This was a keynote given to the AAIBS Conference in Adelaide by Marty Gauvin.
Marty is a technology entrepreneur who focused on innovation. He began by talking about his own school experiences at St Peters College in Adelaide. He was asked to advice the Curriculum Committee at the school when was still at school, which said something about the school and him. I don’t think he made enough of the kind of opportunity that was for him, though he did call it one of those decisive moments of his life.
He described his own journey, led by the phrase ‘Carpe Diem’, in building up Hostworks, an innovative Australian company, which he sold in 2008.
I liked his slide about the essential collaboration: innovator, implementer, administrator or manager, Leader
This has implications for how we innovate in schools; particularly when we think that lower levels of innovation come with higher levels of ‘comfort’. He also talked about the ‘risk gap’; what you are willing to risk. You need the idea, the team, the time and the resources.
Marty’s keynote got a good response and generated plenty of questions, though not the one I would have liked to ask if I wasn’t so far from the roving microphone: ‘is it possible for schools to foster innovation? And how?
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Mark Whittard (Toshiba Information Systems) opened up Expanding Horizons on the last morning.
It’s hard for a hardware manufacturer to have something meaningful to say about education; even Apple struggle with that. And Mark Whittard mentioned as much when he began his keynote.
We got a potted history of Toshiba and their history (130 years!) and their diversity. He claims that Toshiba invented the double coil electric light bulb in 1921 and flash memory in 1984.
Whittard talked about some of the coming innovations: fuel cells in 2009, fast-charging (super charge) batteries and their commitment to environmental values, becoming the ‘greenest computer supplier’ this year.
One interesting thing was that over 80% of the education market were now ordering the tablet pc now; which is higher than I though and promising in terms of the kinds of education specific.
He talked about, and then talked down, the new small computers and said they weren’t recommended for the education market. I’ve talked about the ASSUS(?) and that kind of thing before; I’ve love to have one for travelling, but I couldn’t last long without a full blown machine I don’t think.
I liked Bruce Dixon’s closing bit here too, talking about the original conceptualisation of the notebook computer as a tool for education, or as one early notebook computer put it, as ‘an instrument, whose music is ideas’.
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I liked this cool looking graph from Techcrunch today, not just for its look at technology (I agree that tablet pcs are probably about to get some real impetus in the next year or so) but also because of its illustration of that cycle of innovation, expectation, hope, disappointment, small movements forward.
How might we apply it to educational technologies: blogs, wikis, IWBs, twitter, LMS systems? Or how might we apply it to educational ‘reforms’ or ‘revolutions’? Where does statewide testing, league tables, peformance based pay or the debate between phonics and whole-language sit on this continuum?
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