Monday, February 14, 2011

Tech Requirements of a Decade Two 21st Century Learning Space

One year into decade two of the 21st century and sadly school doesn’t look much different than it did when we were in school.  The world outside of school has changed dramatically, yet the world inside school seems preserved in time, disconnected from reality.  I was recently asked what should the tech requirements be for a 21st century school.  When considering this, it is important to remember that the physical space of school is just a part of a student's learning environment.  The reality is that to live is to learn.  School should be an extension of life with the same tools and access.  With that in mind, here's what I came up with. Do you agree?  What would you add or change?  


  • Laptop
    Teacher can control image and use for personal and professional use.
  • WebcamTeacher can connect with the world as well as stream and record lessons on a site like uStream
  • Projector With replacement bulbs
    • Do not purchase interactive whiteboards.  They are a misuse of funds.  
  • Internet access
    Dedicated Ethernet connected internet. Unfiltered.


  • Internet access
    Completely open, high speed internet access in each classroom and all open spaces.
    • This can and is being done at many schools who are truly devoted to supporting 21st century learners.  Examples “The School,” “The Science Leadership Academy,” “Arapaho High School.”
    • Parents and community should be invited to use “common spaces.”
    • The internet should not be filtered beyond porn.  The world in school needs to match the world for which we are preparing students. 
    • This is a non negotiable in decade two 21st century.
  • Internet enabled device
    Each student needs an internet enabled device that has a QWERTY keyboard.  Devices do not have to be the same nor does the image.
  • The PODs are here
    PODs are personally owned student devices.  Schools must stop banning and start embracing the technology students already have and own.  Not only will this save schools millions of dollars, it allows students to use the technology they are already comfortable with for learning.  It also eliminates the often lengthy process of distribution and collection of device.  Another benefit is tech issues are minimized because generally people can troubleshoot their own devices.
    • For students without internet-enabled devices, schools will partner with companies to provide purchasing plans for students or equipment will be donated to the student, just like textbooks have been in the past.  
    • Here is a policy that a school that allows PODs uses.  
    • Here is a presentation explaining the necessity of PODs in school.

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