Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leadership Day 2009

I wanted to post today to Scott McLeod's Leadership Day request, because I see myself in a situation that is different than most administrators and therefore, most educational leaders in the US today. As most of you know who have read this blog in the past, I have worked in EdTech circles for quite some time. I am one of the first 50 Google Certified Teacher's and I have moved forward into the administrative ranks for the express purpose to move the use of technology in the educational process forward.

There are two video's that really point the direction of the use of technology in education. There aren't many who believe that using technology in education is going to be detrimental, but many are not advocates, since they do not have any personal knowledge or experience in integrating technology into the classroom. There are two video's that have come out in the past two weeks that will really move the use of technology in education forward. The biggest reason is that the cost of most of the techology has become $0.00. That is right, NOTHING! And if school districts plan and make the right deals with textbook publishers, there will be a cost saving. If the country were to bring into practice, what California is talking about with online open source textbooks, the cost savings would be remarkable.

The first video is the quick speech that Clay Shirky, the author of last year's "Here Comes Everybody." Shirky makes the point that the explosion of Internet technologies have made the media of today, "Global, Mobile, Ubiquitous and Cheap." Cheap $200-$250 netbooks can provide a huge amount of processing power in a small package, which schools could provide to students at an even lower cost given the savings of bulk purchases.

The second video is the preview of Chris Anderson's new book, "Free: The Past and Future of a Radical Price." This is a followup to his best seller, "The Long Tail" from 2004. Anderson makes the point that bandwidth, processing power and storage capacity has increased so much and has become so cheap that the cost of producing these items is virtually $0.00. This has a huge impact on education, since we are always facing budget cut backs and technology never seems to be a priority. If Anderson's premise is true, the future of education is going to involve more and more technology.

The last issue is the fact that California is undertaking with open source text books in Math and Science. Governor Schwarzenegger would like to have this all in place by the beginning of the next school year. This would push the textbook publishers to make additional material and even e-book versions of their texts available to schools.

We'll have to see how all of this plays out.... but the prospects are interesting.

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