November 19, 2007

Getting the most from the smallest PC

  Mac, Vaio PC, Asus EeePC 
  Originally uploaded by Edublogger

This morning we had a ball playing about with the tiny but beautiful Asus EeePC, being sold by RM in the UK. It runs on open source operating system and software, and its platform is centred around free communication tools such as Google Docs, iGoogle, Skype and Messenger. It's got a huge potential, considering its tiny size (and tiny price: Just $330).

But my colleagues and I quickly got down to how we could see the impact of a machine like this in Scottish classrooms, particularly if we were managing some sort of in-school project, if, pedagogically and culturally, the schools we chose weren't ready to change the way teaching and learning took place.

One school in Scotland, which seems to be getting things right, underwent huge cultural and pedagogical change recently when they fitted out every child with an Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC). The teaching style of every individual changed, and learning with this new tool had to take on a different face, too.

But these weren't just implicit changes. They made huge efforts on a systemic scale to make sure that this transformative tool had a transformative impact in the classroom. I've rooted out three of Islay High School's UMPC man's posts that show this. Islay's Ian Stuart has helped staff change by helping adapt the system from the "way it's always been done" into something brand new:

These are the (rather extensive and profound) changes that are required if any technology introducing social media, social collaboration and learning are going to succeed, I think. So, with this beautiful tool, we'll have to work hard to find the Cinderella's foot that fits.


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Cinderella Where are you?
Thank you Ewan for your words.
I think the main thing to realise is that we identified the equipment as a tool to allow change to happen not, as most schools see, an end on its own.
Identify what you want to do then identify what tools will allow that to happen.
Then constant review and support.
We have lots of plates spinning or maybe the analogy should be lots of gears spinning, as they all inter connect.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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