Monday, December 13, 2010

The Impact of the Internet: A Story

Transformation is the goal.  It's not just translating what we have.  It is taking the resources within our reach to create something that didn't exist before--something new.  It is a transformation.

CC Namche Bazaar by Kogo
I love this article which talks about how the internet has transformed some villages in Nepal deep in the Himalayas.  It is so similar to stories of technology use in Africa.  When you put resources in people's hands, they are creative and do things we might never predict.  Among other thoughts, what are the implications for this story in terms of community development?

This news article is probably so powerful because it is a story.  We need to get students engaged in stories and creating their own stories.  I imagine many of our students could come up with innovative solutions to so many of the challenges our world faces.  Let's engage them to know, understand, and act...Perhaps we could read about one of their ideas on Yahoo! News.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Building Momentum

The headline is overly dramatic: "Computers in Schools are a Failure, Says Computer Pioneer Alan Kay."  The article says, "Computers have been in schools for the last 30 years, but with few exceptions, they haven't been used to their full potential."  Hmm...sounds pretty much right on to me.  Yet, how many things fit into that category.  The format and utilization of this resource in our schools has been slow going.  As I read this article, I see Kay saying technology for technology's sake is not very productive.  Where is the depth to the learning?

Alan Kay (3097599304)
By Marcin Wichary from San Francisco, U.S.A. (Alan Kay  Uploaded by JoJan) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Now, is this the first time you have heard this?  Alan Kay's comments seem like what many others have been saying for some time.  Leverage technology to add depth to the learning and inquiry process.  Project Red's recent research says the same thing. Do it right and it impacts student learning significantly.

Some take Kay's comments and those like him as depressing due to the failure of our schools to take advantage of an amazing opportunity.  On the other hand, it gives me hope for the future.  We are gaining momentum in our schools on how to put technology in a school environment and help students inquire, collaborate and give feedback at high levels.  We are recognizing the need to move forward now in ways that have not happened in the last 30 years.  For me, I see hope and anticipation at what is poised to by a dynamic time for students.  And we need to take action.  Our context with technology is different than it has been in the past.  We have to turn "clickable" kids into vibrant, dynamic learners with whatever tools we can put in their hands.

Are you being left behind?  Are you ready to participate?  Some need to be pioneers.  Others need to come along and sustain the momentum.  It starts with one transformed classroom at a time. Where are you?