Monday, September 29, 2008

The Power of One

Last week I attended the K12 Open Minds Conference in Indianapolis.  On my way home, waiting for my flight at the Indy airport, I purchased a copy of the 75th Anniversay edition of Esquire magazine.  Now understand something--I don't typically read Esquire (I'm not that sophisticated), but a fact that keynote speaker and futurist Dr. David Thornburg stated piqued my interest in the magazine.  A limited number of the 75th Anniversary edition was printed with electronic ink on the front cover enabling the printed words to change and images to flash--ON THE FRONT COVER. 

The reason I bring up electronic ink in Esquire magazine is that it poses some essential questions related to k12 education. Are we doing enough to get technology into the hands of our students and teach them ways to creativly solve problems in a world where new innovations are changing the way we live at a faster pace than at any time in world history? When ink becomes electronic and paper becomes the circuit board isn't that a sign that students working on paper and pencil tasks may be going the way of monks writing on scrolls?  Alternatively, and just as important, what are we doing to teach students how to live a good, balanced life in an ever increasingly fast paced and stressed out world?   In my opinion these are the questions we NEED to be asking and  answering. 

Part of the answer seems obvious to me.  Students need to be at least working on computers on a regular basis in school.  One-to-One computing, where every student has access to a computer throughout the school day, should be a basic goal of schools.  This can happen soon with the price of laptops decreasing and availability of open source and free software increasing.  School Districts and parents need to do what they can to provide access to computers for all students, while teachers need to be flexible enough to change how they teach to maximize student learning through the use of computers and other newer technologies.  

Now the only question is will the money for one-to-one computer initiatives dry up in the current state of our economy?


No comments: