the first artificial satellite to be put in earth’s orbit.  On October 4, 1957 the Russian’s successfully place Sputnik in orbit.  I was 9 and I still remember it. Sputnik woke up America!!! 




Employees Wanted . . . that can combine software, art, math, creativity, writing, gaming, education, composing, and marketing

Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum the authors of That Used To Be Us,( 2011 p.70 -71) make the case for how fast and dramatically the world of work can change.  They explain that it is clear “that a multi-billion-dollar come-out-of-nowhere “apps”  industry is upon us. Apple released the iPhone in June 2007 and the iPad in April 2010. Aditionally, we have Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Marketplace, BackBerry’s App World and more opportunities for apps to be used.

In 2011 a report produced by Forrester Research estimated that the revenue generated through the sales of smart phone and tablet applications will reach $38 billion annually by 2015. Think of that: an industry that did not exist in 2006 will be generating $38 billion in revenues within a decade, with a slew of new online stores.

The potential for individuals today to globalize their talents, hobbies, and passions into applications with a worldwide market is without precedent in history and unbounded in potential.

That’s the good news. It also leads to this reality: the emerging apps industry will be looking for a special kind of talent. People who can combine their software skills with art, math, creativity, writing, gaming, education, composing and marketing will be the employees or the creators who will capture this market. In other words, it requires combining the skills of MIT, MTV these skills, and Madison Avenue. These skills, in turn, require all lot more training and creativity and just writing software code.”

As a citizen of America, an educator, and a grandparent, I am hopeful that we are getting the message: the future will embrace people who have many skills and abilities and can combine software skills with art, math, creativity, writing, gaming, education, composing and marketing have a future waiting.  Are our families, communities and schools helping students to combine and integrate their learning in practical and potentially productive ways that will help them to meet the demands of the future?  I think we all have to help each embrace the future!  Oor children and grand children are worth it.

Helping young people grow!

If you are not part of a BENEVOLENT CONSPIRACY maybe now is the time to be part of one!  Clifton Taulbert in his book: Eight Habits of the Heart Embracing the Values that Build StrongFamilies and Communities page 29 explains that: “. . . he (Mr. Powell the school janitor) was part of the benevolent conspiracy that existed among the adults to make our educational experience memorable.”  

Who can you give your support to help them grow, thrive and reach their potential?  Who can you talk with and listen to?  Who can your encourage?  Who can you spend time with? Are you ready to start the conspiracy, his or her behalf today?

We can all be part of many benevolent conspiracies!  Our children ad grand children are obvious ‘targets’ for such conspiracies.  So are the the neighbor kids and the children of our friends.  And certainally the kids we teach (should we be lucky enough to be a teacher). 

It does take a village to raise a child!    



America simply doesn???t have time anymore for exhausting any options other than the right ones

 Winston Churchill was fond of saying that “America will always do the right thing, but only after exhausting all other options.” The authors of That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind In The World Is Invented And How We Can Come Back, Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (pages 8-9 & 35) believe that it is urgent for America to come back and be strong again as a country. They believe our country is in a slow decline, just slow enough for us to be able to pretend–or believe–that a decline is not taking place.

They argue that this slow-motion decline has four broad causes.

~ First, since the end of the Cold War, we, and especially our political leaders, have stopped starting each day by asking the two questions that are crucial for determining public policy: What world are we living in? and What exactly do we need to do to thrive in this world?

~ Second, over the last twenty years, we as a country have failed to address some of our biggest problems–particularly education, deficits and debt, and energy and climate change–and now they have all worsened to the point where they cannot be ignored but they also cannot effectively addressed without collective action and collective sacrifice.

~ Third, to make matters worse, we have stopped investing in our country’s traditional formula for success, a formula that goes back to the founding of our country.  It includes a partnership between the public and private sectors to sfoster economic growth by: Providing public education, building and continual modernizing of our infrasture, keeping our doors open to immigrants, government support for basic research and development and the implementation of necessary regulations on private economic activity. That formula has allowed America to navigate the many turns it is faced in history. 

~ Fourth, we have not been able to fix our problems or invest in our strengths because our political system has become paralyzed and our system of values has suffered serious erosion.

The authors of this book, being optimists, will offer their own strategy for overcoming these problems.                                                                                

  I believe that these are barriers/causes that we as a country must respond to.  We can’t allow the “slow-motion” decline to continue.  It is time for each of us to commit    and contribute in intentional ways to move through these barriers as a country.




Hello darkness, my old friend

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence