Thursday, July 20, 2006

Listening to Ray Kurzweil was mind-blowing to say the least. I've listened to various futurists before, but none have made the sense or had the credibility of Dr. Kurzweil. A few points that Dr. Kurzweil mentioned which stood out for me were:

Charmaine Brooks - The State of ICT
One thing that surprised me was the statistic that school jurisdiction leaders display a very wide range of skills, beliefs, and practices around supporting ICT. With such varying leadership styles and 'beliefs', this seems to me problematic in terms of province-wide improvement with technology use. The question "How do we measure the influence of information and communication technology on student learning?" was asked, and answers varied widely around the room. My feeling is that asking this question is the wrong approach, just like asking the health care industry whether MRI machines affect patient health. Just as the focus of healthcare is on improving the health of its patience, the focus of schools is to improve student learning. We don't learn about health by studying how medical technology works - we use medical technology because it is a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. The core of healthcare is doctors who understand how to make people healthy, and the medical technology developed and used is driven from that need. In the same way, the core of education is learning, and once our teachers have a strong understanding of effective learning and teaching practices, and believe that their actions must with their students must reflect best learning practices, I believe they will chose the aspects of technology that best leverage learning. I wait longingly for this day when teacher PD with technology is driven by their need to improve the learning across their subject areas and not by a desire to 'cover' a separate ICT curriculum.

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