Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Bandwidth is like Air - Don't suffocate student learning opportunities

Yesterday I got a chance to read a response that Craig Lyndes provided to someone asking "What is the minimum bandwidth per student or device that we need to plan for?"

My reaction was ... THIS ADVICE is so SPOT on, it feels like a blog post.  Craig gave me permission to share this advice as a blog post.   Thank you Craig for sharing over 30 years of experience in educational technology and your relentless commitment to ACCESS!

At this point I think bandwidth is the air that our technology initiatives need to stay alive.  If we want teachers and students who are competent users of technology and we want the benefits that technology can bring to our students' learning we can't be suffocating them. 

You say you have a fiber connection so I assume you are capable of getting a Gig.  I would highly recommend doing that - remember that is what e-rate was meant for.  
If you had a room in your school with poor air circulation you would not spend huge sums of money designing and implementing a machine that would identify each student, drop a mask down and meter out the oxygen.  Teachers get as much air as they want, kids have to breath like deep sea divers and guests are on their own. 

You would fix the problem by putting in an air system sufficient to allow everyone to breath as much as they wanted and have some extra for special occasions. 

Ask your people what they want.  I'll bet they want their technology to be simple, dependable and fast.  Use your technical expertise to provide them with what they want.  Spend your money and energy on education.  If you want to tinker and do amazing technology create with a raspberry pi.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here but my inability to convince people who have a vested interest in control and obfuscation  makes me appreciate an opportunity to discuss with like minds.

For those who don't know Craig.....  Let me repost a blog post I did the year he won the the Frank Watson Award for his commitment to ACCESS!

--- reposted from

Each year the Vermont educational technology community selects an award recipient to received the Frank Watson educational technology award.  (Learn more about Frank Watson,  the father of information technology in Vermont at   This year, Frank not only participated in the 25th anniversary of Vermont’s primary educational technology conference, he also presented the  Frank Watson award  to Craig Lyndes, network administrator at St. Albans City School, Fairfield Community School, and Franklin Central Supervisory Union.   

Frank’s message to the group of over 500 Vermont educators was that “we’ve got a lot of stuff. And what we need to do is learn to use that stuff to make sure that our students are thinking, that they are creative, and that they are enabled by this stuff.  How do we do that. These are the same question we were asking 25 years ago.”  Frank urged educators to go back and reread the works of Seymour Papert and Jerome Brunner and revisit their important advice about getting students to think and develop creative problem solving skills.
He then proceeded to introduce the winner of this year’s Frank Watson award as a man who has committed to giving students and teachers access to the technology tools in Vermont schools in ways that supports this all important goal.
 “I’ve had a ton of experience with this person.Early on when I was at UVM, and I got bit by the bug (or the byte) I went to this person’s school to see what was going on and I ended up with him and some other people in a very interesting situation..
A sort of an open ACCESS lab of computers filled with kids filled with kids using the machines and learning how to do it..
 ACCESS!  that word is a very important word for this person
ACCESS not only to students but also to teachers that makes a very easy entrance to what they are doing...
Its very important that this happens because if it looks like its too difficult then people are going to say “NO”  I’m not going to do it;  I’m not going to use that equipment...
This person understands that ACCESS point and how to manipulate it to get it to people in the school’s he’s working with..
This person has experience in 4 major school districts in this state and has impact on all four. Fortunately I have had an opportunity to see him at work in 3 of those districts and was always welcomed and always learned something before I left..
If this person knows who they are right now, they should be getting ready t come up here
I’m going to give one more clue,
This person is a person I could have a conversation with about something called Wintermute.  We have some people who remember what Wintermute use to be…
Will Craig Lyndes please come up and receive the 2010 Frank Watson educational leadership award."

I am so pleased that the Vita-Learn has focused on the importance of access in the equation of  successful implementation of a vision for the use of technology in schools. Craig  has been such a strong advocate of access and working so diligently over the past 25 years to bringing
it to Vermont schools.  Whether it be his earlier efforts with
"Wintermute"  and with the CVU bulletin board (note the long list of
"STUDENTS"  who ran this BBS  from 1985 - 1995 at )   or his most recent initiatives
to increase access and connect the FCSU to each other and the internet via fiber.  Craig
thank you for using your energy and resources to improve access in
ways that move Vermont school's forward  to fulfilling the vision that
Frank Watson and so many others have for our students.
----- I'm so proud to be married to this man!