Day 3 opened bright and early with look at the new Toshiba technology by James Nicholas (welcome ssd drives) followed by a great session from Glen Gore a ‘futurist’ who has worked with NASA, met Bill Gates, visited every country in the world (except for four) and worked on some important technology innovations; not bad for a kid who was kicked out of school at Year 10! [Sunrise today photo courtesy of Felicity Carroll]
James talked about the pace of change and how emerging technologies (GPS devices in cars) can come and go within 15 years whereas older technologies for this purpose (maps, compasses) took hundreds of years to emerge and be replaced. But it was his advice aboout implementing technology change that I found most interesting. He said that NASA had learned that sending out 100 little robots to Mars was more likely to have success than sending one giant robot, that failure is inevitable and okay.
He had some interesting things to say about the web 2.0 limitations around social circles and talked about the emerging web 3.0, what he referred to as the location-aware web. It was a wide ranging and fascinating dialogue that ranged from fridge-sized batteries in houses, the semantic web, 3D printing to working with the CFA on scaling their web site during the Victorian bushfires. He argued that schools should be teaching the modes of communication and their purpose and context (sms’ing, instant messaging, twitter, email, essays) and what was appropriate when. He also had some interesting things to say about the future of libraries and saw them as more about collaborative social spaces than places to store books.
He also mentioned the FLIP video camera that I’ve blogged about before here and which we mentioned in our presentation yesterday (yay: we’re on it!)
I then listened to Kim Ayling talking about the the journey Calvary Christian College had made in moving from word documents to progressive reporting online. They were using Scholaris coupled with Webbook and TASS data systems. In two and a half years they’d made the change and I was interested in the way he described his job as really being about ‘change management’, something I think we sometimes underestimate.
He described the stages he went through as:
Stage 1 – all curriculum document on the portal
Stage 2 – moving to digital markbooks and digital assesssment
Stage 3 – moving reports online, first emailed to parents, then published on a portal.
Stage 4 – eportfolios
It was great practical down-to-earth session, totally in contrast to the open-ended dialogue with the future I’d just been to, which is what you want to say in a conference.