I was sad to read this morning that Intel has left the board of OLPC. According to the article “Intel Drops Out of Low-Cost Laptop Initiative” on FoxNews:
Both sides [OLPC and Intel] shared the objective of providing children around the world with the use of new technology, “but OLPC had asked Intel to end our support for non-OLPC platforms, including the Classmate PC, and to focus on the OLPC platform exclusively,” Mulloy said. “At the end of the day, we decided we couldn’t accommodate that request.
I don’t think it was reasonable for OLPC to demand that Intel discontinue development of its low cost Classmate PC. If OLPC indeed made that demand, I don’t find it surprising that Intel stepped down from the board and away from the project.
I am VERY enthused by OLPC, its power and its low price point, but I also think competition in the marketplace can produce positive dynamics for consumers, including educators, students and schools. Hopefully Intel will be able to bring the Classmate PC to market at an even lower price than OLPC with even greater power. One of the most important characteristics of a student laptop, in my view, is its potential to be used as a tool for CONTENT CREATION and COLLABORATION. Hopefully we won’t see the Classmate PC become a locked down, multimedia eBook. I’ve seen plenty of BRAND NEW computer labs in schools (not coincidentally running Windows-based operating systems) where the desktops and the network is SO locked down, learners basically can just surf the web for text on a very limited number of websites and use client-based productivity software. In some of these cases, streaming videos cannot even be accessed. These computer lab and network situations beg the essential question, “Why are we spending thousands (and in some cases even millions) of dollars on technology, if all we are doing is providing an expensive word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation tool to our students and teachers?”
Spending as much time as I do learning and swapping ideas with other progressive educators online utilizing educational technologies in creative ways to engage students, it can be a major shock to see (as I frequently do) how far behind so many of our school districts and teachers are not only with their access to functional digital technology tools, but also their IDEAS about WHY such technologies should have an important place in the learning environment. Too many administrators and teachers still think “Microsoft Office” when someone says “technology integration.” In my view, focusing on learning productivity software skills remains an important part of digital literacy, but an exclusive focus on client-based productivity software is “so 1998.” It IS 2008 now. It’s time for a “mindware upgrade” for many of the educators with whom we work.
This week I spent some time updating my website bio, and am almost finished updating my vitae with listed presentations and workshops from 2007. At the bottom of my bio page, I separated the short list of things for which I am an advocate into two categories, “Progressive pedagogy” and “Digital learning.” Too often I think advocates for “educational technology” and “technology integration” get lumped together, whether their pedagogical agenda and beliefs lie with the “instructionists” or the “constructivists / constructionists.” Hopefully this separation of advocacy issues on my bio page will make it clear where my allegiance, agenda, and priorities lie.
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On this day..
- Craigslist and Facebook Bring Lost Golden Retriever Home - 2014
- Create a Personal Publication Archive with Open Journal Systems (OJS) - 2014
- Teaching is a moral calling (Will someone please tell Arne and Barack?) - 2011
- iPad Fever and 1 to 1 Learning Lessons from the Experts - 2011
- Favorite Picture Books About Maine - 2011
- Enabling YouTube Comment Moderation (Screenr Screencast Tutorial) - 2010
- A holiday lesson in ethics via Webkinz - 2009
- A blast back to my podcasting past - 2008
- Want E-learning job leads? Get Linked-In! - 2008
- Broadband Bootcamp for Educators - 2008