Add your 1:1 fantasy here…

There is growing interest among educators in my district, technical and curricular alike, in the reality of students increasingly making WiFi/cellular-connected devices part of their daily life-gear. There is keen interest in the kimble readermomentum on the equipment-side toward inexpensive tablet devices (most recently hacked out of the near-capable Kindle) that were they to reach the commercial market in that configuration and price-point it could revolutionize not only device acquisition, but the way we budget for text-based materials.  The impact on instruction would be dramatic, revolutionary even.

Colleague and Blue Skunk blogger Doug Johnson recently probed this issue with his post, Specs for Student Devices.  The response to this post was interesting, and the conversation stopper was cost of the $400-$500 devices that dominate the discussion, as equity is always the deal-breaker in public education.  So what happens when we throw Marvell’s $99marvell moby tablet Moby tablet into the discussion?  Suddenly conversation turns to textbook budgets, open-source becomes a favorite sidebar, and discussions around educational equity become laced with “What if we [add your favorite topping here].”

Our departmental water cooler discussions are now drifting toward considering the feasibility of universal WiFi to serve students and staff bringing their devices to school.

What will be the evolution and changes in campus behavior once this happens?  What will be the best practices in service to equity of opportunity for all students?  How do we guide system-disruptive technologies to further our effectiveness as educators?

I’m asking readers to take a break from the work routine and wax fanciful here.  Let’s say that in the next year or so we can think of all students as “haves” and the cost-of-device issue disappears.  Let’s add to this assumption that our legislators will see the digital light and crack open the means by which we bring information to students allowing us to fund the best future.  How do we move educational structures into the future with relevance and a smile?

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