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Tag Archives: Technology

Can The Cloud Replace Teachers?

Sugata Mitra, an educational scientist, uses internet technology to prove that children without exposure to formalized education can use the internet to learn on their own without prompting.  In Mr. Mitra’s research, natural human curiosity emerged in children exposed to a computer with broadband internet access and kids who had never seen a computer before taught themselves basic computer literacy in a day.  Perhaps the most interesting experiment highlighted by Mr. Mitra was the task given to Italian children – Dr. Mitra had Italian children answer questions in Italian that he posed in English.  The children simply copied the text into Google, had Google translate the text to Italian and were able to answer the questions successfully.  Mr. Mitra also uses the ‘Granny Cloud’, a network of volunteers who facilitate learning via Skype.  Just imagine if the ‘Granny Cloud’ could be the ‘Mentor Cloud’ where volunteers with specialized knowledge facilitate learning of advanced subjects to anyone in the world.

  1. So, what could learning look like if instead of rows of desks facing a teacher in a classroom, we filled community learning centers with high-speed internet, tablet computers, and access to amazing volunteer mentors via Skype?  Perhaps we’d get a revolution in learning at a fraction of the cost of our current educational model.
  2. Is the ‘cloud’ the key to breaking out of the ‘drill and kill’ model of education?  Given access to the internet, broken into groups, and supplied with mentors, could children make better decisions about what is important to learn and what is best left for Google and Wolfram|Alpha?
  3. Does a real language barrier even exist now that content can increasingly be translated right in the cloud?  And doesn’t this open up the world’s libraries of information to everyone, regardless of who or where they are?  Can’t we leverage this to enhance learning in regions where teachers do not and will not go?
  4. Considering that Edison and Einstein both failed at institutionalized education, can cloud computing help to reach our current-day innovative thinkers in a way educational institutions cannot?

Wake Up and Embrace the Wireless Web

Photo Courtesy of Dan Taylor

Lately, there has been much maneuvering among large corporations to innovate in the cloud space or to acquire forward-looking organizations who are already there.  Mobile-friendly, cloud-based initiatives are virtually everywhere, and at some point, web sites are going the way of print books.  In their place, a series of specialty apps designed to deliver information – data.  Yes, a website is still an essential part of your web presence, but only a part, and perhaps a decreasingly important one.  Consider whats happening today in the wireless innovation space and then decide if you should spend less time mulling over pixel spaces on your home page and more time ensuring your content is available where (and how) your customers are looking for it!

  1. Intel recently purchased Infineon Technologies to move beyond the PC space.  The Infineon purchase positions Intel as a major player in the wireless connectivity mobile chip industry, supplying these chips to laptops, tablets, smart phones, and similar devices.
  2. FCC Adjusts rules (supported by Google and Microsoft) to allow usage of empty TV spectrum for testing mobile devices.
  3. Samsung seeks to bring Apps to your TV.  So, when you aren’t reading Wired through the app on your iPad, will you be able to fire up the Wired App. on your Samsung TV to read it there, too?
  4. Clearwire announced its affordable 4G pay-as-you-go broadband service.  Clearwire projects that by year-end it will have built out a WiMAX network that spans all major U.S. markets.  With Apps. increasing with the number of devices using them and developers developing them, content that’s not accessible through them may become ‘lost’ to those who prefer the one touch access instead of typing http://www . . . .
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