FETC Interview: John Kuglin

T.H.E. Journal had the opportunity to discuss a few pressing issues with JohnKuglin, one of the many featured speakers at this year's FETC.

Kuglin is vice president of education and training programs for ComChoice Inc., the only North American affiliate licensed and certified to author Warner Bros. feature films on DVD. Currently, Kuglin is co-directing the Earth Observing System (EOS) Project, a NASA-funded research project. The EOS Project places cutting-edge satellite imagery and data sets directly into the hands of classroom teachers.


T.H.E.: How do you think technology can be used to meet the requirements of the newly signed No Child Left Behind Act of 2001?

Kuglin: Accountability seems to be the word coming out of Washington, D.C. Advancements in technology certainly play a vital role in helping schools address the demands of this legislation. Educational leaders need to take advantage of this technological environment to meet the accountability requirement. There seems to be one trend that is ahead of the pack in meeting this goal. We have heard the word 'convergent' for many years now. However, what's new about the concept today is the fact that seemingly unrelated fields of technology are now converging into a common interface. The convergence zone or common interface is, of course, the Internet.

Furthermore, advancements in connectivity to the home and school through satellite, cable and phone have had a tremendous impact on our society by increasing the flow and speed of information. Continued innovations in Web-based software applications and online community-building environments are far exceeding anything we could have imagined a few years ago. Couple these advancements with the declining cost and increasing power of computing devices (Moore's Law) and you have a new environment in which schools can address the accountability demands through tools such as powerful online student instructional and management systems. These systems link instruction to standards with real-time accessibility by parents, students and teachers.


T.H.E.: How can your company's work with DVDs be used to enhance K-12 through higher education and corporate classroom resources?

Kuglin: DVD presents an unprece-dented world of opportunity for the education sector. Lessons can take place virtually anywhere via portable DVD players, thus appealing to mobile classrooms and on-the-go administrators seeking to upgrade their skills. Makeup classes can occur without tying up an instructor's time and interrupting the progress of the rest of the class, while providing precisely the same instruction the students who were in attendance received. Substitute teachers have no fears of lesson plan confusion. Home-schoolers, as well as traditional students, receive a fully realized curriculum via a multimedia experience that also allows for pausing and instant replay of the lesson for review and discussion. The sophistication of the medium provides an opportunity to experience lessons as never before by making the viewer an active participant in the quest for knowledge rather than a passive recipient of information.

DVD also makes it possible to incorporate emerging federal and state standards into the curriculum in a more timely fashion than is currently possible with the lengthy textbook adoption cycle. Also key is the fact that DVD enables up to eight languages on a single disc, with language selection as easy as the click of a mouse or remote control button. This capability helps level the playing field and further ensures that all students receive an equal educational experience.


T.H.E.: What is the goal of the EOS Project?

Kuglin: Our collective mission supports teacher and student understanding of complex global ecosystems and the role humans play in affecting these systems. We use a variety of digital solutions to foster understanding about the Earth and inculcate integrated perspectives to successfully meet the global challenges of the next millennium.

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.