The future history of the Education Commons

MIT Press has released a PDF version of the book “Opening Up Education“, which is a series of articles on open educational content.

I found the most interesting piece was David Wiley’s “the OpenCourseWars” – 2005-2012, some speculative fiction on what will happen with the open content movement over the next few years.

Dynamic compilation for computer emulation

This post is really about using Apple Integer BASIC as a scripting language…. Intel Mac users can use Apple’s “Woz BASIC” as a scripting environment on Apple’s Unix.

There is also a related thesis on emulation of old software, which explains the title of the post:

So far, this is only available on Intel Macs, and I MUST caution you against using BASIC for too long, lest you develop bad habits like using GOTO. Better learn Lisp or a Lisp dialect such as LOGO as your first language.

Education: It’s about vision first, and practices later

I’ve been working with a local school board, to advance their technology program from the 4-PCs in a classroom model supported by the state of Ohio, to something more appropriate for a 21st century education. This lab and 4 PC per classroom models means that access isn’t common or universal, particularly at the Junior High and High School.

There is a “universal access” model that is appropriate to consider now in education. People in corporations use PCs in their every day work, and create documents, models, and tools to solve problems. Why would we expect students to act any differently as we prepare them for the world?

Take this into the school setting, and can see the possibility of new ways of learning. Here’s a sample vision of what we can do in the school setting (from Papert/Caperton)

The primary commitment of education should be about vision. Every citizen should enter the world with:

  • A proud vision of self as a powerful life-long learner,
  • A vibrant vision of a worth-while life ahead,
  • An optimistic vision of a society to be proud of, and
  • The skills and the ethic needed to follow these visions.

Our group has arrived at the following conclusions:

  • Using a powerful vision to inspire professional development is essential
  • Due to limited budgets, allowing children to bring their own laptops to school makes sense.
  • Laptops on carts can supplement what the students bring.

Parents, teachers, and administrators will create the conditions that create learning communities. Students will inherently want to do this for themselves, not limited to the four walls of the classroom.