Saturday, October 28, 2017

Response to Parental Complaints Regarding Adoption of Chromebooks in
Cheshire, CT Public Schools
October 28, 2017

Recently, NBC-CT posted an online article concerning some parents’ objections to the distribution of Chromebooks to all students in one of their elementary schools. Concerns included danger to student privacy, using technology to replace teachers and access to inappropriate sites. The district administration has made attempts to allay these fears, but some parents remain unconvinced.

I think the district administrators should hold parent meetings to demonstrate how the educational apps maintain student privacy and how students are prevented from accessing inappropriate sites. Assuring parents that the technology program will not be used to replace teachers is more problematical.

Online instruction can be used as a replacement or supplement to in-class teaching. My guess is that it will first appear at the high school level when some students want to take a course not being offered or when an insufficient enrollment does not warrant another teacher. Also, some advanced placement (AP) courses may be provided online. Finally, some instruction may be made available to supplement in-class courses.

Hopefully, Cheshire’s technology program will continue unabated. Chromebooks can be a significant instructional tool to facilitate learning, especially when provided to all students for use at school and at home; as is the case in Cheshire.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Medical Records Need to be Stored in the Cloud
Ronald L. Abate

Doctors need to know your medical history before providing treatment. This is necessary in order to avoid procedures or drugs that may be harmful for certain patients. Also, to avoid needless duplication like trying to formulate a diagnosis of an already known condition. Often, the individual may not know much of their own medical history or may be too ill, even unconscious, to provide information. For example, a patient may have had an adverse reaction to a previously administered medication.

Placing ones medical information in the cloud, including dental records, has the potential to provide their medical history instantly to any location in the world at any time. The cloud is the internet where computer applications and stored data are located. All that is needed to retrieve this data is a computer, an internet connection, and a password. The latter is required so only you and your doctor have access to your history. Ideally, the need for passwords can be eliminated through the use of the patient’s physical attributes such as finger prints or a facial scan. This would be required where accident victims are too seriously injured or even unconscious.

Unfortunately, change occurs slowly. The medical establishment should act soon to use the cloud as the place to store medical records. This has the potential to streamline the diagnostic and treatment process. Many lives can be saved.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cost Saving Technology Recommendations for K-12 Schools
Ronald L. Abate
January 2017

K-12 school districts should take advantage of the cost savings that current technology can provide. The following recommendations increase the probability of facilitating instruction while reducing the cost of K-12 education:

1. Provide low cost Chromebooks for all students for use at school and at home. Use of these online (internet based) devices will open avenues to the following efficiencies and economies:
Expensive textbooks can be replaced with Open Educational Resources (OER) which can provide free, online course content in all subjects. No more textbooks to carry.
Reduce the need for libraries as all information is attainable from the internet at any time from any place.
Many student assignments can be completed online reducing the need for paper.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses may be taken online, rather than in a physical classroom. Many of these courses are free with some being offered by colleges.
Provide online instruction to homebound students.
Remove the need for science labs by providing online, virtual experiments.
Institute personalized learning where instruction is provided according to the needs of each student.

2. Replace local school networks with cloud (internet) computing resources. Local networks are expensive to implement and maintain.

3. Use the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor and control energy usage in all school buildings. Lighting and heating will be adjusted automatically according to whether a room is occupied. IoT along with LED bulbs has reduced electricity usage by 84 percent in Cheshire, CT Public Schools. A savings of about $390,000.

4. Provide for online professional development for teachers. Minimize professional development onsite.

5. Minimize use of landline telephones; increase use of VOIP (internet based) telephones. (Note: All Chromebook laptops provide free VOIP phone service.)