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Uruguay reacts to Plan Ceibal book pre-launch

Roberto Balaguer notes that a book we are collaborating on has captured the attention of the president of Uruguay:

The website of the Presidency of the Republic [of Uruguay] takes the news. On Tuesday, in connection with the [Montevideo International] Book Fair, we held the pre-presentation of the book on Ceibal Plan and the OLPC model, collective work and shared invaluable colleagues in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, USA, and, of course, Uruguay.

Plan Ceibal

Uruguay, through the Ceibal Plan, was the first country to adopt the One Laptop Per Child platform. Roberto Balaguer compiled an international, critical look into the initiative, that provides an extensive review. The following collaborators contributed to the volume:

1. Roberto Balaguer (Uruguay) “Plan Ceibal: Los ojos del mundo en el primer modelo OLPC a escala nacional” [“Plan Ceibal: The eyes of the world in the first OLPC nationwide model”].
2. Fernando Garrido (Spain) “¿Otra vez el mismo error? OLPC, Determinismo Tecnológico y Educación” [“Again the same mistake? OLPC technological determinism and education”].
3. Edgar Gómez Cruz (Mexico) “Domesticación de la Tecnología: una aproximación crítica al proyecto de OLPC” [“Domestication of technology: A critical approach to the OLPC project”].
4. Tíscar Lara (Spain) “Aprender a ser ciudadano desde las prácticas digitales” [“Learning to be a citizen from digital practices”].
5. Guillermo Lutzky (Argentina) “La Escuela Digital, un cambio obligatorio para los modelos 1 a 1” [“The Digital School, a change required to 1 to 1 models”].
6. Mónica BaezGraciela Rabajoli (Uruguay) “La escuela extendida. Impacto del Modelo CEIBAL” [“The school extended: Impact of the Ceibal model”].
7. Alicia Kachinovsky (Uruguay) “La Universidad de la República en tiempos del Plan Ceibal” [“The University of the Republic in times of the Ceibal Plan”].
8. Octavio Islas (Mexico) “Retos que representa la enseñanza en el imaginario de la ‘Generación Einstein'” [“Challenges posed by teaching in the imagination of the ‘Einstein Generation'”].
9. Cristóbal Cobo (Mexico) “Aprendizaje de código abierto” [“Learning from open source”].
10. Raúl Trejo Delarbre (Mexico) “Un niño para cada laptop” [“A laptop for every child”].
11. John Moravec (USA) “¿Y ahora, qué?” [“So, what now?”].
12. Miguel Brechner (Uruguay) “Los tres si” [“The three yeses”].

I join many of the collaborators in dedicating my contribution to the volume to our colleague and co-author, Guillermo Lutzky, who passed away late last month.

Technology Savvy School Leaders?

I co-host a podcast on Blog Talk Radio called Four Guys Talking. In episode 5, we discussed the role of higher education institutions to create technology savvy leaders. To cut to the chase, we concluded that we are not doing nearly enough to ensure school leaders are able to handle the changes, or even capture the opportunities, brought on by social networking tools, ubiquitous access to information, and the ever-changing introduction of new tools. A big question that came up is how do leadership preparation programs ensure school leaders are technology savvy? Since technology is taking a more
dominant role in formal and informal education, how are institutions of higher education ensuring they are preparing school leaders appropriately? Here are some highlights from our talk:

  • Technology is taught as an add-on and is not infused throughout programs.
  • Educational leadership courses are not measuring or ensuring that leaders who get the university’s rubber stamp of approval are technology savvy.
  • Outside of maybe a dozen folks (that we know of), the issue of technology leadership is not getting a lot of attention. Scott McLeod and I recently completed a study attesting to this fact. It should be published in a special edition of the Journal of School Leadership soon.
  • As noted over on Dangerously Irrelevant, service in higher education is usually seen as the lesser of our obligations as faculty members. How can we get our technology interested faculty members on board to directly work with more schools, leaders, and teachers on topics related to technology when the institutions that promotes them do not value this type of work (that is to say our service if judged less than our research and teaching)?

Most higher education institutions see value in technology and do want technology to be infused in their educational leadership programs. Bryan Setser of North Carolina Virtual Public Schools spoke to my class of EdD students recently. He said “if you are thinking that technology is only a tool, you are already behind. Technology is a process, it is not a tool.” Why then are school leadership programs not teaching our school leaders to change how they do the business of education versus teaching them how to use tools to make their job easier?

I find the Education 3.0 framework as proposed by John Moravec aptly applies to school leaders too. As John said:

This will all require new forms of educational professionalism, tapping well beyond traditional teachers [and school leaders], and blending together with the communities that schools serve. The future that kids and adults co-create can provide the emerging knowledge/innovation economy a boost, greatly enhancing human capital and potentials.

Going global and purposive

kn-power
Knowledge powers the 21st century

Dan Wallace (@ideafood) forwarded a link to this short essay by TED curator, Ted Anderson. Networking technologies are transforming the potential of teachers:

There are many scary things about today’s world. But one that is truly thrilling is that the means of spreading both knowledge and inspiration have never been greater. Five years ago, an amazing teacher or professor with the ability to truly catalyze the lives of his or her students could realistically hope to impact maybe 100 people each year. Today that same teacher can have their words spread on video to millions of eager students. There are already numerous examples of powerful talks that have spread virally to massive Internet audiences.

Indeed, the Chinese are figuring this out, and are packaging recordings of instruction by their top teachers in mobile devices. Moreover, free tools like Skype, YouTube and Twitter that operate on inexpensive hardware provide new opportunities not only for connecting teachers with a broader audience of students, but also for connecting students to the world. Likewise, both teachers and students can learn from …and co-create new knowledge with… their peers, globally.

In the comments, Michael Rossney makes another point:

When potential students are selecting a traditional school, or course or teacher the deciding factors are likely to be: Proximity, Cost, Availability of time/course places. These just aren’t such an issue online.

This concept is very real for me: Last week I attended an information evening from a prominent college here in Dublin on a business MBA. I wanted not just to learn strategies but to rub shoulders with result focused businesspeople, social entrepreneurs etc. As I left I couldn’t help thinking that I could get more value studying certain TED speakers or similar if I could just harness that information and use it.

So, there we go. The question isn’t access to technologies, but how we make the most of the technologies and knowledge resources available. Rather than blindly advocating for technological adoption, is it now time to focus on the purposive use of technologies for human capital development?

One probabilistic computer per child

islate

OLPC may see a new competitor enter the market. Utilizing a new microprocessor technology that embraces probabilistic logic computing rather than traditional boolean logic computing, a team at Rice University is designing a digital, touchscreen, LED slate for deployment in developing countries. Probabilistic computing permits devices to provide correct answers most of the time rather than all of the time, allowing for dramatic reductions in power consumption while speeding-up computations considerably. The reduced chip-based power consumption will allow the device to powered by solar cells.

From Popular Mechanics:

What it is: The “I-Slate,” a solar-powered, stylus-controlled classroom aid unveiled at the IEEE’s 125th Anniversary event on Tuesday. The idea is that this LED slate will replace the chalk slates still used in much of the world, allowing students to learn basic math skills without the need for a literate teacher (something that is in demand in much of the world). The device is being created by Dr. Krishna Palem and his team at Rice University.

[…]

The slate will be able to download coursework using wireless networks. And because these chips should be far cheaper to produce than the high-powered processors found in most new products, making them practical for the third world.

From Rice University’s news release:

Inspired by microfinance, the I-slate’s innovators intend to use social entrepreneurism to create a self-sustaining economic model for the I-slate that both creates jobs in impoverished areas and ensures the I-slate’s continued success regardless of ongoing philanthropic support.

The first prototype PCMOS chips were found to use 30 times less electricity while running seven times faster than today’s best technology. Palem’s PCMOS team includes researchers at Rice and at the Institute for Sustainable Nanoelectronics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where the first PCMOS prototypes were manufactured last year.

Siftables: A promising future for toys

Wow-oh-wow, oh wow!!!! From TED earlier this month:

MIT grad student David Merrill demos Siftables — cookie-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, and talk to their friends, too. Is this the next thing in hands-on learning?

More elsewhere:

India's $10 laptop to be unveiled soon

10 dollars

Feb 4 2009 Update: Found at Technology Review: “It turns out that India’s ‘$20 laptop’ — a gadget meant to cheaply deliver online educational content to students at more than 18,000 Indian colleges — may actually be more of a handheld web access device than a laptop computer.” And, it doesn’t look like a laptop at all. What is it, really?

____

This is just a quick note on an item spotted at PhysOrg.com:

(PhysOrg.com) — On February 3, the Indian government will display a prototype of the Rs 500, a $10 laptop that will hopefully give more young people the opportunity to learn and help increase the country’s school enrollment.

[…]

The $10 laptop will be equipped with 2 GB of memory, WiFi, fixed Ethernet, expandable memory, and consume just 2 watts of power.

Pre-mass production, the cost of the laptop is down to $20 per unit, which is dramatically lower than the $47/unit manufacturing cost noted by Education Futures in 2007. We will follow this closely over the next few months as production and distribution of the devices take off.

My-oh-my, have times changed

Thanks to Jamie Schumacher for passing along the video link:

“Imagine […] turning on your home computer to read the day’s newspaper.”

…and, 28 years later, newspapers are shutting down because they cannot compete with the home computer.

We're always busy, but doing nothing

blackberry

Here’s another look at accelerating change. On Friday, the New York Times published an excellent review of Dalton Conley’s book, Elsewhere U.S.A.:

“A new breed of American has arrived on the scene,” Conley, a professor at New York University, declares in “Elsewhere, U.S.A.,” his compact guidebook to our nervous new world. Instead of individuals searching for authenticity, we are “intraviduals” defined by shifting personas and really cool electronics, which help us manage “the myriad data streams, impulses, desires and even consciousnesses that we experience in our heads as we navigate multiple worlds.” The denizens of our “Elsewhere Society,” Conley argues, “are only convinced they’re in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time, when they’re on their way to the next destination. Constant motion is a balm to a culture in which the very notion of authenticity . . . has been shattered into a thousand e-mails.”

Conley looks at the social transformations that were created by technological change between the mid 20th century through today. Organization and individualism have given way to intravidualism, “an ethic of fragmented selves replacing the modern ethic of individualism.” Work, play, and everything in between are blurring into non-discrete moments of incoherentness. We’re going somewhere, but we do not know where. Then again, no matter where we go, there we are.

This has serious consequences for human capital development. Perhaps to better succeed in what appears to be a directionless society of busybodies, we need to create a New Individualism, and re-orient education for developing strategic leadership at the individual level? …for learning how to cope with increased chaos and ambiguity? …for knowing how to be more selective in how new technologies are used before the technologies use us?

The networked student

Forwarded by Cristóbal Cobo: The Networked Student was inspired by CCK08, a Connectivism course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes during fall 2008. It depicts an actual project completed by Wendy Drexler’s high school students…