Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Laptop per child - 21st Century skills

I have been exploring more about 21st Century skills as I set up a new project for our students that has been funded by the Innovation Next Practice Division with DEECD. My project will involve students exploring their roles and responsibilities as global citizens. Through the use of a ning and a wiki I hope to help students to understand how we all have a responsibility to be aware and respond to global issues. I also want them to understand the role the internet plays in this scenario and that we can't use distance and time as excuses for not being involved.
My research led me to a brilliant site called The Partnership For 21st Century Skills that advocates embedding 21st Century skills into education. This is the type of site you revisit again and again and I will be using it as a catalyst for many a conversation with my students. I also found a really powerful video on this site that discusses the One Child Per Laptop (OLPC) project which aims to revolutionise the access for the poorest kids in the world by providing them with a robust, cheap, low powered laptop to use in their education. Although mighty impressive and an amazing project, what really struck me was this associated video of Professor Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of the One Laptop Per Child that gives a very short explanation about the vision of OCPC. What struck me was that Professor Negroponte talks not about the laptops themselves but about what sort of thinking and creating he envisions that the children would do as a result of having access to this technology. It reminded me of why we need to be constantly asking ourselves why we have our students work with technology and what we want them to think, do, know and understand as a result.
I plan to show this video to the teachers here at Wedderburn in the hope that it generates some discussion about what, why and how we use information technology in our classrooms.