At edtech conference, envisioning the future

Negroponte: Kids learn not by consuming but by creating.

The nation's largest educational technology trade show, the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) has concluded its run in San Diego. An estimated 17,000 educators, administrators, and executives attended the three day event where empowering students through creative uses of technology was the overarching theme reports eSchool News.

The keynote speakers, photographer Dewitt Jones and One Laptop Per Child founder Nicholas Negroponte, both spoke of envisioning the future. Jones outlined four key steps: train your technique; put yourself in the place of most potential; be open to possibilities; and focus the vision by celebrating what's right with the situation.

Negroponte said, "Kids learn not by being consumers of knowledge, but creators of it." Negroponte described his OLPC project and his efforts to give kids in developing nations a low-cost computer of their own. Demo models of the $100 laptop were available for attendees to try out.

ISTE president Kurt Steinhaus told attendees that kids are bored in schools. But give students computers and Internet access--"the results will be astounding."

When the question, "What do you think is the most essential element for transforming education for the digital generation?" was posed to the audience, 44 percent of audience members chose "visionary leadership," followed by "redesigned professional growth" (24 percent), "digital tools and content" (15 percent), and "individualized instruction" (10 percent).