OK…. Sorry. It’s an obscure reference to my favorite puppet movie. The truth is I, as of this date, am not into reading or commenting on blogs. Mostly because writers and (mostly) commenter’s do nothing to credential themselves either by deed or by explanation. That way, their readers are left to assume that they are an authority on their subject matter. Fair enough. The internet (which I have recently learned is now on computers….(sorry, another cartoon reference)), is an unregulated place and blogs are a spawning ground for unregulated opinion. I will get to my bio in a minute. First let’s investigate the topic sets going forward.
This space will be reserved for discussion concerning the technical and application discussions surrounding Unified Collaboration, Telepresence, Immersive Technologies, Audio Visual Integration, and all the technologies built (and being built) to allow folks in disparate locations to exchange information. Sounds easy…
For the record, I am Joe Rodella. A long time ago I acquired a BS in Business Administration which does little to credential this blog. That said, for the past 25 years I have been one of the owners of RoData, which since the early ’90′s, has been building its practice and its skill set in the world of visual collaboration. We are Polycom and Cisco Tandberg partners. We design and build conference rooms that employ various technologies for communication and local presentation. We engage in the mass deployment of video conferencing (VC) to the desktop and design muliti-point solutions for all of the above. We also work to design and implement the networks that work with these technologies. It’s also reasonable to mention that the company has a strong presence in educational and governmental markets that compliment its enterprise business. In actuality, many of these technologies revolve around education, regardless of the market, so expertise is… expertise.
Back to me, I spent a significant amount of my 25 years being the company technologist and helping to define the technologies RoData would engage in and being responsible for the technical knowledge from a Sales and (sometimes) an operational perspective.
In 2002, I was elected to a School Board in suburban Pittsburgh and got a look at the technology, or lack thereof, being utilized in classrooms. It should be noted that I do not consider multi-colored chalk or a PC connected to a projector to be technology. I also got an education in how money is acquired and spent in public schools. I spent two of those years as President of that Board, which got me a voice in the agenda of the district. I retired after one four year term so I could take a job as a high school hockey coach. Pretty selfish, I know..
From there I was invited to serve as a Board Member for the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the largest and most educationally successful school of this model in PA. It was there that I saw what technology could bring to the educational landscape. I also saw the fear that this caused in the traditional brick and mortar districts and their largely failed attempts to copy the success PACCS. It was also apparent that the Cyber Charter model has an economic model that not only works, but allows itself to re-invest and re-invent itself quickly as technology grew and students adapted. Not perfect, but interesting.
Most importantly, I had experienced the strengths and weaknesses of both educational approaches and saw glimpses of the educational revolution that will be taking place in the US very shortly.
I served on the PACCS Board until spring of 2011 when time (and my new hockey job as a club hockey coach at the University of Pittsburgh) got the best of me. As such, I am now filled with all sorts of opinions on technology and education, and no board meetings to give them…
I guess we now know why I am willing to break the promise of my blog title. Now, if I can just get someone to listen.
In my next post, I will give my take on the educational battle lines that are being drawn in the Cyber vs Brick and Mortar revolution. Look for it in a few days. It’s Thanksgiving weekend and I have sandwiches to eat…