Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inside the Cyber Studio: Larry Ferlazzo

Due to the popular response I've decided to issue two columns a week instead of one. I will post one at the beginning (monday) of the week and then one at the end (friday). Otherwise, it would just take to long to get through all of them.

Keep in mind the questions might change from time to time (especially as technology changes), and I'm looking to provide other formats as well (audio/video).

I hope you all find this to be a fun/exciting journey as we get to learn a bit more about each other and why we love technology & education.


Larry Ferlazzo
blog: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/

  1. Where do you live? Work in Sacramento, CA and live in Davis, CA
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? 6 years
  3. What OS/platform do you use for work? Windows
  4. What is your favorite Web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? I think I have to list two: VoiceThread (http://voicethread.com/#home) makes it so easy to integrate photos, audio, video and text into an academic product. And the fact that it allows audio commenting is "icing on the cake" by letting people interact w/ user creations. It's an ideal application for English Language Learners. The second is File2.ws. It lets you immediately create a webpage by just uploading a document from your computer. It's a wonderful way for students and anybody else to get introduced to user-created content by using tech that is more familiar to then (such as Word).
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? Again, I have to share two. I think there are a number of people who are heavily invested in ed tech and almost think it's a "magic bullet" of sorts that will revolutionize schooling. Personally, I think edtech is a tool -- no more, no less -- that, used correctly (especially if it's used to develop and deepen face-to-face relationships) can be an excellent tool in an educator's toolkit. However, I believe that there are many teachers out there who know very little about tech and are still far better teachers than I will ever be. They are able to help students develop an appetite for knowledge that can be applied towards gaining whatever knowledge they want, including tech. On the other hand, there are many people, including eduators, who believe it is difficult and complicated to use tech in and educational setting. I believe that all you need to know to effectively integrate tech in learning is email and the ability to copy and paste.
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? To tell you the truth, I haven't been experiencing many hurdles at all. I don't fight any content filtering battles because I've taken the time to develop relationships with all key School District staff, and, even though not all the sites I'd like to use are unblocked, there are always plenty of alternative apps that function as adequate replacements and that are not blocked. It would be nice if all the equipment worked perfectly all the time, but it would also be nice if somebody gave me a million dollars. Neither is ever going to happen :)
  7. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? Our school has a family literacy project which provides computers and home internet access to immigrant families to help them learn English. I was given a significant award by the International Reading Association.
  8. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? My only setbacks are when I don't know how to do a thing technically, and, in those instances (which happen fairly often), either Alice Mercer (http://mizmercer.edublogs.org/) or Sue Waters (http://suewaters.com/) always come to my rescue!
  9. Who/What has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? I have seen that it has had a tremendous beneficial impact on English Language Learners. Watching students and their families develop a greater capacity in English, which is the "language of power" in our country, is great.
  10. Where do you see technology integration heading in the future? I don't think I'd hazard a guess here, though I hope it keeps on "lowering the bar" for people not familiar with tech and that apps just become easier and easier to use.
  1. What is your favorite book? Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone
  2. What is your favorite movie? Two -- Casablanca and It's A Wonderful LIfe
Next on Cyber Studio: Buffy J. Hamilton

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