The next Ubuntu Education Summit (and Ubuntu Developers' Summit) will be held in Boston, with UES taking place on October 25 & 26. These events are free (natch!) and open to whomever cares to attend (although attending the Developers' Summit is pretty much like visiting an office displaced into a few hotel conference rooms, so you'd better have some work in mind). But anyhow, if you're interested in understanding the open source process and the people behind it globally, particularly in reference to education, I strongly recommend finding a way to attend UES. In particular, I'd love to see some folks like David Thornburg (who does has a pretty good handle on open source) making the trip, particularly some of our ed-tech experts who still don't get it.
Today was AMAZING! I had the opportunity to visit a school here in Sevilla, Spain. The school was more of an “inner city” school, but it was a shining example of what the “junta” (government) of Andalusia has accomplished with technology in schools. ALL the schools in the program (and soon it will be ALL the schools…it takes time)…have a 2:1 ratio of kids to computers. Some schools have laptops as well. I was particularly intrigued by the reasoning of the 2:1 ratio and the desks designed around that purpose. The intent is to foster teamwork and collaboration. Students learn to work together and collaborate in the learning process. This is not to negate any effectiveness of a 1:1 deployment, but the educators of Andalusia feel that working together is also quite important. It was made clear that it was a conscious decision that had nothing to do with cost…there was enough money for 1:1, but it was decided to do the 2:1 in most cases. The computer desks were made in Portugal specially for the project. They are RUGGED! I was impressed. EVERY single classroom has computers on every single desk. By building them into the infrastructure, they have essentially built them into the learning process. Very cool idea. Every teacher uses the computers as a tool in the classroom (this was stated repeatedly) in nearly every lesson. When I asked the kids how they felt the computers had helped them, they felt more connected and felt that the school had merged the old ways with the new in a manner that would better prepare them for college and work.
I think Dave should consider himself lucky he got through the trip without his head literally exploding.