Over on my blog, my last post is titled "Quo Vadis?" Here's the last paragraph:

Just as the airlines superceded the railroads as passenger carriers, we need to find/develop the replacement for the current models of education. We’re still going the same places. We still need to learn. We need skills and knowledge. We need paths to credential so that we can actually use our skills and knowledge by passing the gatekeepers. We still need to get to the same places — credential, skill, knowledge, self-fulfillment. What we need is some kind of jet plane to replace our Educational Iron Horse and, when we find it, perhaps it will take us places we didn’t think were possible.

I'm staking out the position that all this talk about School 2.0 and Classroom 2.0 is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs of Titanic 2.0. The ship is still going down.


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OK, maybe it is the closet anarchist in me, but I'm not letting any of the problems and obstacles stop me from integrating WEB 2.0 into my school. We have a particularly onerous system here called "Active Directory" which prevents everyone from adding any program, software, update, etc. to their computer. An IT person has to do it and they have stated pretty flatly that those sorts of things are pretty low on their list of priorities. So, I'm acquiring surplus computers, I'm going to put an open source OS on them and then beg for forgiveness if anyone says anything about it! As for the future of education (wow, if that isn't a broad topic), I think technology is going to open up a new vista of entrepeneurship and specialization in the teaching profession. With Web 2.0, students can choose classes and teachers from around the world! The local school district may come to serve only those students who do not want to attend virtual classes or those who have proven to be virtual "truants"! Teachers could form online schools and would exert more control over their curriculum AND their student body in order to maximize effectiveness. Students would be able to customize their educational experience based on their own educational goals. Imagine a virtual high school modeled after the open curriculum example at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA! I don't think that the ship is sinking for all of us, but as educators I think we need to be forecasting our own futures and making some definite preparations for it.
I like the anarchy approach. I think a CHEAPER and less easily traceable approach is to install the software on a USB stick. I THINK that'll work on a locked down machine because most of them allow students to use the USB port to store their documents on. You might look into that. (http://portableapps.com is an interesting place to start)

The problem with the rest of the idea of a al carte education is the lockdown schools have on credentialling. You can't earn a diploma unless you take OUR courses. Don't matter how much ya know. Same in colleges.

What has to happen is some kind of loosening of that stranglehold -- perhaps some "Yup, I are a Graduate" test from the local Sylvan Learning Center or something.
Hey Shawn, your plan to set up a Linux server and start dishing out Web2.0 apps is something that I have done pretty much just as you describe. Guerrilla server full of powerful free stuff, wikis, blogs, and cool tools. I say go for it! Good luck with that.



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