Last Thursday, Gary and I ventured over to the MIT Education Arcade for an event sponsored by NBC's Education Nation and DELL. The topic of the panel event was Technology in the Classroom: What's Next? and featured a wide range of panelists such as Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Head of MIT Lifelong Kindergarten Group Mitch Resnick, and NBC Special Correspondent Chelsea Clinton. The panel was focused on rather broad topics in the field of Technology in Education: reaching every student, conquering the digital divide, showcasing best practices of technology in the classroom and figuring out how to scale up those practices.
One panelist pointed out that while many efforts were made to wire up classrooms in the 90s, the need for faster internet in classrooms is making wiring up classrooms a brand new issue in schools. Mayor Menino pointed out that programs like Technology Goes Home in the Boston Public Schools provides opportunities for students to take home tablets and laptops to continue learning at home, but students who don't have high speed internet at home may still be at a disadvantage, despite having the devices. I had a great conversation after the panel with several Cambridge teachers who talked about a very cool idea of having community internet (i.e. wiring up neighborhoods), which would provide access and opportunities to whole communities, not just the schools who need them. There was a lot of talk about private sector and government working together to boost access throughout the country.
One Massachusetts superintendent questioned whether the increased focus on technology in schools would mean the end of physical schools. Michael Horn of the Innosight Institute responded by saying their research shows that students want a blended learning environment--in their physical schools and online.
My favorite parts of the day included the following:
- Mitch Resnick reminding everyone that the rest of school needs to look more like kindergarten rather than vice versa. More creative exploration, experimenting and problem solving in groups.
- In response to a discussion about extending seat time for students, Michael Horn declaring that for too long we have been measuring the wrong end of the student.
- See above….We met Chelsea Clinton! She was as smart, funny, and cool as I always thought she would be.
Naomi is FableVision Studios' Director of Marketing and Creative Strategist. She has always wanted to meet Chelsea Clinton.