Sunday, February 10, 2008

Apple's Tour of 21st Century Learning through the EduCon 2.0 Lens of Experience

The Apple Tour of 21st Century Learning I attended this week offered a lot to think about. I created a (a really useful free online tool) MindMap Apple: A Tour of 21st Century Learning to represent some of the ideas that were presented in the Opening Presentation and three hands-on-the-computer-they-give-you sessions. The differences between this event and EduCon 2.0 in Philadelphia in January 2008 were striking:

  1. These were very "teacher-at-the-center-of-the-learning" controlled experiences of technology and core subject content.
  2. The questions on control of technology and by implication of student learning were noticeable from the participants in the one session where we had time to talk.
  3. These were rehersed presentations and carefully orchestrated to deliver content through a simulated hands on use of the loaned computer.
  4. No broadcasts; no wiki to go to for follow up resources to support ongoing learning.
  5. No conversations except over lunch (no Philly steak and cheese).
  6. No free applications/technology tools.
  7. No students.
  8. None of the energy, excitement, sharing, or audience-presenter interaction.
  9. Ideas on technology were "corporatized," a real word in case you are wondering.
  10. The "core values" for 21st Century Student Learning presented at the beginning of the day (Creation - Distribution - Access - Collaboration) were invisible beyond the scripts we followed in the classrooms.

Despite these failings, I praise the Apple team for their efforts. Their hearts are definitely in the right place and they worked hard to deliver a good day. I just think we all have a lot to learn, myself included, before we know how to consistently push learning off the charts for students and educators. All children need to be healthy, safe, supported, engaged and challenged every day. We're not there yet.

Guy Kawasaki in the video on the Art of the Start speaks about passion and a desire to save the world as key ingredients for a start-up company's success. Guy claims these ingredients were keys to Apple's success. I wonder if Apple remembers that history? It sure didn't seem as if they did in the learning environments we experienced last week. They said the right things. Now they need to learn how to walk the talk. Keep the focus on Claiming What We Imagine for our students!

Some Questions

  1. Do we know how to build passion and a desire to save the world into the way we educate children?
  2. Would it help students learn?
  3. Can Apple help us answer the questions?
  4. What would an AppleCon 2.0 look like or are corporations and the conversations we had at EduCon 2.0 antithetical?
  5. What would the world be like if Apple and Microsoft found the passion to learn from the lessons of EduCon 2.0? Could they help to "save the world?"

1 comment:

alicebarr said...

It's interesting that Apple, who is so innovative in their hardware and marketing approach hasn't totally grasped the meaning of this learning shift yet. I agree that they are beginning to see it and they do provide us with the means to assist in teaching and learning 21st century skills. It's also interesting that they are teaching in the style that they were taught in, but they work in an environment that embraces 21st century thinking. I wonder about the Apple Distinguished Educator program and whether they are looking at some of the shifts in learning. Thanks for sharing!

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