Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lighting the Fuse on Education's Big Bang

My nominee for Education's 'Big Bang', is an open partnership among hand-held computers; smart phones; data projection; and wireless networking.

Everyone in education seems to be in agreement that a significant change is necessary to ensure that learning remains relevant for future citizens. What no one seems to know, is:

What will be the catalyst that will launch schools into the future?

10 Reasons to light the fuse on networked mobile devices:

1] The tools for this change everything exist today... and at reasonable cost!

2] Wireless networking & data projection are cost effective, commonly understood connectors.

3] We can harness the ubiquitous hand-held devices that are already in kids' backpacks.

4] The rise of netbook computers is bringing the $100 laptop closer to reality.

5] Cloud computing is now a 'concrete' reality.

6] Student populations are eager for the adoption of the tools of their generation.

7] The number of teachers with an appetite for learning with modern tools continues to grow.

8] Whether using Skype, or, free two way broadcasting allows educators and students to leverage connections with classrooms around the world.

9] An expanding range of open source projects is providing a no-cost platform for creativity.

10] The blogosphere is awash with successful models for networked learning. In effect, we've written the textbook on how to embed the teaching of technology skills into performance based learning experiences.

The threat of viruses and the desire for network security seem to be the main concerns voiced by unyielding ICT departments, and though these concerns are valid, we are at a far greater risk of alienating entire learning communities by ignoring readily available tools, and restricting access to what many take for granted in their own homes, or at the local coffee shop.

The day that schools open their networks for sign-on by the devices used every day by students, parents and teachers, will be remembered as the birthday of Classroom 2.0. What will you do to help light the fuse?

What do you think? Can handheld devices help schools launch us into wondrously diverse learning experiences? Do you have another nominee for Education's 'Big Bang'?

Photo credit: pshutterbug/Prabhu
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