Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoughts on Emerging Technologies in Education

Kind of ironic that my last course in my masters in Educational Technology is one titled "emerging technologies."  The challenge, after two years of study, is the difficulty in coming up with something I have not already been exposed to, or have discovered on my own.  Looking to gain more insight into ed-tech than just the newest passing gadget, I've been trying to figure out just what is the emerging technology that will be facing educations near future.  After watching Jimmy Wales 2005 TED talk discussing how Wikipedia works, I reflect on the comment he made right at the end - "But freely licensed textbooks are the next big thing in education."  You would think that in the 4 years since this talk that we'd be there by now, but I think we're just getting going (educational inertia to blame, I suppose).  It's not going to be the latest gadget - Kindle, Iphone, etc, but that information is more available to all.  Organizations like Connexions and Curriki are working diligently in that direction. Now all that's left is for education to follow.  So, what is the "emerging technology" in education, well, I think it's going to be the further breakdown of the digital divide and participation gap through the availability of shared collaborative resources for student and educators alike.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lesley Class last weekend with a small group project.


Summary of XO Project  The XO project was developed “to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.”   The groundwork for this project was being developed as far back as 1967 with the introduction of Logo programming language.  For the next 30 years, there were many advances in computing, especially in the area of accessibility.  Then in 2002, “20 children in a small, remote Cambodian village” received connected laptops for “use at home, school, and in the community.”  The XO prototype came along in 2005, “with its distinctive pencil-yellow hand crank.”  In 2006, XO laptops are rolled off the assembly line to be dispersed amongst children in disadvantaged countries.  In 2007, mass production began, and the “Give One Get One” program resulted in sales over 150,000 laptops.  In 2008, the second “Give One Get One” program launched, and the XO project’s vision to equip the world’s children with laptops is continuing to progress.  

Review of XO Project  While the XO Project to provide computers for all children is a noble idea, our evaluation of the software and hardware of the XO computer did not meet our expectations.    Both here in the United States and worldwide, there have been strong criticisms of the XO machine and the XO project implementation.  For example in Birmingham, Alabama, there were several major flaws in their XO implementation (A Costly Lesson newspaper article).  We found this XO computer to be very non-intuitive, with a very slow processing speed, but the concept of “creating educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning,” is enticing.        

Sources:  http://www.laptop.org/en/vision/index.shtml

http://www.laptop.org/en/vision/project/index.shtml

                           
This Diigo link will take you to a complete listing of annotated resources
  http://groups.diigo.com/group/olpc-_-xo-computers


Rob Reynolds
Brad Nikunen
Amy Holtz
Melanie Iblings

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Biology Project gone creative




Why do a Power Point when you can add a little creative spice with a simple slide video show, complete with English accents.