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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.

Archive for May, 2007

Learning While Mobile

by David Colarusso - May 22nd, 2007

Graham Brown-Martin from Handheld Learning gave a talk on the technical side of mobile computing in education. He started off with a summary of Handheld’s history and mission. What’s coming? Well, Graham predicts that desktop computers will disappear and all computers will become ubiquitous. Even laptops will die. “The future,” Graham says “is mobile.” He made a case that market forces would help this along, propelled by consumer electronics. We have six-year olds with 3G phones. We think talking is the killer app. for mobiles. It isn’t… Bandwidth is increasing and costs are coming down. Add this to the decreasing cost of online storage, and times they are a changing. According to Graham, we’ll soon have a brilliant Web 2.0 universe built and paid for by the free market and available for use by education.

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Computer Games as Effective Learning Tools

by David Colarusso - May 22nd, 2007

This talk was given by Derek Robertson, and he thinks education should resonate with learners. For Robertson, games present a challenge. This challenge demands problem solving and helps to provide a powerful motivational context.

He spent a good amount of time debunking “the new moral panic” which sees gaming as the source of society’s ills. Like Rock & Roll, TV, and comic books before, he sees it as the target du jour. In fact, Robertson is part of the Consolarium, Learning and Teaching Scotland’s center for the educational use of computer games.

Looking over my notes, I realize there’s no way to summaries his examples except to say, gaming need not run counter to learning or even physical fitness, it’s all about what you do with it. Media vs. message anyone? So why don’t you check out what Robertson’s up to on his blog, inexplicably named “Hot Milky Drink.”

Glow Scotland

by David Colarusso - May 22nd, 2007

Glow is a national intranet for Scottish schools. Basically, they’re looking to produce a one-stop site for educational content, collaboration, and communication. That means a directory containing data on everyone (all teachers and students), a means of allowing secure access for these users, a virtual learning and teaching environment, educational content collections, collaborative space for teachers, email accounts, and meaningful system support.

Unfortunately, the speakers didn’t do much more than “give” a PowerPoint presentation. One attendee was seen to write “Kill me now” on his colleague’s note pad. The idea, however, is sound. I got a much better description from Tess Watson at BarCampScotland last March. A Glow mentor, she describes things quite well on her blog.

Digital P.S. (May 23rd): Tess does more than simply describe Glow, she blogs it too.

Computers & Learning on the Isle of Man

by David Colarusso - May 22nd, 2007

Unfortunately, a last minute room change meant that this talk was drastically under attended. It was given by Grahm Kinrade, and three things really struck me about how they’re using computers out east, including their interpretation of 1 to 1 computing.

1) Teachers are trusted with administrator rights on their own computers. Grahm recognizes that innovation comes from play, something I strongly believe. He even likes teachers using their school-issued machines to make home movies, because when a good teacher discovers something cool they say, “Hey I could use this in the classroom.”

2) There is a BIG focus on ubiquity and functionality. Tech has to be available, and it has to work. Their approach to tech support is proactive. He believes support should be calling schools and telling them when something’s wrong, not the other way around. If teachers don’t trust it; they won’t use it.

3) The focus isn’t on getting every student a computer; it’s on getting every student a computer when he/she needs it. To facilitate this, they’ve moved to a library deployment, letting students check computers out. Laptops rarely stay overnight at the school. They’re being used.

I would love to share some of the great videos Grahm brought along showing student work and classrooms in action, but they aren’t on the web yet. Most of them were filmed last week. So keep an eye on the Isle’s website. I’ve been assured they’ll show up soon.

eLive ’07 & ICT to Inspire

by David Colarusso - May 22nd, 2007

Today I attended eLive ’07, “Edinburgh’s Festival of Learning for the 21st Century.” Here are my notes from the day. During the second talk, I discovered the eLive wireless network and flirted with the idea of live blogging it, but I don’t type that fast. I like to read over my work, and Ewan McIntosh beat me to it. So here’s my thumbnail sketch in several postings. ;)

ICT to Inspire: The day started with Tim Rylands and a talk describing his efforts to inspire students through exposure to rich digital worlds, namely the Myst series. If you’re a primary teacher looking for a means to inspire your students’ writing, you should check out his website. Here’s a wee taste. What you’re watching is Tim’s students reciting their own creative writing inspired by their Myst-ifying experience.

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