Humanware SpeechesThinking About Humanware: 1984-present by Steve Bergen, co-director of The Original Teaching Company
computer coordinator, Concord Academy, MA 1984-1994
computer coordinator, Noble and Greenough School, MA 1994-2002
CIO, Chapin School, NY 2002-2007
CIO & Computer Teacher, The Children's Storefront 2007- present
Last revised 12/23/07
In June 98, The Edward E. Ford Foundation awarded Noble and Greenough School a $50,000 grant for the purpose of taking the Pioneer Program to the next level in terms of hardware, software and humanware.
Prior to the grant, Nobles had 10 faculty members sharing 3 LCD projector units
and 1 VGA projector. The competition was fierce to get your hands on a classroom
projector setup, since the seeds of the Pioneer Program@Nobles had been planted
in May 97 when the program had been launched. The essence of the Pioneer
Program@Nobles from its inception has been that each interested faculty member
gets his/her own personal laptop and a projector setup in the classroom in return
for: a) using the hardware in classroom fashion several times per week
b) meeting with a member of the computer department once per week for a combination of technical help and curriculum ideas
c) writing an entry to a mailing list called Pioneer Diaries sharing stories of successes and frustrations, e.g. "I used the pioneer setup to project selected sentences from their drafts onto the screeen and had the class work together tosuggest solutions. I could not believe how well the exercise worked because the students were so engaged. I have certainly never managed to get them excited in a 40 minute discussion of grammar and syntax before!"
The Ford Foundation grant allowed us to significantly increase the hardware and humanware involved in the Pioneer Program. Instead of 10 faculty members, we now have 25 faculty members with 10 dedicated classroom projector setups. The Pioneer mode@Nobles has now become mainstream with many teachers using the electronic white board and content of the web as integral parts of their pedagogy. Teachers in specific departments are emerging as enthusiastic advocates and mini-experts within their academic areas. The value of meeting once per week with a member of the computer department has evolved into a mandatory one semester program which we call the Personal Trainer program, required for all new teachers. And some pioneers are now experimenting with classrooms with each student having a wireless laptop, something we have begun to call Pioneer Classrooms, very similar to that of Cincinatti Country Day School, another Ford grant recipient.
Our lengthy report (click on the school name above) is chock full of the writings of these pioneers, reflecting on the successes and weaknesses of this 21st century pedagogy. One unexpected side effect of this Pioneer Program has been the way that teachers in different departments have exchanged pedagogical insights and teaching ideas and support for teach other.