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Corrosive Shame
Therapy for Life
Last job of the day...
... and I need help!

That might be a bit dramatic - but I'm interested in people's views - and you, my audience, are my people.

I've been asked to do a bit of blue-sky thinking about is "How will computers, and networks, and the Internet work for kids and their learning in 5 years time?".

So any thoughts about what technology might look like, what desktops might look like, how networks might be arranged and organised, how content will be accessed, who will be providing the content and so on..

Anything (sensible) will be appreciated - though I appreciate this might be a bit 'niche'...

Current Mood: working

15 lies or Lie to me
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kneeshooter From: kneeshooter Date: May 9th, 2003 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh for a perfect world...

We're not as far away from a lot of that now - and I'd be happy to argue a couple of your points to different degrees - but thanks.

So what needs to be in place to allow that? Both above the hood, and behind the scenes.
yapman From: yapman Date: May 9th, 2003 08:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh for a perfect world...

very little, depending upon which route you choose, and we could indeed, given the funding be there today.

One way, for example, from my own history, more or less, tablet computers with WiFi or Bluetooth, and a sensibly sized WLAN hub in each classroom. Obviously, all these systems need hardening against attack from within as well as without, and good content control.

But, frankly, a 'better' solution in my mind, with less radiation frying their poor wee minds, and more to the point, less easily droppable and steablable parts, would be smartcard driven computers as part of the desks, hardwired into the school network. So they are effectively carrying their work around with them, without having to carry the hardware.
(Deleted comment)
yapman From: yapman Date: May 9th, 2003 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh for a perfect world...

It certainly could be used to do that. It would require a smartcard reader and access control software of some sort on their home computer, but given the cheapness of usb readers, that shouldn't be much of a problem
nyarbaggytep From: nyarbaggytep Date: May 9th, 2003 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)
lickle tiny pooters made from cheese - that's what I want to see in schools.
And at home.

Sorry - can't actually contribute anyting useful.
grendelchild From: grendelchild Date: May 10th, 2003 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree! :)
bellagrim From: bellagrim Date: May 9th, 2003 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess the question to ask is if PC will appear on every school kids desk, or if every kids will be issued their own laptop/tablet instead of execise books.

In my opinion the internet provides a vast amount of material for researching issues, topics, etc which doesn't necessarily have much relevance during lessons, but is of great help with homework, etc.

I also guess the use of PC's in schools is currently limited to the software that you can run on them. Imagine if you had a 'chemistry experiment' application that enabled you to emulate all the practical experiments you need to perform in a virtual reality environment. No more need to waste chemicals or place kids in danger.

Too much attention is placed on providing the hardware and not enough on providing the appropriate software, etc. Text books could be provided as PDF's at a reduced cost to the schools, etc.
From: ikkleblacktruck Date: May 9th, 2003 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I think moving to a virtual environment for practical sessions would result in kids missing out in a big way. They might as well watch a video. I dread to think of the eyestrain that PDF textbooks would cause - there's still something to be said for real paper, I feel.

(What we all really need is Globals a la Earth Final Conflict, with holographic projection technology. That way we can keep tabs on where the kids are at the same time! Mind, if we could build big holodecks, they might suffice for chemistry practicals. But in 5 years? Nuh-uh.)
bellagrim From: bellagrim Date: May 9th, 2003 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)


I agree about the real paper as I can never really read anything from a screen, but from a schools perspective I would imagine it would be cheaper to 'buy' the PDF equivalent and then let students print off the bits they need. Also you can word search a PDF which isn't quite so easy with a book.

The real point I wanted to get across is that a PC is just a tool. What you do with it is what counts. Bill Gates killed the typewriter when wordprocessing software came on the market. Website play a greater importance in retailing goods. Until someone sits down and says 'wow wouldn't it be great if you could do .....' or 'we could use the PC to do ....' that the PC suddenly becomes useful.
From: ikkleblacktruck Date: May 9th, 2003 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think things will have changed appreciably in 5 years, not in schools at any rate. The state sector still won't be able to afford anything decent and the same children will have access to cutting edge tech at home as do now, as it is entirely dependent on their parents.
probablyscotty From: probablyscotty Date: May 9th, 2003 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm... well the kids I work with daily use the computer as an "easy option". We use specific educational software packages, and the fault in the ones we have, that seems to be a bit of a problem in lots of them, is that you can guess at the answers until you get them right without actually learning anything.

On separate occasions I've even caught kids having memorised patterns and sequences without having the first idea why the answer they're giving is right.

And then there's all the garbage on the internet that gets quoted as gospel truth.

Personally I hope, and think, we'll move away from PCs as an educational tool... a brain in your breast pocket in no better than a brain in your pants.
mimeticgel From: mimeticgel Date: May 9th, 2003 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Access is the key

With more ubiquitous access to information and communication children will be able to ..

1. Get drugs easier
2. Exclude/include people easier
3. Direct their attentions elsewhere easier
4. Embarrass teachers easier

What could it look like?
a. Everyone with pads
b. A wireless network
c. AI assessment & teaching applications that adjusts to the level of the child
d. Artificial members of various child groups that enable, provoke & monitor
e. Teachers assessed in real time by child’s performance changes - could lead to real time performance pay for teachers :)

And lots lots more.. Just think of what having information on each child’s performance would do to league tables and school selection etc..

Perhaps this is 10years away rather than five. After all we have the capability to reform things but gradual change is more likely to be the way forward. In reality I would expect the school of 2008 to look like the office of 2003.

littleonions From: littleonions Date: May 10th, 2003 08:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Access is the key

I've been asked to do a bit of blue-sky thinking about is "How will computers, and networks, and the Internet work for kids and their learning in 5 years time?".

In only five years? sheesh it will be half assed I fear, and pointless, going by what is currently on offer for, I admit icckle people [under fives] which is piss poor and counter to the developement of a well rounded little mind flexing its neural pathworkings.
Kids don't learn well in front of a machine or being 'taught' by a machine, there is no finess, no fine tuning and no personality. At best its a research tool [given perameters stated above] at worst it is a cop out and nothing more than a money/staff saving potential.
Learning is a complex process[apparently :)] It needs to be tactile, smell sound taste etc aural and visual, I smell books and imediately one is plunged into thinking mode; smell=memory=learning. Memory of action is a trigger; a squeeky chalk on a board or even a pen on a white board the shape of the words being imperfect, causes the brain to figure out what the letter is, cutting a memory grove in the noodle, these things all act as triggers to aid memory, which is a part of larnin. I can still 'hear' some of my teachers voices, and sadly enough remember what they were/are saying. Puter tech just isn't holistic enough to be more than a library in a box atm. Developement of that with verified sources of info is great, access to books from the bod or other booky places for older children is about all that the box can offer as a realistic aid to learning.
winterdrake From: winterdrake Date: May 10th, 2003 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
How much do you want on this? I have a couple of sides for you and counting - will email if required, but please say if that's far too much babbling :).
kneeshooter From: kneeshooter Date: May 11th, 2003 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Go for it :-)
mimeticgel From: mimeticgel Date: May 11th, 2003 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Nothing but Blue Skys...

Thinking on this I wondered why you would want to do this? My answer was that you must be thinking about what needs doing today. So along that thread here is some suggestions for scenario analysis.

1. Identify the key forces at play on the subject area in the next five years. This is usually grouped into STEP areas (Social, Technical, Economical & Political).

2. Group the factors by uncertainty & importance. You can use a 4 quadrant box for this:
Certain & Unimportant - ignore these factors
Uncertain & Unimportant - will have little impact so ignore
Certain & Important - will be present in most future scenarios
Uncertain & Important - these are what you base the scenarios around

3. Take the certain & important as the baseline then mix in selective combinations of the uncertain & important factors. From this create several scenarios over the breadth of possible futures. This helps you to focus on what are the key factors for the future and how they might shape it.

4. Pull out the key things that will shape the future & how. These are the areas that will create/destroy the future opportunities. You need to then extrapolate backwards to now to determine what you need to be doing in order to make those opportunities a possibility.

Easy... Not really but worth doing with a group of experts who disagree to give the best "vision".
15 lies or Lie to me