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73 - Special Report from Corning, New York - Schools & Technology Events

1. Managing the Demand Side of Knowledge Management: The more we look under the hood at the Knowledge Management products and services coming to the marketplace, the more the focus seems askew. Most Knowledge Management efforts seem focused on increasing the amount of information that will be available to employees. Sure, we need to make sure that the RIGHT information is available to the RIGHT people to make the RIGHT decisions. Yet, the bias towards increasing the supply side of knowledge and information worries me.

Most folks are complaining about having TOO MUCH information already. Many are overwhelmed by the flow of information to their desktops already, before major knowledge management systems are dropped into place. A colleague of mine that is in the top echelon of knowledge management consultants shared this fear with me off the record. He is more concerned with impacting the DEMAND side of the knowledge economy within an organization. We share the worry that some of the IT focus of the knowledge management industry is ignoring the weakening appetite for additional bits of information, no matter how helpful.

2. New On-Line Learning System from ReCor and Free Course: ReCor has launched a new on-line learning system entitled SkillSpace. This is a java-enabled system that allows organizations to deliver and administer courses on-line without the learner having to download the contents to their desktop. To demonstrate the functionality of SkillSpace, ReCor is offering a free on-line class. With four lessons from ReCor's Network Based Training for Netscape Communicator 4.0, the course provides interactive training in a simulated Netscape Communicator environment. Check out this new product and sample course at

3. Schools & Technology: It is Not About Wiring!: I spent a wonderful day on Monday with several hundred school administrators, teachers and community leaders in the Corning, New York area. They are tackling the critical issue of how to proceed with technology in the schools. Here are a few items that surfaced during my presentation and dialogues:

* It is not about wiring or hardware. The conversation in schools needs to switch to content, collaboration, community and learning models for technology. The power of the internet is shifting the dialogue to a vision of how information will be used in the lives of the students and their families, not just about dropping in a few PC's into the back of the classroom.
* Technology will shift twice in the next six years. Nobody can really predict the pathway of future technology. Will wireless LAN's replace Ethernet in schools? Will Palm-like devices be the form factor of choice? Will voice recognition make its way into classrooms? Yet, schools don't need to make these bets. They do need to have a value base of how to evaluate new and emerging technologies for their benefit to the learning mission and to develop a process for experimenting short of the bleeding edge.
* Community leaders can help shape the technology decisions. I was impressed with the role that community groups, like the Corning Corporation are playing in this process. Schools cannot make these decisions in isolation. There are great resources waiting to be invited into the process that can bring strong IT and management visions to the table.

At TechLearn '98 we will add a session to look at the ways in which training and technology professionals can assist school districts with their computer and learning planning.

4. Disney Behind the Scene Tours Now Open at TechLearn '98: With just 6 weeks until TechLearn '98, we are pleased to announce that there will be 4 special Behind the Scene's Tours of Disney and a one day trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center. On Sunday, November 15th, participants in TechLearn and their families can choose an optional 1/2 day or full day tour of the inner workings of Disney or the launch site for America's space program. The MASIE Center has arranged for these tours which will take you under the tunnels at Disney, explore Disney's approach to design or focus in on the gardening methods used at the parks. Or, you can hop on a bus and visit the launch site for the Space Shuttle (which will be carrying Senator Glenn in just a few weeks). These tours are open to TechLearn '98 participants and their families and have an admission fee. For information about these tours or to register for TechLearn '98, just to

5. Trends Adds 20,000 Reader: TechLearn Trends is proud to announce that we now have over 20,000 readers. This publication started at the end of November 1997 with just 935 readers. It has grown steadily and we thank our readers for their involvement, emails and thank you notes. In the next year we hope to continue this model of a short, targeted and opinionated update for the learning and technology field. Thanks! Elliott Masie

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