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2011: The Year of the Tipping Point?

In years past, the tipping point in terms of 1:1 always seemed tantalizingly close. “We’re here, we see it, it’s happening,” we said, hopefully. It seems, though, that 2010 was really the year of moving forward. The recommendation that every student (and teacher) have at least one internet access device was one of the actions recommended in the recently released US National Ed Tech Plan 2010 (Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology). Although the term “internet access device” can have a variety of meanings, the stipulation in the plan that the devices should have not only information gathering functions but that they should be able to be used for multimedia content creation raises the bar quite a bit. The recommendation that each state ‘ensures all public school students and teachers have Internet access devices’ also appeared as one of the action points of the ’10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning’ in the Digital Learning Now report published by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, another US organization. http://www.excelined.org/Docs/Digital%20Learning%20Now%20Report%20FINAL.pdf

The US is not the first country to read the writing on the wall and recognize that a 21st century education requires all students to have access to 21st century resources and tools. Uruguay, Portugal, Australia, Peru, Rwanda have all taken bold steps to rethink education, starting by providing each student with not just a ‘digital device’ but with a laptop. (Yes, we can use that word.) What is interesting about these reports is that the US, as an early ed tech pioneer, has not only the benefit of a long exploration of the use of technology in education, but also the burden of much legacy thinking. Pioneers, if they don’t keep moving forward, run the risk of becoming obsolete. That is why the recommendations in these reports are so exciting. Who knows? Maybe this is really the year of the 1:1 Tipping Point.
March 8th, 2011 @ 11:43AM