Personal, portable computers for everyone

How long before everyone has some type of wireless portable computer.

MIT is currently working on developing a laptop for under $100. The intent is to provide 3rd world countries with technology.

A High School in Arizona is replacing textbooks with laptops. Every student gets a laptop and the cost isn’t going to be significantly higher as the cost of textbooks for all classes will exceed the costs of the laptops.

Duke University is giving every freshman an iPod. The iPod comes preloaded with university information and can be used to record lectures and yes, download and listen to music.

My belief is that at some point and it may be sooner than we think, we need 1-1 computing for all students. One to one portable as well. Be it a PDA, laptop or some other technology, it’s coming. I hope we don’t get caught sleeping and miss out on providing students with the kind of education they need as they enter the 21st century.

Any thoughts?

Let’s get this right!

The power of the internet is hard to understand sometimes.

Working with students at King George on Wednesday, they were determined to achieve perfection. As we were shooting segments for their news broadcast, they kept wanting to redo scenes over and over again. I finally had to tell them we only have so much time and they would have to settle for something less than perfection.

Why were they so concerned about the quality of their work? Are they simply perfectionists? Are they this way about all their work?

I think knowing they will have a larger audience makes all the difference. A website called fanfiction illustrates this point well.

Why worry about work that only one person will see, when you can share you work with thousands?

This is what the King George students were essentially telling me.

Stumble….a cool way to find new stuff

I’ve been using FireFox for a few weeks now and I have to say I’m hooked. I’ll be mentioning it at my session “a few of my favourite things” at the Moose Jaw Teachers’ Convention at the end of the month.

FireFox is an excellent browser for many reasons. One of my favourite features is extensions. These are small add-in programs that can do many things from the obsure and useless to the very customizable and useful. One I just installed is called Stumble upon.

You choose your interests and then instead of a search engine, it will take you to sites that match your category. You decide whether you like it or not and that information is stored for you. So instead of mindlessly wandering, click stumble and you’d be amazed at what you find. Here are couple of examples of what I found today.

A photo essay on time….family photos over almost 30 years. Very interesting.

Satellite images
….choose from several satellites and get live shots of your location. Tremendous teaching applications. Understanding day and night, etc….

Singing horses…a little flash movie where you can control a four part quartet.

Geocaching and my 73 year old father

My dad turns 73 this month. For Christmas, I bought him a GPS or Global Postioning device.,
I’ve now got him hooked on geocaching. Geocaching is like a big game of hide and seek but there’s more to it. He has found over 10 caches in his winter home of Lakeland, Florida. He planted his first cache this week. He calls me a few times a week to keep me updated. On my recent trip to Florida, we got to do several caches together. We had a blast.
Technology doesn’t know how old you are.

Project Edge

An interesting experiment is underway. Two high school students are essentially leading an eJournalism project covering the 2005 Teachers’ Convention. Project Edge features 15 students from 5 schools ranging from grade 6-12. We have done similar projects here in Moose Jaw. Full Coverage was part of the 2003 Convention.

The difference with this project is that students are running the show. They are organizing, training and in charge. Myself and another teacher are the support teachers but are working really hard at removing ourselves from the process. I always have trouble keeping my hands off but I’m learning to let it go. As my colleague discovered this morning during a training session, these kids really don’t need us here.

Hopefully we can just stay out of their way!