Updates - From the Office of the NYIT President
Oct 05 2010
Welcoming Remarks, Google Apps Initiative

Good morning and welcome.  Thank you for joining us this morning. This is an exciting day for NYIT. We welcome our partners, the New York State Teacher Centers, who work closely with the New York State United Teachers, and the United Federation of Teachers to develop and implement teacher training across New York state. We also welcome our newest friends from Google, who in a few minutes will share the news we are here … to hear.

As I am sure everyone will agree, this is an exciting time to be in the field of education, a time of change. In his book, The Way We Will Be, pollster John Zogby discusses the need to adapt to changing times. He calls the students in our classrooms today the "First Globals" and asserts they see what other age groups do not. Their lives are public and interconnected in ways not possible in pre-Internet times. There is little question that today, students worldwide differ dramatically from the generation that preceded them. In America for the past few years, we have accepted that a student entering an American college will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games, sent or received 200,000 e-mails, watched 20,000 hours of television, and talked or texted for more than 10,000 hours on their smart phones. But they will have spent less than 5,000 hours reading from the printed page.

As the president of a not-for-profit New York-based university with campuses in the Middle and Far East, as well as online, I can share that the students who enter our university in those regions or the students from 106 nations who come to us in New York are not all that different when it comes to living in a digitally connected world. This trend of constant multimedia communication and activity will only accelerate for the students who follow.

Clearly, the 21st-century teaching and learning process has to evolve to reach this multimedia, multitasking, multi-linked mobile generation of students. If not, we will be committing intellectual and academic fraud by choosing channels of communications that are "so last-century" that they are ineffective and a major disconnect with our audience. A teacher with his or her back to the class writing on a chalk or white board is not going to cut it. We must adopt the technology that tomorrow's students know, the technology that will allow us to connect more closely with them. And in doing so, we will begin to see dramatic changes that will reach beyond the physical classroom. We will see a redefining of what a classroom is, and we will experience the shifting and expanding boundaries of our schools and universities.

So as technology and information evolve at breakneck speeds while our economy sputters, the educational environment we find ourselves in has also proved challenging. Those who’ve seen the recent documentary, Waiting for Superman, will recall these chilling statistics:

  • By 2020, the United States will have 123 million high-skill jobs to fill—and fewer than 50 million Americans qualified to fill them.
  • Among 30 developed countries, the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science.
  • The annual cost of prison for an inmate is more than double what is spent on an individual public school student.

The good news? The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invested heavily in education, and programs such as the Race to the Top and Educate to Innovate provide federal support to combat our domestic educational shortcomings.  In fact, NYIT’s own Stan Silverman has been working closely with the Islip, N.Y., public schools as well as the New York State Teacher Centers and BOCES on a federal grant centered on a new professional development model that integrates emerging technologies – something they’ve dubbed Technology Empowered Teacher Centers. This is built on our existing model of successful public-private partnerships, and the grant -- supported by local, state and federal unions, the state department of education and many others -- was designed to deliver thousands of hours of professional development each year to teachers in New York and help other locations around the U.S. develop Technology Empowered Teacher Centers.

So, there is much to be done, and the public-private partnerships I just spoke of are among the many solutions to issues facing all of us in education.

And that is why we are here today. In the span of just 15 years, Google has evolved from a garage-based startup to an industry icon, from a scantly used noun describing near infinity to a verb used round the world every millisecond. I Google every day … do you?

I understand that 8 million students use Google Apps – you see I Googled Google, and that’s what I found out. Google realizes that education can harness the power of their communication and collaborative tools within the Google Apps suite, and within their suite, they’ve developed sample lesson plans and content specifically targeting education. Impressive.

Learn more

Google Apps to be Implemented in K-12 Schools Across New York State