Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TIES 2008: The Perfect Storm: Emerging Technologies with Tim Wilson

Osseo, Minnesota Technology Director Tim Wilson spoke at TIES to a packed house on emerging technologies.

He began by reminding us about exponential growth. It grows slowly at first, but then takes off. Sometimes we don't understand what's happening until it's too late!

In 1965 Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, said that "the number of circuits on a computer chip will double every two years."

In 10 years, we've gone from the pentium chip to the Atom chip, which is the size of a grain of rice!

In 1998 there were 8 million transistors on a chip. Now there are 820 million! If we are teaching math standards, understanding Exponential growth should be one of them!

So what do the next 10 years hold? If Moore's law holds true, the chips of 2018 will have 25,600 million transistors!!! If this is true, all of the ways that technology has changed in the last 10 years will be infinitesmal compared to what's happening. The computing power of the iMac of 1998 has the same power of the iPhone today! What will this mean for education?

Ray Kurzweil quote-

People tend to overestimate what can be achieved in the short term, but underestimate the long term. Similar what Daniel Pink says in "A Whole New Mind"

The Perfect Storm is this:

Ubiquitous Internet + Powerful Mobile Devices

Ubiquitous Internet

  • Wifi

  • 3G

  • WiMAX-Blanket of Internet access to a large area, including rural areas (Not here yet)

Powerful Devices

  • Acer Apc

  • HP Netbook-$349 today (A stocking stuffer for some of the parents!)

  • Blackbery

  • Nokia

Resistance (You could replace work with school)

1994-e-Mail has no place at work

1996-Internet Access has no place at work

2002-IM has no place at work

2005-Social Software has no place at work.

Intel is currently looking at using Facebook!

Products coming along

I-Tech Virtual Laser Keyboard-Projects a laser keyboard on a table and you can type on the table!

Heads Up Display-Teleprompter that you wear!

Virtual Retina Display-Beamed write on the retina (With "Little Lasers")

Contact lens with display built in

He used PollEverywhere and had the first 50 people who texted to him to answer the question of what policy best matched our district cell phone policy.

23% said no way no how

56% Don't let us see them

21% possible learning tool

Should schools get out of the buisiness of providing the technology and become providers of the content?


Online Learning-Right now, we still don't know how to use it! In Minnesota, we pit districts against each other for funding. The completion rates are horrible right now. Over 50% don't complete the course. But if we don't limit ourselves to the technology we have now, and focus on the engagement possibilities with video connection, will it matter where you are?

What if you used a virtual display, but all your classmates were there too in a syncronous session?

Purchasing and Supply of Equipment-Right now, many kids say that they'll just work on it at home. In many cases now, the connection at home is faster, and they're using their own equipment. Within 2-3 years with Cloud computing and distributed computing, we won't be installing software on computers, with a thumb drive at school.

In Osseo, he forsees that they will never have more computers in their inventory than they have now. Companies are giving staff stipends to purchase their own computer. He gave props to Edina with opening up the High School to students. Everyone will learn from our mistakes!!

Access to all the information does not make you smart in the 21st Century. Standardized testing needs to catch up!!

The question came up regarding equity, and how can a district insist that students bring the technology if they have 60% free and reduced lunch.

Tim suggested that districts maybe need to be a provider of Internet service with wifi outside the school day into neighborhoods.

How do we deal with minors on Web 2.0 Tools. Tim said we should run the tools internally. Even Facebook! On Moodle you can make courses public, and you could make other applications accessible on a case by case basis to allow for authentic learning opportunities.

Someone asked about using used cell phones and a text only plan for:

a)Keeping them out of landfills

b)Allowing them to be used in education
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