Saturday, 12 July 2008
From low tech to high tech
After OneWorld, I went to work at Futurelab in Brisol, a thinktank and ideaslab, focusing on digital applications in education. It was a fascinating place to work where the projects were not only innovative but helped children learn. An underlying premise of Futurelab is that educational software needs to become more sophisticated to meet the needs of digital natives, i.e. young people growing up using computuers, playing console games, etc.
A few mobile prototypes in particular stood out for me. First, was Savannah where with the aid of a PDA students became a pride of lions working together to make sure the pride survived. Next, Mudlarking in Deptford enabled students to go on a guided tour of the riverbed where they could also leave their own commentary in the form of photos and text. Finally, Fizzees, a piece of wearable technology, encouraged students to stay active in order to keep their Fizzee healthy. What all of these projects shared was a high-level of engagement with students as active learners - if only we had such things when I was in school - what fun!
Futurelab is an exciting place with a great website that is always worth a visit. They also extensively publish research including their Handbook on Handheld Learning. All of these resources are free.