A major theme of this blog is to point out that mobile devices are the core tool for learning in the 21st century. While speculation about what kids should have goes on and on, what they DO have is far more illuminating—and disheartening.
The two paragraph at the end of this post are from a New York Times article today titled Back to School, With Cellphone and Laptop. The paragraphs I picked are about elementary school children. From reading them we get the mental picture of a pre-teen child with a cellphone in one pocket and a flash drive in another. (I was at a conference recently where one of the Ph.D.s was complaining that he had lost three flash drives already that day; they are about the size of a half a stick of gum.)
Some of the questions the image of mobile phone, flash drive toting children bring to mind are:
What about kids who don’t have a flash-drive receiving computer at home?
Why isn’t the flash drive built into the mobile phone?
If the flash drive were built into the mobile phone, would we make sure the kid can study those files on that mobile device?
Why are the school files he uses not accessible through the Internet so he can use them from home, the library, etc.?
Why doesn’t her mobile phone have Internet access so she could study her files on the bus (if they were on the Internet)?
Why are the hundreds of dollars worth of printed study resources still in the child’s backpack if she is carrying her study stuff on her flash drive. An expensive redundancy here?
Why is the education establishment so far behind on the digital convergence curve? Why!
New York Times article quotes:
The LG Migo VX1000 . . . . is a child-friendly, simple phone: no text messaging, no games and no camera. It is also very small and light, well suited for child-size hands. The Migo has only four numbered buttons, which can dial four preprogrammed phone numbers. Those numbers cannot be changed without a password. To place a call, the child simply presses one of the numbered keys and the talk button. In the middle of the phone pad is a large key for emergency calls.
Catherine Poling, the assistant principal at Kemptown Elementary School, near Frederick, Md., suggests that students also get a flash drive for portable storage of their computer files.“With the volume of files that students work on, including video and images, it would be helpful if they all had a mass storage device to transport files between home and school. . . .”