I gave a presentation this morning to the Florida Council of Independent Schools on adding value with web technologies rather than just throwing tech into schools for its own sake. Although I was originally scheduled to present in person, my wife's recent c-section prompted the coordinators to get creative and I ended up presenting remotely. Nothing like living the tech about which I was presenting.
The presentation is below; I created it in Google Docs and then remotely controlled it, along with a video and audio feed from my webcam via Google chat. Even with mediocre conference center networking on one side and a 3MBps DSL line on my side, video and audio were seamless (not exactly high-res, but I was actually able to interact with the attendees, so no complaints whatsoever).
The presentation tells the story, but a few questions that came up afterwards raised some great points:
- 1:1 computing doesn't have to mean laptops for everyone. The goal is to get everyone connected to the Internet with cost-effective technologies and able to create and access content anytime. Can this be a smartphone? A netbook? A laptop? A next-gen e-reader? Definitely.
- Our Acceptable Use Policies and related documents are, in general, out of date and in need of collaborative review. Parents, students, staff, and administrators all need to be involved with creating sensible guidelines to help us educate "digital citizens."
- Use of ePals, Google Docs, or simply well-trained staff can go a long ways towards mitigating distractions and potentially destructive behaviors associated with empowering students to create content.
- So-called "Digital Natives" don't live in an 8.5x11 world; digital immigrant struggle with new content creation tools because it's hard to envision web content printed on an 8.5x11 page. Time for a shift in mindset.
Thanks to FCIS for the opportunity to present and really exploit the power of Google Apps in a truly appropriate context.