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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Changing Minds

Two fantastic posts that I have to share by women who are helping change people's minds about the role of technology in education:

First: Lucy Gray, an education technology specialist at the University of Chicago. On Monday she gave a powerful presentation "Beyond Buzzwords" at the TED x TLN conference. Flip through her slides here.

And the money quote if you're in a rush:
"Before we expect students to step up, teachers to work harder than ever, administrators to lead with vision, and the data to change, we must engage and re-inspire."

The challenge before us: use technology to engage and re-inspire--not to frustrate and confuse.

A second, compelling conversation was started by Marie Bjerede, Vice President of Wireless Education Technology at Qualcomm, on the O'Reilly Radar blog. (Look here.) Of course, Qualcomm is in the cell phone business, but she has a fascinating story about using the technology to engage 150 kids in North Carolina studying algebra. It's called Project K-Nect.

She isn't shy about pointing out this is hardly a scientific survey. Still the kids' reactions are pretty impressive:

"Overall, proficiency rates increased by 30 percent. In the best case, one class using the devices had 50 percent more kids finishing the year proficient than a class learning the same material from the same teacher during the same school year, but without the cell phones."

And I can't help but add this: check out this Fast Company piece, echoing the same idea: "How Smartphones, Handheld Computers Sparked an Educational Revolution,"

Thank you, Lucy & Maria! Those are the kinds of signals we need to change minds.

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