17 November 2007

What part of this world do you want to leave your students out of?

While still fighting his own bizarre little war against the mobile phone in school, New York's "Education Mayor" ("scare quotes" added) Michael Bloomberg nevertheless wants to give mobile phones to students so they can be used to encourage education. Certainly a bizarre moment even for an American politician. "...focus group research showed that cellphones were the primary means of communication for many teenagers, and that reaching them through a concerted campaign of text messages or through the Internet was far more likely to be effective...But Mr. Bloomberg...made it clear that the phones would not be allowed in schools," stated the article in the relentlessly anti-technology New York Times.

But making fun of these two powerful New York institutions can only get us so far. I can laugh at them, or I can watch Sergei Brinn and company (the company is Google) introduce the future.

Watching this, I find myself forced to ask: Exactly how bad an educator must you be if you...
(1) Do not want your students to have this technology?
(2) Cannot figure out how to use the unbelievable information and communications capability of this device educationally?
(3) Do not appreciate that one more legendary drop out from an American university is using a technology all your training dismisses (You Tube) to explain how the future will be delivered via another technology all your training dismisses (the mobile phone)?

What part of this world, I want to ask all the technology resistant educators out there, do you want your students left out of?

Enough asked...

But I'll close with a lecture on possibility, and risk, and living life well... the celebrated Randy Pausch "Last Lecture" at Carnegie-Mellon University... because it is important, even though it will take up well more than an hour of your time.

- Ira Socol

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