A Digital World

“Conceptual leverage” is an interesting concept when thinking about how to promote digital fluency. Intel’s computer clubhouse has some great success stories that highlight students who have learned to utilize technology to create and design.

Conceptual leverage came in the form of some pre-programmed components that were utilized in ingenious ways to realize the creative visions of students, i.e. a mechanized bird feeder that documented by photograph each bird visitor. The successful project bolstered ongoing learning in engaging and personally meaningful ways. Teachers can also benefit from digital fluency in similar ways. And luckily it isn’t necessary to be a computer programmer fluent in alien computer languages like Objective-C to design a cool mobile learning tool. For example, there are some app building sites now available. For example, this is an app for a fieldtrip small group scavenger hunt built with seattleclouds.

http://seattleclouds.com/myapplicationview.aspx?id=edexsacto&ownerun=casavalridge&appname=edexsacto

There are a number of tools available to realize a creative digital application at a variety of levels of skill sets. Willingham encourages teachers to study video tapes of oneself teaching, the classroom and students as well as to go out and just observe children socializing with one another in order to look carefully for something that was previously unobserved. This kind of thoughtful analysis and reflection can lead to new perspectives on what is working and what is needed given the context and needs. An important thing to highlight is that innovation does not mean it is the most technologically advanced but rather that it is effectively meeting a need previously not addressed. This is a helpful perspective when considering developing nations. For example, simple cell phones (not-smart phones) can be effective mobile learning tools for literacy instruction and for distributing needed books and reading materials.

The one child per laptop (OCPL) is a more ambitious project to bring technology to children and classrooms in developing parts of the world. Some people criticize these efforts.

And argue that food, clean water and health care are more important.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2227850,00.asp#fbid=ogsAYE_xuR9

Despite to child like appearance of the OCPL theft is also a major issue.

http://www.olpcnews.com/use_cases/community/olpc_theft_vandalizing_education.html

Despite the many criticisms of and challenges surrounding the OCPL Project, I personally believe that it is an important endeavor. It is helping to stimulate education and learning in very remote places for both boys and girls. Education and access to technology can help to foster young innovators and leaders in developing communities.

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