With all the hype over do we or do we not need a tablet computer, I keep on thinking of my students and where I want to take educational technology in the next 10 years. While I am in a fortunate position to “change the world” when it comes to education, I am also in the extraordinary position to influence educational technology by adoption, adaptation, and forging ahead with what can be the best way to deliver education to students.
We all know we learn differently, some through reading, some through voice, and some through video as well as hands on. We cater to all those if the college or the training is doing it right. Many of the MCSE and Linux training offers an environment of three or more (hands on, lecture, and reading generally, some also include video/podcast) as part of the package. This is successful in helping students learn. We have been running podcasts for the last year now and have seen a demonstrable increase in learning as well as retention. As we add video we are also seeing an increase in learning and retention.
While it is great to have an argument over what technology we do need and what we don’t need, really technology boils down the dream and plans that others have with it. While I don’t have hundreds of thousands of students I firmly believe that if we are teaching technology, then by everything people believe in we have to be using it, programming for it, and extending it. While the Crunchpad would have been awesome, I just can’t buy one until the legal issues get settled out. That leaves the mythological Apple Islate, Ipad, whatever its name is, is not relevant. What is relevant is what I’ll do with it, and what my students will do with it.
We will “change the world”, at least our own little section of it, and for the better. That is what technology has been about, liberation, the ability to do more, the ability to extend. Even classic battle field technology from the copper to the Bronze Age allowed people to do more, and extend territory. Computing has been no different, and form factor does not really matter. What matters is what it can do, and how you can extend it. The IPad, Islate, whatever apple comes up with (if anything) is going to be much more suitable to ebooks, video, audio, and easier to carry around than what we have right now. That is what matters, I have a plan and it has a tablet (a true slate computer) written all over it. I just need the manufacturers to catch up with my dream.
(Cross-posted @ TechWag)