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Road to the Completed Thesis


1. What is an effective way for introducing Dragon Naturally Speaking into a high school?  
Specifically, does it make sense to allow studnets to train each other with minimal "guide on the side" adult instruction?
What can be a cost-effective way to train studernts?j
If a "how to use Dragon" video were shown to 100 students, would perhaps 60 students figure out how to use Dragon (based on watching the video)?  Could the remaining 40 students learn from their peers?
The training video would be the intervention.
The control group would be a group that is instructed by a teacher.
Could the lower-cost video-led training (supported by peers) train as many students as the teacher?

2.  An aside: a biography of Dr. Fischler would make a terrific dissertation.

(feedback from a professor, June 2011).

1. What can we learn about the various forms of "resistance to change" and "difficulties of persuading colleagues, students and faculty to adapt to a new paradigm"?

2.  What insights can we get from his successes that can be used in tomorrow's work to build "schools of the future"?  

3.  What can we learn from Fischler's blog that can help in the quest to close the "achievement gap" (Tony Warner's list of the seven skills)?

3.  Who else is doing a biography of Fischler?


Dr. Abraham S. Fischler, Ed.D. introduced innovative programs while serving as Nova University's third(?) president (1970-1992).  This biography describes his early years in New York City, his life as a student in Columbia, where he received his Ed.D. his work as a teacher of science in Ossining, N.Y. and his years as a professor at Harvard and UC Berkeley before moving to become president of the fledgling Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The book also gives the first complete survey of the origins and history of the mechanics' institute movement, with which he was particularly associated. Nova University's foray into teaching by satellite was part of the growth of distance education. 
Much of the book is based on interviews with Dr. Fischler and his contemporaries. Archives of the University provided the author with milestones in creating a timeline charting the expansion from Nova's start as a former World War II airfield to the multiple campuses for a total of 29,000 students. The book has an annotated bibliography of Fischler's series of science textbooks, which paved new ground by not providing an answer key to in the teacher's editions of the textbooks.


If I switch the topic to "Dr. Fischer:  Pioneer of Distance Education"

what models could I follow?

I'm reading again your aside about a "biography of Dr. Fischler."

I'm guessing the point would be to have a historical review of the history of distance education and the place of Dr. Fischler's work.

I am preparing to meet with my "committee" at the Summer Conference and I figure it will be good to have something to discuss... in case I decide to explore your suggestion more deeply.

I found a potential model for this thesis idea:


Title: George Birkbeck; Pioneer of Adult Education.

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Title: George Birkbeck; Pioneer of Adult Education.
Authors: Kelly, Thomas
Descriptors: Adult EducationAdult EducatorsBiographiesHistoryIndustrializationLabor EducationLibrariesLiteracyLower ClassPhysiciansSocioeconomic InfluencesTrade and Industrial Education
Source: N/A
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
Publisher: Liverpool University Press, Bedford House, 75 Bedford Street South, Liverpool 7, England (45s. net)
Publication Date: 1957-00-00
Pages: 390
Pub Types: N/A
Abstract: George Birkbeck, known to the present generation principally as the founder of Birkbeck College, was a Quaker doctor and teacher who played a leading role in a great variety of educational institutions and movements in the first half of the nineteenth century. This biography describes his early years in Yorkshire, his life as a student in Edinburgh, his work as a teacher of science in Glasgow and his medical and educational activities in London. It also gives the first complete survey of the origins and history of the mechanics' institute movement, with which he was particularly associated. This great adult education movement provided the starting point for many of our modern public libraries and technical colleges. Appendixes include a bibliography of Birkbeck's letters and a listing of mechanics' institutions recorded in Great Britain up to 1851, which shows the growth and geographical distribution of these institutions. (Author/DM)


The education of John Dewey:  a biography

Toward a Reconsideration of Biography and Other Forms of Life Writing as a Focus for Teaching Educational Administration


Biography and other forms of life writing have been neglected sources in teaching educational administration. The main reasons for this neglect can be traced to the field's positivistic definition of science and research methods that marginalized anything not considered "objective." These biases continue to dominate the major texts and approaches. Change has been fostered by a concern for the absence of morality in preparing educational leaders, a continuing confusion between management and leadership, and emerging concerns for preparing the "reflective practitioner." How instructors of educational administration use biography and other forms of life writing is dependent on how they view the efficacy of the field. Criteria are presented by which instructors can select forms of life writing for use in graduate curricula and methodological examples are discussed as to how they may be used in the process of instruction.

Assessing School Council Contribution to the Enabling Conditions for Instructional Capacity Building: An Urban District in KentuckyEducation and Urban Society August 1, 2006 38419-454 
(cite this article as a justification for studying biographies)