Sooner or later when we talk about edcuational technology we run into questions about affordability–like in this piece, Affording the Classoom of the Future, in the Journal. Yes, it’s true, the tech is expensive, even if the cost continues to fall yearly–only Gordon Geckos could afford cell phones in the 80’s.
But the problem is stuck in an old way of thinking, one that sees education can only occur inside a classroom (There’s one section on virtual classrooms, but the whole piece is framed by a belief in a structure that may well be hopelessly inadequate.) What if, instead, we said it doesn’t have to be in a classroom. At all. As I said earlier, we haven’t yet come close to imagining what the new edcuation will look like. But I know from my experience as head of Think Global School, however, that you don’t need a physical classroom for substantial learning (and arguable better) to take place. By the end of the second term of our first year, we had clearly establsihed that learning is a habit of mind, not a place. The learning space might be virtual, as the Journal article points out. But it can equally be found spaces where face-to-face meetings are still possible, as was my experience in taking students around the world.
The cost of mobile phones and tablets–for everyone–pales in comparison to the capital cost of building schools. We could easily afford the classrooms of the future if we instead talk about affording the learning of the future.