Article 2 – What’s New? Check ’em Out! A Few of the Tools that could make Dramatic Differences in Education

(web site referrals from Joe Rueff)

Changes in technology are happening at a very rapid rate. I’ve listed just four that could have dramatic consequences for learning. Whenever I read about something new in a publicity release in one of the many technology newsletters I receive, my first question is “What’s the implication for education?” All of the following could improve the capabilities for learning anywhere in the world! Let’s look a bit closer.

One Laptop Per Child

100dollarlaptopNicholas Negroponte, cofounder of the Media Lab at MIT has a vision of developing a hand-powered (by crank) laptop for $100 and having it available for every child in the world! Crazy? Perhaps, but possible. So much so that the state of Massachusetts has budgeted for just such a scenario. Check this out. These folks may be dreamers, but their dreams are not out of the realm of reality. Sorry folks. They’re not going to be sold commercially.

International Consortium for Brain Mapping

icbmThe October 24, 2005, issue of Time includes a story with the headline “Getting Inside Your Head”. It describes a new development in neuroscience, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). It displays” not only the structure of the brain but also how it actually functions, by measuring blood flow”. The article goes on “In the scans, specific areas of the brain light up as various mental processes occur.” Think of the potential for finding out how we learn, how various functions can assist learning and remembering, and how individuals both differ and are similar in learning characteristics.

Apple iPod with video

nytvidTalk about hype! Steve Jobs did a terrific job (no pun intended) promoting the introduction of the iPod with video. Of course, most of it centered around its entertainment capabilities. Ok, that will sell the gadget. But let’s not forget the possibilities for education. More and more we’re becoming a mobile society as far as communications is concerned. Video will be as much a part of that as audio. The iPod will be one more tool added to our inventory. Think of the dimensions we’re quite literally going to have at our fingertips!


podcastingDeveloped from a variation of iPOD, podcasting is becoming a major communications phenom. The flexibility of this radio-like programming can go anywhere, do anything audio, and at any time. The best feature is not in the reception ability. That’s been around since audio taping. It’s the tremendous interest that has sprung up in using the technology for simple productions, needing no major studio facilities, that places audio recording and storage in the hands of just about anyone. Record a class report, send it to your instructor or classmates. Receive instructor information any time. Why, even parents can receive reports from school so their kids won’t have to be asked, “What did you do in school today?” Breakthrough!

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