Friday, October 5, 2007

I need to write more often!

Ok, I have to write more often or I need to be out of the blogosphere. Today I am up at TICAL. TICAL is an organization that brings representatives of 19 regions in California to explore Ed Tech issues. It's a great organization made up of school and district administrators who are technology experts. If you want great tools and resources, register at TICAL. Especially great is the work done by Susan Brooks-Young on Webtools 2.0. We are using these tools at our school and what an impact. Especially useful is the "Google docs". Feature. Susan is a national educational treasure and travels all over the country spreading the values of utilizing technology to improve education.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New School Year

So we started the new school year with new attendance boundaries. That meant 220 more students and new teachers and buildings. The best part about utilizing technology as your fundamental content presentation component (translation for you admin types: providing direct instruction using your computer and projector) means new teachers can plug right in and be up to speed very quickly. Our teachers share their lessons with their grade level colleagues, so the new staff had no trouble getting up to speed with our program. If you walk around the school, you could not tell the new teachers from the regulars by looking at their content. Compliments to the teachers for their collaboration and good attitudes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Single Computing Platform In Education

Many schools and districts have moved towards a single computer platform, i.e. Windows or in some more thoughtful instances, Mac OS . Without denigrating either decision, I would suggest these choices should be driven by the education side of our profession, not the IT side. (Can you imagine a successful company being forced to abandon innovative practices that obviously enhance the product because it's too hard for the IT guys to provide service for that innovation?)

I only bring this up because today during a very excellent math in-service, several PowerPoints were transferred to a Windows platform laptop for presentation. In each case, custom animation effects were lost during the transition. Remember this is Microsoft's software running on Windows XP. And there is an obvious compatability issue.

With all due respect, I feel compelled to point out that throughout daily use of PowerPoint in every classroom in my school for the last three years (where teachers constantly share files through use of disk keys and email), I have yet to hear one example where animation effects were lost on our Apple Powerbooks.

More on this later.
Meanwhile, think about what kind of textbooks we would buy if we only considered price and ease of storage, transport, and labeling. That would sure make it easier for the district warehouse folks, not to mention the clerks that label them. Would we do that?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Ok, so the iPhone looks like an amazing piece of engineering, especially when they do that flip-it sideways thing (go to to see the tour.) As an educator, I see potential for that technology to become the answer to several issues that currently affect our kids, one in particular:
BACKPACKS!!!! (I hate 'em, for a variety of reasons. They seem to swallow homework, they hide all kinds of stuff you don't want at school, and they facilitate the idea that big heavy books are better.My daughter humps a pack worthy of basic training.)

The good news: the new adoptions are all including "online versions" which can be accessed on the Web. I can see devices like the iPhone's internet access giving kids anywhere-anytime access to their books without the back injuries. More on this later. Happy Fourth of July!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Ok, I don't have one and don't see myself getting one until the price comes down. I see some great possibilities for it in education. I'll provide more info on this later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Are Smart Boards a smart purchase?

Should you purchase Smart Boards for your school?
The short answer: Only if your teachers already have and know how to use laptops and projection devices (LCD projector, good sized TV, etc.) If you have not already provided the afore-mentioned equipment and training, there's a good chance those Smart Boards will end up looking like a real expensive overheads. More on this subject later.
Remember: Ready, FIRE, Aim! is not a good technique to use in considering tech purchases. More than one school I know of went out and bought Smart Boards not realizing they also needed to buy projectors!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ed Tech Tips for K12 Administrators

On Wednesday I presented at the Fresno County Office of Education Tech Conference for Administrators up at the Tenaya Lodge. Just the fact that we had a conference like that is encouraging, given school administrators are the least tech-savvy members of our profession.
The PowerPoint presentation I used is on my website( and will will provide some useful opinions on what good educational technology integration looks like.

Here is today's tech tip for tech integration. If you visit this blog often, you'll see this one repeated a few times. This one is the fundamental component of ed tech at your school:

Use a computer and projection device for DIRECT INSTRUCTION. In other words, train teachers to use PowerPoint, Keynote, Excel, Word, Appleworks and/or iLife to present engaging content to their students. LOSE the overhead, blackboard, whiteboard, and flip chart except for the rare occasions that is the only medium that will work. I guarantee your students will come alive . Check out the previously mentioned PowerPoint for more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What does CTA stand for??

By the way, CTA is the California Teachers Association, who I normally view as a positive influence on education. Not in this case, though.

No CST for second graders...yay or nay??

Wow, this bloggin' stuff can be addicting......Great news from Sacramento! Second graders don't take the CST any more. That's the test our students take to measure their learning growth. I hope CTA is happy. They led the effort to spare those little 8 year-olds the trauma of testing. (I have a bunch of third graders that enjoyed ice skating, water park and baseball game trips, regular monthly prizes and special status 'cause they succeeded on the CST as second graders. Good thing we're going to save next year's class from that terror.
Second grade proficiency scores tend to be higher than other grades. There will be schools go into PI (program improvement) status 'cause they won't get that percentage bump from those second graders.
Next year the proficiency target jumps to 37%, about a 12% jump. Some of my calculations show a drop of about 4% in the average school's proficiency level. Nice job and impeccable timing, CTA!

my "m" key doesn't work

A teacher spilled coffee on my mac keyboard and my m key doesn't work. If I took a few minutes to open the keyboard up, I could clean it and wouldn't keep having to copy and pasting the m in when I need it. That's why my previous post had the word "soe" in it where it should have been "some".
I have a 17 inch Apple titanium laptop. It's the best laptop you could get back two years ago. I always have the best laptop and the biggest monitor(Apple Cinema Display) in Fresno Unified School District. Especially the biggest monitor. If I see anyone with a bigger one I will upgrade mine. I bet therapy would help me.

What took me so long?

I should have put this up two years ago. Oh. well, no use crying about spilt milk. Lord knows, we need to be talking about this stuff. Well, just so you'll know what's up with this site, first I'll tell you about me.
I' m Jack Jarvis, principal of Hidalgo Elementary School in Fresno CA. I also operate an educational technology consulting group called California Educational Technology Association. While I enjoy being a principal, I hope to retire tommorow (just kidding). I hope to work with schools around the state that want to step out of the dark ages of teaching and into the brave new world.
Since this is my first post, I'll be polite and not tell you what's wrong with our profession. If you want to see my website, go to Find the examples page to see soe of what we do, and we'll get back to you.