Who needs OLPC?

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I wonder about the future of the OLPC. I realize and support its intention and likely don’t understand the political, equity and pervasive nuances of the concept but with the cost of the project reaching $175 and deals like the following, is this going to be necessary? Take your choice:

We’ve already people taking advantage of this….if we could only convince school board and IT folks. So you may or may not have Windows? Who cares? Do you think the kids do? Okay all you smart folks, tell me why I’m wrong!

Update: As Steve’s comments bear out, I’m referring to the initiative in North America and Industrial countries.

[tags]olpc,laptops,briancrosby[/tags]… Read the rest

Keyboarding vs. Texting

Ian Jukes in his presentation yesterday, talked about the need for students to be able to keyboard to the point of transparency. (This video features this idea) He also talks about using a word processor as the format. He also talked about this in terms of the ability to write.

Something is missing.

This story (via Lorne Henklemen) suggests texting might be something we should be teaching. But I’m not sure we even need to teach this. The key idea here is about communication: not writing exclusively, not keyboarding, not even texting. Warlick and Fyer are among the many who talk about storytelling and information and avoid focusing on the tools or even the means. It’s interesting to me that we continue to dredge up old and tired issues that focus on format and tools rather than the content and communication and sharing of ideas.

[tags]ianjukes,textmessaging,fryer, warlick[/tags]

Image: Ilsa’s first text message
http://flickr.com/photos/supergolden/139216745/… Read the rest

This is what we are dealing with

Last week, the CBC asked for viewer feedback on the recent ban of Toronto school boards on cellphones. I weighed with this comment:

I’m not surprised by these comments. Most parents and educators are stuck in an old model of education where the teacher is in full control of the learning and disruption is a bad thing.

Cellphones have the potential of computers. Good and bad. Good teachers understand how to use technology for learning. The cellphone is already being used in powerful learning ways. I understand most readers think of them as disruptive and in no way educational. A desktop computer is no different.

In addition to the potential for learning, the recent events in Virginia will likely prompt increased use.

To those that talk about potential of cheating….I would hope that good teachers are not spending most of their time having kids answer questions that require rote answers. Learning needs to go deeper than that.

Why are we asking kids to learn the provincial capitals when Google gives you that answer in less than 1 second? I’m not saying knowledge isn’t important but the emphasis on assessing and evaluating students shouldn’t be here. It should be on

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Perspectives on CyberBullying

The Kathy Sierria story is to cyberbullying as 9-11 is to terrorism. It’s not that cyberbullying has never taken place but having it happen to someone as high profile as Kathy Sierra brings attention to the problem in a light many have not considered.

I’ve got two concerns about the way things are unfolding. One is the tendency of the media and even bloggers to blow this out of proportion. The other is the focus on cyberbullying as a unique, stand alone issue.

Most of us are aware cyberbullying has always taken place and will always take place. Evil exists. Many have taken this particular incident to perpetuate fear and hysteria around blogging. One reaction certainly to emerge from this is a continued push to ban or restrict the freedom many of enjoy. Some are advocating cyber cops. What is the cost of protection against cyberbullying going to be?

I look at what has become of airport security and the cost behind that and question if it’s really necessary. Those who call for zero tolerance at any cost have to be questioned. The 9-11 and Kathy Sierra incidents are the extremes. We need to keep that in perspective.

My … Read the rest

Just say “Uncle” Already!

I wonder how long schools will continue to fight technology. This recent article from the CBC via teachinghacks, continues to shed light on the inevitable: “YOU CAN’T STOP IT SO JUST SAY UNCLE!” The article, in case you don’t read it, deals with teenagers who provoked a teacher into a tirade, recorded it on cellphones and posted it on youtube.
As has been mentioned many times in various discussion around the blogosphere, our feeble attempts as educators to block students from using technology in any number of ways is being proven futile.
But still we try:

A teacher approached me following a talk I recently gave and said something like, “Jeez, don’t tell all of them about YouTube. We’ve been doing our best to keep it out of our school. We don’t want our teachers and students to even know about it.” via Rick Schweir

It’s just way too easy; and whether or not your school removes its computers and network, you’ll still be dealing with the issue. I read Wes Fryer’s blog the other day and he talked about about being photographed and having his pictures posted on Flickr. It was quite harmless and fun. … Read the rest