After reading Scott's post, I feel inspired to spit out some bullet points of my own.
Here, in condensed form, is what we need:
- XO-style hardware in every kids hand. I'm still down with the Trojan Horse strategy. It is fine if most people think of it as an ebook/filmstrip/probeware/calculator/typewriter, as long as the platform is open and can be expanded to do cooler things. It is essential that the cost be entirely offset by the mundane uses, though.
- Technical infrastructure for free content. Licensing is pretty well understood now; distributed revision control exists for programming but hasn't quite been adopted by this community yet; robust and extensible metadata strategies exist but basically we lack the expertise to implement them, so we'll have to muddle through.
- High-quality free curriculum, a la Tinker. On occasion this may be funded by industry, see freereading.net, but basically, eventually government and philanthropy just has to realize that in the digital age they only need to pay for content once. Instead of buying copies of content year after year for every kid, they can just pay once to have it written and then distribute and re-use it as much as they want, sharing and spreading the costs among increasingly larger pools. It is about cutting out the middle-man.
- Protection from legal liability. There needs to be actual legislation clearly delineating and limiting the potential liabilities of school employees for disciplinary issues arising around the use of technology. Unfortunately, this seems like the least likely piece of the four.
Is there any reason this should be expensive? No. Would it dismantle most of the textbook industry (*cough* Pearson *cough*)? Yes. Would it seriously disrupt the educational technology market and put a serious dent in a number of US-based corporations? Yes. Are many other countries already taking these steps? Yes.