Wednesday, June 11, 2008

1 to 1 as a Distraction

On Thursday, Slate published this article, which criticized 1 to 1 laptop initiatives based on research from the Euro 2000 program in Romania. This is not an apples to apples comparison. The results of the study noted that student achievement dropped for students that received a subsidy to purchase a computer. When 1 to 1 laptops are deployed, all of the students receive laptops, not just a portion of them. As Alan Kay points out, the dominant technology defines the dominant task. In a case of a 1 to 1 deployment, this means that the paper and pencil exercises can be opened up to problem based learning.

Also, as Lawrence Lessig points out, technology has the effect of democratizing the means of production.

This again is a very good thing. It will hopefully enable students to take back their voices.

The other big argument in favour of 1 to 1 laptop programs is the fact that students often say that school is where they have to disconnect from the grid. (John Medina would argue that we need some time to disconnect:)

However, disconnecting for seven or eight hours every day creates a disconnect for students between school and the world that they inhabit the rest of the day and rest of the week.

Web programming and information architechture

Andrew Hinton's slide share on the nature of information architechture

As an occasional web programmer, this notion of embedding good information architecture in the form of documents. The example of Flickr on slide 73 is especially illustrating of this principle.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Brain Rules

Jeff Utecht recently posted about John Medina's book the Brain Rules.

Jeff also provided a link to Garr Reynolds' presentation on his take on the book.

Both of these have me believing that John Medina's Brain Rules is very much worth a read.