Computers as easily can be used to destroy learning as to enhance it.

Seymore Papert
"What about your idea on networking? How do you expect it to improve learning?"

Lars-Erik: Hi my new friends on the net,
For what seems like a long time ago (and in my count 29 messages) Patti asked me if I could join this group for a discussion. International as she has become she said.

Aloha, Asalam Alaikum, Shalom, Bom dia, Hej (is this correct, Lars-Erik?) and big "hello" hugs from the Eastern Shore of Maryland,

Yes Hej is correct. It is the Swedish word that corresponds to the English Hi. Bom Dia would be more formal in our language and translate into God Dag. These are words I could write and hope that they will displayed on your screens. Others would be destroyed lacking our original Swedish characters. Well enough of Swedish lessons. If you want to know more just ask Lynne. She can tell you all the words for Swedish courses she survived eating.

Patti has her special positive way of greeting people as you have seen. Hugs and claps and cheers. Never in one word would she reveal what a pain I can be endlessly discussing and fighting ideas (for mostly I think). Maybe it's because most of the time we have shared opinions. Come to think of it she collects strange friends. Hannah and David are also strongminded people and little silent Lynne you all know:-)

So what can I bring to this group. I don't know. I've been a teacher for 25 years now.

Adri: There's an important key inside this simple sentence, Lars... The time... It makes things change and the ones who lived and still live the changings are treasures... The Present must be full of Past and Future...

Lars-Erik: I started using computers in school in 1980 when all you did disappeared and you had to do it again next day. I started to beleive in computers as tool to be used in schools in 1984 when I worked with children with dysfunctions.

Adri: There's another important thing here... The ones that have difficulties. I would like to learn from you because your experience would probably bring some answers to lots of problems of my school. I also have this kind of student there...

Lars-Erik: The things the kids could do with computers were fantastic and in my mind has been kept the thought I had then. "When computers can do this for a child no one can argue they are to expensive".

Adri: Prices... Authorithies don't understand the relation between prices and results...

Lars-Erik: In 1989 (I think) I started using the net old BBS fashion. It was in the "one-computer-on-the-school-connected-at-2400-days" and I can't honestly say we used communications very much. But we did a lot of desk top publishing and spreadsheet and database work.

Everything I know about practical networking I learnt during the first years of Kidlink. I was coerced in there by Dan Wheeler into the worst of all Kidlink activities. It was a hard school but I learnt a lot. It was also through Kidlink I picked up all those strange people that to some extent have invaded this list. I who thought networking would mean staying by the computer. I who had not travelled very much since my flower child days started flying around like a business globe trotter.

So that way I have actually met our little convert nun, the thin grumpy former Canadian, the large Israelian lady and my flower power companion from Israel before and some of them have bowed their neck to fit into the chair by my computer here in the attic.

Adri: Oh... I arrived here on August... I would like to be there too... Who knows someday I will be inside your list of Kidfriends???

Lars-Erik: But I am not a teacher anymore. I got so caught up in research about computers and learning that I couldn't stop myself. So last Christmas I left teaching. The beauty about my new job is I can devote all time to scan the earth for projects and ideas and the only request from my employer is that I bring the knowledge back to my department.

That way I can join Lynne and Patti in all sorts of crazy projects. And I have booked them for another Sweden trip in the autumn.

Now to the serious part. Patti didn't tell me if she wanted me here to be a jolly good fellow or to be a pain. So I'll just enter through the backdoor being what I am so good at "a pain".

Adri: I am not sure if I understood what you mean here... ;-( Patti, HELP!!! Adri, Lars-Erik is teasing us. (implicar com) He says he is a "aborrecimento." Nunca! Nunca! - Patti

Lars-Erik: I read your plans titled "3/2/98 planning meeting". It's always nice with a time line but I was kind of wondering about contents. What about your idea on networking? How do you expect it to improve learning?

The advantage of moving to the type of job I have now is of course that I see a lot of schools working with computers. It has made me painfully aware of the fact that Seymore Papert states that computers as easily can be used to destroy learning as to enhance it. Thoughts around that usually haunts me when I try to look at what is happening.

A. What is Kidlink?
Kidlink is one of many existing networking communites for children. I don't know if it is the largest but it has had to divide and divide into sections many times to be able to form managable groups. Many of us here have experiences in networking through Kidlink. My experiences comes mainly from Kidcafe and Kidart. I did kid a bit about Dan dragging me into the worst part of Kidlink but somehow I think maybe I was brought in as an enforcer. By the time I arrived there were 15 000 messages a year in Kidcafe and I can tell you that people with little experience and only one computer were writing me almost crying. Little experience sometimes meant they were not aware of what a mailing list was. They thought they would be writing to somebody and somebody would be writing back. So you would have your class writing a message to the list and then you'd recive more then 50 messages a day and try to find out if any of them were for your pupils. Understandably people gave up but since they didn't understand mailing lists they did also not understand how to unsign. Well those were the days. Today I don't ecourage people to carry out keypal exchange on a large mailing list. That's professional suicide. In fact I have written a small piece on our webpages on how to succeed.

Today the largest problem with Kidcafe is getting it moderated. Teachers wants moderation not to be hit by a "bad message". I have 7 kids that helps me. Every year I have recruited three or four and some have left. This year I have tried through messages to the coordinator list twice but not got any replies

I also run Kidart. The last two years I have arranged exhibitions that displays art kids send in. It's nice art

but I don't like the form of the project. It's just a repository and I think it should involve a communicative process like in Pattis Global Schoolroom. That is a great project in a spirit I share.

Adri: I would like to discuss more about KIDART. I am an Art teacher and I have some ideas... If you want, we can share them...

Lars-Erik: B/ How do teachers make global connections?
There are many ways. Nowadays there are Network like the Global School Net who connects schools. There are also a lot of school organisations that devote space to present schools. Sometimes I roam the web just to see if there is a school that do specially interesting work and then I tell schools I know it might be worth to contact them. But I also want to point out that the perhaps best thing with Kidlink is that you find other teachers there and can connect with them on projects. I have done that many times and it works very well. And as Patti would tell you that when you get used to things one way to connect is to run your own project in Kidproj.

Well know I have to stop before you think I am a write-o'holic and before my daughter and son falls into a fight about whether Israel is a European or Asian nation.

Please David, Hannah help me out!!! Write Max and tell me its not in Europe. He doesn't belive me.

And to the rest of you. By for now. Food is calling and my mind is muddled.