From the Editors: A Whole New World

Principal, January/February 2012

Principal, January/February 2012

Do you remember the first computer you used? Was it a Commodore 64 or Macintosh SE/30? Or maybe it was a Sony VAIO laptop. Your answer to this question, and where you used it—as an elementary student, in your college dorm, or at your first job—might help to classify whether you are a baby boomer or a member of Generation X or Generation Y. Having an answer to this question at all sets you apart from our youngest learners, who likely don’t remember the first computer they used because it was as early an experience as learning to tie shoelaces.

This issue of Principal addresses how schools can keep up with—and ahead of—students in the world of technology, focusing on how K-8 schools can use it to enhance instruction. As Nancye Blair describes in her article about new 21st century learners, deliberately and successfully integrating technology is crucial because these students are used to having “the world literally at their fingertips,” and as such, “are capable of engaging in learning at a whole new level.” And it’s not just students who need “constant upgrades.” Educators, schools, and districts all have to use technology in new ways to ensure that they are maximizing resources and learning opportunities.

This issue includes a feature article on restoring peace on the playground and the third installment in the five-part autism series, which provides a fresh perspective: parents. Melanie I. Bloom reveals an unobstructed view of what life is like for a parent of twin daughters with autism and offers suggestions for creating an inclusive school culture. She also penned a supplementary Report to Parents on helping children understand autism, which can be photocopied and sent home to parents.

In addition to these informative theme and feature articles, included in this issue is a preview of the professional development opportunities available to you at NAESP’s 2012 Annual Conference: Best Practices for Better Schools, March 22-24, 2012, in Seattle. Read about the powerful speakers and dynamic program in the special insert, and then find out what the host city has to offer on page 25. We look forward to seeing you in Seattle!

Your comments are always welcome, so send us an email at to let us know what you think about the issue.

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