I used to do a column in the Magazine “Kindle The Flame” short for Kindle the Flame of Knowledge published by the Society of Dead Teachers that I called “Cool Tech.” Kindle The Flame ceased publication in 1995. 20 years later I am still intrigued by what is possible merging technology and education.
In Cool Tech I used to talk about things that would be great technologies to have in the classroom. I am thinking about reviving that column here on my blog. There are so many wonderful technologies now available for the classroom that aren’t in the classroom I worry.
First off one of the tenants of my book “The Syncverse” was the Eduverse a place for teachers to share. Not only lesson plans for great in classroom experiences but also different ways to handle and support education. Some of the concept sin the book have been implemented, in particular the concept of recording great lectures and sharing them (Ted Talks and Khan Academy). But the Eduverse was more than that. It was a place teachers around the world could connect to begin solving universally some of the educational woes we face.
The concept that is education is about teaching people to think. Not just writing, reading and mathematics. The STEM curriculum many schools are pushing now (Science, Technology, Engineering and math) is great. But you need the other pieces as well. CSTEAM is what I advocate. That adds Connectivity to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.
In this case Connectivity means more than simple a connected classroom. It is the social experience that has exploded over the past five years. Beyond simply connecting the world of the classroom to the world beyond, connectivity brings the world into the classroom.
One of the things that always bothered me when I was teaching was the poor preparation allowed for new students during the year. First off that is not a knock on teachers, they have a job that is difficult at best. Rather that you have no way of knowing where a new student is as far as learning. You get grades and test scores but what if English is a second language or as a teacher in Mexico Spanish is their second or third language. How do you best support that student?
Depending upon their age and knowledge of the new language they are learning in, that student can lose 6 months to a year just acclimating. With the Eduverse the student and side by side learn both the reality of where they are (new Language) as well as learn in their existing language (all the other topics). It expands CSTEAM to CSTEAM-U where the U represents universal. Universal allows for the creation of a centralized educational system world wide. Where teachers can work with teachers in a students native language to support not only the students continued learning but also the concepts and constructs that student has been taught before.
That ability to connect students not only with what they know now, but also what they will need to know is a great gift. Taking the value of Ted Talks, Khan Academy and other great sources for sharing knowledge and bridging that to what the student knows now is a great gift.
Plus, the Eduverse wouldn’t be that expensive. Created in the cloud like Netflix. Using similar sharing capabilities and building on the existing content libraries. The Eduverse could quite simply become the one stop shop for sharing training world wide. From children to adults we all learn. Life long learning makes us better, faster and stronger.
It could be….