My Worst Nightmare
What could I be afraid of? More than anything else, the digital divide scares me.
Allow me to explain. I have seen the best that students in high schools can achieve, given the correct equipment, given the opportunities and the inspiration.
But, without that equipment? Much of the interactivity featured in this presentation will only work with a fairly recent browser.
Some, like the Shockwave and Microsoft Office tools require special plug-ins.
The software used to create interactive Shockwave movies, online Access databases or threaded discussion groups may be intuitive, easy to use. The skills that would have once been required to create something so complex have been replaced by a point and click interface.
Without access to these tools, it is a much steeper learning curve. But that doesn't scare me so much as the other side of the coin.
A school can have all the latest hardware and software. Their students may be adept button pushers, but what if that spark of inspiration is missing?
What if they are never exposed to the dangerous idea that education is as much about drawing out as putting in?
What if they never come across a teacher who sees the web as more than a giant lesson plan repository?
What if their experience of the internet is purely that of a consumer of information?
What if my students' experience, of using the internet to communicate, to synthesise, to create, remains the preserve of a small minority because other educators do not know or have never been exposed to the potential of the internet as a place to build learning communities?
This is my nightmare. That a lack of knowledge, of vision will do more to stop the progress of students than a lack of resources.
Meanwhile, the pioneers will not stop. The digital divide between the knowledge haves and have-nots will widen. Unless...