Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Future of Education?


Here is the latest article in Time on the future of education, entitled “How to Bring Our Schools out of the 20th Century“, which I ran across via a this post by David Truss (which is worthy of a separate post in itself). For a change, the authors of the article focus on

the big public conversation the nation is not having about education, the one that will ultimately determine not merely whether some fraction of our children get “left behind” but also whether an entire generation of kids will fail to make the grade in the global economy because they can’t think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, distinguish good information from bad or speak a language other than English.

Various people have already commented on this piece, including the likes of Will Richardson, David Warlick, and Wesley Fryer. All good posts, so no need to rehash their thoughts here. And by the way, the contents of the Time article are by no means limited to the United States. In fact, the article reminded me of a conversation I had with Graham Brown-Martin of HandheldLearning on mobile technologies and learning which included statements like:

Building schools for the future should not be about the architecture, but what school means. Is the school a building or a community, is a fundamental question; is school a community where learners with mobile tools can access information in different locations?

School has been a state-provided nanny. Is that really what we want educational systems to be about moving forward?” Kids need to be taken care of, but should be more than child care. Maybe kids should be at school to play and at home to learn. And what impact does that have on society?

Schools are going to be digitized out. You have to think in terms of Web 2.0 technology, different learning objects that are available everywhere, eventually we find something that we can understand.

With mobile technologies we are seeing a change. Students can assemble their own learning materials. Teachers will still be around, not replaced by technology. There will actually be more teachers, making all this stuff, making materials for learners. Inevitably, the definition of teacher is going to change from caretaker to teacher.

Maybe these are some of the conversations we should start having….

Image Credit: Nadya Peek’s photostream:

Anywhere, Anytime: Using Mobile Phones for Learning


Even though I haven’t posted much in my blog lately I’ve been very busy writing various pieces for publication. Here is one that came out today:

McNeal, T., & van ‘t Hooft, M. (2006, Winter). Anywhere, anytime: Using mobile phones for learning. Journal for the Research Center for Educational Technology.

The most interesting part of the article is probably the links and embedded videos about different kinds of cell phone projects. Please take a look, and post your reactions to the article on the complimentary discussion board, or as a comment to this blog post.

Image credit: topgold’s photostream:

Ban It and They Will Explore …


Scanning through the Dec./Jan. issue of ISTE‘s  Learning and Leading with Technology I ran across the Point/Counterpoint piece that asks, “Do Social Networking Applications Have a Place in the Classroom?” In the counterpoint, Chuck Favata concludes that we should

teach students to be safe – keep them out of the social networking sites.

Does anybody else see the irony in this statement? Especially considering that ISTE’s technology standards for students state that

2. Social, ethical, and human issues

  • Students understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology.
  • Students practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
  • Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity. [emphasis added]

Needless to add, the technology standards for teachers include:

Teachers understand the social,ethical,legal,and human issues surrounding the use of technology in PK-12 schools and apply those principles in practice. [emphasis added] Teachers:

A. model and teach legal and ethical practice related to technology use.

D. promote safe and healthy use of technology resources.

Why not just say “Teach students to be safe”? Had to comment on this one …

Image Credit: recursion_see_recursion’s photostream: