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Showing posts from July, 2011

Digital Divide

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Last week my wife Shelley and I headed over to Nanaimo and to Gold River on Vancouver Island for a few days to visit family and to get reacquainted with the amazing ocean beaches.  To get there we rode on the BC Ferries.  Interestingly the Ferries have recently added wireless Internet access so you can connect while on the open ocean.  Most large airports now provide Internet access and increasingly access is also available while flying.We visited Newcastle Island located in the Nanaimo harbour.  It is a 10 minute little ferry ride over from Nanaimo.  We practically had the island to ourselves.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we circumnavigated the 8km route around the island enjoying fresh ocean air.  We captured great nature pictures and parked ourselves for a few hours on a beach where we could read books and watch float planes coming and going.  Shelley made some cool beach art like this one…Even while on the island, “away from it all”, my smart phone was happily connected to th…

Is Technology an Amplifier or Disruptive Force?

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I’ve read a few online conversation threads (The Real Game Changer in Education, Literacy… Just Literacy, Will (Or Can) Computers Replace Teachers? – sorry no link, it’s a private group in LinkedIn) recently about teaching and technology.  I would say the majority view is that technology won’t replace teachers and that it is “just a tool”.  I sense a greater acceptance that technology shouldn’t be an optional tool though.  More people feel it is a very important, perhaps bordering on essential tool to support learning, engage students, expose students to possibilities and opportunities not available otherwise.  These views would seem to advocate for technology as an amplifier.  When used in professional and skilled hands, it enriches and expands learning.I find that most people can’t imagine things to be radically different.  They tend to view the future as a modified or enhanced version of today.  This is certainly a comfortable approach to imagining the future.   Being a budding fut…

What Futurists are Saying

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If you read my last post, you’ll know that I attended the 2011 World Future Society annual conference last week.  Days 3 and 4 of the conference had quite the array of sessions to choose from.  As a short detour from this post topic, my 11:00 session on Sunday was canceled and I struck up a conversation with a guy while in line for a coffee.  We ended up talking for over an hour about politics, health care, taxes, forms of government, war, religion, economics, etc.  This guys was brilliant (PhD Economics, strategist in the US Navy’s ‘think tank’ in Washington, DC) and our talk was as good or better than any conference session I’ve experienced.  Isn’t it amazing how you can get so engrossed in a deep intellectual discussion with a complete stranger?  I think that online learning practices should require connecting students to brilliant people for the purpose of engaging in deep learning – it’s a powerful thing.Edie Weiner (president) and Arnold Brown (chairman) for Weiner, Edrich, Brow…

The Future Needs Learners and Leaders

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I am attending the World Future Society’s annual conference here in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada.  I spent the last two days immersed in an Education Summit focused on education and the future.  Last night at the opening plenary session, we heard from leadership teacher, Lance Secretan, author of The Spark, the Flame and the Torch: Inspire Self. Inspire Others. Inspire the World.  Lance spoke to us about topics such as “Destiny: Why am I here?” or higher purpose, “Character: How will I Be?” or how do I want to be known, and “Calling: What will I Do? or what difference will I make”.  He refers to this as Why – Be – Do.  We need to be learners who use the energies of explore, excite, examine, and execute to interact with our world and the people around us.  He says to abandon mission statements – they basically all say the same thing – take them all, scramble them up, pick one and it will look like yours.  Mission statements are boring, uninspiring, and people can’t remember them let…

A lot Can Happen in Ten Years

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Ten years ago in August 2001 I left Nanaimo School District to join Coquitlam School District as their manager of information services.  I remember the great disconnect between technology and learning that existed.  In our K-5 schools, there was a lot of “baby-sitting” in computer labs.  Students were often playing fun little games but not related to anything curricular.  Technology was used in other schools for specific subjects like business education, computer programming, drafting, etc.  Remember technology was fixed in place so schools had to pre-determine what it might be used for and program schedules and use around that.  Curiously, most of our schools did not even have network drops in classrooms or libraries.  I would say that 10 years ago, most technology in schools was programmed in specific subjects secondary schools, similar in some middle schools, and treated as a completely optional component at the elementary level.  Teachers for the most part did not use computers in…