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Is Keyboarding in the Classroom Archaic?

I was on one of my tech teacher forums – where I keep up-to-date on changes in education and technology – and stumbled into a heated discussion about what grade level is best to begin the focus on typing (is fifth grade too old – or too young?).

Several teachers shared that keyboarding was the cornerstone of their elementary-age technology program. Others confessed their Admin wanted it eliminated as unnecessary. Still others dismissed the discussion as moot: Tools like Dragon Speak (the standard in speech recognition software) and iPhone’s wildly-popular Siri mean keyboarding will soon be as useful as cursive and floppy discs.

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Living in the Future is Awesome

By Lionel Walters,  Guest Columnist

Some of the most compelling memories I have from my school years involve trips away to see amazing things, or special visits to the school by amazing people. I still have vivid memories of the sights, sounds and even smells of some of the fascinating places we went to, and I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach as I met my favourite author and had him personally autograph some of my most treasured books.

To me, what made these experiences successful was that they lifted my sights and gave me something to aspire to. Unfortunately for many students living in rural areas, these boundary-breaking experiences are few and far between, either because of funding constraints or simply the lack of appropriate people or places to see.

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Keeping Oversea Relationships Close through VoIP and Social Media

By Kristen Vargas, Guest Columnist

Before the emergence of second generation providers such as Skype, I was always a firm believer that face-to-face contact and physical interaction were essential to sustaining healthy relationships. Born and raised in California with most of my family and friends living in the same general vicinity, I grew accustomed to the comfort and convenience of having them nearby.

However, unpredictable life events followed, and I found myself building a life with someone serving in the U.S. Air Force. A natural consequence of this newfound military life meant that I inevitably was going to be moving from base to base to follow my husband as he served his term. The idea of leaving California to live at my first base in Idaho, although temporarily, was a move I was not altogether excited about and left me feeling a bit apprehensive about living in another state for the first time.

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Collaboration: Face-to-Face, Computer-to-Computer

By Shirley Bloomfield, Guest Columnist

In this day and age, there’s no reason that we can’t be face-to-face all of the time.  In the rural telecom business, we are all about using the newest technology to facilitate our meetings, discussions and outreach.  Video conferencing capabilities make it possible to communicate computer-to-computer bringing you face-to-face.  For our organization, what started as an experiment for communicating with members has blossomed into using video technology for so much more.

Our live Web events have become a popular way for us to reach members with critical policy information in a format that enables them to see us and ask questions.  We are able to actually participate in a dialogue using technology—in real time—with our member telecom companies all across the country.  It creates an important connection and delivers on our promise of innovating to support our mission.

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Developing Commerce in Africa: Phone Company in a Box

I never thought of paint as being an important part of the engine of commerce.

That is, until I met Ueli Frei, who heads FUNDES International, an NGO that fosters economic growth among micro-businesses in Latin America. His team helped a group of independent “mom and pop” drug stores band together and operate, in many ways, as a single retailer.

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