In the very old days (prior to 1975 or so), no one had a second thought of assuming that every student and teacher would go into class with a pencil and a notebook. It was the technology that applied to every class and it was ubiquitous – so much so it wasn’t considered “technology” at all. Then came the old days (prior to 2005 or so) and the computer. We built labs full of computers, put them in classrooms and libraries and offices, and some folks – mostly adults – had mobile computers (laptops). The computer became, especially for adults in education, nearly as ubiquitous as the pencil and paper from the old days. No one would consider not having computers accessible to adults and kids in a school, and many schools gave one (a laptop) to every student and teacher.
Today, the evolution of technology is on the cusp of the next great revolution. Many would argue that revolution has already occurred and we missed it. At any rate, that next revolution is the intruduction of mobile devices that aren’t really computers per se (although they share some characteristics), but are really “cloud communicators” – some form of device that uses a web browser or similar software interface to interact with applications, files, and other resources that are stored not on the local device but somewhere else. The first one everyone knows about is the iPad, which, unfortunately, isn’t really a cloud comminicator but a media consumption device, and isn’t what we need in education. We need something more productive – something that can replace (that is, become as ubiquitous as) the pencil and paper, and the computer.
I think the future of education is in these devices, and we should forego adding more computers and “90’s technology” to our environments and move headfirst into these devices. These devices would house our textbooks, our notes, our calendars and other applications, and be our interface to the web and to web-based software applications.
For a peak into these devices, go to http://www.kno.com. I’m not saying the Kno is the device we should acquire – but this is the kind of device every student and teacher should have, and it should be as ubiquitous as the pencil and paper.