Innovation, the digital revolution and education

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’.