Friday, April 18, 2008

Clarence Fisher: Classroom 2.0 Keynote

"Geography is becoming irrelevant"

This comment by Clarence Fisher really stuck with me as I watched his K12 Online Conference Keynote for Classroom 2.0. It's not that the statement is so earth shattering for me, but more because so many schools put their heads in the sand when it comes to that simple statement. The greatest asset that technology has brought to schools in my opinion would be connections. Technology connects us to information, people, and places. These connections can be down the hall or around the world.

I'm in my 6th year working in one to one environments in the State of Maine and it still amazes me that so many schools in my state do not allow students to use (or provide them) email let alone many Web 2.0 tools. When I am asked what has changed the most in classrooms due to one to one computing my first response is always "collaboration". One to one access allows instant collaboration between students, teachers, the community and the world. Classroom 2.0 is definitely about collaboration. The tools that Clarence mentioned (wikis, blogs, voicethread, and more) are all about collaboration, communication with an authentic world-wide audience, and sharing. I also would like to thank the folks at Edublogs, Wikispaces and Voicethread for providing access to teachers to use these exceptional tools for free.

If we going to provide our students an education that prepares them for their future they must have the tools they will use in their future. Students must be taught how to work collaboratively with others near them as well as from away. When we teach those skills geography becomes completely irrelevant. Clarence's students can collaborate with students from around the world and make geography irrelevant. Many schools that provide tremendous access to technology in their classrooms leave their kids "in the bush" as Clarence's students would say because they squelch connections. That is a shame in today's information landscape.

Image Citation:
Image: 'Released to Public: Sinai Penninsula and Dead Sea from Space Shuttle Columbia, March 2002 (NASA)'

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