Friday, July 21, 2006

Trevor provided us with a lot of interesting statistics regarding student technology use from his research. Of note is the high proportion of students who illegally download music and video. He spoke about SuperNet and that the cost of delivering video to schools was compared to the low cost of delivering video via a video iPod. 'Weapons of Mass Instruction' (great term) - the need to stimulate students in school (learning objects, learning management systems). He contends that we as teachers are peddling information and should be more concerned about communication. SciQ is a way to engage students interactively through virtual fieldtrips, and there are about 5-6 of these fieldtrips scheduled per year. The software they use runs H.323, compatible with video-conferencing units. I am interested to see how this could work given firewall/bandwidth/security issues that might slow this process... He questions the need for learning objects/learning resources and spending money on these things, and feels a 'blank page' has its own power. He spoke to the power of community, something I agree strongly with in terms of technology use. He sees Alberta being in a crisis - losing big businesses and our brain power to other places, but questions if we're spending enough money making 'smart people'. He sees districts shutting down blogging and instant messaging, disallowing iPods and cell phones, and sees this as a 'black and white' bad thing (something I do not agree with - there are numerous real issues that free thinkers often don't consider with these types of arguments). If nothing else, I found Trevor's ideas thought-provoking and interesting, but in the end I have a hard time accepting ideas from someone who profits from these opinions (e.g. webcasting, iPod downloading).

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