So one of the reasons why I feel very lucky these days is because I actually get some chances to get outside of the US and see firsthand what others are doing. This is my third trip to the UK this year and I get more and more impressed each time I come by what they are trying to do. The ICT folks here are extremely invested in pushing these technologies forward and supporting teachers’ efforts to use them, and the message from the government is that as an educator you can be safe and be creative and innovative with your students on the Web. What a concept.
Today in Liverpool I got a chance to address a group of about 160 or so teachers and students about how learning and teaching are changing and how schools are struggling with how to respond. The basic message was that we’ve done a fairly good job of bringing the world to our schools over the last 10 years, but now it’s time to bring our schools to the world. And we can do that if we have just a bit of creativity and imagination, and if we have the will to do it.
As usual, the best part was the kids. A number of them came up after my presentation and wanted to talk about the things they’ve been creating. One talked about video had had been editing and uploading with his friends. Another talked about fan fiction. Really small kids were taking pictures and videotaping, and others were creating movies and claymation on various computers. It’s something you never see in the states, kids showing off at conferences.
But the best idea of all that I heard was that it’s the intention of the government that every child in the UK will have a digital portfolio of work by spring 2008. It’s not quite clear yet what form it will take and how it will be assessed, both big issues, but the conversation is taking place. And the teachers and students are a big part of it. Definitely something that’s not even on our radar in the states. More later on tomorrow and Friday’s events working with students…