The student is ready when will the teacher arrive?

Yesterday I talked about accessibility technologies and well in the end that they could be better. They are certainly better now than the first time I used them many years ago but they need to get better.

There are entire classes of technology that could/should be implemented in our schools to help kids and teachers build tomorrow. It worries me sometimes when I walk into a school to give a talk and the projector they have is 10 years old. It “has to warm up” the teacher says and then if you watch carefully they will cross their fingers.

World class schools mean more than open doors that welcome people in. World class schools mean they have the tools they need not only to deliver results but to exceed expectations. Robotics teams with 3d printers so that they can create and build new parts right there, that day. Science labs with imaging systems that allow them to see the tiny and the large, the near and the far away.

But as I argued many years ago now in “The Syncverse” (well only 3 years ago but it feels like a really old argument) world class in that we also open the doors of education throughout the world. That we create a shared and common environment where teaches can post lessons they are proud of for other teachers to use anywhere in the world. Where the lectures of brilliant people (Ted) can be easily used in the classroom (ok this one is happening now) but also that these great minds can work with classrooms equipped with Skype technology (or other voip systems) to check in on the progress.

Indiana University had a program many years ago called STEPS. (student and teacher electronic productivity system) it was a concept before its time. It was and remains part of the basis for the EduVerse within “The Syncverse.” What caused STEPS to struggle and ultimately killed the project? It was built in the time of dialup connections. I remember going to remote schools to help the teachers there learn how to best use STEPs. Waiting for the screen to draw on the monitor was awful. It was a concept before it was time for the concept.

But the model is sound. It is possible to build this system, This Syncverse and deliver it. Not simply storage of things you need or use, but beyond that. An interactive system that allows teachers, students, professors and professionals outside of education to connect, share and develop new ideas.

Tomorrow sits in classroom. There in the seat right in front of the teacher (because perhaps like me that child is a little too social) or in the back of the room working on independent projects. Imagine what we could do with “The Syncverse” sharing the concepts of education around the world.

I know the idea will work. STEPs was there, functioning and working for three years. We built the Society of Dead Teachers into a world wide organization for a time using only the Internet, sharing ideas, concepts and support with teachers in Europe, Asia, Canada, the United States, South America on a daily basis.

The need is there. The student is ready. When will the teacher arrive?

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow