It is wireless technology that put Thomas Friedman's 'earth flatteners' on steroids. Will cloud technologies have a significant impact on education? For this to happen, school districts will have to consider what roles will be played by the following puzzle pieces:
1] WiFi Networks: For the past 5 years or so, these networks have slowly moved from dream towards reality in blanketing cities across North America and Europe (Montreal, San Francisco, London...). Will school districts seriously consider the potential of wireless, especially in light of the following realities.
2] Sub-Notebooks: These'air'computers currently include the recently released Asus EEE, and Macbook Air. These computers begin the migration from powerful adaptable hardware, to micro-machines that can take advantage of wireless technologies to do online work. These 'windows to the web' may lead the change from shrink-wrapped software purchase to online software subscription.
3] Palm technology: From cell phones to iPods to PDA's and their many hybrid cousins, these powerful networking devices offer the chance for individuals (and classrooms) to network with people and with information, anytime, anywhere.
4] Tag Clouds: Millions of taggers are teaching the machine by tagging everything with keywords. The relationships among photos, hyperlinks, blog posts, and more are becoming 'understood' by the machines that govern the world wide web.
5] Digital Publishing: Anyone can publish for a global audience via text, images, or video; and they can access pixels at low or no cost.
These are not 'future' technologies, but present day realities. It's time to think seriously about how we will leverage these tools, not only from the grassroots, but from the technologically superior offices and boardrooms that oversee our classrooms.