The Little Red Schoolhouse Gets a Fresh Coat of Cyber: Tools and “Cools” for Invigorating School Curricula with 21st Century Technology

Little red schoolhouse in meadow on misty morning
Little red schoolhouse in meadow on misty morning

Hi! Thanks for stopping by.

I’m Robert Ford (a.k.a. “SpikeyGuy”)  and this blog started as a part of my Instructional Technologies / Master’s in Education program (known as “ITEC”) here at San Francisco State University.

Instructional Tech covers the gamut, ranging from corporations to churches, schoolrooms and investment clubs and hospitals and the army, facilitating information exchange and knowledge acquisition in more and more new ways, all the time. It probably then comes as no surprise that ranking high among the various skills entrusted to Instructional Designers is simply being able to carefully listen, and accurately assess the key needs required to meet a desired learning outcome.

Depending where we come in this often iterative process, we do this in a number of ways, from a variety of process-related, systems and learning-theory comprehension, to “Needs Assessment” and front-end analysis tools, even conducting usability studies on what’s been employed to date – all to zero in on what can work best for a given learning situation.

From the sum or parts of these, the Instructional Designer then works with key departments, Administration and Teachers to create whatever module or unit of instruction is found to best meet the learners’ needs. Software employed by Instructional Designers can range from the traditional, “bread-and-butter” standby’s, such as Photoshop and Camtasia, to sound and video editing software, motion graphics design, creation of “Moodles” and other LMS’s, along with Camtasia, blogs, and much — much more. In fact, the field of Instructional Technology is so relatively new; many of the industries that need us most haven’t even invented job titles for us, yet.

Movie Image Title with Dog

But they are quickly coming to see just how indispensable Instructional Design done well can be, and nowhere is this more true than for those who are busy retooling the “Little Red School Houses” of yesterday into sophisticated, connected learning-generating dynamos, capable of launching 21st century students into orbits and horizons barely dreamt of, even a generation ago. In fact, part of my ITEC 815 class’s stated intended “learning outcomes” is to help me know how to successfully evaluate, plan and design technology applications, and gear the right ones toward specific instructional goals: designing, with teachers and school administrations, the best strategies and materials for the needs presented.

I wonder how good their Wifi is?
I wonder how good their Wifi is?

It’s a truly an exciting time. In fact, it’s only now slowly dawning on me just how exciting, and how life changing for so many, this kind of work can be. For those working with computers in general, this certainly is an amazing time. But for those who can use their skills toward making real, and lasting, difference in the lives of tomorrow’s generations – well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

So, join me along this journey, documenting for you and myself, a bit of that excitement, as I take on what’s “out there”, what’s possible, through the skills learned here with ITEC 815: “Integrating Technology into School Curricula”.


Curious what other takes on the traditional or modern interpretations of “The Little Red School House” look like?  Click “History Girl’s” link, below, for impressions on where we’ve been, and the second link on “Visioning”, for some turn of the ’90’s early predictions at where the “Little Red Schoolhouse” is going.

The “History Girl New Jersey”‘s video tour of the Little Red Schoolhouse in Lyndhurst, NJ

“Visioning the Little Red Schoolhouse for the 21st Century”

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