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The current ideas of Web 2.0 -- creating Internet content and using the Web for social interactions -- and one-to-one computing, giving each student access to a personal technology device -- are ones that could transform education. Yet, because of cost, lack of professional development, and sometimes concerns about safety and cheating, schools still are not moving rapidly in that direction.

Young people, meanwhile, have plunged ahead. "Teachers are excited about e-mailing and searching -- kids are excited about text-messaging and social networking," said Krueger. "Kids have moved on to online collaborations."

"Kids already are doing this," added Susan McLester, editor-in-chief of Technology & Learning. "They are not asking permission -- they are just doing this -- and seeing how it can be put to good use."

"When they publish personal blogs, they are thinking longer and more deeply on certain topics."

Many educators still are wary of the devices that have become standard issue for teens and pre-teens and the access these devices give students. "Most of the technology kids own -- like cell phones, iPods -- schools dont have enough of or ban use of them," said Krueger. "Schools still are not re-looking at education."

iPods, for example, can be used to transfer large digital files. But many schools are forbidding students to bring iPods to class because they can download formulas and test answers onto them. Cell phones also are banned from many classrooms in part because administrators fear students will send text messages to each other with test answers.

Still, changes are coming. Technology is being used more for administrative tasks and certain evaluations. "Some schools are using handheld computers for formative assessments," noted Hendrie.

"Classroom uses of social bookmarking sites, wikis, and blogs allow easy collaboration on projects as well as a means of publishing ones work to a wider audience of parents and community -- if not the world," noted Johnson. "Teachers are using more Web resources, including streaming video, increasing the demand for LCD projectors."

And while there still is wide-spread concern about social networking sites, technology observers are seeing more examples of teachers assigning blogs for homework and of educators realizing how motivating online work is for students. "Everyone in the class can see what theyre doing and ask people to comment online," said McLester.

"When they publish personal blogs, they are thinking longer and more deeply on certain topics," McLester continued. "They get very involved with each other, get motivated, and work after hours. They see that it [writing] is not just for school -- it has a real-life feel to it. And parents can see what kids are doing in school."

Todays students tend to find online, collaborative work more engaging than the typical classroom lesson. "Kids say they can work on more in-depth projects; you can give them the task of investigating a problem," McLester noted. "You get more out of some kids than you normally would. Kids are becoming empowered by this technology. But it is not coming as naturally to educators."

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AND THE PLAN IS Theres lots of fun stuff out there, but instead of buying the latest and greatest, first determine what problems you need to solve. Then find the tools that provide the solutions.